October 29, 2012 - 10:01am
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John Holmes
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Courtesy of Grand Cypress Resort
The renovation work at the Villas at Grand Cypress Golf Resort will proceed one block of villas at a time.

The Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Resort in Orlando, Fla., has begun a four-month, $14 million renovation that will result in completely new interiors as well as upgraded furniture, fixtures and finishes and enhanced in-room technology in all of its guest accommodations. In addition, the resort will add a new fitness center.

The work will proce,ed with renovations of one block of villas at a time, with no interruption to reservations or resort operations, Grand Cypress officials said. The project is expected to be complete in February.

"Upon completion of this renovation, the Villas of Grand Cypress will once again be at the top of the list as one of Florida's leading luxury resorts," said Steve Mills of the resort's ownership group. "We are not just changing out the soft goods and refreshing the paint. We are innovating through design and elevating the guest experience."

The new 650-square-foot club suites and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with full kitchens, living and dining rooms will feature a transformative aesthetic that references a tranquil balance of contemporary and classic styles, Grand Cypress said.

The villa kitchens will receive a complete makeover with slate-tiled entrances, top-of-the-line GE stainless steel appliances, walnut cabinets, quartz countertops with stainless steel sinks and polished chrome fixtures. The five-piece baths will feature wood and stacked stone, crisp white porcelain, polished chrome and glistening glass tile. They’ll also include a deep-walled bathing vessel and custom quartz counters with double sinks, polished chrome faucets and an illuminated mirror integrated with a 19-inch television.

In addition to its 45-holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, the resort offers the Grand Cypress Racquet Club; in-room spa services; Lake Windsong and marina; two pools, and more. The Grand Cypress Academy of Golf is rated as one of the "Top 25 Golf Schools in America" and has received Golf Magazine's Silver Medal Resort Award (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012).

For more information, visit www.grandcypress.com

October 27, 2012 - 9:36pm
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John Holmes
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Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo
Courtesy of Casa de Campo
The spectacular Teeth of the Dog course at Case de Campo has been regarded as the best course in the Caribbean virtually since it opened.

The temperatures are dropping, and that means the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic is rolling out its fall/winter 2012-13 packages.

The 7,000-acre resort is offering four-day and seven-day "Golf Lodge" packages that combine rounds on the 63 holes of Pete Dye-designed courses with accommodations, meals, and unlimited use of some of the resort's most in-demand amenities. Both the four-night and seven-night packages include:

--Unlimited golf on The Links, an 18-hole Dye design with spectacular views of the Caribbean

--One round on the world-famous Teeth of the Dog course, long considered the best in the Caribbean

--One round on Dye Fore, the wide and windy 27-hole layout located high above the Chavon River (for seven-day-package guests only)

--Shared cart for 18 holes daily, unlimited range balls and club storage

Off the course, the deals include:

--a Golf Lodge room with complimentary wireless Internet access
--Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
--Unlimited drinks by the glass at resort bars and restaurants
--Unlimited use of the gym/fitness center

Both Teeth of the Dog and The Links were recently renovated under Dye's guidance. In addition, Casa de Campo spent more than $40 million to upgrade many other parts of the resort, including restaurants, public areas, and the main pool deck.

Golf Lodge packages begin at $1,128 per person for four nights and $1,997 for seven nights. They are available Nov. 1-Dec. 20 and then again from Jan. 4-April 30, 2013.

Along with its golf courses, the resort features a variety of dining options in restaurants such as The Beach Club by Le Cirque and La Cana by Il Circo; the 13-court La Terraza Tennis Center; a shooting center; equestrian center; polo club; marina for deep sea and river fishing and a separate yacht club. Also at the resort are private beaches; the Casa de Campo Spa; and the Altos de Chavon artists village with museums, art galleries, boutique shopping, a church and Greek-style amphitheater.

For more information, visit www.casadecampo.com.do.

October 20, 2012 - 11:24pm
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John Holmes
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The famed Harbour Town Golf Links is just one of many amenities at the Sea Pines Resort.

Fall is just settling over most of the United States, but it’s not too early to book a golf vacationfor next year. One to consider is the "Escape Vacation" package at the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Hrad Island, which fatures a bonus three-night return getaway for $99 if you book before Jan. 31.

The Escape Vacation special offers a stay at Sea Pines anytime from Mar. 2-Sept. 6, 2013, that includes a $100 resort credit for golf, dining and activities and up to 15 percent off a choice of weekly home or villa rental. Kids 12 and under get free golf on Heron Point and the Ocean Course with each paid adult round, and the youngsters also eat free at the Harbour Town Grill and Surfside Outdoor Restaurant & Bar.

Then, of course, there’s the three-night "Escape Twice" return visit – for $99 plus tex, you will get a bonus three-night return stay in a two-bedroom, two-bath villa.

The package also includes a complimentary beach family photo session; children under 12 cruising free on a dolphin ocean excursion; choice of a complimentary Eco-Adventure, two-person Sea Pines activity or visit to Coastal Discovery Museum at historic Honey Horn; complimentary access for two guests to the Harbour Town Lighthouse; unlimited use of fitness center equipment; two hours complimentary tennis per day at The Sea Pines Racquet Club; and free wireless internet access in all accommodations.

One of the crown jewels of American golf, Sea Pines is home to Harbour Town Golf Links (home of the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage) as well as Heron Point and the Ocean Course. The resort also boasts 23 clay tennis courts, Eco-Adventures, water sports, fine and casual dining, 14 miles of bike and walking trails, horseback riding and five miles of unspoiled beaches. Guests can choose from an array of accommodations, including 300 villas, 100 rental homes and the luxurious 60-room Inn at Harbour Town.

For more information, visit www.seapines.com.

October 14, 2012 - 8:10pm
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John Holmes
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CordeValle Golf Club
Courtesy of CordeValle Golf Club
CordeValle has established itself as Silicon Valley's home to championship golf.

For most of us wanna-be (but never gonna be) tour pros, playing the courses that the PGA Tour plays is a powerful draw. One place where you can do that this fall is at CordeValle, which has just hosted the Frys.com Open.

Now that the tournament has ended, golfers can take advantage of CordeValle’s Ultimate Golf Package, which runs through the end of the year. The package provides each golfer with a PGA Tour-like playing experience, as well as access to the facilities and amenities at CordeValle in either a one-night deal or for multiple nights and rounds.

The package includes a choice of accommodations, daily continental breakfast, unlimited play each day of your stay with cart, access to the practice facility and a wine tasting at the on-site Clos LaChance Winery.

During part of November, the golf course will be recovering from its annual turfgrass enrichment and aerification, so guests staying on the Ultimate Golf Package wil receive a special reduced rate. Until Nov. 11, rates start at $469 per person, and after that date will start at $359 per person (caddie fees, resort fees, tax and gratuities are additional).

CordeValle has established itself as Silicon Valley's home to championship golf, as the resort has hosted the prestigious PGA Cup as well as its annual stop on the PGA Tour. Later this fall, CordeValle welcomes back the annual Gifford Invitational, a premier men's collegiate event, and will host the 2013 USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship.

CordeValle offers country club charm, with 45 expansive rooms that create a secluded sanctuary, designed into the harmony of the natural mountainside landscape, overlooking the golf course and lush, rolling hills. Tennis, swimming and the spa are also available, as is a taste of California's famed wine country, with an on-site winery and vineyard. Dining options include Il Vigneto's Italian cuisine with contemporary California flair, the Lion's Peak Grill, with relaxing indoor and outdoor patio seating, and the popular One Iron Bar.

For more information about the Ultimate Golf Package, visit www.cordevallegolf.com.

October 14, 2012 - 12:57am
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John Holmes
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Ledgestone Country Club in Branson, Mo.
Courtesy of Ledgestone Country Club
Green fees are as low as $49 at Ledgestone Country Club in Branson next month.

When it comes to golf, Branson, Mo., is developing into a mini-Myrtle Beach, with a variety of golf courses mixed in with its wide variety of other family-friendly entertainment activities. And like Myrtle Beach, there are some very attractive autumn golf deals available.

Green fees at most of the dozen or so Branson-area courses easily start under $100 per round through October, while temperatures are still in the 60s and 70s, and some are well below the $100 mark. Here are some examples of fall green fees:

--Murder Rock Golf Club: $52 from Oct. 29
--Payne Stewart Golf CLub: $69 from Nov. 1
--Branson Creek Golf Club: $60 from Nov. 1
--Pointe Royale Golf Village: $39 from Nov. 1
--Holiday Hills Golf Resort: $48 before 11 a.m. and $36 after 11 a.m. from Nov. 1
--Thousand Hills Golf Resort: $39 from Nov. 1
--LedgeStone Country Club: $49 from Nov. 1

Golfers can combine a round with activities such as the Balloons over Branson Creek Hot Air Balloon Festival (Oct. 19-21), the Silver Dollar City Harvest Festival (through Oct. 27), and the Ozark Mountain Christmas, (starting Nov. 1).

Fall golf packages are available, starting at only $70 per person, per night for room and golf, and can be found online at http://www.explorebransongolf.com.

September 12, 2012 - 8:50pm
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John Holmes
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The Links Course at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Courtesy of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
The Links Course was designed by Tom Jackson as a tip of the cap to the origins of the ancient game.

Starting to get a little cool where you are? It’s still nice and warm in Florida, and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in the Panhandle city of Destin is offering its “Fore Fall Golf Getaway” through the end of October. The package includes accommodations at LeCiel, the Florida Gulf Coast’s newest boutique hotel, and two rounds on The Links Course starting at only $89 per person per night.

As part of the deal, a golf cart, unlimited use of Sandestin's practice facility and range balls are included. Complimentary replay rounds booked at the course the day of play are offered based on availability. And as an added bonus, the package also features a $10 beverage cart credit per person.

“The Fore Fall Golf Getaway is perfect for golf enthusiasts of all levels in search of an escape from work and school as the temperature starts to cool off,” said Rick Hileman, PGA Director of Golf Operations at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. “It combines the Destin area’s only contemporary boutique accommodations with a golf course that’s long been a favorite of locals and resort guests.”

Opened in May, LeCiel is on the banks of the Choctawhatchee Bay, providing guests a tranquil setting with stunning views. All guest rooms have wireless Internet, terry robes, gourmet coffee, iPhone docking stations, flat screen televisions, spa-quality toiletries and other comforts. LeCiel is just steps away from the Sandestin Spa and the Sandestin Fitness Center, which is complimentary to resort guests.

In between rounds, golfers can visit The Village of Baytowne Wharf, an assortment of casual and fine-dining restaurants, bars and nightlife, and boutique shopping. Beach access, a marina, fitness facilities and numerous organized activities are also available on-site.

The package is valid for stays between Sept. 8 and Oct. 31. Rates are based on double occupancy and a two-night stay. Fees and taxes are not included. Guests must mention the promo code FORE12 when booking.

For more information, visit www.sandestin.com.