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Hilton Head Island: Perfect for Pirates, Even Better for Golfers

The old joke goes, the South Carolina Lowcountry has attracted two types of people over the past 300 years: pirates and golfers. This collection of barrier islands and low-lying coastal plains stretching from Myrtle Beach down to Daufuskie Island is one of the country’s most unmistakable landscapes. Its covert coves and shallow waters were perfect for privateers like Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet who preferred to remain hidden when they weren’t raiding coastal communities.

As for golfers, who are more relevant to this missive, the Lowcountry’s scenic atolls attracted dozens of big-name developers over the decades. None were bigger than Charles Fraser, whose company forged The Sea Pines Resort and community from the live oaks and loblolly pines of the island’s south end. With development came golf courses, and with the golf courses came famed architects like Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Rees Jones, Arthur Hills and George Fazio.

George Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes

And while Myrtle Beach may lay claim to inventing the golf package, Hilton Head Island prides itself on offering a wide variety of golf sojourns, ranging from bucket list and buddy trips to family vacations and couples’ getaways. Early summer is the optimal time for planning a fall excursion to “Golf Island,” and here are a few itineraries to get the ball rolling toward the hole.

On-Island Buddies Trip

Focusing specifically on Hilton Head Island, the “On-Island Buddies Trip” features golf at famed Harbour Town Golf Links, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III at The Sea Pines Resort. It also includes the redoubtable Robert Trent Jones and George Fazio courses at Palmetto Dunes, and Rees Jones’ Heritage Golf Collection masterpiece, Oyster Reef. For golf course architecture aficionados, the On-Island Buddies Trip offers an unforgettable experience.

Heron Point by Pete Dye, Sea Pines Resort (Rob Tipton)

On-Island lodging is highlighted by Sea Pines and Palmetto Dunes rental homes and villas, fully appointed with all the amenities of home, including flat-screen TVs, washers and dryers, wireless internet and fully-equipped kitchens. Dining and nightlife options abound, with more than 250 bars and restaurants. The “BarMuda Triangle” just outside the Sea Pines gates is home to five bars, while Main Street Village is a bit lower-key, with shops and restaurants.

Off-Island Buddies Trip

Centered on the charming riverfront town of Bluffton, the Off-Island Buddies Trip starts at Old South Golf Links, a long-time local favorite. Designed by Hilton Head-based architect Clyde Johnston, Old South plays along the Intracoastal Waterway with front and back nine views that are among the best in the region. Holes are hemmed by oak forests and pastures and marked with several tidal marshes.

Old South Golf Links

Next up in the Off-Island course lineup is neighboring Hilton Head National, designed by Gary Player and Bobby Weed. “National,” as the locals refer to it, serves up two decidedly different nines: Weed’s nine presents larger greens with more severe undulations, while Player’s nine offers smaller, flatter putting surfaces. Both facilities offer golf packages with the Hilton Garden Inn, located less than a mile from either venue. This pair makes for the perfect 36-hole combo with minimal time spent in transit.

Old Town Bluffton, situated on the shores of the May River, is the place to grab a warm meal, a cold drink and relax with friends. Over the past decade, it has emerged as one of the South’s most desirable small towns. Old Town has a little bit of everything, from rustic seafood joints and fine dining to coffee shops and galleries.

Golf Couples Getaway

With its array of award-winning restaurants, boutique accommodations and women-friendly courses, HHGI is the perfect getaway for couples who love the game. So, grab your favorite playing partner, clubs and sunscreen, and enjoy this getaway for two.

For lodging, rest and revitalize at the Inn and Club at Harbour Town (ranked as one of the top 10 hotels in the country by U.S. News World Report) or at the charming Old Town Bluffton Inn, a 14-room boutique property in the heart of the action.

Inn & Club at Harbour Town

The recommended golf course docket presents a compelling mix of courses – including Harbour Town and Oyster Reef – with multiple tees rated for women. Dining highlights include the aforementioned Main Street Village, home to award-winning restaurants and several specialty shops.

Family Golf Vacation

A record number of juniors took up the game in 2020 and 2021, and the uptick in youth participation continues to surge in 2022. Golf Island is primed for an extraordinary family trip, with various camps, activities and other programming offered throughout the year for golfers of all ages and skill levels.

Toptracer Range at Palmetto Dunes

Options range from the FUNdamentals Camp at The Sea Pines Resort and late afternoon “family play” nine-hole rates, including a cart throughout the summer at Port Royal Golf and Racquet Club to the new Toptracer Range at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Summer is peak family vacation time, so be sure to check online or call well in advance about availability.

Getting Here

Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) on the island’s north end offers non-stop and one-stop service from multiple hub cities and connections via American Airlines, Delta and United. American offers daily non-stop flights from Charlotte and seasonal service from Dallas / Ft. Worth, Philadelphia and Washington National (DCA).

Delta has daily flights to Atlanta and United provides daily non-stop service to Newark (EWR) and Washington Dulles (IAD). Golfers can also utilize Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), with direct flights from numerous East Coast, Midwest and Texas airports on several major and discount airlines.

For those who prefer to hit the open road, major metro areas in the Carolinas, Georgia and north Florida are under a half-day’s drive, while several Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern cities are seven to nine hours away.

Planning Your Trip

There are dozens of amazing golf destinations across the U.S., but only a select few can accommodate a wide variety of golf trip types. One of America’s original golf hotbeds, Hilton Head Island can wear several golf hats, ranging from a week-long, 36-hole-a-day golf gorge to a quick weekend couples golf getaway.

Golf resorts and standalone courses on and off the island came together over a decade ago to create “Hilton Head Golf Island (HHGI),” which comprises 26 courses across Beaufort, Bluffton and Jasper counties. The idea was simple, yet powerful: create a centralized marketing entity to help golfers plan, book and execute the ultimate golf vacation.

In addition to its website, www.hiltonheadgolfisland.com, HHGI also publishes an annual “Golf Vacation Planner” that can either be downloaded from the site or mailed directly to a residence or P.O. Box. The 2022 edition offers have-clubs-will-travel golfers a series of sample itineraries to help with trip planning and overall inspiration.

The 2022 Vacation Planner covers a variety of golf trip types, including:

Edel Golf SMS Irons

The new SMS (Swing Match System) irons from Edel Golf have three weights allowing precise adjustment of ball flight pattern according to the needs of individual players.

Fast Facts Edel SMS Irons
Forged 1025 carbon steel hollow body
Maraging steel face cup plasma welded to body
Urethane foam filling
Three adjustable rear weight screws—one 8-gram, two 2-gram
Optional 4-, 6- 10-gram weights
Stock shaft: KBS Tour, KBS Tour Lite
Stock grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
Stock lofts: 5-iron 26°, pitching wedge 45°
$250 per club—8 club set $2,000

WYNTK
Edel Golf has introduced an adjustable weight iron, the SMS (Swing Match System) model, which allows the user to customize the positions of the three weights to achieve the flight pattern desired. For instance, as with adjustable drivers, by locating the heaviest weight towards the heel a right to left bias for the right-handed player is created to help straighten the slice shot pattern of the majority of golfers.

Similarly for a right-handed player, placing the heavier weight in the most forward position produces a left to right or fade bias.

Company testing reported the SMS provided increases in both ball speed and distance with added accuracy.

“The majority of golf clubs on the market are static, meaning once you buy them, you have to adjust your swing to the club,” said Chris Koske, Chief Marketing Officer. “When we first started playing with weights in wedges and irons, we saw overwhelming data that showed golfers were getting better results by being able to customize the club to their specific swing. When was the last time you hit a non-adjustable hosel driver? It’s probably been a while. We believe golf clubs should be fit to the golfer, not just how they were swinging the day of the fit, but truly be able to change with you as your game changes.”

TRUE linkswear Drops Limited-Edition OG Feel Camo Collection

If you’re familiar with TRUE linkswear, the walking golf shoe brand based in Tacoma, Wash., you’re likely hip to the company’s OG Feel model. This longtime staple of TRUE’s lineup is the ultimate “feel” shoe, featuring a zero-drop construction, breathable mesh upper, leather saddle and aggressive treads for gripping the ground like a spiked shoe.

For years, TRUE offered the OG Feel in three stalwart designs: Static Black, Everyday Grey and Blue and White. But the brand Ryan and Jason Moore built in the Pacific Northwest is growing exponentially and rolling out several new colorways and color pops across many of its models this year. In June, TRUE dropped its first “Camo Pack” including four new Reflect Camo editions: Black, Charcoal, Cobblestone and Navy.

Retailing at the TRUE website for $155 (www.truelinkswear.com), the OG Feel Reflect Camo Collection models are available in sizes ranging from seven to 15. They weigh a mere 10.3 ounces, making them one of the lightest golf shoes on the market. The extra-wide toe box is also ideal for walkers or golfers who appreciate extra space for their toes to spread out.

TRUE is quick to point out at its website that limited-edition drops are just that – limited. These constrained supply product drops tend to sell fast given the brand’s cult following online and via social media. And with the rise in popularity of not only golf but walking the golf course, all TRUE OG Feel models have been selling quickly, according to Brandon Wallach, TRUE’s longtime VP of Marketing.

And in keeping with bolstering its “OG” lines, TRUE also added three new colorways to its most iconic model, the Original 1.2. #Enjoythewalk golfer can now choose from Classic Black, Nine Iron Grey and Moonbeam in addition to Pure White and White / Black Saddle.

Oceans Golf Club, One of America’s Premier Par 3s, is Renovating Tee Boxes

DAYTONA BEACH, FL. — Oceans Golf Club, a not-for-profit, par 3 that is one of Daytona Beach’s most popular facilities, is undergoing a summer renovation project that will delight golfers.

Every tee box on the 13-hole, Bill Amick design is being overhauled, a four-month project that is another step forward for a property Golf Digest has ranked among the nation’s most “exceptional hybrid courses.”

Oceans Golf Club, which plays 1,142 yards, remains open throughout the effort, which began on May 9. The overhauled tees are scheduled to open in mid-September.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” said Steve Madden, president of the Oceans West Homeowners Association, a group made up of 989 property owners who also own the course. “We had grass growing 36 hours after sprigging and we are ahead of pace right now. We take all levels of golfers and we are happy to do so. We are seeing a lot of younger people playing and that is the future of the game.”

Every tee box has been scraped, laser-leveled and sprigged with platinum paspalum, a sodium tolerant grass that is perfect for a layout located less than a Rory McIlroy drive from the Atlantic Ocean. When possible, existing tee boxes are being expanded and alternate tees built, providing Oceans Golf Club setup options and ensuring they are able to maintain the health of the course’s tees.

Oceans Golf Club, located between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean, is a walking-only layout that delivers an enjoyable experience for newcomers and skilled players alike. Holes range from 36 to 116 yards, so distance isn’t an issue for high handicappers but the greens include plenty of undulation, allowing better golfers to sharpen their short game and experiment with different shots.

The course is owned by the Oceans West Homeowners Association, and it was built 40 years ago with the mission of promoting and growing the game of golf.

Oceans Golf Club is a public course and tee times aren’t required. Players are welcome to drop by the course and they will be welcomed on the tee.

For more information on Daytona Beach Golf and Oceans Golf Club, visit DaytonaBeach.golf.

Ecco Golf Core Mesh Shoes

A sneaker-look with a mesh upper makes the Golf Core Mesh shoes from Ecco great for the high temperatures of summer golf.

Fast Facts
Ecco Golf Core Mesh Shoes
Breathable mesh upper
Inner sock
E-DTS TWIST outsole
FLUIDFORM construction
Two color choices: White/Calendula, Concrete/Sunny Lime
$150 pair

WYNTK
Wearing a pair of golf shoes designed to help keep your feet cool is a must in the high temperatures we have been having and Ecco’s Golf Core Mesh shoes are constructed to do just that.

The lightweight and breathable mesh upper is complimented by the inner sock making a warm weather shoe with modern styling.

In any golf shoe the outsole is critical for support walking and swinging and the E-DTS Twist design of the Golf Core Mesh has traction bars of two different sizes orientated and placed to provide the grip needed.

TRUE linkswear Ambassador Dahmen Records T10 at 2022 U.S. Open

TRUE linkswear (TRUE) professional brand ambassador Joel Dahmen wore TRUE LUX Pros en route to a top 10 finish at the 2022 U.S. Open held at the storied Country Club in Brookline, Mass. By way of his finish, he earned an exemption into next year’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club and $407,220.

The TRUE LUX Pro is designed and engineered to the rigorous quality, aesthetic, and performance demands of the modern professional golfer. Its classically inspired upper is made from premium leather and forged with TRUE’s TOUR-tested spikeless rubber tread for aggressive traction. A new WANDERLUX interior features a snug, padded heel cup and super foam insert that provides all-day comfort.

“I always love when I can trust my equipment and my footwear is a huge part of that,” Dahmen said. “TRUE doesn’t change, whether I’m wearing them to dinner, playing golf with the boys, or leading the U.S. Open. They stay true.”

The 34-year-old Clarkson, Wash. native and standout golfer at the University of Washington signed an exclusive deal with TRUE in 2020 not long after beating cancer and vowing to “do good in the world.” The top 10 finish is his third of the PGA TOUR’s 2021-22 wrap-around season, and Dahmen moves up to 65th in the FedEx Cup rankings after his finish at The Country Club last Sunday. He currently ranks 17th on TOUR in driving accuracy.

“Congratulations to Joel and [his caddie] Geno [Bonnalie] on an amazing U.S. Open performance,” says TRUE President Jason Moore. “They’re having an outstanding year on TOUR, having fun and getting it done in the game’s most comfortable golf shoes.”

Learn more about the TRUE Ambassadors and look for other TRUE Ambassador stories coming soon at www.truelinkswear.com/pages/ambassador.

TRUE crafts naturally comfortable gear ready to perform from the links to the streets. As a collective, we aim to inspire each other to achieve camaraderie, wellness and purpose in the pursuit of par. We’re a group of family and friends dedicated to sharing our passion and excitement for footwear, and the game of golf, with like-minded players. Born amid the rugged golf landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, we use only the finest and responsibly-sourced materials to protect golfers from the elements and help them #enjoythewalk.

In keeping with its global ethos, TRUE’s current footwear portfolio includes five core designs focused on sustainability, performance and comfort with a modern, minimalist aesthetic appealing to professional golfers, dedicated amateurs, avid recreational players and new golfers alike. Several TRUE models, like the recently released All Day Ripstop, are crafted almost entirely from recycled materials. For more information: www.truelinkswear.com; @truelinkswear.

 

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Birmingham: Some of the Best Golf in the State

Birmingham Alabama has a lot of options for golfers, both residents, and visitors. There are nearly 40 public, private and municipal courses within a 20-mile radius of downtown Birmingham, including the infamous Shoal Creek Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus which has hosted a couple of PGA Championships, as well as several courses accessible to the public. Arguably, none are as fine as Ross Bridge and the two championship courses at Oxmoor Valley.

Ross Bridge and Oxmoor Valley are part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the largest golf course construction project ever attempted. The trail was the brainchild of Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama whose “build it and they will come” mentality paid off.

The RTJ Golf Trail consists of 469 holes of championship golf on 26 golf courses at 11 sites across the state of Alabama. Some sites have multiple 18-hole layouts, others offer several 9-hole courses. Some are executive-length courses, some will make the best golfers in the world cringe. Some are affiliated with neighboring hotels, some are stand-alone. But one thing they all have in common is that they were designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr and use the natural topography of the land. Whether you’re playing one of the many championship layouts or a “short course,” all are immaculately maintained!

Over the years I have had the opportunity to play several of the RTJ Trail courses and ultimately my goal is to play them all. Ross Bridge is my favorite and has been for many years. From the back (Black) tees, Ross Bridge plays 8,191 yards and is one of the longest golf courses in the world; thankfully there is more than one set of tees. In fact, there are 5 sets of tees offering several manageable distances: Purple (7,446), Orange (6,783), White (6,200), and Teal (5,312). It was cart path only the day we played so we opted for White, not that perfect weather would have made any difference!

The first two holes can either make your day or have you looking for the beverage cart early in the round. Ross Bridge starts you off with one of my favorite holes. The Par 5, 1st hole plays 511 yards and is handicapped #3 for men and #1 for women. The large pond that comes into play on your layup and approach shots creates somewhat of a double dogleg and makes you choose between carrying your layup shot over the water or laying up short of it. Either way, you’re looking at an uphill/blind approach shot into an elevated green guarded in front by two large, cavernous bunkers.

After your uphill climb from the first green to the second tee box, you’ll be happy to know that the 2nd hole is significantly downhill and, from the White tees, Number 2 plays a mere 322 yards. It’s a dogleg left with trees and sand at the corner of the dogleg that can be carried with a good drive. Most players opt for something less than a driver off the tee and play their shot slightly right of the left-hand fairway bunker. It’s a safe strategy unless you hit it too far and go through the fairway. Success off the tee will leave a short pitch into one of Ross Bridge’s smallest greens guarded on the right by sand and left and long by that pond you dealt with on the first hole. Pars or better on both of these holes will have your day off to a great start.

I found The Ridge Course at Oxmoor Valley to be a lot more of a challenge than Ross Bridge, mainly because all of the greens were extremely elevated. The starter told us that if your range finder tells you to hit a 7-iron, it’s probably a good idea to hit a 6! After my approach shot into the first green came up a little short, I too was a believer!

Oxmoor Valley offers 54 holes of golf with two championship courses (Ridge and Valley) and a Short Course. It’s built on mining land that was once owned by U.S. Steel and the holes are sculpted from the peaks and valleys that make up the Appalachian Mountains. As you play your way around the courses, you’ll encounter over 200 feet of elevation changes, scenic forests, and several creeks that you may or may not know are there.

The Ridge Course features roller coaster-like fairways, lots of tree-lined holes, elevated greens, and over 200 feet of elevation changes. Uneven lies are the norm out here. It’s one of the most photographed courses on the entire RTJ Trail and boasts some of the most thrilling par 5s in the state.  Case in point, the Par 5 3rd hole, which is considered by many to be the course’s signature hole. It’s the second of back-to-back par 5s, and it’s best to put the last hole out of your mind before teeing off! Number 3 plays 506 yards from the White Tees and is handicapped the hardest hole on the outward side. There’s water between the tee and green but it probably won’t come into play until your second shot. Tee off from an elevated tee box and favor the right side of the fairway. Do the same thing with your layup shot but by all means, keep it in the fairway. That will leave an uphill approach shot into a green with an outcropping of rock. Be warned that the green is not as deep as it looks.

Eighteen is an impressive par 5 and is ranked the hardest hole on the golf course. At 543 yards from the White tees, not many players will reach it in two. If they do, they should probably have been playing from the longer tees! Your aiming point is the chimney on the clubhouse. As is often the case on the Ridge course, there are steep drop-offs from the edge of the fairway. Playing your layup shot right of the 150-yard marker will give the best angle into the green which is protected front and right by bunkers.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail offers some incredible Stay & Play packages. The Renaissance Ross Bridge offers golfers the chance to relax in the style and comfort associated with the Renaissance Hotel group. Each room and suite is equipped with elegant furnishings, luxurious bedding, and a private balcony that offers astonishing views of Alabama’s hilly countryside. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, dinner, or something in between, you have several dining venues on the property to choose from including Brock’s, The Clubhouse Restaurant, and JT’s Lounge. Other hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. There is also a full-service spa to help you rejuvenate after tackling those monster links.

For more information on these or any of the other amazing properties along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, visit them online at www.rtjgolf.com.

Gimme the Money—A Golf Fan’s Rant

The LIV Golf Invitational Series (“Golf, But Louder”) paid for by Saudi Arabian oil money may be several things but most obviously it is not about growing golf’s participation around the world nor creating playing opportunities for world class players. That was the rationale pushed hard by those fronting for this competitor to the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

Need convincing?

Look at what the management, i.e., Greg Norman, has done, not said, but done. Norman initially spoke of how the new tour wanted to work with the established professional tours and most emphatically not be a competitor. In reality that is not the case; the LIV Golf Invitational Series is not only a competitor but definitely not cooperating with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

The crux of Norman’s pitch was the new tour would create additional playing opportunities for elite players but at the same time did not acknowledge neither of the established circuits would allow their members to play in competing events. Either Norman and company thought we weren’t listening or were so gullible we wouldn’t see through the hyperbole and is another case of fans around the world being shortchanged.

Justification from those playing LIV Golf are rationalizations, misstatements, and innuendo over what they say are issues with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. It’s not they weren’t making an extremely good return on their golfing talents but that they want more. In itself this isn’t wrong however most adults have figured out when decisions are made solely for the lure of money things almost never work out.

What no one seems to emphasize is the PGA Tour provided the opportunity for the defectors headed by Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Pat Perez, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia a place to play against the best in the world and develop their games. Along the way this group of seven made over $340 million in prize money and that does not include off course revenue from sponsorships and endorsements.

This cannot end happily. The most galling part of this situation is some of the professionals choosing to leave the PGA Tour, indeed favorites of this writer, won’t admit it’s a simple case of “Gimme the money.” They skate around what LIV Golf is about deflecting attention from the human rights record of a misogynistic regime that happens to hold control over a significant portion of the world’s oil not to mention having probable links to terrorists such as those perpetrating the 9/11 massacre.

Seeking other opinions, I talked with a veteran woman player who’s thinking surely reflects many others. “Why can’t these players go after the money? Everyone can try to find a new job that pays better. The Saudis faults and treatment of women are not on the players’ minds just the fact they can play a lot less and earn a lot more. After all its just golf.”

Certainly “it’s just golf” is a point of view but it ignores the reason the Saudi’s are putting up such immense sums with no hope of making a profit hoping to make us forget the truth. Backing Hall Fame member Greg Norman’s 30-year vendetta against the PGA Tour evidentially seemed like a good way to accomplish their “sportswashing,” a practice going back to at least to Germany’s sponsoring the 1936 Olympic Games.

Another long-time amateur player told me, “The money is doing the talking and until those guys realize that reputations are more long-lasting that’s the way it will be.” In other words, it’s their legacy versus life-altering sums of money.

The LIV Golf titles mean nothing. The season is only eight 54-hole events and fields are limited to 48 players with a no-cut format and a mixture of individual and team scoring where everyone gets paid.

A glorified series of exhibitions would best describe it though they can boast some ranked players who have the task of carrying the rest of the mediocre field. Is that something to stir the interest and emotions of golf fans? Not likely.

Prize money is guaranteed and the rumored size of the amounts for signing with the new tour ($200 million for Mickelson!) creates a competition without real competition. Winning or even playing well loses a lot of significance because regardless of score each of the 48 takes home a check.

Golfing skill is being upstaged.

No longer is it how good you are but how quickly you can get your name on the LIV Golf contract.

The future in part will be determined what the major championships decide concerning LIV Golf members eligibility. The USGA allowed them to compete in the U.S. Open if they had already earned a spot but The Masters, PGA Championship and British Open have yet to make public their thinking.

Whatever the future holds the LIV Golf Series’ ill-conceived attempt to carve a spot in professional golf for themselves is to the detriment of the establish PGA Tour and DP World Tour. Fans, local communities, and charities will also be big losers. Right now, most world class golfers compete against each other almost weekly while building a reputation and a legacy of which they can be proud.

Others are taking the approach easy money is more important.

Nashville National Golf Links – New Ownership Is All About Satisfying Customers

I’ve always wondered what would possess someone to own a golf course, after all, they are typically not the money-making machines that they once were. So, what would be the allure to leaving a perfectly good, well-paying career and purchasing a business that is physically and mentally demanding and is often a financial drain? It just doesn’t seem to make sense. Then I met Jonathan Williams.

Jonathan Williams is passionate about two things: golf and helping people. Before becoming the owner and General Manager of Nashville National Golf Links – the old Highland Rim Golf Course – in Joelton, TN just outside of Nashville, Jonathan spent 25 years in the financial services industry, sitting behind a desk, staring at a computer screen. “I had a solid career which afforded me this opportunity,” Jonathan said, “The dream was to one day run my own business; what better way to use resources than to combine the business passion with my golf passion.”

Six years ago, Jonathan and his wife Gloria decided to take the biggest step of their lives and purchase a golf course. It was a good fit because of his passions (golf and helping people). Their dream was (and still is) to create a family-oriented, user-friendly establishment where everyone is welcome to enjoy it.

For starters, there is no specific dress code at Nashville National Golf Links, just wear clothes and shoes. On the course, you’re likely to encounter all types of golfers, old, young, male, female, beginners, and seasoned players. You may also come across the odd fivesome – but not to worry, the ones we saw were hard to catch up to.

One of the first things the Williams did after purchasing the golf course was to make a few upgrades, clean up the fairways and the greens, and then the clubhouse and building facilities. In 2019, a new fleet of gas-powered golf carts was brought in and equipped with Club Car’s proprietary Shark Experience GPS and Bluetooth systems. Future plans include a new heating and air conditioning system in the pavilion building so it can be used year-round as well as adding a larger snack bar.

At most courses, the 9th hole leads back to the clubhouse, and golfers can fuel up with food and drink. Not so at Nashville National, the 10th tee is about a mile from the clubhouse. To better serve his customers, Williams has built a drive-up snack bar at the 4th green. There are 10 holes in this part of the course that a golfer can easily access.   In addition to pre-made sandwiches and hot dogs, there’s a BBQ grill and fresh burgers are usually available, as are all of your favorite beverages.

This amazingly beautiful 18-hole layout is set among natural Tennessee beauty. You’ll encounter limestone bluffs and Sycamore Creek, several times. And unlike many courses, not a single home has been built on the course. Other than the usual golf course pitfalls and hazards Mother Nature throws at you – water, wetlands, trees, etc., you’re not going to encounter a whole lot of manmade trouble, there are a total of three sand traps on the course.

Something that seems to be the norm at Nashville National is the blind tee shot, there are several of them as well as a blind approach shot on number 1. This alone puts a premium on course knowledge; another good reason to get to know Nashville National Golf Links.

A quick look at the scorecard lets you know that the course’s length is not going to overpower you. From the back tees, Nashville National plays 6,107 yards with a course rating of 70.2 and a slope of 123. There are three par 3s on the front, so par out here is 71. Three other sets of tees – Blue (5,573/67/118), White (4,950/64.5/112), and Yellow (4,249/65.5/110) provide suitable yardages so that the course can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels.

The five par 3s are by no means pushovers. Number 3 is a 164-yarder that plays uphill and probably closer to 170 yards. The wetlands between tee and green should not come into play and if you’re unsure of your tee shot there is plenty of room to the right to bail out. The par 3, 5th hole plays 159 yards from the back tees. The tee sits 40 feet above the green and the hole probably plays closer to 145. Woods line the left side so if you hook your tee shot, you can kiss that ball goodbye. Anything right and/or long is in the wetlands. Number 8 is a beast of a par 3 From the back tees, playing 243 yards into an elevated green. There’s not a lot of trouble, you just need to hit it long and straight. Par is a good score here.

Number 11 is a 168-yard par 3 with no trouble around – as long as you hit it straight and not too long; Sycamore Creek runs down the left side and wetlands on the right of the green. The green is a lot longer than it is wide. Number 16 is the signature par 3 on the Nashville National layout. From the back tees, the hole plays 195 yards, downhill, over water, and into the prevailing headwind. Not only is it a challenging hole, but it also looks good too!

The par 5s on the front 9 are 3-shot holes for the majority of golfers. Number 4 plays 553 yards from the back tees. A good drive followed by a good layup will still leave a mid-iron to wedge into the green. Anything right of the green is big trouble. Number 7 is another long par 5 – 542 yards. There’s plenty of room right off the tee, but then you want to favor the left side on your layup, otherwise, you could find the long, overgrown grass area or be blocked out by the large oak tree. Your approach shot plays uphill and longer than your GPS says.

The back nine ends with two par 5s, the short, 503-yard 17th, which is another three-shotter, and the 540-yard 18th. Seventeen is a double dogleg, first right and then back slightly to the left. The fairway has a lot of rolling hills in it and your third shot plays into a small green. Your round ends with a blind tee shot on a slight dogleg left. Your drive needs to favor the right side, anything left is most likely lost in the forest.

Nashville National Golf Links has facilities to warm up every facet of your game before your round or to just get in some good practice. There’s a full-length driving range with six target flags, a large, short game area, as well as chipping and putting areas. There’s also a fully stocked pro shop with all of the necessary golf accessories – gloves, balls, hats, and logoed apparel, as well as a snack bar with beer, burgers, hot dogs, and snack foods.

One thing you can never count on is Mother Nature and golfers know that there is always a chance of rain, thunderstorms, and inclement weather. Nashville National is the only course I know that will offer you a full-value raincheck whether you’re on the first hole or the 18th green. No partial credit, no pro-rating, you’ll get a raincheck for a free round of golf – all 18 holes. Once again, it’s all about giving customers what they deserve.

If you’re tired of those impersonal golf clubs that just want to collect your greens fees and get you out on the course, then pay a visit to Nashville National Golf Links and see for yourself what a friendly and caring staff is all about. It is truly one of the Nashville area’s hidden gems. You can call them at (615) 746-0400 to book your next round or visit them online at www.nashvillenational.golf.

Last Minute Father’s Day Golf Gift Guide 2022

Father’s Day is rapidly approaching and if you are scrambling for gift ideas, look no further. Below is a list our favorite must haves for 2022.

Theragun

If your dad has complained of tightness in his back or sore muscles send Theragun to the rescue. Percussion therapy will ease aches and pains and limber up the body to make nice full golf swings. Theragun overs several models. The Mini is compact enough to fit in every golf bag while the Prime is ideal for home use.

Editor Note: For the last year, our staff has used the Theragun before and during each round. A few minutes massaging the hamstrings and IT bands provides relief for our aging backs.

More Information:
www.therabody.com
Mini – $199 – Shop Amazon
Prime – $299 – Shop Amazon

UpSide – Super XL Pro Magnetic Golf Speaker

If your dad enjoys his tunes on the course then elevate his game with an Upside Golf Speaker or two! The Super XL Pro magnetic speaker easily mounts to the golf cart and will not fall off even over the biggest of bumps. Pair two speakers together for booming stereo sound.

The SUPER XL FEATURES:

  • Thundering 40 WATTS of Sound
  • HIGH Powered Magnet – Sticks Anywhere In Seconds
  • 12 Hours Battery Life
  • Bluetooth Range of 120+ Feet On The Course
  • Dual Stereo Connect (Pair 2 Speakers Simultaneously)
  • Waterproof IPX7 (Up to 3 Feet of Water)

Editor Note: One of my regular playing partners brought a pair of these speakers to an outing. He placed one speaker on each side of the cart and the sound was incredible. The base boomed and the music was crystal clear. Simply put, these speakers rock!

More Information:
www.upsidegolf.com
Super XL Pro – $124.95 – Shop Amazon

Weatherman Golf Umbrella

Die hard golfers will golf in wind, rain or shine. Equip your dad with the best golf umbrella on the planet. The Weatherman® Golf umbrella is the perfect companion on the golf course. Industrial-strength fiberglass prevents breaking and inverting, and vented canopies withstand winds up to 55 mph. The water-repellent fabric keeps you dry, and the UPF 50+ barrier protects you from the sun, making Weatherman the perfect golf umbrella for rain – or shine. A large mesh pocket offers handy storage, and a silicone-coated rib makes for an ideal place to hang your towel so it doesn’t slip off.

The Weatherman Golf Umbrella comes in several colors Green, Navy, White and Black, as well as in the Arnold Palmer, College and Folds of Honor Collections.

The umbrella has withstood 55mph wind tunnel tests. Mark our words, it will be the last umbrella you will need to buy.

Editor Note: Golf Digest has voted this the best golf umbrella five years in a row.

More Information:
www.weathermanumbrella.com/golf
The Golf Umbrella – $84-104 – Shop Amazon

 


 

GOLFFOREVER Swing Trainer

The GOLFFOREVER Swing Trainer is a breakthrough expert-designed asymmetrical bar used by Scheffler and a growing number of pros and amateurs for resistance, strength training and golf-specific stretching. GOLFFOREVER is a comprehensive, smart at-home training system that takes a science-based approach to maximizing golfers’ performance by improving flexibility, core strength, balance and rotational power. The first golf-specific home training program to embrace the approach of home exercise equipment paired with streaming instruction, GOLFFOREVER takes it one step further by customizing each golfer’s exercise routines just for them, based on a proprietary strength and flexibility test users take when starting. The result is a product and program that is safe and highly effective for any golfer.

Editor Note: Now through June 21, use code DADSDAY to get free shipping with purchase of a GOLFFOREVER Swing Trainer – including 30 days of the GOLFFOREVER app for free – PLUS get entered into an exclusive drawing to receive a free signed Masters flag from reigning champion and GOLFFOREVER ambassador, Scottie Scheffler.

**Entries open until 6/21/22 at 11:59 PM EST; good with purchase of a GOLFFOREVERSwing Trainer on Golfforever.com. One winner will be selected at random from eligible participants and notified within 7 days of contest conclusion.

More Information:
www.golfforever.com
The GOLFFOREVER Swing Trainer – $199 – Shop Amazon

Galway Bay Rain Gear

If your father dreams of traveling to play in Ireland, Scotland or at Bandon Dunes, he’s going to want to bring quality rain gear. Galway Bay’s premium rainwear has been named the best for 2019 and 2021 by MyGolfSpy’s panel of reviewers. That’s because it’s awesome – looks, feels and performs great. Your father deserves the best, and this is it.

The All-Weather Short Sleeve Jacket uses the brand’s proprietary Hydro-Flex 32 fabric – golf’s most breathable waterproof technology. It’s strong and durable, without any bulk – just like your Dad back in his heyday. And it blocks the wind, too. The design moves with the body, so he can swing comfortably. And now it’s even more lightweight and stretchy, but with the same level of waterproofness and breathability (15k/15k). And he won’t sweat inside, either. Its collar is high in the back but tapers down to 1.25” towards the front, so it won’t poke him in the chin – a thoughtful detail that elevates his golf experience. It also features waterproof sealed seams and zippers, which he will completely appreciate in a downpour.

Editor Note: Every golfer including your dad has a golf rain jacket. So why this one or why another jacket? Almost every golfer has a big thick bulk jacket. A short sleeve rain jacket is perfect for warmer days. It also is much more freeing to swing without all the bulk. A short sleeve rain jacket will be well received.

More Information:
www.galwaybaygolf.com
All-Weather Short Sleeve Jacket – $199 – Shop Direct

 

Poker Chip Universe

Your pops will be the talk of the club when he hands out a logo golf chip to his playing partners. These chips can be used as ball markers on the green or as poker chips on Men’s Night at the club.

Getting your dad’s moniker, famous saying or business logo on a chip is simply an email away. Contact Mike at mike@logogolfchips.com for pricing and proofs.

Editor Note: Our sister company GolfTrips.com uses these custom poker chips as business cards. Everyone we come into contact is outfitted with several chips. They have also been used during poker nights on our “guys golf trips”.

More Information:
www.pokerchipuniverse.com
Pricing: As low as .35 cents, 100 – $125, 250 with 50 Free – (300 for $250), 500 with 200 Free – (700 for $450), 1,000 – .59¢ ea., 1,500 – .55¢ ea., 2,500 – .49¢ ea.,

GolfLogix Green Book

Make your dad feel like a Tour Pro with a Golf Logix Green Book for his favorite course (or courses).

Each book provides a golf hole views and heat maps of the greens. These guides will help your dad make more putts, attack pins correctly and manage his game around the course.

GolfLogix now offers genuine leather Green Book covers in brown or black to protect the books.

The books and cover will fit perfectly in your dad’s back pocket with dimensions of 4 1/2 inches wide and 7 1/4 inches long.

More Information:
https://store.golflogix.com
Green Books – $30-$40
Green Book Leather Covers – $29.99

Arccos Introduces Gen 2 Link

Just weeks after an updated version of their Smart Sensors hit the market Arccos Golf has introduced the Arccos Link (Gen 2) wearable link that records shot data from the Sensors while playing without a smartphone.

Fast Facts Arccos Link (Gen 2)
Clips to belt or waistband
Weight: 25 grams
Dimensions: 2.25” by 1.25” by 0.75”
10 hours battery life
Micro-USB charging cable
Weather resistant
Android and iPhone compatible
$150

WYNTK:
As did the first version, the Arccos Link (Gen 2) connects to the Arccos Caddie app on a smartphone and records shot data from Smart Sensors (purchased separately) screwed into the butt end of the club grip. The Link should be worn on the target side, either clipped to the belt, waistband, or pocket.

“When we launched Link back in 2020 it gave golfers the freedom to play golf without their phone and still get their powerful data. It was a game-changer and helped us to achieve explosive growth worldwide,” said Sal Syed, Arccos CEO and Co-Founder. “Now, with technical improvements the new Link is even better. More golfers will play the game their way, with or without their phone and be able to harness personal on course data, understand strengths and weakness leading to faster improvement and more fun. “

RADMOR Drops Highly-Anticipated Additions to 2022 Collections

This summer, RADMOR is continuing its two-fold mission of saving planet golf, one all-natural garment at a time while making cotton-forward golf wear cool again.

The golf lifestyle brand crafting golf apparel from meticulously-curated, all-natural materials, has just released several highly-anticipated additions to its sustainably-sourced men’s and women’s golf collections available at www.radmorgolf.com.

The Peruvian Pima cotton Taylor Bobrad Stretch Jersey polo is a staple of the men’s line, and just in time for summer, RADMOR is releasing three new styles: the Plantae Print in Seattle mist, the Tour Collar in snow white and sage, and the Micro-Stripe Jersey in pale pink, sage and blue graphite. Also new for men, the snow-white Colby multi-stripe is the perfect complement to RADMOR’s growing line of band collar jersey polos.

Five-O Shorts

The Five-O Knit Performance pant has emerged as the most comfortable five-pocket product on the market, and RADMOR has added two new colors for summer: glacier and Seattle mist. With warm days calling for lighter options, RADMOR has responded with the highly-anticipated Five-O Knit Performance short. The perfect blend of cotton and elastane, the “Five-Os” provide comfort and performance on and off the course. Rounding out the short lineup are two seasonal additions to the popular Vincent Performance line, sage and pale pink.

RADMOR’s Women’s Capsule has also been expanded for the summer with the introduction of new Lauren, Oliva and Michele-styled tops. The Lauren Bobrad Stretch Jersey Ombre polo is now available in pale pink and skyway blue, and the Lauren Bobrad Stretch Jersey Retro Print polo in cloudy blue and blue graphite. The Olivia Bobrad Stretch Sleeveless Jersey is offered in snow white and blue graphite, and the Retro Pique Michele is featured in pale pink and cloudy blue.

“Golf is played in a wide-variety of climates around the world, and it’s always been our mission to make RADMOR a four-season, lifestyle brand,” says RADMOR co-founder Scott Morrison. “Our spring collection and summer additions feature a diverse mix of tops and bottoms that work on a cool Pacific Northwest morning or sultry South Carolina afternoon.”

RADMOR’s sustainably-sourced golf clothing forgoes virgin polyester in favor of natural cellulose fibers like Peruvian Pima cotton, elastane yarns, and super-soft Tencel to create the most eco-minded golf apparel in the industry. The summer additions showcase a variety of new offerings for men and women in seasonally-focused color palettes celebrating the world’s greatest game.

In addition to its direct-to-consumer sales channel, RADMOR is available at a growing number of golf shops throughout the U.S. and Nordstrom stores nationwide, as well as Golf.com, Huckberry.com, TrendyGolf.com, FairwayStyles.com, Nordstrom.com and Saksfifthavenue.com starting mid-June. RADMOR has a concept shop in Seattle at 607 1st Avenue in Pioneer Square.

In February 2021, Scott Morrison and Bob Conrad launched RADMOR. The college roommates and golf teammates at the University of Washington first discussed changing the face of golf apparel in the mid-90s, and today that vision is finally a reality. After graduating from the “U-Dub,” Conrad played golf professionally and still maintains a plus handicap. Supplying serious fashion “street cred,” Morrison was the man behind three of America’s top denim brands – Paper Denim & Cloth, 3×1 and Earnest Sewn – and is widely considered a thought leader in the design world.

The dynamic duo’s passion for the harmonic convergence of fashion and performance is evident in subtle design treatments such as RADMOR’s MORE/EROM (Extended Range of Motion) underarm pattern prominently featured in golf shirts, layering pieces, and outerwear. Functional-yet-fun details like a signature “ball pocket” can also be found on outerwear, pants and shorts. RADMOR is defined by its commitment to using natural fibers and reducing our impact on the environment while producing the highest quality golf apparel possible.

“RADMOR” is a playful blend of Morrison and Conrad’s last names and represents the brand’s dichotomy. Its secondary logo, “BobRad,” is a whimsical cartoon that aims to bring golf to those who find the sport a bit too stuffy. Meanwhile, RADMOR’s “serious golf side” is reflected in its “Dead Center” ball and cup logo that appears throughout most of its collections and appeals to its green grass partners at high-end clubs and resorts.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

These products are going to make Dad extremely happy on Father’s Day this June 19th

Daphne’s Head Covers
Daphne’s has the most tantalizing array and collection of over 175 head covers for everyone.

Each cover is a work of art.

You might not hit it like Tiger, but your bag can look like his when he was a 21-year-old, slipping on a Green Jacket. It is definitely a conversation piece.

Made out of the highest quality materials, the head cover fits up to a 460 cc driver, and is guaranteed for life.
Join over 300 professional golfers on the PGA and LPGA tour that carry Daphne’s Head covers on their golf bags.

$36.50                  www.daphnesheadcovers.com

 

Become a PGTAA Professional Golf Teacher
Isn’t Dad always telling you how much he loves golf, has the knack for teaching golf, especially kids, and would like to change this life’s direction?

Well, now he can by enrolling in the PGTAA’s Home Study Course.

The Professional Golf Teachers Association of America has been certifying both men and women golf teachers since 1997.

Amongst its many graduate members are the likes of Gary Gilchrist, Mark Immelman and Michael Kletz, all who are very highly regarded, both for their teaching skills and clientele.

PGTAA graduates can also be found at many well-known golf courses, such as Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines and at many universities, such as Columbus State, GA, Waynesburg University, PA and Brevard College, NC to name a few. I am personally involved with the PGTAA.

For more specific details visit www.pgtaa.com $995.00 Home Study Course

Puma’s new Ignite Articulate Golf ShoePUMA Golf introduces its new IGNITE ARTICULATE golf shoe, taking cleated innovation to the next level thanks to an all-new design that features an articulating outsole, midsole and upper that flexes with your foot, delivering the highest level of support.
Built to meet the rigorous performance demands, quality requirements and aesthetic preferences of the world’s best golfers, the IGNITE ARTICULATE combines PUMA’s Tour-validated technologies in a lightweight, extremely comfortable package with a modern athletic silhouette that can handle any swing, from any lie, in any season. $180.00 www.pumagolf.com

 

Club Champion Club Fitters
Golf experience for Father’s Day: The globe’s top club fitter, Club Champion, offers a Tour-level custom fitting experience, and they would love to be a part of any gift lists or round-ups planned for this Father’s Day!
Whether Dad is an avid golfer or a casual player, a gift card to Club Champion can help improve his game this Father’s Day. Don’t miss out on a 15% bonus up to $1,000.00 on Club Champion gift cards — that offer ends 6/19/22. Gift cards can be purchased in stores or online at clubchampion.com.
Club Champion’s unique approach is brand agnostic; they focus on the golfer and not the manufacturer. This tactic allows them to give each customer a unique and informative experience that renders real results on the course. Speaking of results, a Golf Digest study found that eight out of nine Club Champion custom-fit golfers lowered their scores by as much as six strokes per round and added an average of 21 yards off the tee. A custom fitting is the gift that keeps on giving.
Plus, Club Champion works with exclusive golf retailer, The Vault, for unique, limited-release items like custom Fujikura Ventus colorways that Dad will love.
www.clubchampiongolf.com

 

Titleist’s Two New Golf Balls – Tour Speed and Tour Soft
The new Titleist Tour Speed golf ball utilizes innovative technology to produce a multilayer, thermoplastic urethane covered golf ball that delivers category leading performance. This ball is a three-piece ball with a urethane cover and is ideal for players who want a piercing ball flight off the tee with solid spin around the green.

Tour Speed provides exceptional distance in the long game and precise short game scoring control and a soft feel.

The Titleist Tour Speed golf ball is designed for golfers seeking excellent performance exceeded only by Pro V1, Pro V1x and AVX. $39.99 White and Yellow (June 22)

The new Titleist® Tour Soft golf ball is engineered to perform tee-to-green. Featuring a large, fast core for exceptionally soft feel and a new, more efficient aerodynamic package that will help you experience longer distance off the tee.

The Tour soft features a large fast core, 346 Quadrilateral Dipyramid Dimple Design and a Thin 4CE Grafted Cove. $34.99 per dozen
Both Yellow and White are available.
www.titleist.com

 

New Balance Fresh Foam X Defender SL Shoe
Looking for the most comfortable golf shoe? Any Dad appreciates a comfortable shoe. I personally wear these shoes and my feet thank me!
New Balance Golf has added the Spikeless Fresh Foam X Defender SL to its performance footwear collection for 2022. The 12.2 oz. waterproof, spikeless Fresh Foam X Defender SL features a soft, supportive, adaptable Fresh Foam insole.  Fresh Foam is comprised of unique geometric shapes of differing sizes that provide ultra-cushioned, cloud-like feel, while simultaneously stabilizing the perimeter of the foot to keep you planted throughout the golf swing.
The waterproof Defender is built on a Fantom Fit skeletally engineered upper with an exoskeleton TPU outsole.  In tandem, these two technologies offer ultralight support that moves with the natural motion of your foot. The vertical convex geometric shapes on the medial side provide exceptional walking stability and support under the arch of the foot.
Cush+ is a foam compound used for the insole which provides an ultra-soft, cushioned feel. Golfers will notice how comfortable the insole is as soon as they slip their foot into the shoe.
The Fresh Foam X Defender SL has a waterproof microfiber leather/performance mesh upper. The spikeless, smart rubber outsole incorporates pressure mapping colors, highlighting key performance zones.
Colors available are: White, Black/Grey, Navy/Blue, and Grey/Red. As for sizes, New Balance offers 8-12, 13, 14; with widths of D, 2E and 4E.
Not only is there a two-year limited waterproof warranty, there is also a 45-day Comfort warranty.
$129.95 www.newbalance.com

 

Poker Chip Universe
I use these custom logo chips for the PGTAA, PGA Tour players and for my golf writing business cards. Of course, I also use them as ball markers.

The response is always complimentary and golfers are enamored with the chips.

As a holiday special, ask for the FREE 100 chips when speaking to Mike.

Why continue handing out paper business cards when business card chips can be all in 1?

This is now your Business Card for:

Golf Ball Marker for Clients, Tee Gift to Sponsor Golf Tourneys, Event Giveaway, Magnetic Chips for Advertising (only .20 more) and Promo- Redeemable Coupon Chips.

Call or email Mike Blake (mike@logogolfchips.com) and mention my name.
www.pokerchipuniverse.com

The Club at Savannah Harbor – The Best is Getting Better

After 22 years, The Club at Savannah Harbor is getting a much-needed facelift! Savannah Harbor is a stunning 18-hole championship golf course designed by well-known and renowned architect Robert Cupp with tremendous input from legendary PGA TOUR professional “Slammin’ Sammy” Snead. The Club at Savannah Harbor has received numerous accolades over the years including recognition by GOLFWEEK Magazine as one of the “Best Courses You Can Play in Georgia”2020.

The Club at Savannah Harbor is located in beautiful Savannah, GA, and offers a very memorable golf experience. After all, how often do you get to play where the pros play, specifically the PGA TOUR’s Champions Tour, Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf Championship?

The course lies nestled between the banks of the Savannah and Back Rivers of the splendid Georgia Low Country. The serenity of coastal Georgia, with its tidal marshes and abundant wildlife, provides a stunning backdrop for The Club at Savannah Harbor. You’ll also enjoy magnificent views of both Hutchinson Island and Savannah’s Historic District which exudes Southern charm.

Since the Club at Savannah Harbor opened in 1999, the golf course has received a four-star rating from Golf Digest for “Highly Recommended Places to Play.” It is also ranked among the Top 100 Golf Courses in America by Conde Nast Traveler. From the back tees, Savannah Harbor plays 7,288 yards to a par of 72 with a course rating of 74.8 and a slope of 138. The Member Tees seem to be the most popular and play 6,330 yards (70.7/130) but I had a great time playing the Silver Tees, which play 6,048 yards (69.5/125). Ladies will find that the Jade Tees (5,261/71.0/125) can be a lot of fun and still provide some excitement. As always, pick the tees that best suit your game and enjoy yourself.

The course is currently closed and will remain closed until the beginning of September. According to Head Golf Professional, Chris Thompson, when it reopens the shape and length of the course will remain virtually the same. There will be a lot of cleaning up and clearing out in certain areas of the course and it will receive much-needed work on fairways and tee boxes. The irrigation system will be brought up to today’s standards and the greens will be enlarged to their original size and shape and replanted.

Given Sam Snead’s pension for gambling, it’s no surprise that the golf course was designed with a “risk versus reward” philosophy in mind. You’ll encounter several opportunities to shorten various holes but often the risk may outweigh the reward.

I’ve always had a fondness for golf courses that name their holes. Many are named after an interesting attribute of the hole itself, however, the names of most of the holes at Savannah Harbor pay homage to the history of the Savannah area. And there are several memorable ones.

Not only did Sam Snead help design the course, but there’s also a hole named after him as well. Number 10 is a short, 323-yard par 4 named “Slammin’ Sammy.” You’re encouraged to do your best Sam Snead impersonation and hit your tee shot as far as you can – straight. Hit it over the fairway bunkers on the right and you’re in the clear. All that’s left is a short approach shot into an elevated kidney-shaped green. Your only obstacle is the large bunker fronts left. It’s a good birdie hole to start the back nine.

Number 14 is another short hole that is best played with a straight shot off the tee. It’s aptly named “Alligator Alley” because the fairway serves as a crosswalk for gators crossing the course. It plays 284 yards and if you pull either your tee shot or approach shot to the left, you’re probably wet. A good drive will leave a short pitch shot into the green, a safe iron off the tee will leave you in the rolling mounds of the fairway. It’s another hole where par – or better – is a definite possibility.

Number 16 is named “Washington’s Guns” which is about what it takes to reach the green in regulation; from the back tees the hole plays 459 yards, yet it’s the #10 handicap! A good tee shot played just left of the fairway bunker will leave a tong to mid-iron approach into the green which is guarded by a bunker in the front left.  You’ll need to hit an accurate shot into the green because of its crowned, and any misplaced shot can easily roll off. Par here is an excellent score.

Wormsloe was one of the first and most successful plantations in Savannah and lends its name to the finishing hole at Savannah Harbor. At 457 yards from the back tees, there’s a lot of fairway between you and the green. Your tee shot needs to avoid the fairway bunkers on either side that are strategically placed in the landing area. Finding one off the tee will make par that much tougher. Your approach shot is played into another crowned green that is well protected by a large bunker on the right. Anything long is a tough up and down because of the slope of the green.

Savannah Harbor has always had tremendous practice facilities and even with all of the renovations going on, that will not change. There’s a large, dual-ended practice facility with a short game area and a large practice putting green.

If you’re looking for a place to stay during your visit, The Westin Savannah Harbor is located adjacent to the golf course. The hotel has 390 guest rooms, several restaurants, an outdoor pool, and a ton of meeting space as well as extensive meeting space, multiple dining concepts, and an outdoor pool. A complimentary water taxi is available to take you across the river into the historic sections of Savannah, Georgia’s oldest city. There’s a marina onsite that allows boaters to stop off at the resort for dinner or golf.

Once you’ve visited Savannah Harbor and seen everything they have to offer you may even want to consider becoming a member. Membership at Savannah Harbor includes a lot more than access to their incredible – and soon to be restored – 18-hole championship golf course. The Club at Savannah Harbor is managed by Troon, the worldwide leader in golf course management. I have high expectations when I visit a Troon course because of their meticulous attention to detail and I have never been disappointed. Sign up for Troon Rewards and you will earn points for every dollar you spend at a Troon course on greens fees, instruction, and merchandise. You can redeem these rewards at Troon courses and clubs worldwide.

Many of the membership amenities are part of the Westin including The Heavenly Spa, the fitness studio, equipped with Peloton Bikes, access to the Har-Tru tennis courts, swimming pool, and their incredible restaurants.

For more information or to book your next round at The Club at Savannah Harbor, visit them online at www.theclubatsavannahharbor.com.

The Refuge Golf Course in Flowood, MS: An Old Course with a New Look

If you played The Refuge Golf Course in Flowood, MS before 2017, you may not recognize it these days. The Refuge closed in 2017 for an extensive renovation and restoration under the direction of golf course architect Nathan Crace. During that time, a $50-million hotel and conference center was also built where the old clubhouse used to stand.

The Refuge Golf Course was originally designed by Roy Case and opened to rave reviews in 1998. The Club quickly gained acclaim as the “Best Purely Public Golf Course in Mississippi.” GolfLink.com ranked The Refuge as high as the #4 course in the state.

The Refuge is carved out of 200 acres of wetlands. The course is routed through stands of towering pines and centuries-old oaks and for the most, the original wetlands have been preserved. The original layout was nine holes out and nine holes back, like something you’d expect to find on a links-style golf course. Back then, the rap on the course was that it was too short for longer, better players and too tight and awkward for lesser-skilled golfers. Miss the fairway and you literally took your life in your hands, looking for your ball in the snake-infested rough!

Crace, who is from Mississippi, readily accepted the task to update and renovate the course. As part of the renovation, invasive trees were removed, and fairways were widened. Irrigation and drainage systems were also enhanced, and all course bunkers were rebuilt with the Better Billy Bunker system, which provides superior drainage. Many modifications were made to the overall routing including three new holes, the relocation of several water hazards, as well as new and enlarged cart paths. All greens were re-grassed with TifEagle Ultradwarf Bermuda and a new forward “Family” tee box was added.

The latest iteration of The Refuge plays to 7,013 yards from the tips with a course rating of 74,6 and a slope of 137. Most players I spoke with favored Tee II (6,327/71.1/135). There is now a suitable distance for players of every skill level from beginner to professional. Because the terrain in this area is so flat, The Refuge is an easy course to walk.

The Refuge features a nice mix of short risk/reward par 4s as well as longer, more challenging ones. Greens tend to be guarded by nasty little pot bunkers which can be penal with deep faces. Cart paths, bunkers, and wetland areas are meticulously maintained and add to The Refuge’s aesthetic value.

The newly designed Refuge Golf Course has several memorable holes. Number 6 is the first par 5 on the golf course. Trees on either side of the fairway guide you towards the green, which is visible from the tee box. The lone fairway bunker on the left catches its fair share of errant tee shots. Water comes into play about 100 yards from the green on the right and the green is protected by two more bunkers.

The course also features back-to-back par 3s at Numbers 7 and 8 which can make or break a good round. Number 7 is 182 yards and typically plays into the wind, especially in the afternoon. The green is elevated so you’ll need to select a club that will get you to the green. There’s a pot bunker front left and waterway right if you totally mishit it. The green is long and narrow and slopes back to front.

Number 8 plays 173 yards over water with a pot bunker situated just short of the green. The green is extremely large and deeper than it is wide; it can easily be a two-club difference between a front and back pin placement. It’s almost totally surrounded by water; anything right or short is most likely wet.

Number 16 is a short but interesting par 4, that plays 345 yards from Tee II. The lake on the left side creates a dogleg left and the large pine tree on the right side adjacent to Tee IV, forces you to play your tee shot towards the water. Trees line the right side; a good tee shot will leave a short pitch shot onto a green that is guarded with water on the left side.

At 377 yards, Number 18 is a relatively short and easy par 4 – as long as you keep your tee shot in play. Play your tee ball down the left side, that will take the fairway bunkers and water out of play. A good drive will leave a short iron or wedge into an elevated green that falls off to the left and is surrounded by bunkers. Eighteen provides a fitting end to an enjoyable – and memorable – round of golf.

The renovation also included an upgrade of The Refuge’s 15-acre aqua driving range. Every shot longer than a wedge is hit into a large pond with lighted fountains offering measured targets. Concrete was poured and new matted hitting surfaces were installed. Lights behind the range have also been added, allowing golfers to practice after the sun goes down.

The clubhouse was replaced by a golf shop within the new hotel. The new Sheraton hotel features multiple restaurants and bars, a swimming pool, a lazy river, 27,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, a cooking school, and a spa. It is located just minutes from the city’s main airport. Head Golf Professional and General Manager Blake Hatfield’s office is located at the back of the golf shop.

Resort golf courses are, in most cases, more playable than your average daily fee course or private country club. Golfers at resort courses are there to have a good time, not set course records. As Flowood and the capital city of Jackson set their sights on becoming a viable golf destination, the renovation of The Refuge Golf Course is a step in the right direction. And the way Crace rerouted the course, it will be more appealing to golfers looking to just play nine holes. Playing the Refuge no longer requires 4 ½ hours to kill! Rates are quite reasonable too; the top in-season rate is $65.

The Sheraton Flowood Refuge Hotel and Conference Center is one of the hotel chain’s newest properties. The resort-style hotel at The Refuge Golf Course offers everything you need to feel welcome during travel. The rooms are stylish with modern decor, ergonomic workspaces, and golf course views in select accommodations. A variety of restaurants and bars offer savory American cuisine. Start with Rebecca’s and drinks in the lobby and then enjoy one of the best hamburgers in the state. End the evening at the Missy Sippy Roof Top Bar with your favorite adult beverage. Golfers can order from Sandi Trap (aka the 19th hole). Keep up to date on your workouts in the 24-hour fitness center and then unwind in the spa, sprawling outdoor pool, and lazy river. The Conference Center is adjacent to the hotel and offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor function spaces and is an excellent choice for your upcoming event. No matter what the occasion is, you’ll enjoy your stay at the Sheraton Flowood.

  • The Refuge Golf Course is proudly managed by Troon Golf. Troon is by far the best golf course management company in the country. By joining their Troon Rewards program (it’s free to join), you can earn free rounds of golf at Troon facilities around the world as well as discounts on merchandise and greens fees. You’ll also receive access to exclusive events and Callaway promotions.

For more information on the all-new Refuge Golf Course, visit them online at https://refugegolfms.com.