Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort ~ Buck Hill Golf Club Part 2

November 23rd, 2010

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Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort ~ Buck Hill Golf Club Part 1

November 23rd, 2010

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Tony’s Test Drives

November 22nd, 2010

Even a Seasoned Golf Traveler
Can Have an Eye-Opening Experience

By Tony Leodora

After playing 705 golf courses in a total of 13 different countries, you wouldn’t expect any major surprises while chasing the little white ball around the world. I have played in some exotic places (Morocco and South Africa). I have visited the birthplaces of golf (St. Andrews, Prestwick, Ballybunion). I have been to the mountaintop (Keystone Ranch at 9,300 feet in Colorado) as well sea level all along America’s three coastlines.

And, just when you think the surprises might be over, another one comes along. Isn’t golf beautiful.

I had an eye-opening experience on a recent trip to a destination that many others have frequented but, for some reason, was never high on my list – Bermuda. I don’t know why I wasn’t attracted to this island that sits, so conveniently, just one hour and 45 minutes by air southeast of Philadelphia. Many times it takes longer to drive to the Jersey Shore.

What I found was one of the most picturesque islands I ever encountered, a hotel that ranks among the top on my list … and some outstanding golf.

My destination was the relatively new Tucker’s Point Hotel and Spa, a property that brings new meaning to relaxed luxury. From the moment that the doorman greets you with a hearty “Cheers, and welcome to Tucker’s Point”, to that last lingering look back at the spectacular coastline and brilliant blue water as the plane departs, you are enthralled by the feeling that you are at one of the finest vacation spots in the world.

The rooms a Tucker’s Point are large and magnificently appointed. Views of the ocean and the many odd-shaped bays are everywhere. The service is over the top. The pool blends into a view of the bay. And the food …

How good is the food? The Queen of England made it a point to eat in the formal dining room – amidst the regular patrons – last year. The wine selection is a deserving match for the food.

But, what really caught my attention was the golf. Bermuda has more golf courses, per square mile, than any country in the world. There are nine golf courses on this tiny island that measures 21 miles long and only two-and-a-half miles wide at its widest point.

The one that most people know is Mid-Ocean, a Charles Blair Macdonald design that often is contained on lists of the Top 100 courses in the world.

No doubt, it is a beast of a course that often places golfers at the mercy of a furious wind. After being buffeted by the winds, up and down the many hills of Mid-Ocean, the golfer is subjected to a final bludgeoning on holes 17 and 18. Both stand hard on the cliffs above the ocean and usually provide the final indignity.

Of course, the island also contains the Robert Trent Jones-designed and Rees Jones re-designed Port Royal course – home of the Grand Slam of Golf that was won in October 2010 by Ernie Els. There also are a number of other pleasant courses, including the world-class 18-hole par 3 Fairmount Southampton golf course.

But the course that really caught my eye was the Tucker’s Point course. Originally designed by Charles Banks in 1921, it underwent a major renovation at the hands of Roger Rulewich – for years the right-hand man of Robert Trent Jones. The result is the most enjoyable golf experience on the island.

Because Tucker’s Point is a bit more sheltered, the ever-present wind is not as daunting as it can be at Mid-Ocean. Also, the course is easier to walk, the turf conditions are better and golfers spend less time looking for golf balls – time that can be spent enjoying the stunning views from the course.

“The best way to describe Tucker’s Point is that it’s an exciting course to play,” explained director of golf Jason Epstein, who came to Bermuda from Pawley’s Plantation on Myrtle Beach’s southern end. “The views, the layout and the ability to snag an occasional birdie make it the favorite of a lot of our visitors.”

For more information about Tucker’s Point Hotel and Spa, plus the exceptional golf that awaits in Bermuda and especially at Tucker’s Point GC, go to www.tuckerspoint.com.

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Snippets of Myrtle Beach

November 19th, 2010

You may recognize these images if you’ve played World Tour, The Witch or Wicked Stick. Check back for more pictures from the Myrtle Beach courses we visited during our trip to sunny South Carolina (and North Carolina too!).

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