Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pocono Mountains Tourism Partners Thinking Green

Northeastern Pennsylvania Destination Strengthens Efforts to Employ Environmentally Friendly Practices

(POCONO MOUNTAINS, Pennsylvania) – Being increasingly ecologically friendly isn’t just an effort to go with the current flow, but rather a mandate for the many golf courses, resorts and other tourism attractions throughout the Pocono Mountains.

The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau has been instrumental in the growing environmentally friendly efforts of the four-county area and recently spearheaded a series of seminars, presentations and expert advisors to assist tourism entities in the region.

“It’s our duty as responsible stewards of this beautiful area to ensure we’re doing everything in our power to protect the environment and the Pocono Mountains,” says Carl Wilgus, President and CEO of the PMVB. “This area is blessed with lush mountains, vegetation, lakes, streams and wildlife and we need to ensure they live on for generations to come.”

The Country Club at Woodloch Springs – home to an 18-hole championship golf course which is an active Audubon Sanctuary Program member – has been a leader in the eco-friendly movement and continues to look for green alternatives for the maintenance and preservation of its substantial land and business. Some of the green choices made at Woodloch include a buffer zone around the natural stream and wetlands to keep fertilizer from contaminating the water, fountains and biological deterrents employed to control algae levels in the ponds, and the resort also carries a new line of eco-friendly recycled clothing available in the Pro Shop.

The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort has taken great strides to protect the environment. In addition to switching its fleet of golf carts to electric, which saves between 10,000 and 12,000 gallons of gas each year, the resort has moved to automated irrigation during off-peak hours to counter daytime evaporation. Honeybees, which had been practically extinct in the area, were also reintroduced to the grounds that already include many unique birds, eagles and red foxes.

General practices being implemented across the Pocono Mountains include the use of organic products to maintain turfgrass, reducing the number of highly maintained acres by re-introducing natural areas outside the immediate playing corridors and utilizing wildlife to counter invasive pests. One such example is placing bat boxes across the property to keep insect populations in check.

Courses, resorts, B&Bs and other tourism attractions throughout the Pocono Mountains are as diverse as avid travelers are likely to find. Examples include cozy, boutique lodging choices and a mix of modern and classical era golf courses to a brand-new casino and the first destination spa built in the United States in two decades.

Off the golf course, three rivers and countless streams allow for outdoor water activities such as fishing, kayaking and whitewater rafting, while sporting clays, biking, horseback riding, camping and hiking are plentiful. Water parks and dining options abound for those looking to enjoy the Pocono Mountains in these ways.

The close proximity of major metropolitan areas such as New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey, combined with the country’s current economic situation, has resulted in the increased popularity of the Pocono Mountains over recent years. Golfers are electing to remain closer to home rather than incur the rising travel costs and overcrowded fairways at other destinations. Instead of checking extra luggage, boarding planes and waiting in lines, smart golfers are making the short, scenic drive and teeing off on one of the conveniently located Pocono Mountains courses.

For more information on the Pocono Mountains, visit or call 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667). A complete list of golf courses and links to individual Web sites can be found at


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wild Dunes Resort Reopens Redesigned 18th Hole of Links Course

(ISLE OF PALMS, S.C.) - Golfers can once again enjoy one of the Charleston area's most acclaimed par-5 finishing holes at Wild Dunes Resort, with the reopening of the famed oceanfront 18th hole of the award-winning Links Course on June 12 following a redesign led by golf architect Tom Fazio.

The reopening closes the chapter on the beach erosion cycle that temporarily shut down the signature hole that's brought critical acclaim to the Charleston golf resort for three decades. Following a months-long building project to restore the hole, Wild Dunes' Links Course once again offers two stunning finishing holes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

"The 17th and 18th holes of the Links Course are two of the more spectacular finishing holes in the Southeast," said Tom Fazio, the course's original designer. "Playing on the ocean and amongst the dunes is as premier a location as you can get. It was true when the course was designed more than two decades ago, and it's still true today."

Fazio worked with the Resort to determine how to best rebuild the 18th hole after a significant portion of it washed away due to natural causes. The redesign came on the heels of an extensive beach restoration project in May 2008, led by the City of Isle of Palms, which replenished shoreline that had been gradually receding for a decade.

Golfers will enjoy strategically placed bunkers, sweeping ocean views and updated design features that make for slightly more challenging risk/reward shots.

"We're ecstatic about the comeback of the Links Course's signature hole," said Jeff Minton, director of golf and sports at Wild Dunes Resort. "The course was Fazio's first acclaimed solo design, and working with him to update the famed finishing hole was a tremendous opportunity. I think players will be very pleased."

To celebrate, Wild Dunes Resort is offering one of South Carolina's most appealing golf vacation specials. The All Day Unlimited Play package allows guests to play as many rounds as possible - from dawn to dusk - on both the Resort's golf courses, the Links Course and the Harbor Course. This golf package, which includes a two night stay at Wild Dunes' newest accommodation, the Village at Wild Dunes, starts at $190 per person per night based on four guests.

For videos of the revamped 18th hole, as well as information on how to play it, visit


Friday, June 12, 2009

Golf Leaders to Make Case for Inclusion in '16 Olympic Games

Colin Montgomerie, European Captain for The 2010 Ryder Cup and Annika Sorenstam, International Golf Federation (IGF) Global Ambassador, will join representatives of the IGF when golf's final case for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games will be made to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board on Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Sorenstam, who serves as a Global Ambassador in support of the IGF's effort, and Montgomerie will join Tim Finchem, US PGA Tour Commissioner; LPGA of Japan President and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hisako "Chako" Higuchi; IGF Co-Secretary Peter Dawson and IGF Executive Director Ty Votaw, for the presentation. Dawson and Votaw have been coordinating golf's Olympic bid.

"We feel it is very important for the IOC Executive Board to be able to personally hear from two of the game's most highly respected players in Annika and Colin," Votaw said. "We will also be presenting a film featuring 16 of the game's most prominent players including current World Number One ranked Lorena Ochoa and Tiger Woods, as well as IGF Global Ambassador Jack Nicklaus describing the compelling reasons why golf should be reinstated as an Olympic sport after an absence of more than a century."

Golf last was part of the Olympic Games in 1904, when the United States and Canada were the only competing nations.

The IGF also has announced that its Olympic Golf Committee, whose purpose is to oversee and administer all aspects of golf's inclusion on the Olympic Programme, was expanded from its original seven members to 19 organisations. The new member organisations are: The Asian Tour, Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, Canadian Professional Golf Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organisation, The Ladies Professional Golfers Association of Japan, Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association, Korean Professional Golf Association, Ladies European Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour Ltd., PGA Tour of Australasia, The Sunshine Tour and The Tour de las Americas.

These organisations previously served on the IGF Professional Golf Advisory Committee, whose role is to ensure the Olympic Golf Committee's objective and associated activities are consistent with the values of both golf and the Olympic Movement. They join the original IGF Olympic Golf Committee members The R&A, The European Tour, USGA, PGA of America, US PGA Tour, LPGA and the Masters Tournament.

Additionally, the IGF announced that the Guam National Golf Federation and Cambodian Golf Federation have joined the IGF, increasing the total number of members to 121 from 116 countries.

"These developments within the IGF structure are reflective of the continued strong international interest and support for golf becoming an Olympic sport," Dawson said. "As we have noted, never before have all levels of golf around the world been as united towards a single goal as golf becoming an Olympic sport. Additionally, golf's inherent values align very closely with those of the Olympic Movement, including honesty, honour, dignity and sportsmanship."

Golf is one of seven sports being considered for inclusion starting with the 2016 Games. The IOC Executive Committee is expected to recommend two sports in August to the IOC membership to vote on for the 2016 Olympic Programme.

The IOC's final vote will take place in early October at the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark. The host for the 2016 Games will also be determined during this session. The candidate cities are: Chicago, USA; Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo, Japan. Dawson and Votaw previously noted the ease with which golf would fit into any of the four finalists due to existing golf facilities in those cities.

During the upcoming presentation to the IOC Executive Board, the IGF representatives will stress the unprecedented commitment by member organisations to adjust their summer schedules to ensure that no major championship conflicts or competes with the Olympic golf competition, and that the sport's best athletes would be available to participate in the Olympic Games.

The IGF will also review the proposed format of 72-hole individual stroke play for both men and women, reflecting leading players' opinion that this is the fairest and best way to identify a champion, mirroring the format used in golf's major championships. In case of a tie for either first, second or third place, a three-hole play-off is recommended to determine the medal winner(s).

The IGF also is recommending an Olympic field of 60 players for each of the men's and women's competition, utilizing the official world golf rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible for the Olympics, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

Under this proposal, at least 30 countries would be represented in both the men's and women's competitions, from all continents.

In related news, the IGF was voted in as a member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) during Sportaccord held this past March in Denver. Sportaccord, which was launched in 2003 and is owned by the GAISF, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations, is an annual gathering of 1,500 leading representatives from international sport federations from around the world. Dawson and Votaw attended the meetings in March.

Also, the IGF's official Web site ( has been updated to include materials from past presentations as well as promotional videos.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Circling Raven Golf Club Celebrates Father’s Day Year-Round

Resort Course Offers a Free Sleeve of Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls for Dad with Each Paid Round on June 21; However, Season-Long Stay-and-Play Package Makes Every Day Dad’s Day

(Worley, IDAHO) – Circling Raven Golf Club – the acclaimed amenity of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, which is an easy, scenic drive from Spokane Airport – is offering a free sleeve of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls with the course logo on them for Dad with each regular-rate paid round on Father’s Day (June 21).

Most golf clubs would consider offering a free sleeve of expensive golf balls as ample incentive and show of appreciation to fathers. Particularly when this is in addition to the golf club’s regular, value-laden playing rates ($95 Friday – Sunday – Holidays before 2 pm; $75 Friday – Sunday – Holidays after 2 pm).

However, Circling Raven ( is not most golf clubs.

Through September 30, the stay-and-play package rates are Monday-Thursday $199, Friday-Sunday $249. These include golf rounds for two people and double occupancy/shared room (tax not included).

To clarify, this is two rounds of golf (one per person) and one shared room for two people for one night. If broken out by units – that is, purchasing each item individually – the price would be roughly $300 per person. However, with Circling Raven’s package, the cost per person is effectively $100 to $150 depending on time of week. Many Top 100 golf courses charge in excess of $200 for just an individual golf round. (Add-on rounds to the stay-and-play package are also available at a bargain price, which further enhance the available value.)

“We work hard to ensure our guests feel wowed by their experience at Circling Raven and Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel,” said CDA Casino Resort Hotel CEO David Lasarte-Meeks. “This is our ongoing priority, and the stay-and-play rates exemplify this mandate in action.”

Since its first full season (2004), the Coeur d’Alene tribally owned and operated course has exceeded industry norms, including racking up more than 40 best-in-kind awards. These include garnering awards for customer service, “Merchandiser of the Year” acclaim on multiple occasions, and Top 100 U.S. public course distinction from GOLF, Golfweek and Golf Digest magazines (out of more than 13,500 such courses nationally).

Recent honors bestowed upon the Gene Bates-designed Circling Raven include:
* America's Top Golf Courses – Zagat Survey 2009-10 (6th Edition)
* Top 100 U.S. Courses You Can Play 2008-09 – GOLF Magazine
* America’s Greatest Public Courses 2009-2010 – Golf Digest
* Top-40 Casino Courses in the U.S. (No. 4) – Golf Digest
* No. 1 in Idaho, America’s Best Courses You Can Play – Golfweek Magazine 2009
* No. 1 Tribal Golf Course in America - Native American Casino Magazine 2008
* Resort Merchandiser of the Year – PGA of America Northwest Section 2008
* Service Excellence Award by the Coeur d’Alene Area Chapter of the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor

For more information about Circling Raven Golf Club or Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort & Hotel call 1-800-523-2464 or visit


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lyman Orchards Course Re-opens After Capital Enhancements Project

(MIDDLEFIELD, CT) - Lyman Orchards Golf Club - managed by Billy Casper Golf and home to two celebrated 18-hole golf courses - re-opened its storied Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course May 23, after partially closing for six months to undergo more than $2 million in enhancements.

The program - crafted by the Lyman family, BCG and Mark Mungeam of Mungeam Cornish Golf Design - replaced the irrigation system, renovated all existing bunkers, added new bunkers, improved drainage and created even more aesthetically pleasing sight-lines for golfers.

"The Lyman family has always displayed a steadfast commitment to reinvesting in their golf courses to remain competitive in this ever-changing golf environment," says Steve Ciskowski, President and CEO of Lyman Farms, Inc. "We are excited about Mark Mungeam's contributions in helping us restore a classic Robert Trent Jones design to continue to provide premium golfing experiences for all of our members and guests."

"The course looks as impressive as ever and plays to the enjoyment of all handicappers," says Dave Christenson, General Manager of Lyman Orchards. "Golfers will relish the additions, some of which require them to think even more strategically during their rounds."

Another focus was maintaining trees bordering fairways and framing greens to ensure top-drawer turf, exciting playability and amplify course vision. The extensive pruning and underbrush removal was the most recent major work to take place before re-opening.

The scope of work - including installing a multi-row irrigation system with a more efficient pump station to reduce water usage - is a step toward aligning Lyman Orchards with the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary program. Following Audubon-approved steps for an environmentally-friendly golf course protects the wildlife habitat while reducing the use of energy, water, pesticides and fertilizer.

The par-72, 7,011-yard Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course opened in 1969 - celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year - features rolling hills on the front nine and varying doglegs on the back.

Meandering through acres of woodlands, wetlands and grasslands, "The Jones Course" offers four sets of tees on each hole and its more than 50 bunkers provide unique challenges to golfers of all abilities. On the back nine, water comes into play on seven holes, and undulating greens rankle nerves of novices and scratch players alike.

In 1994, PGA Hall of Fame golfer and course designer Gary Player opened Lyman Orchards' second course, a par-71, 6,725-yard gem. "The Player Course" is sprinkled with deciduous trees and classic white pines. The routing takes players through apple orchards and features ample elevation changes throughout. On holes No. 11 and 13 especially, golfers are treated to 360-degree views of southern Connecticut's picturesque landscape.

For more information about Lyman Orchards or to book a tee time:, 860.349.6031.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Golf Inc. Recognizes The Territory’s Tim Johnson as ‘Most Admired Operator’

Premier SW Oklahoma Golf and Residential Community Home to Award-Winning Course

(Southwest Oklahoma) – The Territory, an award-winning golf and residential community near the town of Duncan, today announces General Manager Tim Johnson has been named one of the 20 "Most Admired Course Operators in the Nation" by Golf Inc. Magazine.

Recognized by Golf Inc. for demonstrating an uncanny ability to deliver a quality product with great customer service, Johnson was selected by a panel of panel of industry experts who sifted through the many nominations from club professionals and golf directors across the country. Johnson and his fellow award recipients will be recognized at the magazine's annual fall conference, held this year at La Quinta Resort in California.

Owners Rick and Barbara Braught entrusted Johnson with the keys to their vision – that The Territory be a family-friendly community which their children’s children would one day call home.

”To be chosen by Golf Inc. as a ‘Most Admired Operator’ is an honor and it’s truly humbling to be in the company with such dedicated and decorated professionals,” says Johnson. “We spend each day at The Territory striving to ensure our members and guests are having a wonderful experience. As long as they’re happy, then I’m doing my job.”

As a result of Johnson’s leadership, The Territory has experienced significant growth and become an integral part of the community in less than five years. Johnson’s consistent excellence in a hands-on role with every aspect of the business – from golf operation, golf course maintenance, and food & beverage, to membership and real estate sales, and marketing – has led to many national accolades, including Top 10 “Best New Course” and Top 50 “Residential Course” by Golfweek and one of Oklahoma’s top courses by Golf Digest.

Nestled amid the rolling hills and native grasses which define The Territory’s terrain, the Randy Heckenkemper-designed golf course features five sets of tees, a state-of-the-art training facility and a three-hole short course. Off the golf course, The Territory is flush with luxurious amenities such as the Prairie House – headed by Chef Keith Zinke – and myriad outdoor activities. The Prairie House offers members and guests some of the finest cuisine in the region, while a swimming pool and multi-purpose sport court cater to the children, as well as the young at heart.

For more information on The Territory, call 580.475.0075 or visit


Friday, June 5, 2009

The Landings on Skidaway Island's Deer Creek Course Undergoing Complete Renovation

(SKIDAWAY ISLAND, Ga.) - Representatives of The Landings on Skidaway Island announced that the Deer Creek Course is currently undergoing a complete renovation project that will total $7.7 million when the course reopens October 2009.

Originally designed by Tom Marzolf, of the Fazio Golf Course Designers Group, Deer Creek made its debut in 1991, the last of the six Landings Club courses to open. Marzolf returns to Deer Creek 18 years later to lead the course's 2009 renovation. A past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Marzolf's resume includes recent remodels at Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.; Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.; Firestone Country Club - South Course, Akron, Ohio; Winged Foot Golf Course, Mamaroneck, N.Y.; and Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.; Riviera Country Club, Santa Monica, Ca.

"We are excited that our original architect, Tom Marzolf, has returned to Deer Creek to handle this renovation project," said Alan Gamble, general manager of the Landings Club. "Enhancing our six courses for optimum play and member enjoyment has always been a focus and a priority at The Landings Club and we have invested heavily in the renovation and aggressive maintenance of our facilities."

Changes to the course include a complete recontouring of the fairways to aid drainage and run-off; the planting of shade and drought-tolerant Celebration Bermuda grass on the fairways; reshaping and enlargement the greens, according to USGA specifications, with closely-mown collection areas that will present the golfer a variety of shot options around the green; resprigging the greens with TifEagle and collars with TifDwarf Bermuda; constructing five tee boxes on each hole to permit all levels of golfers to play from 7,236 yards from the championship tees to the front tee yardage of 5,015 yards; establishing junior golfer tee boxes with reduced yardage to encourage younger participants; replacing the irrigation with a state-of-the-art computerized control irrigation system to optimize water resources; and resurfacing cart paths with concrete to replace the course's original asphalt paths.

Another emphasis during the renovation project will be the expansion of the Deer Creek practice range. Marzolf will add two short-game practice areas to allow golfers to work on a wide-range of short-game shots, as well as enlargement of the driving range so more golfers can be accommodated.

"When Deer Creek reopens in October, golfers will experience a completely new course that matches the evolution of the game since the course opened in 1991," said Marzolf. "Golf clubs, golf balls and turf care technology has been improved dramatically and we've redesigned Deer Creek to match the scientific advances in the game. We re-built Deer Creek with improved drainage techniques, new shade tolerant grasses, more tee space, repositioned fairway bunkers, new hole location options on larger, more receptive greens and an improved drainage system."


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rock Manor Named 'Best Public Golf Course' by Delaware Today

(WILMINGTON, DE) - Rock Manor Golf Course - owned by the City of Wilmington and managed by Billy Casper Golf - has been voted "Best Public Golf Course" by Delaware Today readers in the magazine's upcoming July issue.

After a two-year closing for major renovation, the course - established in 1921 and just off Route I-95 - re-opened in April 2008 after being lengthened from 5,779 yards to an 18-hole, 6,403-yard championship design by renowned golf-course architect Lester George. Rock Manor boasts new tee boxes, bunkers and fairways in addition to a state-of-the-art irrigation system for top playing conditions all season.

In partnership with the City, BCG oversaw the facility enhancements and directs all aspects of golf course and property maintenance, staffing and training, clubhouse operations golf instruction, marketing and public relations, special events and financial management.

"Rock Manor has become a favorite among golfers," says James M. Baker, Mayor of the City of Wilmington. "To provide citizens with an award-winning layout and positive, affordable experiences with a game that so many people enjoy makes us proud that we moved forward to preserve this great public asset."

"We're honored to be recognized by this influential local publication," says Peter Hill, Chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf. "This award is testament to the hard work of our staff to provide golfers with superb playing conditions and personable attention each day."

A circa 1921 building was restored to retain the flavor of its original structure, and serves as Rock Manor's clubhouse. A grill room and separate pub provide comfortable dining for golfers and non-golfers. For golf tournaments, weddings and other social engagements, a new outing pavilion makes Rock Manor a premium events destination.

Rock Manor's practice area features a 20,000 square-foot, natural-grass, lighted driving range; a putting green; and chipping area and bunkers. An expansive golf instruction program - led by Clark Gregory, Rock Manor's Director of Instruction - includes a partnership with The First Tee of Delaware for youth education programs promoting character development and life-enhancing values through golf.

For more information about Rock Manor or to schedule a tee time: or 302.295.1400.