Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Suite Golf Travel's 100th Post

There are few places on earth that you can’t find a golf course, which makes it easy to find vacation spots for golfers. Interested in Mongolia? There’s a golf course there for you! (I always like saying "Ulaanbaatar")

This is Suite Golf Travel’s 100th post. Just an arbitrary milestone, I know, but it’s worth noting. I wonder how many blogs never make it to 100?

On this 100th post, I’d like to take the opportunity to state what this blog will do for you. It will:

  • Help you find great golf courses.
  • Give you insider information about great golf courses.
  • Help you find great golf vacation values.
  • Give you recommendations on quality lodging, attractions, dining and activities near golf destinations.
  • Give you practical and useful travel tips.
  • Regular golf travel reports, just for our readers (free of course).
  • Only display sponsors with which we have first-hand experience, so that when you click ads, you’ll feel secure you aren’t being scammed.

For now, look around, look through the top-five posts, or look at random. You’ll find something you like. Sign up for the email list and get new travel info before it’s posted here.

Whether it's the best places to stay and play in Ulaaaanbaataaaaaar, or Utaaaaah, we want to play a part in you to having the best, at the best price, and the best experience.

Thanks for coming.

Follow me on Twitter: @alanlhammond

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Las Vegas Golf Super Bowl Giveaway

If you'll be in Las Vegas January 30th - February 1st, you could have a chance at a great piece of Super Bowl memorabilia, worth an estimated $3,500.

By playing two rounds of golf, choosing any combination of rounds at Bali Hai Golf Club, Royal Links Golf Club, or Desert Pines Golf Club, you will be entered into a drawing for one of two authentic team-signed helmets. Two winners will be chosen, both receiving one of the team-signed helmets.

A good reason for a Las Vegas getaway weekend. If you're already traveling to Las Vegas that weekend, not booking and playing those courses could cause you to miss out on a one-of-a-kind helmet and $3,500!

The drawing is being provided by Walters Golf.

If you win, don't forget where you heard about it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Golf Travel Tip: Consider Rental Clubs

About a year ago, I published a post about leaving your golf clubs at home. It bears repeating.

Golfers are certainly picky when it comes to their clubs. Using another set of clubs is like wearing someone else's underwear, wrong on so many levels. But, nowadays you can rent top-quality clubs from major retailers, golf shops and golf courses. You can probably even find your own clubs, or something very close.

Fees vary, but they're quite reasonable. Depending on your location, you may be able to find rental clubs for a few dollars per day to around $50 per week.

I think it's worth the few extra dollars in exchange for the reduced hassle of keeping up with your clubs, or the damage that you risk to them, on a trip of any length.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tips for Choosing Vacation Childcare

There's nothing wrong with using childcare services while on vacation. Many resorts and hotels have certified, top-quality people on staff that will take fantastic care of the little people.

If you're wondering what to look for as you make your decision to use their services, here are some tips, courtesy of BabyCenter.com, that will help you make a decision and establish peace of mind:

  • Do the caregivers know CPR and other emergency procedures?
  • What are the program hours?
  • Is there any flexibility to come and go? (Your child may want to leave the group to spend some time with you, for example, then return later.)
  • What are the prices?
  • Are there discounts for siblings?
  • Which meals (if any) are provided?
  • Are both indoor and outdoor activities offered? What are they?
  • How many children are expected to be there at the time of your visit? Will the program operate if only a few children show up?
  • What's the ratio of caregivers to children? (The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends an adult-to-child ratio of one to four for infants; one to five for 12- to 18-month-olds; and one to six for 24- to 36-month-olds.) Are extra staffers added if more children unexpectedly join the group?
  • Are children grouped by age? If so, what are the age ranges? What are the minimum and maximum ages?

In addition to those suggestions, you may want to ask for the qualifications and any certification of caregivers. You could also, in advance of your trip, try and locate childcare reviews for your particular destination. A good place to look for reviews, and local caregivers, is CareSquare.com.

At Suite Golf Travel, we believe vacations are essential to healthy family development. If you have recommendations for resort or hotel childcare, please leave comments below for others to see. We need all the help possible to protect and nurture our little ones, and not so little ones.

Happy traveling.

Monday, January 12, 2009

In Boca Raton For The Allianz Championship? Where To Stay, And What To Do

J. Chad Barnett, Contributing Writer

Many golf fans are gearing-up for the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Florida. With beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and awe-inspiring golf courses, who can blame them. The tournament will be held at The Old Course at Broken Sound starting February 9th, and ending February 15th.

After consulting with some acquaintances of mine that have stayed in Boca Raton before, I have a couple of tips to help make your trip to Florida a memorable one.

First off, here are a couple of places to stay that were recommended to me:

The Towneplace Suites by Marriott is a lovely, family oriented hotel, located near the Boca Town Center, and various enticing golf courses. A Bar-B-Q grill is located by the pool area for guest use, and they even have a “lending library”, stocked with board games, playing cards, VCR's, portable CD players, etc. to help make guests feel more at home. The rooms are over sized to provide more living space. Look them up at http://towneplacebocaraton.com/, for more information.

The Hilton on Deerfield Beach is pet friendly, and offers a casual atmosphere with posh standards. Lounge by the tropical outdoor pool, or relax on the balcony while watching golfers on the nearby course. With the Hilton Family Advance Purchase, if you book a vacation 14 days in advance, and stay between January 1st thru March 31st , you can receive up to 20% off of your stay. Get more information at http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/DERHIHF/index.do.

There are also a variety of activities and things to do while you are in Boca. Here are some of the better ones:

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens – With a mile-long trail connecting 6 different Japanese-themed gardens, this attraction is a must-see for anyone visiting the area. There is also a 225 seat theater, a tropical banzai collection, koi ponds, and more. Check out http://www.morikami.org/, for more details.

McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary – This is a unique experience for the whole family. Privately guided tours are by appointment only. The prices are reasonable considering the one-on-one with the animals. No pesky tourists blocking the view here. Get closer to tigers, monkeys, and other animals than is possible in zoos and other tours. For the ultimate family wildlife adventure, go to http://www.mccarthyswildlife.com/visitors.html and check it out.

These are just a sample of places to stay, and things to do. With beautiful golf courses, fabulous cuisine, and an “old world” feel, your trip to Boca could be a memorable one indeed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beautiful Golf Courses, Sandy Beaches, and Babysitting In Mexico

J. Chad Barnett, Contributing Writer

Most of us have different opinions of what paradise is. For me personally, I love my family, the beach, and playing golf. So when I found Marbella Suites en La Playa, I was thrilled!

Located just 2 minutes from Cabo San Lucas, is a beautiful secret. Marbella Suites offers spacious accommodations, various amenities, and even a babysitting service, all the while keeping a traditional Mexican feel. The rooms come in a variety of sizes, and there are only 40 rooms, so there is no overcrowding. Visit the website at http://marbellasuites.com/, and see for yourself. Oh, and didn't I mention something about golf?

Many Championship courses are located in the Los Cabos area, designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, and the Robert Trent Jones team. Some of the more popular courses are Cabo del Sol Los Cabos, Cabo del Sol Desert Course, Cabo Real Golf Course, and El Dorado Golf Course Los Cabos. With breath-taking scenery, and challenging holes, the Los Cabos courses are sure to delight all golfers.

So grab the clubs, and the family, and head on down to Mexico. I'll see you on the greens!

All they need is your email address and you'll receive the best deals on the Net, every week.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Great Golf Escapes Now “On-Sale”

Much like the tons of big houses built, there was an onslaught of posh golf resort and general resort construction prior to our present economic downturn. If you think the consumer is being squeezed by the economy, take a walk in the shoes of a multi-million dollar resort-club general manager who is begging travelers to come. Not good for him, but great news for you and your family.

According to Kristen Bellstrom, writer for SmartMoney.com, rate cuts as deep as 50% can be found at Oahu’s Makaha Resort & Golf Club and the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas (SmartMoney.com, January 2, 2009). That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

For golfers, the great golf package rates are spreading far and wide. Jamaica’s ultra-exclusive Half-Moon Bay Resort has been offering, according to Bellstrom, what they call the “Total Golf Experience” for as little as $395 per night. The Half-Moon’s package includes, get this, the room, golf cart AND caddy, greens fees, all drinks, and all meals, everyday of your stay. That package is simply amazing. Two years ago you couldn't have dinner there for $395 per night (bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point).

Bellstrom also stated in her article that, this past fall, a potential guest looking for a bargain on the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa’s Web site would have found a king room starting at $263 a night. If that same traveler had entered a special rate code from bargain site Travelzoo.com, the same room class dropped to $99 a night, a 60-percent savings. Bellstrom stated that a spokesperson for the hotel advised the $99 rate was “for a limited time and exclusively available through Travelzoo.” Travelzoo.com is a Suite Golf Travel "Recommended Travel Site".

Throughout the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, and elsewhere, the same drastic rate cuts can be found. You may have to do some digging, but they’re there. With the economy suffering, resort investors looking for a return on their money, and the impending winter slow-down, you won’t need a big shovel to uncover them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kids Can Get "Medieval" In Savannah, While There's Plenty of Golf Courses For Parents

By J. Chad Barnett.

Whether you're in Savannah, Georgia for the Champions Tour Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Tournament, April 20-26, 2009, or just want to play at one of the beautiful golf courses, there are things for everyone to do, including the kids.

Not far from The Club at Savannah Harbor, and the Hunter Golf Course, is a medieval getaway that will delight children of all ages.

The Star Castle Family Entertainment Center is a medieval-themed "playground" specializing in fun for the whole family.

Features include:

  • 10,000 square foot roller-rink, complete with state of the art light effects, armored knights, a life-sized dragon, and the King sitting upon his throne.
  • 4,000 square foot Laser Tag maze consisting of glowing blacklit columns, (no sharp edges for safety). Up to 20 players at a time can play and there is a viewing area to watch the action.
  • Arcade stocked with 50 of todays hottest games, (motion sensor games), along with some old favorites, (skeeball).
  • Food court with handmade pizza, fresh soft pretzels, hotdogs, and other assorted snacks.

For something different, try the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, (kids love trains), or the Jepson Center for the Arts, which specializes in hands-on creative learning activities.

The aptly named Pirates House is a great way to fill your stomach with some good food, and bask in a pirate's life. Framed pages of an early copy of Treasure Island, seafaring artifacts, and wooden ships make for a memorable meal.

One of the treasures of the South, Savannah is full of kids entertainment and things to do for everyone.

J. Chad Barnett is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. He can be reached at Suite Golf Travel or at jeffrey_barnett2003 (at) yahoo.com.