Golf Travel News July 10, 2021
Golf Travel News for July 10, 2021 includes stories from French Lick, Crystal Mountain, Myrtle Beach, Champion Hills, Pueblo Bonito, and Abu Dhabi.
French Lick Resort Announces Largest Purse, Winners Share In Symetra Tour History
TOURNAMENT TO BE CONTESTED ON THE PETE DYE COURSE OVER FOUR DAYS STARTING IN 2022
FRENCH LICK, Ind. – The Symetra Tour and French Lick Resort announced a historic three-year contract today with the creation of the French Lick Resort Stroke Play Championship. A 72-hole event contested on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort starting in 2022, it will feature a prize pool of $335,000 and $50,250 winner’s check, the largest purse and champion’s share in the Symetra Tour’s 41-year history.
The previous record-setting purse ($300,000) on the “Road to the LPGA” was offered by the 2019 Zimmer Biomet Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez at Grand National on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Betsie Valley golf course renovations begin
Play will continue throughout construction
THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (June 29, 2021) – Construction has started on the front nine of Betsie Valley, one of Crystal Mountain’s two golf courses. The improvements designed by renowned golf course architect A. John Harvey Golf Course Design, LLC, will improve the player experience on the course.
Holes four and five, the tee complex for eight, the approach to the eighth green and the ninth tee complex have been redesigned. Construction will be completed by the end of July; then golf course Superintendent Jason Farah and his team take over to work on the grow-in process.
Play will continue throughout construction, though there will be some modifications. Temporary tees will be set up on holes eight and nine, a temporary green will be used on eight and a temporary cart path will be created along the wood line from eight to nine. This will allow crews from Great Lakes Golf Construction to work safely over the next few weeks, while allowing golfers to continue play.
The project coincides with a three-year forestry management plan aimed at keeping the forests healthy and mitigate risk from wildfires.
Betsie Valley Renovations: At-a-Glance
Redesign of holes No. 4 and No. 5: The renovation of these holes include extensive waste bunkering accented with fescue grasses and Kentucky bluegrass throughout.
Renovation the tee complex on No. 8: Construction on the tee complex on the eighth hole will create five new tee boxes, as well as restoration of a small area behind the green on the seventh hole.
Revamping the approach on No. 8 green to the No. 9 tees: As golfers hit their second shots on No. 8, they’ll have a wider landing zone thanks to a shift of the fairway to the right side of the green. This allows for a wider approach to the green, making the hole more playable.
New No. 9 tee complex: Redirecting the cart path will create a flowing turf grass transition into the new ninth tee complex. The tees will have some elevation from the back to front, and include four new tee boxes.
Champion Hills Offers Enhanced Vertical Membership
Full Benefits, Privileges Extended to Immediate Family at No Additional Cost
(HENDERSONVILLE, N.C.) – Champion Hills, Western North Carolina’s premier golf community, offers an enhanced Vertical Membership, extending the full benefits and privileges of its full range of golf and social memberships to immediate family at no extra cost.
New for 2021, the enhanced Vertical Membership includes Champion Hills’ new Equity 55 Golf in addition to its Full and Social Equity offerings. Equity 55 is a full golf membership for those age 55 and under. The initiation fee is divided into four equal payments over four years, dues and replacement reserve fund contributions are reduced by 50% and the club’s $800 annual food and beverage minimum is prorated for new members.
“We see so many families coming together here across two and three generations,” says Champion Hills Director of Membership and Marketing Heather Myers. “Whether they are on the golf course, at the pool or out to dinner, we love that Champion Hills is their ‘happy place.’”
During the summer and fall – peak seasons for visits from kids and grandkids – Champion Hills’ enhanced Vertical Membership provides unparalleled simplicity for members and their families. No guest fees are required to enjoy its renowned Tom Fazio-designed golf course, and food and beverage are seamlessly charged to members’ accounts so everyone can relax and enjoy their family time.
In addition to fostering a family atmosphere, Champion Hills’ central location in Hendersonville, N.C. is ideal for visits with family. A charming “Main Street” town, Hendersonville is under three hours from Charlotte and Atlanta and a day’s drive from Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. It’s also a convenient stopover point for families traveling to Florida from the Midwest and Northeast.
Golf Tourism Solutions Launches Myrtle Beach Golf TV, An OTT Streaming Channel Available Via Roku, Amazon Firestick
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Golf Tourism Solutions, the agency responsible for marketing Myrtle Beach as a golf destination, has launched Myrtle Beach Golf TV, an over-the-top streaming channel available on Roku and Amazon’s Firestick.
The free channel provides viewers a comprehensive look at the Myrtle Beach golf scene, featuring course profiles, episodes of the Charlie Rymer Golf Show, Paige Spiranac enjoying the best the area has to offer, and much more. Myrtle Beach Golf TV is available on America’s most popular streaming devices and the diversity of the content is at the heart of the channel’s appeal.
To subscribe, search Myrtle Beach Golf TV on either a Roku or Amazon Firestick.
The channel is also home to the Golf Instruction Zone, which features tips from some of the game’s best teachers, including Allen Terrell, who helps coach Dustin Johnson, and Ted Frick, owner of Classic Swing Golf School.
The Charlie Rymer Golf Show will have its own special section with episodes being uploaded weekly. The Charlie Rymer Golf Show, which debuted in April on CBS Sports Network, has featured guests such Johnson, Sir Nick Faldo and John Daly, among many others. The show’s first three episodes are already available on the channels.
Los Cabos, Mexico (July 7, 2021) — Designed for a foursome of golf buddies who want an extra-special place to celebrate their love of the game, the ‘Guys Golf Getaway’ package at Pueblo Bonito Resorts delivers the goods, on and off the course.
The centerpiece of the four-night program is unlimited golf at Quivira Golf Club, the spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature course carved into a stunning Land’s End site at the place where the Sea of Cortes meets the Pacific Ocean. Created as an exclusive amenity for guests of Pueblo Bonito Resorts and Quivira residents, this bold risk-reward layout, marked by sheer granite cliffs, massive windswept dunes and rolling desert foothills, features panoramic views and dizzying drops from tee to fairway. In a dazzling destination renowned for its ocean-desert-mountain ecosystem, Quivira offers more oceanfront exposure than any other course in Los Cabos. The club recently received a Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award in the ‘Best Golf Resorts in Mexico & Central America’ category for the sixth consecutive year.
In addition to the deluxe accommodations at Pacifica, the ‘Guys Golf Getaway’ package at Pacifica features 24-hour butler service. These butlers are true “artists of service” who can create customized experiences and adventures, including a guided nightlife tour of Cabo San Lucas, a renowned party capital.
Designed as an ultimate buddies’ golf trip to one of the most dazzling destinations in the hemisphere, the ‘Guys Golf Getaway’ package features:
- Airport pick-up and transfer to resort
- Four nights in an ocean-view room at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica or Montecristo Estates
- Unlimited golf at world-class Quivira Golf Club, including complimentary access to all on-course food and beverage
- Golf clinic with Quivira’s director of instruction
- All-inclusive food and beverage
- Upgraded dinner options at Quivira Steakhouse or LaFrida
- QuiroGolf massage to improve flexibility (one per person per package)
- Additional Armonia Spa services at a 25% discount
- Tequila & mezcal tasting and mixology primer with spirits sommelier
- Guided tour of The Market at Quivira food hall plus artisanal beer sampling at The After at Quivira sports bar
- ‘Hook ‘n Cook’ surf-casting and ceviche beach experience
- Final night sunset cocktail and casual beach dinner with fire pit
The ‘Guys Golf Getaway’ 4-night package price starts at $3520 US per person at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, based on double occupancy. For an ultra-luxe getaway, a Montecristo Estates villa is priced at $3950 US per person, quad occupancy. Package dates are effective starting September 1, 2021 until May 30, 2022.
For additional information or to make reservations, please visit https://www.pueblobonito.com or call 1-800-990-8250.
Fry/Straka to unveil opening nine at Yas Acres, in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The first nine holes at Yas Acres, the latest original work from Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, will open here in September, the opening course in what stands to be a decade-long smorgasbord of Middle Eastern golf course development.
A sister property to the renowned Yas Links, Yas Acres was developed by Aldar Properties as yet another entertainment attraction on this man-made island in the Persian Gulf. The clubhouse will also open this Fall, according Fry/Straka partner Dana Fry. The second nine is planned but construction has not yet begun.
“I have not set foot on the Yas Acres site since March of 2020, due to Covid, but this is why we, as a firm, insist on creating the most detailed construction and grading documents in the business,” Fry says. “We prefer to be on site, of course. However, a skilled contractor can look at our plans and effectively build a golf course to specifications. Additionally, we had talented shapers on-site who would use live video to walk us though construction progress. That’s the whole point of construction documents and having a strong on-site team in place — something that can get lost if too much emphasis is placed on freelancing. I’m hoping to travel to Abu Dhabi in time for the opening this Fall.”
Yas Island had been a naturally formed peninsula, until the UAE government separated the sandy expanse from the mainland — by constructing a man-made, salt-water channel. It was planned as an “entertainment” island, and so it has become. Today it’s home to a dozen hotels and beach resorts, Ferrari World, a Warner Brothers Studio theme park, Yas Waterworld, Sea World (opening 2022) and Yas Links, opened in 2010 and ranked by Golf Digest #48 among its Top 100 Courses in the World.
“Yas Links is clearly the best golf course in the Middle East. We’re confident that Yas Acres, when completed, will represent a truly worthy companion track,” Fry says. “The entire island is pure sand, and that is catnip to any architect. First thing we did at Yas Acres was build a man-made ridge that runs right through the property that reaches heights of 30 feet. But before that, the entire site, which is 156 acres, was filled about 5 feet — to make sure all the turf and vegetation would not be affected by groundwater levels, which fluctuate because of the proximity to the sea.
“All the holes interact directly with this ridge, via tee boxes, fairways or green sites. That sort of elevation also allows for lots of running water and streams. Naturally, our design called for a substantial desert vegetation of the entire course, but especially the ridge. Without that, it’s difficult to make a landform that big look natural.”
Fry and partner Jason Straka are some of the boldest and most innovative practitioners of what they call “The Big Dirt” — namely, the creation of man-made landforms that give strategic drama and aesthetics to otherwise flat properties. Examples include Calusa Pines, the 1999 Naples, Florida design ranked #98 on GOLF Magazine’s U.S. Top 100, and The Union League National Golf Club, a 27-hole project now nearing completion in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey.
“I used to work for Tom Fazio, during the 1980s, and I’ve always believe that his longtime associate, Andy Banfield, was the best Big Dirt-moving guy — but now I believe we can do it just as well,” Fry says. “Using Big Dirt to make great golf holes is only half the battle. The other half is tying the Big Dirt into the surrounding landscape to make it look like it’s always been there. That’s a grading exercise and a vegetative exercise. And when it comes to revegetation, I’ll take Jason Straka over anyone.
“Yas Links is an excellent golf course but it does not feature the elevation we have at Yas Acres. The other factor that makes Yas Acres so special is the size of our property. We had 156 acres to work with there — for just the first 9 holes alone! Merion Golf Club has 18 holes on 108 acres, just to put that in perspective. So we have incredibly wide corridors of pure sand. We’ve been able to create some really compelling contours and hole environments because of the unique space we have.”
Yas Links is the first Middle Eastern commission from Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, which also has projects underway in Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and several states across the U.S. Before the Chinese government effectively banned all new course construction, in 2014, Fry/Straka designed and built seven highly regarded projects there, including Qizhong Garden GC in Shanghai, host of an LPGA Tour stop from 2016-19.
More than 20 different golf projects have taken shape in the United Arab Emirates since 1995, but much of the golf industry is firmly fixated these days on the Kingdom next door. Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” initiative calls for the development of multiple “resort cities”, in strategic areas of the country, all of which include golf course components.
“I attended the Saudi Golf Summit in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit,” Fry says. “It’s not yet clear exactly how many golf course are being proposed, and how many will be built. It’s going to be a very interesting few years, watching the process take shape. The UAE population is 90 percent expatriates. The market for golf and other entertainments is already there. Next door, everything is still to be built and much of that resort clientele will arrive from outside the Kingdom. How much gets built? Nobody knows just yet.”