PuntaCana Dreaming - Memories Are Made At Puntacana Resort

Puntacana Resort & Club: A Stellar Escape, On So Many Levels              © Golf Girl Media

Cathleen Hannigan
In response to our recent spate of unseasonably chill Connecticut weather I've been waxing nostalgic for the sun-saturated DR... and the sublime Puntacana Resort and Club.  

You see, it's been just over a week since I returned from a paradisical Punta Cana getaway and the memories are still so fresh.
Corales Golf Club: A Championship Course in Paradise                                  © Golf Girl Media

In fact, as I was playing a windswept round on our local course a few days ago, my thoughts kept taking me back to the stunning breakers of Corales Golf Course: All of a sudden.... there I'd be... back on the terrace of the VIP lounge, sipping an excellent espresso and watching Web.com Tour pros confront Devil's Elbow ...that is, until a gust of icy wind knocked me back to the reality of New England.

The Web.com Tour's Colombia Championship Winner Ethan Tracy
It was a thrill to attend the 2nd annual Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, and so exciting to watch the Web.com Tour pros tackle the spectacular seaside course.  A Tom Fazio design, Corales is breathtaking... and Devil's Elbow, the beautiful, brutal final three holes, makes for a uniquely exciting finish.

In keeping with the excellence of the venue, The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be transitioning to a PGA tour event starting in March 2018.  At the presser, where the official announcement was made, we learned about the orgins of this magical resort and heard the inspiring story of Frank Ranieri, the visionary Dominican businessman who patiently and responsibly developed Puntacana Resort & Club over many years, taking it from a swatch of beach and dense jungle, to what it is today: a multi-faceted, world class vacation destination encompassing a wide variety of resort and residential communities, all created with sustainable tourism in mind.

La Cana Golf Course: Challenging For Experts, But Playable For Beginners        @ Golf Girl Media

In addition to Corales, the resort is home to La Cana Golf Course; 27 holes with surfside tees and ocean views galor, and very playable, even by mere mortals such as myself, who would, I'm guessing, find the Devils Elbow...  quite Hellish!

The thing is, outstanding golf is only one part of what makes this resort so wonderful.  My stay at the superlative Westin Puntacana Resort & Club was sublime. Ocean view rooms on Playa Blanca beach and an expansive pool complex create the perfect setting for a family getaway...whether or not there's golf in the equation.

The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club: Warm Welcome to a World Class Resort      @ Golf Girl Media

Accomodations also include Four Points by Sheraton Puntacana Village, with it's myriad of shopping and dining venues, plus the fabulously luxurious, five diamond Tortuga Bay, an amazing 30 room boutique hotel designed by the late Oscar de la Renta.

As for dining... and drinking... the choices are endless. From casually elegant sand-in-your-toes beach bars like Playa Blanca ...serving a superlative cherveich... to the 4 star Bamboo, featuring an array of ultra-fresh, eclectic entrees, most of them created with local ingredients. This reflects the commitment to sustainability that is so important to Puntacana Resort, and which I got to experience first hand on a tour of the Ojos Indigenas Ecological Park where  there are environmental projects of all sorts underway under the canopy of a lush green rainforest.

Tropical Fruit For Breakfast: Locally Sourced & Delicious                   @ Golf Girl Media

Just then... I felt an icy rain begin to fall and found myself back in Connecticut on a chilly, gray golf course, whistfully pursuing my Puntacana daydreams.


Golf In Paradise - The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

Cathleen Hannigan
Championship golf in a tropical paradiseWell, that's the simplified discription, but the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship is much more than that. 

I've spent the past few days attending the event and enjoying the marvelous, multifaceted experience that is Puntacana Resort.  It's been both exciting and idyllic, which is a testament to the decades of thoughful planning that have turned a swath of jungle on a Caribbean Island into a world class resort... one with a deep respect for the natural environment and a dedication to sustainability. 

Hosting a professional golf tournament is a major undertaking... a finely tuned symphony of logistics on a massive scale... and this is clearly something Puntacana Resort & Club has mastered. 

As the players get ready to confront the Devil's Elbow - a visually stunning but brutal series of oceanside holes on Corales Golf Course - I'll be spending the last several hours of my time here checking out a few of the many extraordinary sights in the area. Because that's the thing about Punta Cana, there's championship golf, but there's also so much more. It's a true "something for everyone" destination.

I'll be writing about my adventure in much more detail and look forward to sharing the many sights sounds... and flavors of Punta Cana here over the coming days. 


This DIY Golf Gift Is Perfect For Mother's Day... You Can Count On It

Spring is in the air and Mother's Day is looming. 

if you'll be gifting a mom who plays golf, and want to offer her something more than the formulaic brunch and flowers, I've got a suggestion: consider crafting her a personalised beaded stroke counter. It's handmade AND it pays tribute to the sport she loves... two major characteristics of a "thoughtful gift". 

The beauty part is that it's fun and easy to put together. You can make it with anything, from precious crystals to rustic clay beads, and customize it with her favorite colors, 
in accordance with her style. It's sure to please the golfing mom in your life... well... unless she's the type who intentionally overlooks her multiple mis-hits and struggles in the sand trap. In that case she'll hate it.

But assuming that's not the type of golfer you're gifting, this DYI golf stroke counter is just perfect.  Here's how to do it


Cassandra Kirkland, Golf Champion & Cancer Activist, Will Be Much Missed

Like golf itself, there are golf champions who transcend borders and touch a global audience in remarkable ways. Cassandra Kirkland, who died on Sunday after a two year battle with lung cancer, was certainly one of these. 

Condoleances from friends and fans, across the globe have been appearing on social media since the announcment of Cassandra's passing, and are a testiment to her kindness and accessibility which, combined with tremendous talent and drive, allowed her to touch so many, despite a life cut so tragically short. Cassandra was only 32 years old. 

Cassandra was born and raised in France and after four years of college golf at the University of Arizona, joined the LET in 2006. In 2012 Cassandra won the Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club in Hainan, China. 

With the same strength and detirmination she put into golf Cassandra spent the past two years raising awareness and funds for cancer research, and sharing her experience and encouragement with others touched by cancer. 

Cassandra Kirkland will be much missed by many, but there's no doubt her legacy as a champion golfer and cancer activist will continue to inspire golf fans around the world. 


Sergio Garcia Wins The Masters and Fans Everywhere Cry Tears of Joy

Admittedly, there were times when being a Sergio Garcia fan was rough. It was kind of like rooting for a brilliant but mercurial child... one frequently subject to mood swings and sometimes prone to self sabatoge.  Major wins were elusive and the defeats, particularly those where the contest was close, were crushing. 

There were even times when the golfer known as El Nino was written off as a tempestuous also-ran by some "serious" golf scribes. However there were also the unconditionals; those Sergio fans who never lost faith.

Today was the day that patience paid off.  Sergio won The Masters... in spectacular fashion... and there were, if Twitter is to be believed, many tears of joy shed in celebration. 

Yes, I was one of those reaching for the Kleenex as Sergio Garcia was presented with the iconic green jacket. After all, way back in the infancy of YouTube, I predicted Sergio's Masters win... albiet somewhat prematurely... in a grainy mash-up video that I enjoyed revisiting occasionally over the years. 

I'd say it has special meaning today. I'd also say it was worth the wait. 

If you're a Sergio fan you might enjoy some of these posts from the past, just a few of the many I've written over the years on the subject of the superlative Spanish golfer.

Sergio Garcia - More Than the Field Against Him

A Tempestuous Golfer Explained - Sergio Garcia

Much Maligned Mr. Garcia Wins the Players and Praise


Ten Days Of Pimento Cheese: Vol Au Vent, C'est Tres Elegant

So how exactly would one transform The Masters' most iconic sandwich into an elegant hors d'oeuvre? Is it even possible?  Well yes, it absolutely is, and with a bit of research I found hundreds of recipes for a wide array of cocktail snacks.      

My favorite, Bacon Pimento Cheese Puff Pastry Cups from The Blonde Cook , is briliiant in its simplicity. In fact, if you use a store bought pimento cheese (Palmetto Cheese by Pawley's Island Specialty Foods is a good one) it's ultra-easy to make. It's also delicious and extremely impressive looking.  You can even call it Vol au Vent, which... my husband tells me...  is their French name. And that just makes them all the more elegant.


Golf Antiques On The Block - As The Masters Approaches, The Bidding Begins

The month of March is on the wane and Masters week is fast approaching! 

Right on cue, the Spring auction is live at Green Jacket Auctions with an amazing array of golf memorabilia up for grabs. Bidding ends on August 8, ...final round eve. 

Just a few of the fabulous... and curious... items on the block are: an 1850s golf ball mold, a brass "parlor putter", and an authentic green jacket found in a Toronto thrift shop. There's also a wide selection of highly collectible, multi-chromatic Masters Badges... you know, the ones that sometimes festoon the hats of longtime patrons. 

A while back I wrote about Green Jacket Auctions in reference to a whimsical tee marker I missed out on. This time I have my eye on another distinctive item which I will not name (why draw competition to my coveted... item) suffice to say it will be perfect in my garden, and I intend to win it.

I'll definitely be keeping up with the bidding from Augusta, where I'll be spending a few days. I've just got to remember not to let the azaleas distract me. 

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