Thursday, March 12, 2009

Video Tour of Doral

The World Golf Championships CA Championship is being held at Doral this week. Here's a short video tour of the resort and the Blue Course. Aside from a few hacker golf swings and a few too many water fountain shots, it's a great video.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pete Dye in Paradise: The Black Pearl Golf Course at Pristine Bay

Pete and Perry Dye are building the first golf course on the tropical island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras. The Black Pearl Golf Course at Pristine Bay Resort, sponsor of the World Golf Championships CA Championship at Doral, will be the first Dye course in Honduras.

Located on the lush, tropical island of Roatan, 35 miles off the coast of Honduras, Pristine Bay Resort is situated on a 400+ acre site adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. The azure waters off the coast of the island and a gorgeous barrier reef provide a stunning backdrop and one of the truly unique settings for golf in Central America.

First Dye Course in Honduras

The Black Pearl, Dye's first project in Honduras and Roatan's first golf course, is an 18-hole, par-72 resort layout measuring 7,057 from the back tees. The course starts at the ocean's doorstep, rises into the island's rolling foothills, then takes golfers on a wild ride back to the seaside clubhouse. It will feature one of Dye's signature island greens, and 14 of the 18 holes will offer stunning vistas of the ocean and the Meso-American Barrier Reef, which is second only in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

A state-of-the-art practice facility with a short game area and multiple putting and chipping greens is being developed in concert with the golf course to host a variety of instructional programs. The goal being to create an atmosphere of game-improvement, one that encourages guests and residents to enhance their skills while honing their games.

Environmentally Compatible Golf Course Turf

Dye Designs is a pioneer in the use of Paspalum turf for tropics-based projects. The Black Pearl is being grassed with the salt-water tolerant strand known for its environmental compatibility, ease of irrigation and maintenance, and translucent green hue. Its appearance - juxtaposed against the turquoise waters offshore - inspired the Black Pearl's tagline: "The Best Greens and the Best Blues."

Pristine Bay Resort features a wide variety of residential products including: bay view and golf course condominiums, two-, three-, and four-bedroom villa units and one-quarter-acre custom home lots, many with unobstructed views of the ocean. Villas start at $600,000 and range up to $1 million; lots start at $230,000 and range up to $460,000. A 155-slip full-service marina located near The Black Pearl clubhouse will provide deep-water access for a wide variety of sea-going vessels.

Residents and guests will have access to the ocean-front Bay Village at Pristine Bay with boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and other entertainment options. The 120-room, five-star Resort and Spa at Pristine Bay, to be managed by the Lancaster Hotel Group, is scheduled to open along with the Black Pearl.

Getting There

Roatan International Airport (RTB) is served by nine weekly, non-stop flights from the United States (Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Newark) on Continental, Delta and TACA. Flights to the island through the Honduran cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are also available.

Find out more about the course and resort at

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Toddler Travel to Hilton Head Island

It's been over a year since SGT talked a little toddler travel. In keeping with this week's general theme, South Carolina travel, it's time we touched on the subject again.

Some of the best places to stay while you're vacationing on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, also offer excellent childcare, and award winning golf. Here are four, with additional information about the resorts/spas.

Hilton Head Marriot Beach and Golf Resort - Five championship golf courses, 25 tennis courts, four on-site restaurants, high-speed Internet connectivity. Highly rated by both guests and experts. Around $200 to $250 per night.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort - Easy access to all of Hilton Head's fabulous golf courses, corporate and fitness facilities, parasailing, tennis, and all in a luxurious setting. Around $150 to $200 per night.

Crowne Plaza Resort - Overwhelmingly recommended as perfect for families. The amenities are plentiful: again, fabulous golf; tennis; high-speed Internet; and much more. All in an upscale environment. Around $150 to $200 per night.

Daufuskie Island Resort and Spa - All the great courses of the Hilton Head area are nearby. Daufuski, adjacent to Hilton Head, still a bit unknown, which makes it a more serene getaway. The resort has all the amenities one could want, and it is highly rated by guests. Around $200 to $250 per night.

Since we first featured these four resorts, the prices may have changed. Typically, they would have gone up in price, but given the current economic conditions, they may be lower than we've projected.

If you elect not to stay at the resort hotels, in favor of renting beach-front villas through companies like Beach Properties of Hilton Head or Island Getaway, they can also recommend local babysitting services and other activities.

Want to travel a little bit lighter? Try leaving the beach toys at home and renting them while you're on Hilton Head. Baby's Away has a great selection of toys that will be delivered to your door upon arrival and picked up after you leave for home. So much simpler and easier than bringing them all with you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle

Summer seems so far away, so proper hydration isn't on the minds of most people, even though it's just as important during winter.

Lack of hydration is something that can kill a golf round, or an otherwise well-planned vacation, regardless of the climate and faster than most anything. HydraCoach® is one company seeking to make staying hydrated and staying healthy much easier.

The HydraCoach, touted as the worlds first interactive water bottle, calculates personal hydration needs, tracks real-time fluid consumption, paces consumption throughout the day and motivates you to achieve and maintain optimal hydration.

Since every kind of healthcare professional recommends that we all drink more water, the HydraCoach is an exceptional discovery. It's easy to remember to take in more fluids when you're sweating from the heat (even though by the time you realize you're thirsty, you're already becoming dehydrated), but during the cooler months, we don't get the same clues. The HydraCoach is the remedy. It's a breakthrough in personal hydration monitoring, regardless of the season.

It is available from the HydraCoach website for $29.99 and it comes in three colors (blue, orange and smoke).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hilton Head Island Golf Vacation

Fabulous Golf is Only the Beginning of a Great Family Golf Getaway

The activities and beauty of Hilton Head should be considered when planning a family vacation. Great golf courses, fabulous beaches and fun abounds for the whole family.

Among the eastern United States’ great family vacation destinations is Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Hilton Head is also known for its great golf. Home to the PGA TOUR’s Verizon Heritage, Harbor Town Golf Links leads a host of other great courses that are complemented by a wide variety of activities the whole family will enjoy.

When entering Hilton Head Island, which measures 12 miles from heel to toe, vacationers will be struck initially by the lack of visible commercialization. Although a family vacation and tourist destination full of every convenience imaginable, Hilton Head Island planners have succeeded in keeping the signs so plentiful and visible everywhere else from easy view. All business signs, such as restaurants and shopping centers, are kept at eye-level, which succeeds in making the island less commercial and more naturally beautiful.

Hilton Head Island Golf

On Hilton Head and in the surrounding area, there are literally dozens of great courses to play, which causes some difficulty in deciding where to tee it up. The most widely acclaimed is, of course, Harbor Town Golf Links. Located in the Sea Pines area of Hilton Head, this course provides spectacular views of Calibogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as lots of the native flora. As it is a PGA TOUR venue, it is immaculately maintained and deserving of it’s high rating. If you plan to play, contact the course well in advance of your arrival to secure a tee time. Expect to pay upwards of $200 for the privilege.

The Palmetto Dunes area of Hilton Head is home to three courses by famous golf course designers; the Robert Trent Jones Course, the Arthur Hills Course; and the George Fazio Course. They are within a few minutes of each other and located approximately in mid-island. Palmetto Dunes has beachfront and beach view lodging and dining for any budget, as well as activities for the kids. The location and amenities makes Palmetto Dunes a great place to stay and play on the island.

Lodging and Activities

Few places so beautiful have as much to offer by way of golf and other activities as Hilton Head Island. When looking for places to stay on Hilton Head, expect to pay more than you would in the surrounding areas; however, it is worth the extra money to experience the island’s beauty and activities. Several rental companies can provide great lodging referrals and reservations to fit most budgets. Island Getaway, a vacation rental company, has access to numerous locations and the staff are friendly, courteous and willing to assist with any question or concern.

Everyone has different shopping tastes and Hilton Head Island has something for everyone. From the Shelter Cove Mall, which contains a Saks Off 5th Avenue and other national stores, to the outlet malls just off the island, to the numerous boutiques and shops throughout, no shopping taste will go unsatisfied.

For golfers, Golf Outfitters and Golf Headquarters are two popular Hilton Head Island golf shops. The two golf retailers have a full selection of golf equipment from Adams, to Callaway, to Taylor Made. Both also offer golf club rental and golf equipment rental in case you can't bring your clubs along.

In short, if anyone in your family loves golf, Hilton Head Island is a great choice for your next family vacation. The golfers and non-golfers alike will have a spectacular time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

PGA National's Bear Trap

This post was originally published at, April 2, 2008. Recipient of the Editor's Choice Award.

The Toughest Three-Hole Stretch on Tour

PGA National Resort & Spa, in Palm Beach Garden’s, Florida, is home to the PGA Tour’s first Florida Swing tournament, The Honda Classic, held in March. At the 2008 Classic, the three-holes that comprise what has become known as the Bear Trap, the 15th, 16th and 17th on The Champion Course, netted the professional field an amazing 356 over par, 102 strokes more than the previous year.

Unlike most of his competitors, South African Ernie Els was able negotiate the Bear Trap and escape the week even par through the three holes. In contrast, though fan favorite Boo Weekley had a respectable finish, the Bear Trap left a five-over-par mark on him by week’s end.

The difficulty level of the Trap is due to two separate rounds of renovations to The Champ course in as many years. According to PGA National’s managing director, Joel Paige, "We are thrilled with the extensive renovations by Nicklaus Design and Superior Golf Concepts," said Paige. "The combined scores from holes 15, 16 and 17 have shown that our "Bear Trap" offers professional golfers the toughest three-hole stretch anywhere in the world." It also proves that Jack Nicklaus, as designer, is continuing to leave an indelible mark on golf, much like he did as a player.

Improvements to The Champion Course were part of an extensive, multi-million dollar resort-wide makeover that included a new resort front entrance, lobby bar, steak and seafood grille, free-form zero-entry pool and waterside bar and grill. The Champ Course’s re-shaped and expanded bunkers has drawn significant attention from players and spectators who commented on the course’s demand for a focused game. It isn’t simply a bomber’s course, as the Bear Trap’s par-three, par-four, par-three stretch has proven.

The Champions Course isn’t simply for the pros or a select few members. Anyone can play the course and be caught by the Bear Trap. The South Florida location of PGA National, as well as the other activities and amenities offered by the resort, make it a great vacation spot for golfers and non-golfers. Its 339 guest rooms, restaurants, five golf courses, European Spa health club, and other activities make it a world-class resort destination. Golf is only the beginning.