Great Golf Resorts


Golf takes center stage at Sandy Lane (www.sandylane.com) in Barbados. The always-in-demand resort has three courses: the Country Club and the Green Monkey (so named for the indigenous green monkey that can be spotted outside the resort), and the original Old Nine. Hotel guests only play at the prestigious 18-hole Green Monkey, whose exposed rock formations create a dramatic contrast to its lush fairways and greens. The 18-hole Country Club course, meanwhile, has a “forgiving” design and presentation. Note: This course is undergoing a rehaul as it is prepared as the venue for the 2006 Barbados World Cup of Golf December 4-10. Its style for the PGA event will be adjusted from “Soft Resort” to “Challenging Championship” status; it will then maintain “Challenging Resort” status forever onward. On the Old Nine, meanwhile, the greens are small and fairways tight, providing distinctive challenges.

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Sandy Lane’s Green Monkey Course is the exclusive place of play for resort guests.

Contact Elvis Medford (emedford@sandylane.com; 246-444-2503), golf player services manager, for access to the courses; guests’ clubs are stored at the expansive Country Club, which is a destination unto itself. We especially liked the generously sized bar that overlooks the greens and the Caribbean. Golf pros Lionel Sandiford and Franklyn Stevenson are patient and artful in their instruction; they’ll make your clients feel as if they’re ready to play in the PGA after just a few lessons.

All of Sandy Lane’s accommodations are convenient to the courses; at 867 square feet, Luxury Ocean Rooms gracefully hold two adults, or two adults and one child. Large families should opt for the Luxury Dolphin Suites or a Penthouse.

For the best views of the sunset select a room in the Turtle, Seahorse and Dolphin blocks. All guest rooms have bathrooms with double sinks; Jacuzzi tubs are provided in the Orchid Wing. For the ultra-posh, the Villa At Sandy Lane has five bedrooms, butler service, a dedicated housekeeper and a private chef.

Michelle Babb (mbabb@sandylane.com; 246-444-2075), reservations and sales manager, is the go-to person for VIP requests, as is Alpha Jackman (ajackman@sandylane.com, 246-444- 2005), director of guest services.

Private jets and commercial planes land at Grantley Adams International Airport. Insider secret: Sandy Lane provides complimentary luxury Mercedes and BMW round-trip transfers.

The 47,000-square-foot ESPA at Sandy Lane is a destination unto itself; some of its treatment rooms have their own private garden or plunge pool. Spa Director Sharon Codner (scodner@sandylane.com; 246-444-2087) can recommend treatments, including the signature Purva Karma Synchronized Massage or, the most-popular, the Sandy Lane Full Body Massage.

Head Concierge Joanna Augustin (jaugustin@sandylane.com; 246-444-2059) arranges private deep-sea fishing charters and catamaran cruises, horseback riding, parasailing and helicopter adventure tours. For Christmas and other holiday periods be sure to book Sandy Lane six to 12 months out.

The PGA Tour Mastercard Championship has been played at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (www.fourseasons.com) for the past 10 years, and the resort will again host the event in 2007 and 2008; the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature course has long been a draw for serious golfers. Aside from the splendid greens, players love its nine-acre driving range and instruction programs, which include private lessons, free clinics and video golf how-tos. Guests can confer with Golf Pro Brendan Moynahan on their specific needs. Note: This is a private resort course, meaning only guests or Hualalai Resort homeowners can play here.

Those who want to eat, sleep and dream golf can request a “Golf Ocean View Room” overlooking the 18th green. Most oft-requested accommodations are those rooms and suites on the lower level for their outdoor showers. Note: All room interiors were redone last year, and all have ocean views. Best views are oceanfront, of course, but to be closest to the water, request Bungalows one or nine.

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Four Seasons’ Deluxe One-bedroom Suite occupies an entire side of a single-story bungalow, for exclusive privacy.

Contact Travel Agent Liaison Aulani Kealoha (aulani.kealoha@fourseasons.com) ahead of time if you are sending a VIP. Kathleen Horrigan (808-325-8004) is the general manager of the resort, which at times should be booked up to a year in advance.
The spa has 16 treatment rooms, eight of which are outdoor thatched structures. Travel agents can book a treatment ahead of time via the concierge, Tracie Kahikina (tracie.kahikina@four seasons.com), or Spa Director Thad Calciolari (tcalciolari@hualalairesort.com; 808-325-8454).

Michael Jordan annually hosts his Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament at the One&Only Ocean Club (www.oneandonlyresorts.com) on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and we’re thinking one reason could be that its 18-hole course has panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nassau Harbor. Note: The golf course attracts every caliber of golfer, even the most experienced. Guests only play at this resort, which Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford chose as the venue for their wedding. All accommodations are convenient to the course; the most popular in general, however, are the newer luxury beachfront rooms in the Crescent Building because of their proximity to the beach. Be sure to book rooms four to six months out from November through May. Note: All rooms at One&Only have 24-hour butler service, while three- and four-bedroom villas have private butlers.

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The master bedroom of a villa at One&Only Ocean Club overlooks the placid, crystal waterfront.

Clay Saunders (clay.saunders@oneandonly oceanclub.com; 242-363-2501, ext. 64869) is the director of VIP services at the resort, while the head concierge is Prescolo Davis (prescola.davis@oneandonlyoceanclub.com; 242-363-2501, ext. 64737), who can book a trip to one of the Bahamas’ outer islands. The Spa has eight treatment villas; contact Missy Dowell (missy.dowell@oneandonlyoceanclub.com; 242-363-2501, ext. 64546) to book a treatment. Hint: A reservation at the Ocean Club’s restaurant, Dune by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is a true commodity, so be sure to reserve at least 30 days out for your VIP.

General Manager Andre Boersma (andre.boersma@oneandonlyoceanclub.com; 242-363-2501, ext. 648502) encourages contact with luxury travel advisors sending a client.

Back in the States, look no further than Pebble Beach (www.pebblebeach.com) in California for your golfing client, where four courses mesmerize every level of player. Pebble Beach Golf Links is the site of AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Ranked the “No. 1 Public Course in America” by Golf Digest in 2005, the course hugs the rugged Pacific coastline, providing wide-open vistas, cliffside fairways and sloping greens.

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Pebble Beach (above) is known for its challenging courses and its awe-inspiring oceanside locale bordered by pristine forest.


Meanwhile, the Links at Spanish Bay is designed to recall the rugged terrain of Scotland while the Spyglass Hill Golf Course is consistently ranked as one of the best as well as toughest courses from the Championship tees—boasting a course rating of 75.3 and a slope rating of 148. Note: The PGA Tour consistently lists Spyglass Hill holes 6, 8 and 16 among the toughest on the tour. The Del Monte Golf Course is an inland course with narrow, tree-lined fairways and small, well-protected greens, and continues to serve as one of three courses on which the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational is played.

Pebble Beach’s two senior caddies are Casey Boyns and “Rocket” (they can be requested for any of the four courses). Laird Small (831-622-8650) is the director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy.

Three hotels are part of the Pebble Beach Company: The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero. The Lodge and the Inn are located on the ocean, but the 24-room Casa Palmero has a villa feel with a private pool, living area and private concierge service. Check out the Casa Palmero Suite; it doesn’t offer an ocean view but it does provide total privacy. (General Manager is Lisa Bird, birdl@pebblebeach.com, 831-649-6611.) The Inn at Spanish Bay is larger, offers many activities and has a “younger feel.” Rooms in the G or H Wing, room 1546 or the Presidential Suite, have views of the ocean. General Manager is Rod Schinnerer (schinnererr@peb blebeach.com; 831-649-7474). At the Lodge at Pebble Beach, request room #197 or Sloat Building Suites Number 100 and 104 for die-hard golf fans, as they have views of Carmel Bay and the famed 18th green on Pebble Beach Golf Links. General Manager is Janine Chicourrat (chicourratj@pebblebeach.com; 831-649-6651).

Sunday Spencer (spencers@pebblebeach.com; 831-648-7861), the national sales manager of leisure sales for the Pebble Beach Company, can assist with key bookings.  

Advisor Insight:

Greg DeClemente of Courtyard Travel is an avid and experienced golfer. Here, he divulges his thoughts on the great golf courses throughout the U.S.: “If I were putting together a wish list of golf courses to play in the U.S., I’d start in the Northwest and play the three incredible courses located on the southern coast of Oregon: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes and Bandon Trails. Each provides a different golfing challenge and all offer breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Ocean.    


On the East Coast I’d do a Florida swing and start at the Stadium course at the TPC in Jacksonville. It was the first TPC course developed and is still one of the most challenging target golf courses in the U.S. I’d also tee it up in the Orlando area and play the New Old Course at Grand Cypress and then venture 45 minutes northeast and play Black Bear, a P.B. Dye gem with Masters-type undulating greens.

The Phoenix area has more golf courses per capita than any place in the state so it’s difficult to pick just a few. I’d want to make sure I played Grayhawk (both the Raptor and Talon), The Raven (a Tom Lehman-designed track that opened in 2004), Troon North (both Monument and Pinnacle) and the TPC Scottsdale Stadium and Desert courses.


TIP: Booking a golf vacation in the U.S. is much harder than booking a golf vacation overseas. That’s because golfers tend to book most of the arrangements themselves when playing in the U.S. For an overseas golf vacation, your best bet is to use one the many quality golf tour operators who will make arrangements for your clients, including securing tee times at the most popular places.”