Jul 10, 2015

A Couple of Notes From Our Golf Vacation in France

2015 Alstom Open de France                                                                                            Golf Girl Media

When it comes to tourism, France is the world's most popular destination. From Paris to Provence... from the sparkling shores of the French Riviera to the snow-capped slopes of the French Alps... tourists come to France from around the globe for the iconic art and architecture of its cities and the striking natural beauty of the French countryside.

Golf however, is not something travelers often associate with France. Despite its 700 golf courses... 22 of them ranked among the Worlds Top 1000 ... golf tourism in France is not yet a major thing. Spain, Portugal and the UK are far more popular with golf travelers at this point, but as France prepares to host the 2018 Ryder Cup there are myriad efforts underway to highlight the many exciting golf travel possibilities in France. Whether it's attending a professional golf tournament, playing in an amateur golf event or enjoying the pleasures of one of the country's sublime golf resorts, the possibilities are endless... and enchanting.

We're into the second week of our French vacation and enjoying every awesome minute.  The Alstom Open de France which took place during a warm, sunny week at Golf National, was stellar. We're now spending time in the French Alps and looking forward to a twilight round this afternoon at Evian Resort.  Next week we hope to play a few rounds at other courses in the area.  We'll be posting more detailed chronicles in the coming days.  Meanwhile watch for our social media dispatches. A bientot.

Jun 25, 2015

The Travelers Championship - 10 Tips for Savvy Golf Spectators

Here in Connecticut we've got the perfect antidote to your yearly post-US Open hangover; it's called the Travelers Championship and it's an event we nutmeggers look forward to all year.

Our state's biggest sporting event has a colorful history and charitable tradition, with benefits that extend well beyond the yearly week of golf festivities.

Today's opening ceremonies at TPC River Highlands launch a week of activities leading up to Sunday's final round.  The field is fantastic and the forecast is fine, so if you're anywhere in the area this week, a trip to Cromwell is something you'll surely want to try for ...and to make your Travelers Championship experience all the more stellar I've got some tips for you.

Provided by the experts at TPC River Highlands... who've hosted the tournament for thirty years... these pointers will ensure that you get the most out of your spectator experience:

1.  “Watch players warm up. It’s a great way to get close and see how good the pros really are when they are hitting shot after shot exactly how they want to. ” * you'll definitely want to watch swings and short game drills at the impressive practice facility but there's also a practice green next to the club house and leaderboard where players tend to practice earlier in the day. I've observed some interesting drills... and amusing interchanges... there over the years.

2.    “Keep an eye out for property maps and pairings guide as you enter the grounds and make a plan for the players or groups you’d like to see throughout the day. Having a map of the facility will make it easier to jump to different locations.” * Check the large video boards in numerous locations throughout the course to see which pairings are approaching the green... and to keep up with a changing leaderboard.

3.   “The best holes to watch and learn are holes 15-18.  This is a great final stretch to watch the TOUR players handle the pressure and finish off a great round. You will pick up tips on how to play difficult shots and/or use proper course management.”

4.   “Check out the merchandise tent early in the week, specifically Pin Flags – they are the first to sell out. Too many people wait until Saturday and Sunday thinking they’ll restock, but the best selection is found earlier in the week.” * Last year I bought an awesome wide brim visor, I'm pretty sure those are going to be popular this year as well.

5. “The best spots to watch the most amount of golf is behind the 4th green so you can see the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th hole or between the 15th and 16th hole for some awesome action.”  • • MORE TIPS -->

Jun 22, 2015

Jordan Spieth's US Open Win Elicits Amusing Tweets From Female Fans

With yesterday's victory at Chambers Bay, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth became the youngest player ever to win both The Masters and The US Open.

It was a grueling championship, even by US Open standards, but the preternaturally mature Texan was his usual, ultra-polite, perfectly balanced self as he embraced his family, received the trophy and spoke to press.

And while his extraordinary skills on fairways and greens have many fans calling Spieth "the future of American golf", his gracious ways, quiet confidence and family closeness have the newly-minted US Open Champion is being tweeted about as... well... the outdated expression "husband material" comes to mind. 

A barrage of inquiring... and sometimes imploring... tweets began to flow the instant Spieth was declared the winner... and when his beautiful long-time girl friend, Annie Verret wasn't immediately spotted at the awards ceremony, well, lets just say the excitement was palpable.

... and...Jordan Spieth as son-in-law is also an appealing prospect:

Oh my! Well, you can follow Jordan Spieth on Twitter at @JordanSpieth .

Jun 16, 2015

Chambers Bay: A Polarizing US Open Site & A Very Cool Wedding Venue

Groomsmen at a Chambers Bay Wedding - Wallflower Photography

As a US Open Venue, Chambers Bay Golf Course is shaping up to be rather... controversial.

While some PGA Tour players are lamenting its firm, sloping fairways and barely discernible greens, others are praising the coastal track for a links-like purity they feel will encourage creativity and reward resourcefulness.

Indeed, the players are already somewhat polarized, and the split is sure to grow as the competition heats up. One thing they'll all undoubtedly agree on though,.. and this has nothing to do with pin positions or tee box length... is the multi chromatic magnificence of a Chambers Bay sunset.

With views that cross the Puget Sound to the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, it's a setting of such singular beauty that at the end of the day (literally and figuratively) Chambers Bay is likely to charm even those befuddled by its myriad idiosyncrasies.

So just imagine how sublimely romantic a Chamber's Bay wedding would be? Actually, you don't have to imagine. In addition to its status as host to the 2015 US Open, Chambers Bay Golf Course is renowned for its weddings, and Wallflower Photography, a photo studio in nearby Tacoma, features photo galleries from weddings they've shot at Chambers Bay on their website.

Chambers Bay Wedding photos often feature relics of a gravel pit past... and the Lone TreeWallflower Photography

The unembellished natural beauty of the site... along with the massive sculptural relics of the course's history as a gravel mine... provide an interesting and edgy photo backdrop.  The lone tree and the freight train are at once odd and endearing.  Perusing the galleries I clearly get the sense that the couples who chose Chambers Bay were seeking something out-of-the-ordinary, and that's what they got... in a good way.

Of course wedding celebrants don't have to worry about unexpected undulations or oddly placed pot bunkers. Such concerns will belong to the PGA Tour players as they venture out later this week.

This ultra cool photo captures an impromptu sword fight overlooking the links  -  Wallflower Photography

Jun 10, 2015

Vacation Variation - A Coastal Golf Resort With Something For Everyone

Seaview Hotel & Golf Club - 36 holes of championship golf, a world class spa and a wide range of activitie... on the Jersey Shore

A golf resort vacation may seem totally obvious to an avid golfer; we dream of endless golf on pristine courses and fantasize about an immersive golf environment, likely to include quality instruction, state-of-the-art practice facilities and well stocked golf retail spaces... all of this wrapped in a expertly curated blanket of golf history that warms our golf-loving hearts. What's not to love?

Well, to a non-golfer... or even a casual/social golfer... the prospect may not seem so alluring. They may see themselves vacationing at an isolated golf buddy bastion where an overriding emphasis on fairways and greens results in accommodations, amenities and non-golf activities that are somewhat... lacking. A quick perusal of golf resort reviews on TripAdvisor reveals that these concerns may sometimes be justified. "The resort was nice but unless you're there to golf...", "a lovely property for golfers, but quite isolated", "Great golf courses but not too much for the non golfer" such comments were quite common... and included in the call-outs were some of the country's most renowned golf venues.

Now if you're planning your annual golfer's golfy golf trip, this may not concern you, but with summer on the horizon, chances are your travel plans may include some non-golfers... or less avid players who may enjoy a round or two, but who wouldn't dream of an entire vacay built around the game. 

We were discussing this particular vacation conundrum a couple of weeks ago as the LPGA teed it up at Seaview Resort for the 2015 ShopRite LPGA Classic, and it quickly became clear that this particular venue could be the perfect place to please vacationers of all persuasions. The historic Bay Course at Seaview Resort looked sublime throughout the day, especially at sunset, and with the Atlantic City skyline in the background (a mere eight miles away) the resort is clearly not isolated. A bit of research (and my own memories of a brief stop the LPGA tournament several years ago) further confirmed the resort's multi-faceted possibilities. This venerable golden-age golf resort features a full range of non-golf activities to appeal to those not playing golf; with a top notch spa, two pristine pools, hiking trails and a game room... on site... and all the pleasures of Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore just minutes away.

Confident that their non-golf traveling companions will be thoroughly entertained, golfers can fully enjoy the ultimate golf experience: two of the region's top courses, a stellar practice facility and an award winning pro shop. Perhaps best of all, for those who really love the game, Seaview's partnership with Bird Golf Academy allows for a fully customized golf learning and golf improvement experience. Top teaching professionals and unique, individualized classes are what makes Bird Golf so special. At Bird Golf Academy, golf instruction can be tailored to golfers of all levels, again reinforcing the inclusiveness of this vacation experience. 

So, as summer asserts itself... and you find yourself puzzling over how to make a golf resort vacation appealing to the non-golfers in your group... Consider the "something-for-everyone" Seaview Hotel & Golf Resort.

Jun 1, 2015

Just Another #MatchyMonday: The Green-On-Green Golf Fashion Statement

Carlos Pigem, looking great in green at the Bangladesh Open.                                                                 photo via Asian Tour
Oh yes, green-on-green, it's been done on myriad occasions, by some of the world's best golfers. The hyper-chromatic Rickie Fowler has sported several different shades of green over the years... and taken each one to matchy-matchy extremes.

John Daly, one of the worlds most popular golfers has been known to go for the green in spectacular style, sometimes bringing his fabulous fiance along with him.

Ryo Ishikawa and Ai Miyazato, are Japanese so it's not surprising to see them on course in awesome outfits; both have sported green-on-green in ultra-styish ways.

Well this past weekend, at the Asian Tour's Bangladesh Open, we were introduced to Carlos Pigem an ultra-talented, up-and-coming young Spanish golfer. The attractive twenty-five-year-old, ultimately took 4th place at the tournament (his 7th top-10!)  He also took the opportunity to show some serious golf style sense with the most attractive green golf outfit I've seen in quite a while. I'm guessing you'll agree.

Happy #MatchyMonday

May 29, 2015

Score Keeping Made Simple With a DIY Golf Stroke Counter - #DIYFriday

Find beads of all colors at your local craft store... and make a golf stroke counter
It seems like a classic no-brainer: you just count one stroke for every swing you take, right?

Well yes, but as anyone who plays the game knows, there's plenty of room for confusion when it comes to counting on the golf course... and that's exactly why they invented stroke counters.

"If I'm hitting so many times on one hole that I can't keep track of it in my head, I shouldn't be playing this game." 

The mere mention of a stroke counting device often elicits this type of reaction... frequently from the very players who consistently misremember their numerical trajectories.

You know who I'm talking about; they're the ones who somehow tend to forget their much maligned trips to the sand trap, and/or their multiple mis-hits. In the end they've always got the winning number. It's a kind of denial that's so deeply ingrained it's hardly worth arguing about.

This week's #DIYFriday golf project offers a simple way to send a subtle message to those overly ambitious self-scorers.

Why not make them a bead counter and insist they use it? It's a fun and easy project. Plus, you may just find yourself winning a few more holes next time you play.  Here's how to do it.