Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sweetgrass Golf Club Highlights Michigan's 2008 Season

The 2008 golf season was highlighted by the introduction of Michigan’s most-anticipated golf course – Sweetgrass Golf Club at the Island Resort & Casino.

Set amongst the pristine landscape of the Upper Peninsula, Sweetgrass is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, a band of the Potawatomi Nation. The wind-swept fairways are lined with flowing fescues and the namesake herb sweetgrass – an aromatic, sacred plant used in Indian peace and healing rituals can be found throughout the property.

The Paul Albanese design stretches to 7,300 yards from the tips and challenges the top golfers from the back tees, while four forward tee boxes are in place to accommodate any level of golfer. Albanese drew inspiration from the tribe's heritage and incorporated it into the championship course’s design. From bunkers named after tribal elders to areas reminiscent of long-forgotten fortress ruins, Sweetgrass offers legend and inspiration on every hole.

Known as the Keepers of the Fire, the Tribe also honors legend by featuring a fire pit next to the 10th tee box. An island green – which jibed with the resort's name and fit within the parameters of the land's dictated design – also meshes with Potawatomi legend, which holds the turtle and its wisdom in high esteem. The challenging par-3 island green is surrounded by a bed of rock outcroppings and resembles the renowned creature.

In addition, a pair of majestic waterfalls split the fairways of the ninth and 18th holes, bringing the round of golf to a breathtaking close and providing ample fodder for discussion, whether stopping at the turn for a refreshment or reminiscing over a gaming table in the resort’s Island Casino.

Off the golf course, the resort recently unveiled its Palm Tower, which adds 162 spacious, well-appointed rooms and luxurious penthouse suites to the existing Sun Tower's 113 rooms. When complete, the Palm Tower will boast 210 rooms, bringing the resort's total to more than 320.

The addition is part of a multi-million-dollar expansion project at the Island Resort & Casino. Also new to the resort is the 1,327-seat Island Showroom which has hosted such national acts as the Blues Brothers, Martina McBride, 3 Doors Down and Gretchen Wilson.

The resort also introduced an expanded gaming floor with an additional 500 of the newest slot machines in the gaming industry, Club Four One nightclub and the Beachcomber Restaurant & Bar featuring exotic menu specialties.

For more information about Sweetgrass Golf Club and the Island Resort & Casino, please visit or call 800-682-6040.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Discerning, Experienced Golfers Rave about Longaberger Golf Club

Acclaimed Arthur Hills Design Collects Praise from Ohio’s Golf Magazine Readers
(NASHPORT, Ohio) – A recent Ohio’s Golf Magazine poll asked readers and area residents to pick their favorite golf course in the Buckeye State and in resounding fashion Longaberger Golf Club led the way.

The poll asked readers to "pick your favorite Ohio golf course” from a list that included 15 of the state’s best public access golf courses. Longaberger commanded 38 percent of the more than 1.200 votes, leaving 62 percent to be shared by the other 14 courses (an average of 4.5 percent per course).

The poll is a precursor to the new golf course ranking system to be unveiled by Ohio's Golf Magazine in the January 2009 issue. The rating system will use Buckeye icons and will bestow anywhere from two to five Buckeyes per course.

This “best-of” poll continues a tradition of honors for Longaberger Golf Club and is particularly special because it comes from those who routinely play the state’s finest golf courses.

The Ohio’s Golf Magazine recognition further demonstrates that the greater Columbus area is among the country’s top golf destinations. Longaberger Golf Club leads the way with impressive company such as EagleSticks, Cook’s Creek, Tartan East and Cumberland Trail.

This is the most recent accolade for the frequently decorated course, recently named the country’s No. 4 course overall in GolfWorld magazine’s inaugural “Readers’ Choice Rankings” in the category “Top 50 Public Courses.” In addition to ranking No. 1 in customer service and No. 3 for the extensive practice facilities, Longaberger Golf Club scored Top 10 ratings from GolfWorld readers in these categories: Quality of Course, Course Condition, Reputation/Prestige, Speed of Play, Locker Room, Pro Shop, and Food and Dining.

Further accolades include ranking No. 57 in the United States (out of roughly 13,500 public-access courses) in GOLF Magazine’s 2008 “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” list and Golfweek Magazine rating the course No. 1 in Ohio in its recent 2008 state-by-state rankings.

With five sets of tees, Longaberger Golf Club stretches to a muscular 7,243 yards, while shrinking to a very manageable distance to accommodate every skill level from beginner to scratch. Set amid rolling hills and unfolding over pristine terrain, it also features a 25-acre natural grass driving range and practice facility with target greens and a chipping, pitching and bunker area.

Longaberger Golf Club is managed by Billy Casper Golf, which owns and/or operates 100 golf courses in 23 states, the District of Columbia and Costa Rica.

For more information about Longaberger Golf Club, or to reserve a tee time, visit or call 740.763.1100.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Celebrates Soft Opening

(MAUNA KEA RESORT, Hawaii) - The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel celebrated a soft opening marking the return of the Laurance Rockefeller-built beachfront hotel and one of the world's most revered resorts on the Big Island's Kohala Coast.

Two years after being forced to close due to earthquake damage, The Mauna Kea reopened with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and welcomed its first guests to experience a multi-million dollar investment in redesigned, spacious guest rooms, new restaurants, a new spa, and an extensive makeover of the legendary golf course complete with a new clubhouse.

"We are really excited to be open again and a lot of hard work has gone into renovating and refreshing the property," said Donn Takahashi, president of Prince Resorts Hawaii. "People are eager to experience Mauna Kea again, and we are thrilled to be back and better than ever."

The flagship property of the Prince Hotels and Resorts international portfolio, Mauna Kea will have its "official" Grand Opening in March.

"The soft opening serves as a final staff dress rehearsal and an opportunity to ensure that everything is working before we really go out there and celebrate," said Takahashi.
General Manager Jon Gersonde added that the excitement among employees is palpable. "We are welcoming back many old friends who loved coming here each year. This weekend will be like a homecoming as they become reacquainted with the hotel and greet the many former workers who have also returned. Many long-time employees jumped at the opportunity to come back to Mauna Kea, so the reopening has the feel of a family reunion," said Gersonde.

The hotel's classic exterior architecture design remains the same as before, with the most dramatic changes taking place inside the guestrooms. The total room and suite count has been reduced from 310 to 258 due to the enlarging of rooms in the main building.

The Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa suites are a spacious 1,610 square feet (including lanai) and the Junior suites measure just under 1,000 square feet, while the regular guest rooms on the remodeled floors have been expanded to 550 square feet.

With luxurious interior furnishings, upgraded bedding, oceanview bathrooms, and a host of the latest in entertainment amenities, the guestrooms have never been more comfortably modern while staying true to Rockefeller's vision of "understated elegance."

The new oceanview bathrooms are sure to be popular, with the super-size baths, wall-less "rain showers," soaking tubs, and private lanai.

"The entire guestroom experience brings a level of comfort that will re-establish The Mauna Kea as the premier luxury hotel on the Big Island," said Gersonde.

Other new attractions at the hotel include a Mandara Spa offering an array of exotic treatments, and enticing new culinary experiences directed by Resort Executive Chef Piet Wigmans and Executive Chef George Gomes, who has returned to Mauna Kea following a distinguished career in some of Hawaii's finest restaurants.

Also opening this week is the "new" Mauna Kea Golf Course, which has been completely renovated from tee-to-green over the past year.

Overseen by Rees Jones, son of the original course designer, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the world-class Mauna Kea Golf Course has been upgraded and redesigned to USGA standards featuring new grass throughout the course layout, rebuilt bunkers, and a new irrigation system. The renovation includes a newly constructed Clubhouse with Pro Shop and locker rooms, as well as a restaurant that can serve as another dinner option for resort guests.

Many popular resort activities are also back, including the 13-court Seaside Tennis Club, the Salon at Mauna Kea, play-while-you learn children's activities, Hawaiian cultural experiences, the Art & Garden Tour, yoga and exercise classes, and enhanced beach services and cabanas. The fabled manta rays are expected to return for their nightly feeding forays off Manta Ray Point.

Opened in 1965 and located on 60 acres overlooking Kauna'oa Bay - one of Hawaii's finest natural white sand beaches - the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is known for a remarkable sense of place that embraces without intruding on its dramatic natural surroundings. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects recognized the hotel as one of the 150 best works of architecture nationwide.

Reservations can be arranged through a preferred travel planner or by calling Prince Resorts Hawaii's Luxury Desk toll-free at 1-866-977-4589. For the latest updates and information, visit


The Territory Continues to Garner Acclaim

The Territory, a golf and residential community in Southwest Oklahoma, has garnered national acclaim since being introduced in 2004. Among the awards bestowed upon this Randy Heckenkemper-designed course are “Top 10 Best New Courses” (2006) and “Top 50 Residential Courses” (2007) by Golfweek and Top 10 in Golf Digest’s “Best of Oklahoma” (2007).

“Repeatedly being placed among the country’s top courses validates our ongoing mission to provide a top-of-the-bell-curve golf, residential and lifestyle experience at The Territory,” says Rick Braught, who along with wife Barbara, own The Territory.

Prospector's Ridge – Phase I of the residential development – features custom home lots which range in price from $61,000 to $138,000. If a similar, high-quality, nationally ranked property like The Territory were located in the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, it would likely cost 3 to 5 times as much.

Many lots have breathtaking views of the golf course and a waterfall and stream enhance outdoor entertaining or an evening of relaxation between home-sites and the putting green on the first hole. A planned walking/jogging trail will encourage a peaceful and healthy lifestyle, while a gazebo will invite family cookouts.

In addition to memberships, The Territory features a pair of stay-and-play homes with two spacious bedrooms, living room, full kitchen and bath; providing comfortable accommodations for up to four people.

Rates include one round of golf per night’s stay, with additional rounds costing the current guest fee. The stay-and-play rates are:
* Single: $275 per night
* Double: $225 per night
* Triple: $195 per night
* Foursome: $175 per night

The Territory golf course – a modified target-style design – features five sets of tees (ranging from 4,845 to 7,110 yards) to offer playability and enjoyment to players of all ages and skill levels. A state-of-the-art training facility and a three-hole short course are in place to assist golfers looking to improve their game. The greens are an A1-A4 creeping bentgrass blend, the tees, fairways and roughs are Tifsport Bermudagrass and native vegetation frames the playing corridors.

“From the moment we stepped onto this property, we knew this was a special piece of land on which to build a championship golf course,” says Heckenkemper. “The terrain dictated many of the holes, while the rest fell beautifully into place.”

In just four years of existence, The Territory has hosted the Oklahoma State Amateur, Senior State Amateur and an NCAA Division II Super Regional. Additionally, the course hosted the Halliburton SW Oklahoma Classic, a stop on the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series in 2008.

Chef Keith Zinke – who studied under Chef Kurt Fleischfresser of The Coach House, Oklahoma City’s finest upscale restaurant, receiving AAA Four Diamond Recognition since 2002 – heads the culinary creations at the Prairie House, while the swimming pool and activity courts are often venues for planned events or a break from the day-to-day grind.

Hard on the Chisholm Trail, The Territory is within a short drive of lakes for boating and fishing and mere minutes from schools, shopping, dining and churches, as well as Duncan Regional Hospital, recently named to the Solucient Top 100 Hospitals – a list of more than 3,000 hospitals that identifies industry benchmarks by recognizing U.S. hospitals that have achieved excellence in quality of care, operational efficiency, financial performance and adaptation to the environment.

For more information on The Territory, call 580.475.0075 or visit


Monday, December 22, 2008

Pocono Mountains Stand the Test of Time

Like a classic piece of art, the Pocono Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania – a must-visit destination for generations – have stood the test of time. While the grand resorts of an earlier time remain and stand watch over the four-county region, new resorts have joined the mix. Visitors returning after years away will recognize the quaint charm of this mountain setting, but many properties have undergone a reinvention to meet and exceed the needs of today’s savvy traveler.

Home to hundreds of holes of golf by legendary, Golden Era designers such as Donald Ross and A.W. Tillinghast, as well as the modern master – Jack Nicklaus – the Pocono Mountains golf properties are plentiful and as varied as any destination in the country.

Whether searching for a challenging course that will test the lowest handicapper or a beginner-friendly track with equally budget-friendly prices, the Pocono Mountains offer something to match any level of play. A similar dichotomy exists in design – from tight, tree-lined fairways and postage-stamp greens to wide open layouts with expansive putting complexes and long views of Mother Nature’s beauty.

A destination flush with courses that boast such a colorful and impressive history might be tempted to rest on its collective laurels, but not the Pocono Mountains. One such property – The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort (pictured) – hosted to the 1938 PGA Championship on its original Tillinghast design. The 27-hole Shawnee Resort recently added a nine-hole lighted course for evening play and continues making aesthetic improvements.

Golfer-friendly enhancements are prevalent throughout the Pocono Mountains, as well. Buck Hill Falls Golf Club – home to 27 holes, 18 of which were designed by Donald Ross – has continued adding tee boxes, particularly forward boxes, to make the course more playable for higher handicaps and championship tees, to make the course more challenging for lower handicap players. The club also is in the process of renovating approximately 30 bunkers and will be implementing 10-minute tee time intervals to counter congestion. Cherry Valley Golf Course also added or rebuilt tee boxes for increased yardage, while renovating bunkers and cart paths.

Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in Lake Harmony continues work on the new nine holes with an expected opening of 2009, bringing the total number of holes to 36. Like many Pocono Mountain properties, the resort has introduced new value-laden midweek specials. Likewise, Hideaway Hills Golf Club in Kresgeville is catering to the 60-and-over crowd by extending its “Senior Day” to days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Country Club at Woodloch Springs in Hawley and Fernwood Hotel and Resort in Bushkill are also in the midst of enhancements designed to improve the overall golfing experience by widening select fairways and increasing landing areas.

Gaming has come to the Pocono Mountains, as well. The Mount Airy Casino Resort recently introduced slots to the region. Whether visitors are looking for an additional activity to add to the golf experience or perhaps enjoy the Pocono Mountains during the off season (when the ski slopes take center stage), they can take more than 2,500 of the hottest slots for a spin – everything from penny slots on the floor to $100 games in the high-limit area.

In addition to the wide variety of golf courses and gaming, the Pocono Mountains offer luxurious spas, first-class dining, shopping and historic attractions, making the region perfect for an afternoon round of golf, family vacation, business meeting or weekend getaway. Visitors can relax and reconnect in the authentic beauty of this lush mountain destination.

For more information on the Pocono Mountains courses and other activities, visit or call 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667).


Beauty, Serenity of Circling Raven Golf Club Enhanced

U.S. Highway 95 Route Now Connects Resort from Opposite Side, Well Away from Circling Raven.

(WORLEY, Idaho) – When a course like the one at Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort & Hotel’s Circling Raven Golf Club wins as many awards as it has – 35 since opening five years ago (see the partial list below) – it reinforces the resounding quality found there. While many would be hard-pressed to envision how the Circling Raven experience could be made better, that’s precisely what has happened thanks to U.S. Highway 95 having been rerouted.

The road used to pass along the 18th fairway and across the land of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, which owns and operates Circling Raven (, 800-523-2464). The new highway and interchange now provide access to the casino resort hotel and golf club from the resort’s west side. The old highway has been deeded over to the CDA Tribe.

Renowned for its peaceful, pristine setting, the proximity of the old highway next to the last Circling Raven fairway was considered a minor item for an otherwise unanimously acclaimed course. It was akin to a rock group’s CD cover being placed next to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” in the Louvre Museum – you wouldn’t like to see it there but the masterpiece remains the masterpiece.

With the bypass in place Circling Raven is unspoiled from start to finish.

“Now that the road is gone it’s clear how much more tranquil the 18th hole is and in line with the rest of the course and resort,” says Circling Raven Director of Golf Tom Davidson. “This is particularly gratifying as we continue to implement a comprehensive ‘green program’ here at the resort. The Coeur d’Alenes place great emphasis on caring for their land, and this helps ensure its legacy will be preserved for generations to come.”

A convenient, scenic drive from Spokane (WA), the casino resort and golf club are nestled on a reservation covering 345,000 acres of mountains, lakes, old-growth forest and farmland. The resort spans the western edge of the northern Rocky Mountains.

Designed by golf course architect Gene Bates, Circling Raven was created amid a unique blend of wetlands, grasslands and woodlands. With yardages ranging from 7,189 yards to 4,708 – thanks to multiple teeing areas on each hole – the par 72 championship layout meanders through 620 acres, only 100 representing cultivated ground. Wildlife is abundant, including elk, deer, moose and an occasional black bear.

The clubhouse is 6,500 square feet, including the Twisted Earth Grill and full service bar. Both men’s and women’s locker rooms include showers and lockers. The new Stensgar Events Pavilion is adjacent to the golf clubhouse and is an excellent, full-service venue for meetings and events – from wedding receptions to golf tournament dinners and festivities.

The practice facility covers 25 acres; separated into areas for wedges, sand play and all clubs in the bag.

Recent honors bestowed upon Circling Raven include:
* Top 100 Courses You Can Play 2008-09 – GOLF Magazine
* No. 1 Tribal Golf Course in America - Native American Casino Magazine
* Resort Merchandiser of the Year – PGA of America Northwest Section 2008
* Top-40 Casino Courses in the U.S. (No. 4) – Golf Digest
* Top U.S. Resort Courses – Golfweek Magazine 2008
* America's Top Golf Courses - Zagat Survey 2007-08 rankings
* No. 9 in the “Signature 36: Top Resort Courses in the West” – Fairways + Greens Magazine 2007

The resort adjacent to the course includes 202 hotel rooms, casino, multi-purpose events center, restaurants, indoor pool, gift shop and other amenities.

The Coeur d’Alene Casino offers 1,800 machines for play in smoking and non-smoking areas, off-track betting for horse and dog races, high-stakes bingo, entertainment and many other amenities. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week every day of the year. The resort is regularly voted the most popular casino in the Inland Northwest.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

56th annual PGA Merchandise Show Provides Hands-on Opportunites

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.) - As the ultimate try before you buy, tens of thousands of PGA Professionals and golf retailers from around the world will come to the 56th annual PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 29-31, 2009, in Orlando, Fla., to personally test new golf equipment and accessories that will drive golf retail sales in the upcoming season.

Market leaders such as Callaway Golf, Titleist, Cobra, Ping, Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Nike Golf and more count on the product-testing Demo Days of the PGA Merchandise Show to showcase the attributes of their newest equipment to international retail decision-makers.7th Annual Outdoor Demo Day, Jan, 28thOn Wednesday, Jan. 28, the 7th Annual Outdoor Demo Day, exclusive to PGA Professionals, invited VIP retailers and media, features more than 90 top golf equipment, training aids, performance wear and golf accessory companies within 100+ hitting bays, practice greens and the vendor village of the 42-acre practice facility of Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge (OCN) in Winter Garden, Fla.

The largest industry demo event in North America features a packed schedule of special events, demonstrations, contests and prizes, plus the first Outdoor New Product Preview & Demo Area for a one-stop preview of only the newest golf merchandise. The Outdoor Demo Day is open exclusively to PGA Professionals and media from 9:00 a.m. to noon with invited VIP retailers joining the event until closing at 5:00 p.m.

Shuttles will run from Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) to OCN every 20 minutes beginning at 8:30 a.m. Shuttle transportation is strongly encouraged as parking is restricted. Vehicles without a parking pass will be directed to the auxiliary parking lot located 1/2 mile away from Orange County National Golf Center with continuous shuttle service throughout the day to OCN. The last shuttle buses departing OCN for the parking field and OCCC will be at 6:00 p.m.

The Outdoor Demo Day is presented by PGA Golf Exhibitions and PGA Magazine and sponsored by Aldila, Bionic and Cocona. Top-Flite D2 Feel is the official ball sponsor and is joined by Gear for Sports as the official outerwear, Tee Time Media as the divider sponsor, Bionic as the glove sponsor, Pukka Headwear as the headwear sponsor, Excel Golf Products as the tee sponsor and topTent at the tent sponsor.

Indoor Demo Days at the ETC, Jan. 29th - 31stThe Indoor Demo Days at the Equipment Test Center, located right on the PGA Merchandise Show floor, is the country's largest indoor golf range and open to all of the more than 45,000 attendees each Show day, Jan. 29-31. The scalloped layout of some 47 hitting bays, a putting green and a PGA Short Game Challenge Area provide hands-on testing of the newest equipment and the latest advances in technology and design from leading golf manufacturers.

More than 250,000 balls were hit at the ETC last year. Top-Flite D2 Feel is the official ball of the ETC and is joined by Fiberbuilt Manufacturing as a mat sponsor, Tee Time Media as the divider sponsor, Players Turf as the putting green sponsor, Range Servant as the mat, dispenser and basket sponsor and Green Keepers as the tee sponsor. For a detailed list of companies participating in the sold-out ETC, visit

The game's most influential leaders including executives from worldwide PGAs, global golf companies and national golf organizations, join grassroots PGA Professionals and retailers to amass more than 45,000 attendees focused on growing the business of golf. Interactive exhibits, product testing, education seminars, fashion shows, industry awards, trend reports, professional networking, merchandising workshops, best practices presentations and more pack unprecedented value into the industry's biggest week of golf business. The Outdoor Demo Day, Jan. 28, tees off the Show for PGA Professionals, media and invited guests to test equipment outdoors at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. The PGA Merchandise Show, Jan. 29-31, is a trade only event and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Additional announcements regarding new and enhanced PGA Merchandise Show programs will be made in upcoming releases.

For more information or to register for the 56th PGA Merchandise Show, visit

Editor's Note: If you plan on attending, make sure you wear comfortable shoes.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tethrow Named Best New Course of the Year

David McLay Kidd named as 'Architect of the Year'

(BEND, Oregon) - Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Oregon was ranked as the No. 1 "Best New Course of The Year" in the just released January issue of Golf Magazine. The visually striking Tetherow Golf Club is a par 72, 7298 yard layout that was designed by David McLay Kidd (the same world renowned architect who designed Bandon Dunes and the new Castle Course, the seventh course at St. Andrews, Scotland) and topped all others in this annual ranking of the "top 10 new courses you can play."

"It is a true honor for Tetherow to receive such an impressive accolade from Golf Magazine," stated Orinn Vincent, C.E.O. and founder of OB Sports, the management company overseeing operations at Tetherow. "Congratulations are also in order for David McLay Kidd for his recognition in the same issue as Golf Architect of the Year.

"In working with David throughout the construction process, it was evident that he had the creativity and vision to create a truly unique and distinctive golf experience different from anything currently in the Central Oregon/Bend market. The result is truly a remarkable golf design at Tetherow," added Vincent.

Tetherow is owned by Eugene, Oregon - based Spring Capital Group, whose owners were thrilled with the "double honor" from Golf Magazine.

"We're extremely gratified by this national prominence. It validates all the hard work our team has put into Tetherow. This is extremely significant for the golfing community in Oregon," said Bill Bernards, owners' representative for Spring Capital.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement last month from Audubon International, which honored Tetherow as a Certified Audubon International Signature Sanctuary. Tetherow is the first Oregon golf course to receive this award.

Since opening In July, Tetherow has been decorated with awards and accolades. Most recently Tetherow was honored by Golfweek as one of the Best New Courses for 2008, ranked as one the Top 10 New Courses in the country by T&L Golf and recognized as one of Links Magazine's Premier Properties.

For more information on Tetherow Golf Club, visit


Friday, December 12, 2008

Vellano CC Announces Clubhouse Opening

(CHINO HILLS, Calif.) - Vellano Country Club, a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course located 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles in picturesque Chino Hills, Calif., announced the grand opening of their 46,000-square-foot clubhouse. The clubhouse will serve as the cornerstone of the private country club.

"We are thrilled to offer our members with a first-class country club experience," said Jimmy Han, general manager. "This clubhouse will enhance the Vellano Country Club community and bring added value to all members."

The Tuscan-inspired clubhouse, designed by Knitter & Associates, offers its members dining and banquet facilities, a member's grille and lounge, men's and women's locker rooms, golf shop, swimming and complete fitness facilities. The new clubhouse features unprecedented banquet facilities in the local market with the ability to host events up to 250 guests. The banquet room offers breathtaking golf course views as well as a separate parking lot and entrance, and is available to the public for catering and private parties.


Golf Odyssey Singles Out Dancing Rabbit Golf Club/Pearl Resort for Distinction

Exclusive, Unbiased Newsletter Cites Property as a Leading National Golf and Gaming Venue

(JACKSON, Mississippi) - The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Division of Tourism today announces that Pearl River Resort and its 36-hole Dancing Rabbit Golf Club has been cited for excellence by Golf Odyssey, a monthly newsletter for discerning golf-and-resort lifestyle/destination travelers.

Owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Pearl River Resort and Dancing Rabbit in Philadelphia, Miss., were featured in the December 2008 issue of the newsletter's annual year-in-review feature: "Platinum Places: The World's Best Golf Destinations of 2008/09." Specifically, they were honored in the category "Best Resorts with On-Site Golf and Gambling Too."

Golf Odyssey describes itself as being "dedicated to the timely publication of honest and unbiased evaluations of great golf destinations in the United States and abroad. Independence and confidentiality are the cornerstones of our editorial approach. We travel anonymously, pay our own expenses, and do not accept advertising from golf courses, resorts, hotels, or restaurants. Golf Odyssey serves its subscribers with practical information and discriminating advice."

Dancing Rabbit is home to two championship 18-hole courses - Azaleas Course and Oaks Course - designed by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate. Both courses are regularly regaled with awards from national golf magazines, and Pearl River Resort is considered one of the nation's finest gaming resorts and destinations thanks to multiple hotels, restaurants, comprehensive gaming opportunities, spa, waterpark, and many other amenities.

Located in the west-central part of the state roughly 75 minutes from state capital Jackson, Dancing Rabbit annually hosts top regional and state tournaments, and for the past several years a professional Hooters Tour event.

Dancing Rabbit is famed for its course conditions, customer service, pristine setting amid hundreds of acres of hardwoods, pines, streams with waterfalls, elevation changes and flowering plants. The course and resort are indicative of the high quality golf-and-gaming resorts which make Mississippi the nation's best destination in this category.

From Tunica in northern Mississippi near Memphis to the Gulf Coast and many stops between the Magnolia State is the nation's third largest gaming destination with a wide spectrum of casino resorts, many with golf as an amenity.

Some of the more decorated casino courses include Falling Oak, The Preserve, Grand Bear, Links at Cottonwoods, and The Bridges. Additionally, virtually all of the aforementioned courses are located near other top-notch courses making Mississippi a golfer's destination delight.

"Mississippi is delighted to have Dancing Rabbit and Pearl River Resort recognized for their excellence by Golf Odyssey," says Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division Director D. Craig Ray. "Our great state is known worldwide as a preferred golf-and-gaming destination, and having such unbiased, critical acclaim bestowed by this discerning publication is an outstanding and greatly appreciated honor."


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Gift of Casual Elegance – The Territory

Southwest Oklahoma’s Premiere Golf and Residential Community Makes an Ideal Holiday Gift

(Southwest Oklahoma) – This holiday season, give the gift of life as it used to be. The Territory invites golfers, and non-golfers alike, to experience the casually elegant lifestyle being enjoyed at this award winning golf and residential community in one of the country’s truly unspoiled locations.

Named a Top 50 Residential Course by Golfweek and one of Oklahoma’s best courses by Golf Digest, The Territory offers various levels of membership, ranging from Full Golf Memberships and National Memberships to Corporate and Social Memberships. All Golf Memberships include usage of the practice facility, cart, club storage and handicap fees.

Distinguishing The Territory from a vast majority of residential courses across the country is the feeling of complete escape. The Randy Heckenkemper design is a golf course first, and a residential development second, allowing the golfer to become fully immersed in the sport. The golf experience remains the focus from the first tee shot to the final putt.

“We look forward to welcoming new friends and families to The Territory community,” says Rick Braught, who along with his wife Barbara, owns The Territory. “We’re extremely grateful for the active members who have made this club so much more than a golf course.”

A modified target-style design that unfolds over rolling hills and through fields of native vegetation, The Territory stretches to 7,100 yards from the tips and features five sets of tees. A state-of-the-art training facility and a three-hole short course add to the golf-related chops.

Off the golf course, Chef Keith Zinke creates fine culinary dishes at the Prairie House and the swimming pool and activity courts are venues for planned events or a break from the day-to-day grind.

In addition to memberships, The Territory features a pair of stay-and-play homes with two spacious bedrooms, living room, full kitchen and bath; providing comfortable accommodations for up to four people.

Rates include one round of golf per night’s stay, with additional rounds costing the current guest fee. The stay-and-play rates are:
* Single: $275 per night
* Double: $225 per night
* Triple: $195 per night
* Foursome: $175 per night

Prospector's Ridge, Phase I of the residential development at The Territory, is in the early stages of development. Prices of lots available range from $61,000 to $138,000. If a similar, high-quality property like The Territory were located in the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth area it would likely cost three times as much.

For more information on memberships and packages at The Territory, call 580.475.0075 or visit

About The Territory
With five sets of tees – ranging from 4,845 to 7,110 yards – the modified target-golf course offers playability and enjoyment to players of all ages and skill levels. The greens are an A1-A4 creeping bentgrass blend, the tees, fairways and roughs are Tifsport Bermudagrass and native vegetation frames the playing corridors.

Located on the historic Chisholm Trail, The Territory is within a short drive of lakes for boating and fishing and mere minutes from a pair of schools, shopping, dining and churches. In addition, Duncan Regional Hospital was named to the Solucient Top 100 Hospitals list – a study of more than 3,000 hospitals that identifies industry benchmarks by recognizing U.S. hospitals that have achieved excellence in quality of care, operational efficiency, financial performance and adaptation to the environment.

Owners Rick and Barbara Braught - members of the McCasland Oil family - are graduates of the University of Oklahoma and remain active through university fund raising, support and holding season tickets to Sooner athletic events. Barbara (BA 1986, MBA 1990) is the granddaughter of T.H. McCasland - the founder of Mack Oil Company - and serves as Executive Director of the McCasland Foundation, while Rick (BBA 1984, MBA 1989) oversees numerous companies.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mission Hills Honored with Multiple Accolades at 2008 Asian Golf Monthly Awards

Club Recognized as Asia's Best Golf Resort for Third Consecutive Year
(SHENZHEN, China) - Mission Hills Golf Club - the world's largest collection of premier golf courses with 12 layouts designed by many of the greatest golfers and golf course architects from five continents - was recently honored with multiple awards by Asian Golf Monthly, the continent's most authoritative golf publication.

The world's largest golf club was named Asia's best golf resort for the third consecutive year and its founder, Dr. David Chu, was presented with the publication's inaugural lifetime achievement award for his devotion to promoting golf across the world's most populous continent. Dr. Ken Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills Group, and Tenniel Chu, Executive Director of Mission Hills Golf Club, were also named golf entrepreneurs of the year.

"We're humbled that Mission Hills has yet again been recognized as the number one golf resort in Asia," says Tenniel Chu. "The property's transformation from a barren wasteland just 15 years ago into Asia's best golf resort is testament to our industriousness and foresight."

Regarding his entrepreneur of the year award, he adds: "Although it's nice to be singled out for my role in making Mission Hills a 'must visit' destination in Asia, I know I speak for my brother and father when I say the club's incredible success wasn't possible without the unsung efforts of the entire Mission Hills' team. I share this award with all of them."

Other highlights include the club's Dongguan Clubhouse, the world's largest at more than 680,000 square feet, being named the best clubhouse in Asia, and the pro-shop garnering praise as the best on the continent.

In addition, Mission Hills' Olazabal Course, site of November's Omega Mission Hills World Cup, was named the No. 2 golf course in China. The club's groundbreaking environmental practices, which include the Dongguan Clubhouse's certification as an ISO-14001 facility, were also recognized.

"Mission Hills is proud of its role as Asia's leading golf club," says Chu. "Our guests are assured of a golf and resort experience they'll never forget."


Monday, December 8, 2008

Sweetgrass Golf Club Makes Ideal Holiday Gift

Newest Amenity of the Island Resort & Casino (Upper Peninsula) Announces Stay-and-Play Packages for 2009

(HARRIS, Michigan) – What do golfers crave this holiday season? Spring. The Island Resort & Casino suggests placing the gift of golf under the Christmas tree this year with 2009 golf stay-and-play packages.

Highlighting the stay-and-play packages is the Perfect 4-Some – which includes golfers’ choice of two or three nights at the luxurious Island Resort & Casino and three rounds of golf to be played between the brand new Sweetgrass Golf Club, TimberStone and Marquette Greywalls for as little as $249, based on double occupancy.

“While golfers love unwrapping a dozen golf balls or this year’s hot new gadget that promises to improve their game, what could be better than opening a card that promises a wonderful stay-and-play golf package?” asks Island Resort & Casino General Manager Tom McChesney. “The Upper Peninsula offers many wonderful outdoor activities and these three championship courses are as beautiful and challenging as they are diverse.”

Owned and operated by the Hannahville Band of the Potawatomi Nation, Sweetgrass opened for play this summer and unfolds over acres of unspoiled earth. The windswept fairways are lined with flowing fescues and undulating greens please the eye while testing the best game.

Designed by Paul Albanese, Sweetgrass subtly introduces tribal legend on every hole. An island green, which fit within the parameters of the land and jibed with the resort’s name, pays homage to the turtle – a creature Indian legend holds in high esteem for its longevity and wisdom.

In addition to the island green, Biarritz and Redan greens await golfers and fans of golf course architecture alike. Sweetgrass also features a pair of majestic waterfalls splitting the fairways of the ninth and 18th holes, which culminate on a massive shared green – measuring nearly 22,000 sq. ft.

Off the golf course, the resort also introduced the luxurious Palm Tower in 2008. The Palm Tower adds 162 spacious, well-appointed rooms and luxurious penthouse suites to the existing Sun Tower’s 113 rooms. Additionally, the Island Showroom hosts national acts, Club Four One nightclub and the Beachcomber Restaurant & Bar welcome guests looking to dine or quench their thirst, and the Vegas-style gaming floor was expanded with an additional 500 slot machines.

Along with the Perfect 4-Some, the Island Resort & Casino also offers value-laden stay-and-play packages for one or two rounds at Sweetgrass. For example, base rate for a round of golf is $75, while one round of golf and a night’s stay at the resort starts at only $89, based on double occupancy. Player’s Club Rates provide further discounts for one of the country’s newest courses.

Located in the unspoiled beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Sweetgrass Golf Club is easily accessible via a pair of regional airports in Escanaba and Marquette.

For more information on Sweetgrass Golf Club and Island Resort & Casino visit or call 800-682-6040, ext. 2125.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Callaway Tour i Golf Balls for Christmas?

According to Callaway, the Tour i Golf Ball is the most technologically advanced tour ball you've ever played, providing the perfect balance of breakthrough distance and control. Innovative 4-pieced inertia technology utilizes a tungsten-infused outer core to shift weight away from the center of the ball, reducing driver spin for maximum distance and straighter shots. The softer core formulation provides unparalleled tour feel and the softer urethane cover generates more short-game spin for precision control and aggressive shot-making. A refined HEX Aerodynamics pattern further increases distance through reduced drag and better stability.

These ball retail for about $45.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tucson's First Nicklaus Golf Course Since 1984 Ready To Debut

Non-Member Play To Be Available Exclusively During 2009

(MARANA, Ariz.) - The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, home of the Tucson area's first new Jack Nicklaus golf course in 25 years, is destined to set the standard for championship golf in a luxury high-desert setting when it is unveiled in 2009.

A reflection of the Sonoran Desert's lush, mountainside terrain, the original 27 holes of this Jack Nicklaus Signature Design present unique challenges and distinct character, blended naturally among noble saguaros that line the surrounding Tortolita Mountain Range.

The private courses strike a balance between fulfilling the desired resort experience and meeting club membership standards. Their concept also was influenced by Nicklaus tailoring the course for world-class competition - specifically a home for the World Golf Champion ships-Accenture Match Play Championship, which in 2009 makes its debut at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, February 23 through March 1. The result is an elite venue intended to be shared by golfing friends and legends alike.

While the golf courses eventually will be accessible only by resident members and resort guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, open play is to be available January 18, 2009 on all three nines for a limited time during the inaugural year. Tee times must be arranged by a club professional on behalf of non-member golfers. Winter season registration fee is $225 per player, which includes golf, cart, access to the practice facilities and required forecaddie from the distinctive Ritz-Carlton Caddie Concierge program. Reservations will be accepted starting January 18, 2009. Club professionals may inquire at (520) 572-3500.

While unveiling his first golf course in the Tucson area since introducing La Paloma Country Club in 1984, Nicklaus has integrated solid strategy, variety and fair shot values that harmonize with the high desert elevation of 2,300 to 3,000 feet.

Large greens with significant undulation, wide fairways and carries over desert washes define each course. The bunkering varies from classic, pot-style obstacles to expansive areas that stretch close to 80 yards along the edges of the fairways. The golf courses feature Bentgrass greens, while the tees, fairways and rough are Bermuda (with perennial rye overseed), ideal for the desert climate. An additional nine holes are planned.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain also features a 50,000 square-foot clubhouse with all of the services expected from a luxury private club (tennis center, state-of-the-art fitness center, steward-serviced private locker rooms, a double-ended practice facility). Several indoor and outdoor dining venues with spectacular views, including Cayton's, a casual but refined restaurant named for legendary Dove Mountain homesteader and cowboy poet Eugene "Cush" Cayton.

These golf facilities are the centerpiece of an 850 acre project on the northwest edge of Tucson. Included are a 250-room luxury resort hotel and spa, to open in fall 2009, as well as The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, an exclusive residential community.

For additional information access the web site at or call (520) 572-3500.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Does Santa Have Clean Clubs? Yes!

(DENVER) - YES! Golf is offering its Clean Strike line of cleaning wipes in a gift pack for the holiday season. The gift pack includes one canister of Grip and Club Cleaner and one canister of Shoe and Bag Cleaner for a suggested retail of $24.99. Clean Strike cleaning wipes are designed to clean, condition, and protect all golf equipment.

The Grip and Club Cleaner wipe has a specially developed formula that is designed to get soil and grass out of grooves on the club face, clean along the length of the shaft and absorb grit out of grips, all with just a wipe. Grips are best cleaned after the round, as fluid can take a few minutes to dry on rubber, cork and other grip materials.

The Golf Shoe and Bag Cleaner is suitable for cleaning most golf shoes and bags including leather, coated leather and leatherette. The wipes have a more enriching formula than the club wipes, leaving a residue that not only nourishes leather but leaves a coating that accumulates over time to resist dirt and moisture.

The Clean Strike holiday pack is a great stocking stuffer or a perfect addition to the golfer on the list is who is getting a pair of new shoes or a new putter this holiday season. Retailers can order the holiday pack by calling Siobhan Barrett at 720.219.0085.

For information on CleanStrike, visit

Unwrap the Gift of Golf in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains

Four-county Golf Destination Offers Variety of Golf Memberships, Stay-and-Play Packages

(POCONO MOUNTAINS, Pennsylvania) – While golf balls, a new putter or this year’s latest gadget may be tempting to wrap up and place under the Christmas tree, give the golfer in your life what they really want – golf. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau suggests a variety of 2009 golf memberships and stay-and-play packages to any of the many courses in the four-county region. Memberships range in price to include everything from scheduled weekday play to unlimited golf at public courses or private clubs.

“While golf clubs may be put away for the winter, the playing is never far from the mind of those who love the game,” says Carl Wilgus, President and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. “Whether it’s a season of golf or the promise of a weekend getaway, memberships and stay-and-play packages are sure to bring a smile to any golfer’s face on Christmas morning.”

The Pocono Mountains: Discover Golf’s Great Destination Secret, are home to hundreds of holes of golf from legendary designers such as A.W. Tillinghast, Donald Ross and Jack Nicklaus. With classic designs that feature tight fairways and small greens, to expansive resort courses and modern gems, the four-county region has something to satisfy every taste. The four-county region offers championship courses that will challenge the best golfer as well as options that are both economical and not so imposing for the less-skilled player.

Stay-and-play packages are as varied as the courses themselves. Whether it’s an early-spring overnight to enjoy the budding flowers or a ladies day at the course with a trip to the spa after 18 holes of championship golf, these packages meet and exceed the needs of each and every golfer on your Christmas list.

A complete list of Pocono Mountains golf courses and links to individual Web sites can be found at The venerable destination also provides the ideal backdrop for corporate outings and meetings. If it’s an overnight stay, a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, people are increasingly discovering the convenience and proximity of the Pocono Mountains properties and value-laden packages.

For more information on the area, visit or call 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667).


Nike Golf Victory Red Irons for Christmas

(Nike Golf leads of the first in a series of ideas for American Golfer's Holiday Gift Guide)

Three Levels of Victory; Three Distinct Profiles; Three New Sets under Nike’s Victory Red Brand

(BEAVERTON, Ore.)Nike Golf, which has led the PGA Tour in iron wins since 2005, is introducing its premium line of Tour-inspired irons called Victory Red. This new family of irons is symbolic of the dynamic combination of Nike Golf’s Tour dominance and the company’s continuing technological innovation.

The Victory Red irons come in three distinct offerings – (from left) Victory Red Forged Split Cavity; Victory Red Forged TW Blades; and the Full Cavity Victory Red irons. Nike Golf athletes, including Paul Casey, Trevor Immelman and Stephen Ames teed it up with the Victory Red irons at The Barclay’s on the PGA Tour last week. Casey, who finished tied for seventh, credited his new Nike Victory Red Forged TW Blades for giving him extra distance.

“For me, they go about two to three yards further than my old set,” said Casey.
Available at retail shops, Nike Golf’s new family of Victory Red irons comprises traditional looking irons designed for the aspiring golfer who demands the ultimate combination of Tour proven craftsmanship, performance and forgiveness. Prior to his absence from competition because of a knee injury, Nike Golf athlete Tiger Woods worked directly with Nike Golf’s experienced team of designers and engineers to create Nike Golf’s best irons ever under the Victory Red brand. Woods’ influence is especially evident in the Nike Victory Red Forged TW Blades.
Nike Victory Red Forged TW Blades
The Victory Red Forged TW Blade is a forged iron that is all about precision. It features a more traditional muscle back design that includes a conspicuous and recognizable “TW” mark. The center of gravity of the Victory Red TW Blades is positioned to Tiger Woods’ specs and provides ultimate control and shot shaping demanded by Nike Golf’s preeminent athlete himself. Made of 1025 Forged Carbon Steel with a CNC milled face, the Victory Red Forged TW Blade differentiates from Nike’s original Blades with a more modified backpad and a slightly thicker toe.
“I like the new VR Blades because of the consistent feel throughout the bag, how good it looks in a playing position and my workability,” said Woods. “I can shape the ball both ways, change my trajectory, do whatever I need to do to hit the ball closest to the hole and be as efficient as I can throughout the round. That’s ultimately what you want to have happen. I hope to have these new irons in my bag upon my return to competition.”
Validating his confidence in the Victory Red brand, Woods used a 60-degree Victory Red Wedge during his stunning performance at the U.S. Open in June.
Men’s: #3-PW Steel X,S,R; RH; MSRP: $999.99
Individual: #2 Steel X,S,R; RH; MSRP: $124.99
Nike Victory Red Forged Split Cavity
Nike’s Victory Red Forged Split Cavity irons have a moderately wider sole and slightly thicker topline than the Victory Red TW Blades. Still maintaining a traditional look with a high degree of workability, the Victory Red Forged Split Cavity includes a split back design that positions the center of gravity behind the sweet spot for ball control while providing forgiveness. The Victory Red Forged Split Cavity irons are made of 1025 Forged Carbon Steel and are machined to precise tolerances to optimize feel and accuracy. The CNC Milled Face ensures uniform ball compression for consistent ball flight and distance control. Differentiating slightly from the Victory Red TW Blades, the Victory Red Forged Split Cavity provides a higher trajectory and is more forgiving. The loft and lie of the Victory Red Forged Split Cavity irons are the same as the Victory Red TW Blades; the Victory Red Forged Split Cavity irons do have more offset than the blades.
“The first time I hit the VR Forged Split Cavity irons, I immediately noticed what a great feel they have as the head penetrates through the ground,” said Nike Golf athlete, Lucas Glover. “I really like the shape of these new irons. The look and feel is terrific.”
Men’s: #3-PW Steel X,S,R; RH/LH MSRP: $999.99
Individual: #2 Steel X,S,R; RH/LH MSRP: $124.99
Nike Victory Red Irons
The Nike Victory Red Iron is a full cavity iron and has more offset than the Victory Red TW Blades and Victory Red Forged Split Cavity irons. The Victory Red Irons deep full cavity, wide sole, thick topline and moderate offset provide added forgiveness and confidence for the average golfer. Made from 431 Stainless Steel, the Victory Red irons provide a soft, crisp feel (25 percent softer than the commonly used 17-4 Stainless). The full cavity clubhead design positions the center of gravity further back to facilitate high launching, soft landing accurate approach shots. Perimeter weighting and the undercut cavity distribute more weight to the perimeter of the iron to increase the MOI of the club head and produce more forgiveness on off-center hits. Thinner face thickness on the top and progressive thickness closer to the bottom move weight closer to the sole and lower the center of gravity.
Men’s: #4-AW Steel X,S,R; RH/LH; #4 – AW Graphite S,R,A; RH/LH;
MSRP: Steel: $799.99; Graphite: $999.99
Individual: #2, #3, SW, LW Steel X,S,R; RH/LH MSRP: $99.99
#2, #3, SW, LW Graphite S,R,A; RH/LH MSRP: $134.99
Women’s: #5-SW Graphite W; RH/LH; MSRP: $999.99
Individual: #3, #4, LW Graphite W; MSRP: $134.99