Living like Gatsby

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OHEKA Castle on the Gold Coast of Long Island, N.Y., was once the weekend retreat and summer home of Otto Kahn. The Gold Coast was where many of America’s wealthiest families had homes in the 1920s. It’s also where most of the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, “The Great Gatsby,” resided and it is said that OHEKA was one of the inspirations for Jay Gatsby’s mansion.

Born in 1867, Otto Hermann Kahn, was one of the most celebrated financiers in American banking before his death in 1934. A true renaissance man, he was an investment banker, collector, philanthropist, patron of the arts and golfer.

Completed in 1919, OHEKA still is the second-largest private home in the United States. The 109,000-square-foot mansion contains 127 rooms, all set on 443 acres. It’s twice the size of the White House. Built during the Roaring 20s, it reflected the excess and opulence of the times.

Kahn also built an 18-hole, par-71, Seth Raynor-designed golf course on his property. It was used exclusively by Kahn and his guests. OHEKA’s overnight visitors included such luminaries as Enrico Caruso, George Gershwin, JP Morgan, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, to name just a few.


The property has gone through a number of changes over the years. It’s now a beautiful 32-room hotel, and the golf course that was originally Kahn’s private domain is now called Cold Spring Country Club. Gary Melius took over the estate in 1984 and began a massive project that continues to this day to return the spectacular estate to its original glory.

More than likely you have seen images of OHEKA, as the mansion and gardens were featured in the movie “Citizen Kane” in aerial views of Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu.

Even if just for a few days, guests can enjoy the full Gatsby experience while staying at this spectacular hotel. All guests have privileges to play the private Cold Spring Country Club course while staying at the property, which is just 32 miles – about a 45-minute drive – from Manhattan.

According to author Nelson DeMille, “Otto Kahn and Gary Melius are the bookends of this story – men of boldness, vision and optimism in America. This is the story of their house and the century that separated them in time, but brought them together in spirit.”

For more information visit, www.oheka.com

Bermuda Bound

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Bermuda bound and bound by Bermuda I will always be
As both my heart and the direction of my compass
point to this beautiful island in the sea.


The feelings I have towards islands is similar to the way parents feel about children: it’s hard to have a favorite as they each have their own personality and unique characteristics that make each of them special.

However, there is no greater experience than ocean and golf combined; with a preference for the warmer locations. One of such extra-special locations is Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. Once the site of the Castle Harbor Hotel, opened in 1931, it was situated in Tucker’s town and was a popular destination for celebrities and the well-heeled. It closed in 1999 and was demolished in 2002. A new property, the Rosewood Tucker’s Point, was built in its place and opened in 2008.

Tuckers Point has been impressively recognized; it’s on Travel & Leisure’s list of “30 Most Romantic Dream Trips.” That romance may very well include golf as you will fall in love with the stunning views, elevated tees and fairways and greens that overlook the light-blue Atlantic Ocean and pink-sand beaches.

While playing this beautiful Charles Banks-designed, par-70, 6,500-yard course you can see three bodies of water: Harrington Sound, Castle Harbor and the Atlantic. Director of golf, Paul Adams, has been at Tucker’s Point for seven years and enjoys the great history of the property as well as the site’s many changing vistas. The 17th hole is no better example.

English culture is still prominent on the island, from high tea and cricket to men wearing Bermuda shorts, high socks and a blazer. The St. George Cup cricket match is one of the highlights of the year and an exhilarating experience for even those who do not follow the game. English traditions combined with very friendly island hospitality make Bermuda a unique experience.

It is precisely that hospitality that brings people back year after year. Eric Levon, the gentleman greeting you when arriving at Tucker’s Point, is a shining example. He has been here since it opened in 2008 after the Tripp Brothers took over operations from the old Castle Harbor property and completely reconstructed and revitalized the resort. On a recent day Levon was excited as he just had his pink pith hat signed by American PGA Tour pro Matt Kuchar, who was staying at the property with his family. “I have met some really nice people over the years and Matt was one of them. I really enjoyed meeting Gary Player, he used to be the touring pro for Castle Harbor, and I met Lucille Ball in 1967,” Levon told me. When asked about his signature hat, Levon explains, “Two years ago a guest gave me the pink pith hat because his wife bought it for him in town and he did not want to wear pink. I liked it and have been wearing it ever since. I have 18 pink ties to match.”

While the island is known for its “Rum Swizzle” and “Dark & Stormy” drinks made with Gosling’s Rum, there’s a refreshing lesser-known cocktail made by Owen the bartender at the 19th hole bar at Tuckers Point Golf Club. Ask for an “Owen’s Special or GB Julep.” It’s a combination of vodka, fresh basil, fresh ginger and soda.

Pair that with one of the best lobster rolls on the planet and you will understand why Mark Twain said, “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”

For more information, visit www.tuckerspoint.com.

Golf- the game that keeps on Giving

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Charity tournaments have long been a huge part of the golf culture in the U.S. and internationally. In the U.S., the World Golf Foundation’s 2012 “Golf’s Charitable Impact” report estimated that 12,000 golf facilities host 140,000 charity golf events annually. Golf continues to be the great connector by not only bringing people together to raise money and support a great cause but also enabling the charity to educate and highlight its message. Events range in scope from national, regional and local.

Els For Autism Grand Finale
April is National Autism Awareness Month and the biggest champion of autism in golf is Ernie Els. In response to their son Ben’s autism diagnosis, Ernie and his wife Liesel created what’s become a charity-driven, amateur golf tournament that generates funds to support the building of the Center of Excellence for Autism. The facility will launch a global digital learning platform that will make available the best practices in education and therapy on the autism spectrum to thousands of children worldwide.

The Golf Challenge consists of a series of super-regional events at top-rated courses across the United States and Canada from April through September. Two-person teams compete for a place at the Grand Finale – a two-day extravaganza of golf and entertainment hosted by Ernie and his friends from the PGA Tour in Las Vegas on October 13th & 14th, 2013. For more information, visit http://www.elsforautism.com/site/PageServer?pagename=golf_challenge.

“Liezl and I are private people, but we are also very much in the public eye and we recognize that this gives us a platform to help raise funds and awareness for the causes of Autism and its possible treatments. It is something that we both feel very passionate about.” Ernie Els

You may have seen Els’ PSA on autism, which highlights the odds of having a child with the disorder. At the age of 14, Els won the Junior World Championship and the odds of that were 1 in 16 million; the chances of Els making it to the American and European pro tours odds 1 in 7 million; the odds of winning the British Open once and U.S. Open twice are 1 in 780 million. The odds of having a child with autism are a mere 1 in 88. For more information, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDc4auio2oQ.

“Years from now people may remember me as a golfer and a major champion. But I’d like also to be remembered as somebody who took the issue of Autism and did something with it. The rest of my life, I’ll be fighting this thing…I hope you’ll join with me.” Els

On a regional level, one of the most successful organizations is the Jimmy Fund Golf, an outstanding example of the good achieved when hundreds of volunteer tournament organizers and thousands of golfers unite by connecting their love of golf to a higher cause: conquering cancer.

The Jimmy Fund solely supports Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world. Jimmy Fund Golf has raised more than $91 million over the past 30 years to support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

In 2012, Jimmy Fund Golf raised nearly $6.5 million through more than 150 golf events between April and October. All of Jimmy Fund Golf’s tournaments are organized by volunteers and committees. Jimmy Fund Golf tournaments are held in 10 states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Texas). For more, visit www.jimmyfundgolf.org.

On a local level, it’s touching to see families struck by tragedy creating foundations and events to support others experiencing similar pain in their community. One such family is the Tracys, who started the Miller/Tracy Children’s Foundation in 2001. It was formed in memory of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Marie Tracy, her aunt Kimberly Balboni-Miller, and Elizabeth’s uncle, Carl “Chip” Miller. In July of 2000, Lizzy, Kim and Chip were returning from the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, R.I., when they were killed in a motor vehicle accident.

The annual golf tournament is its main fundraiser and has enabled them to assist families with medical bills and provide financial assistance when faced with illness or death. As a result of the Miller/Tracy Foundation and its annual golf tournament, 1,200 children received back-to-school clothes and supplies; 60 graduating seniors received scholarships; and more than 225 families have been given Thanksgiving dinners. The 12 Annual Miller/Tracy Children’s Golf Classic is June 7 at the Sandy Burr Country Club in Wayland, Mass. For further details, visit http://millertracychildrensfoundation.com/.

**This month every Two Good Rounds book that is purchased on www.twogoodrounds.com we will donate a book to the Els for Autism Golf Challenge to use at their events.

Els Family nov 2009

Seve Smiling from Above

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It turns out Seve was looking down and proved to be Europe’s Guardian Angel.

Prior to the matches starting, when José María Olazábal was asked what advice Seve Ballesteros would give him, he responded, “Play with heart, play with passion and win the damn points!”

Ultimately this is exactly what the Europeans did. While the Americans took a strong and fast lead Friday and Saturday the Europeans rallied back to win. As Martin Kaymer’s putt dropped in on the 18th green the match was decided and Europe would retain the Ryder Cup. Just as Kaymer’s putt dropped Captain Olazábal looked to the sky with tears in his eyes.

On Sunday when it came down to the singles matches perhaps the uniforms for the Europeans were foreshadowing their fate. The blue pants, white shirt and blue sweater, Seve Ballesteros’ signature outfit, was the European team’s way of paying tribute to the late Ballesteros by dressing in his image. His signature logo, his iconic image with one arm raised in triumph from the 1984 Open, was present on each player’s golf bag, on their left sleeve and clearly in their hearts and minds.

When asked about his remarks that he felt Seve in the team room Saturday night and how Seve’s presence was felt throughout, Olazabal responded, “Seve will always be present with his team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think they boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”

Ian Poulter, whose passionate demeanor resembles Seve’s, reflected on what he felt being part of this winning team. “You know what , my captain picked me to come and play, and you know, I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. So it’s pretty special.” Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia also credit Seve as an inspiration to contributing to their win. “I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me today all day,” said Garcia. “Because there is no chance I would have won my match if he wasn’t there.”

Olazabal has been quoted as saying “Seve always said that (1984 Open win) was the sweetest moment in his career, winning at St. Andrews, making that putt to beat Tom Watson.” The baton it seems was passed to Martin Kaymer whose winning putt on 18 was perhaps assisted by a guardian angel. “He (Seve) is already smiling about it. It is the first time he is not here with us for Ryder Cup. I have wonderful memories of my matches with him. All of the images we had this week around us kept his spirit alive.”

Just as Kaymer’s putt and Europe’s win will not be forgotten, nor will the man who inspired the 2012 European Ryder Cup team from above.

The RYDER CUP Look

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As I walked the course over the past two days the one thing abundantly apparent that distinguishes the Ryder Cup from any other golf event is the number of fans dressed up in costumes. It is as if Halloween and the Olympics got together and had a baby at the golf course. As they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”. My best guess is that the English don’t have Halloween so perhaps this is why they enjoy dressing up at events. A notable characteristic of everyone I met, both Americans and Europeans is that like wolves they tend to travel in packs.

SAM I AM. These Uncle Sam’s are from Atlanta and have been playing their own Ryder Cup tournament for 8 years and noted “We play against real Europeans”. They consider the USA their home course. They run off citing ”We have to go Bubba needs us”

This is the first Ryder cup for Jason, 12 handicap, and Craig, 15 handicap, who traveled from Dubai to attend. They were watching Rugby, the Dubai Rugby Sevens, when we got the idea to come over for Ryder Cup. Both British they had the idea to come as “Redcoats”, the uniforms traditionally worn by soldiers of the British Army. “We thought The British are coming. The British are coming”

Ben, Rob, Chris came over from the UK and wanted to show their support so they decided to make a statement. “It has been great we have gotten a lot of attention”. When asked if they made their unique outfits they replied “no we bought them online- you can get anything online”

Bob, Lance, Gary and Evan are home town Chicago men representing the USA. It is the first Ryder Cup for all of them and they described it as ”electric”. They have been planning for six months, their shirts are from the Chicago District Golf Association and shorts are Loudmouth. “We wanted to compete with the Euros on dress. We like visiting Europe but there is no place like home”

David and Ed, came from London and said they are “Guardians of the Cup and here to protect it”

Miles, Lee and Craig flew over from Manchester England for the Ryder Cup and while they are very British they decided to dress as matadors out of respect for the European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal a nataive of Spain. They also added “We look good as matadors”

Michael is from the USA and Richard is 74 years old and from Ireland, this is his first Ryder Cup and he came to the states specifically and came here specifically for the Ryder Cup they struck up a conversation while watching the matches as Michael is of Irish decent while they are rooting for opposing teams.

This is the first Ryder Cup for Eric, Michael, Michael, David and Peter representing the Chicago and Boston area. Michael is a Tiger Woods fan and they decided to dress up to express their patriotism and pride in America. “We love Tiger Woods, we love America and we love Bloody Marys”

KILTS ON CARTS. Robert, Alen, Kevin and Liem are from Scotland and came in kilts, the traditional Scottish dress. This traditional dress is commonly used to this day and often worn to major sporting events, weddings and special occasions. While here this week they played golf sis times including their own Ryder Cup with a group of American friends.

St George Crusaders have come to take back the Ryder Cup. “We need to protect it, but right now with the scores we are not doing a good job”. In 2010 Ashley, Chris, Colin and Barry, from Liverpool England, were sitting at a pub watching the Ryder Cup being played at Celtic Manor and got the idea and began to plan their trip to come over for this year’s Ryder Cup. “We decided to dress up so we would stand out. And my wife thinks I am working right now in Scotland working”

USA ALL THE WAY

“Bromance” Brewing at the Ryder Cup- Mickelson and Bradley

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Majestic Medinah plays host to this year’s Ryder Cup and the atmosphere is electric.

It is truly difficult to describe the feeling and energy at a Ryder Cup. It is as if the world’s biggest events collided into each other to create one huge all-world celebration. Imagine the 4th of July, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, FIFA’s World Cup and Halloween all meeting at a golf course. That’s what you have, here on the fairways at Medinah.

The stands are filled with passionate fans waving flags, chanting and cheering to such high pitches you can feel the Earth shake.

Throughout the year the players on both sides compete against each other in fierce every-man-for-himself competition. But this week they are joined together by birth place and divided by continent.

And this is where it begins to feel like a Super Bowl or a European soccer match. Two teams with fierce rivalry and passionate fans. The players from each respective team are all wearing the team uniform, and the display of patriotism from the fans is overwhelming, giving you the feeling you are attending the Olympics.

Normally golf is an individual sport, but this week it is transformed into a team event. Perhaps not so ironic and rather symbolic are the two major figures prominent this week participating in the event, Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps. Regarded as two of the greatest athletes in the world, Phelps excelled in an individual sport while Jordan in a team sport. This week the players need to combine the best of both.

The most interesting part perhaps is the brewing “bromances” on the golf course. It is said Aristotle’s ancient classical description of friendship is often taken to be the prototype of the bromance. It is new for golf. Just as the other pairs that came before them – Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Alfred Tennyson and Arthur Hallam – now Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley have a bond that is seductive. Just as two lovers who pass a knowing look, the same look can be seen on the faces of Phil and Keegan. Their look reveals a shared bond for love of country and fierce competitiveness. Like any great partnership, the look says I have your back.

We first saw the look when the pairings were announced, and then again on the course. Their signs of affection come in the way of fist pumps and fist bumps. Phil smacks Bradley on the butt and gives him a few nudges to get him out of his intense state after a shot. After Bradley holes out on 15 for the win, more chest bumps and fist pumps. Like the energy that lovers exude – a feeling so infectious you want to be in love – the same infectious energy can be felt from this pair. Watching them interact makes you want some of it.

Davis Love III, captain for Team USA, most eloquently sums up the essence of the Ryder Cup.
“I hope these Ryder Cup matches will encourage people around the world to try our great game, just as my father encouraged me to try it. And, in that vein, we should remember that these matches are not life and death. Golf has to be played with a certain spirit of graciousness or it’s not golf at all. Captain Olazábal, you have embodied true class in the game all your golfing life. You have improved our great game, in your Masters victories and all your other wins, and in your spirited Ryder Cup play. As we Americans square off against your distinguished squad of Europeans, let’s remember what we’re doing here. In far too many ways, we are a world in turmoil. There are millions who live in poverty, who know hunger, who wake up to war. Nobody should confuse these matches with any sort of battle – except an athletic one. We start these matches on a note of friendship and we will end them the same way. In this world, we need all the friends we can find. These matches are about people coming together in the name of honest, fair and intense competition. That’s why they are so loved.”

This week we are all acutely aware of just how fortunate we are no matter where you were born. The love and bromance we feel is a direct reflection of the players understanding that they are fortunate to play the game we all love while representing their country. The Ryder Cup is perhaps the finest example of feel-good golf. Why we love the game, competition, and country.

Email me at elisa@twogoodrounds.com and Follow me on facebook: Elisa Gaudet and twitter @elisagaudet. Author of Two Good Rounds

When “Winning” Involves More than a Big Paycheck…… When it Transforms Lives.

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Who would have thought that East Lake Golf Club, the home golf course of Bobby Jones and the man who transformed the game of golf, would be the model for transforming a community? East Lake in Atlanta is the permanent home of the Tour Championship, the season-ending event of the PGA Tour and the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Interestingly, the FedEx Cup has America ’s third-largest purse awarded in sports according to Forbes. Ranked only behind the Super Bowl ($15.5 million) and the World Series ($14.8 million), the winner of the FedEx Cup collects a cool $10 million bonus.

Remarkably, the area where the tournament is held was once known as “little Vietnam” because of its extremely harsh living conditions, including crime rates 18 times the national average and 87 percent joblessness. It was a place with little hope until one man’s vision triggered an amazing renaissance.

Just like Bobby Jones, Tom Cousins had a vision and dared to try something many of us couldn’t even imagine. Both men can be credited for their ability to revitalize, energize and inspire.

They say “A rising tide lifts all boats.” No one embraced that adage more than Cousins, who created a sustainable model for improved living. His Purpose Built Communities began with the East Lake Community in the mid-1990s and is now a model for 25 other blighted areas – in various stages of planning and development – in New Orleans, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Cousins, a real estate developer who built the CNN Tower and much of Atlanta ’s skyline, saw a way to mitigate poverty and transform poor neighborhoods by making a paradigm shift. The concept of Purpose Built Communities is to create a holistic revitalization by combining public and private objectives. A key element of the approach is the establishment of mixed-income communities, where half the residents receive public housing subsidies and the other half pay full-market rents.

These communities offer attractive services and amenities, including a pool, tennis courts, public golf course, job training, charter schools, an elementary school, a daycare center and a YMCA. They’re part of a network of nationwide communities that are building brighter futures, strengthening human and physical capital, and helping families break the cycle of poverty.

Since the transformation of East Lake , crime is down 87 percent and the school district has one of the highest average test scores in the Atlanta area.

In 1993, Cousins took over historic East Lake Golf Club, which had fallen on hard times. He restored the private course with the understanding that any profits would benefit the East Lake Foundation (www.eastlakefoundation.org). To date, more than $20 million in proceeds from club operations have gone to support the foundation, which has helped turn one of the nation’s worst public housing projects into a thriving community.

Golf is a sport that excites and unites many of us, not only as spectators but as participants. What began as a spark – revitalizing a historic golf club, ignited the dramatic transformation of an entire community and improved the lives of many.

According to Cousins, while the excitement of the Tour Championship brings a great deal of attention to the Atlanta area, he would prefer to highlight the lessons taught by East Lake ’s Purpose Built Community. He quotes from an old Southern chapel songbook: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing, pass it on, pass it on.”

Princess and the Tee

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Once upon a time in a land far away,
there was a young lady who wanted to play.
A place she had seen only from afar,
she longed to try as she knew she’d be a star.
She prayed to the gods Timing and Tempo,
to give her a chance she promised to shoot low.
Each night before she went to sleep,
the princess had a ritual she would always keep.

Her story a bit different I am sure Hans would agree.
Under her mattress she would place a tee,
and dream of the day she would be under the tree.
As the saying goes “good comes to those who wait”,
she was very patient as she pondered her fate.
In her dreams at night birdies would appear,
and whisper to her the things she wanted to hear.
Eagles that soared to the highest of heights
and crowds that roared to extreme delight.
Visions of pink azaleas in full bloom filled her dreams,
sipping sweet cocktails under umbrellas is more than it seems.
A prince in green was always in sight,
just not a frog to kiss at night.
She awoke one day and to her delight,
there was a letter from Augusta,
An Invite.

<Dedicated to Condoleeza, Darla and princesses everywhere.

No Bluffing…golf is a romantic LOVE affair

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 “Golf is very much like a love affair, if you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun, if you do, it breaks your heart. Don’t break your heart, but flirt with the possibility.” Louise Suggs

 

Just ask Matt Kuchar, defending champion of the Barclay’s tournament, who was married in 2003 at one of the most romantic golf, tennis and hunting resorts – Cabin Bluff. “ We really enjoyed having the wedding there. The whole wedding party stayed on the property and the place is quiet, laid back with lots of activities. It was perfect for my wife Sybi and I” says Kuchar.

“We were all there for four to five days and we got married on the tennis courts, which were decorated beautifully.  I went quail hunting on my wedding day; it was the first time I had ever been. I was really amazed by the pointer dogs and how they are so well trained.” 

 

Cabin Bluff, once the private hunting, fishing, golf retreat owned and developed by Detroit automobile millionaire Howard Coffin, who also developed Sapelo and Sea Island, is now open to the public. It was used as a hunting preserve by Coffin’s Cloister and Sapelo guests, until he went broke in the 1930s and was forced to sell it to the Brunswick Pulp and Paper Company in order to hold onto Sea Island.

It is an easy 30 minute drive from Jacksonville airport to Cabin Bluff nestled in the Georgia woods on the border with Florida. We were picked up at the airport by Bob, a very warm and friendly gentleman wearing a hunting camouflage shirt and jeans. The southern accent and laid back demeanor were a welcome treat and a reprise from New York City life.

The property is stunning and you sense that from the moment you arrive. The drive from the street to the actual property is two miles. The property sits on the Cumberland River and you are surrounded by stunning Cypress trees.  General Schwarzkopf’s daughter was also married on the site and you can easily see how this would be an idyllic setting. 

Hunting season is November to March. Cabin Bluff is perhaps best known for their pointer dogs. They are well trained and impressive to watch even if you do not hunt.

 

Fishing could not be easier as the boats are at the end of the pier on the property and the entire operation is easy and enjoyable. One of the fishing spots is a 15 minute boat ride straight out east to the shores of Cumberland Island.   This island was the hot spot for the Carnegies and other wealthy families in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It has since become a national park and was brought into the spotlight in 1996 as the secret location where JFK Jr. married Caroline Bassett in a tiny church on the island. 

The golf course designed by legendary Tour professional Davis Love III is a unique and ingenious layout. The eighteen hole course is designed around six thoughtfully constructed greens, each designed to be played three different ways.  It is a six hole track that you play three times. The course is a brilliant idea with three different tee boxes for each hole and every green has three pin flags. Given people’s time restraints and families wanting to play together this layout offers the option to play 6, 12 or 18 holes comfortably. Matt Kuchar also enjoyed playing with family and friends during his wedding days. “It is a great idea and I am surprised there are not more courses with that design.” Davis, who lives on a nearby property, was also in attendance for Matt’s wedding.  What’s not to LOVE about Cabin Bluff. www.cabinbluff.com

 

If Superbowl = Disney & Golf Major = Bermuda….I’ll take Bermuda

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If Superbowl = Disney & Golf Major = Bermuda….I’ll take Bermuda

Most Americans will agree they are thrilled the NFL is back on track and by the end of the season one talented and successful team will win the Superbowl and be able to say “I’m going to Disney”. The real question is who will be left standing this Sunday saying “I’m going to Bermuda” 

The final spot in the foursome for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, October 17-19, at the Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda, will go to the winner of the 93rd PGA Championship. Three guys, Darren, Rory and Charl, have already packed their long knee socks, shorts and blazers. The question remains who will be the fourth?

 My bet would be on another one of Chubby Chandler’s guys, (Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizer or Lee Westwood) since he seems to have the Midas touch these days. An additional incentive for Els’s would be since he won last year’s Grand Slam, he could reuse his long socks and Bermuda shorts should he win the PGA Championship.

 The PGA Grand Slam has a $1.35 million purse with the winner receiving $600,000, second $300,000, third $250,000 and the fourth $200,000. With only four players in the field I like the odds and it reminds me of youth sports today – everyone walks away a winner. While this event has been around since 1979 in various formats; it has grown to a 36 hole annual showdown that matches golf’s best against each other and the breathtaking Port Royal Golf Course.

I decided to do a little due diligence for the guys. A pre-tournament walk through so to speak. Well known for their pink beaches and pink shorts Bermuda is much more than what is exported. A very easy flight from the east coast this island paradise seduces you with varying shades of blue ocean water, pink sand beaches, amazing golf and extremely friendly locals.

 This extraordinary island is 22 miles long and 3 miles wide and boasts nine golf courses, the highest concentration per square mile in the world. Two stellar courses I had the opportunity to play were Mid Ocean where the PGA Grand Slam was held in 2007 and Port Royal.

 Mid Ocean Golf Club was designed by Charles Blair MacDonald to fit into the natural terrain. It was originally a par-71 layout, over 600 acres of rolling countryside, 6,519 yards from the back tees. MacDonald won the first US Amateur Golf Championship in 1895 and later designed the National Golf Course in the USA.  In recent years it was ranked 45th by Golf Digest for courses outside the USA. It was revised in 1953 by Robert Trent Jones. US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower,  John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have played here, as well as the Duke of Windsor in 1940, British Prime Ministers Sir Winston Churchill, Harold MacMillan and Edward Heath. Golf professionals Robert Jones, Sam Sneed and many other celebrities also have golfed here including Babe Ruth, who was normally as good with a club as he was with a bat. Playing the 433-yard fifth hole, he once knocked eleven straight balls into Mangrove Lake before finally driving one over the hazard.

Port Royal opened in 1970 as a Robert Trent Jones-designed 18 hole, 6,561 yards par 71 public course. The course re-opened in January 2009 after a $15.9 million renovation, increasing the course yardage by 281 yards to 6,842 yards. More rounds are played here than on any other Bermuda course. The signature hole is the 176-yard, par 3 – 16th hole. The small green which is perched on the edge of the coastal cliffs has become notorious. Drive too far left and the ball ends up in the ocean. It was here I received a full dose of Bermudian hospitality with a lesson as to the best way to play the 16th hole by Kim Swan, former European Touring Pro and now an elected Member of Parliament. When we arrived at the 16th hole I asked Kim if he was going to take off his blazer jacket. His response was one of the most interesting golf tips I have heard in a while. Kim learned to play from his uncle who used to have Kim practice in a blazer as it prevented him from over swinging and helped with his alignment.

 Swan was a wonderful guide and now a friend that shared a wealth of information about the history of the island, golf and cricket, the latter a Bermudian passion.

Never one to miss an opportunity to savor the local flavor, the well-known cocktails on the island that are a must try include the “Rum Swizzle” and the “Dark and Stormy”. The Rum Swizzle consists of 8 oz Gosling’s Black Seal rum, 6 dashes Angostura bitters, juice of 2 lemons, crushed ice, 5 oz pineapple juice,5 oz orange juice, 2 oz grenadine syrup. The Dark and Stormy consists of Gosling’s dark rum and ginger beer over ice.

While Disney is fabulous and it would be great to have a Superbowl ring I still prefer a Green jacket and a trip to Bermuda.  Charl Schwartzel, pack the green jacket as you will need a blazer and Darren, 16 breaks right to left.