Living in Whistler definitely has its perks come winter time but there is no question there is a core group of us in Whistler who go through winter golf withdrawal. Making the trek to Vancouver for winter golf is tough to do especially if the powder is good. But making the trek to Vancouver International airport for a golf vacation – now that’s a different story. Here are a couple of my favorite trips for those of you to consider next winter.
“But isn’t that in Oregon” you ask? Absolutely, but this place is so good even the weather can’t spoil the trip. I have typically gone in early March but November, December is fine too. During these times of year my buddies and I have had it all; 65 and sunny to 42 and blowing wind. I will never forget getting out of the car to a 40 mile an hour wind and driving rain the first time I went. The bag attendant pointed to the umbrella in my bag and said “Sir that umbrella isn’t going to help you in this wind!”
The golf is second to none. It is links golf at its best. There are three courses there with a fourth under construction. Pacific Dunes is my favorite. The course feature numerous holes hanging over the Pacific Ocean, natural dune bunkers everywhere, and yes at times some wicked wind. Golf shots are played on the ground like in Scotland due to the tight lies around the greens and usually some wind. They have great cottages on sight and a shuttle service to take you to the range, the bar and back to the bar! The resort has a casual feel and lots of places to hang with you group and argue about the daily bets.
If you have yet to go to Bandon, you must go. My buddies and I drive. It’s a good 13 hours but it gives us ample time to argue over handicaps. You can fly to Portland and catch a commuter to Coos Bay jus north of Bandon and the resort will pick you up. Like I said, don’t be afraid of a winter trip there.
Bandon golf tips: Just bring all you got- Gortex to short sleeve shirts and you are good to go.
Make sure your “knock down” shot is perfected and leave the flop shot at home.
Have the ‘Scotch eggs” in McKees pub- good living!
Beverage of choice: Hefferveissen
Photo caption: “Furry Creek Director of Golf Dean Larson and I, 4th tee Pacific Dunes”
When you live in Whistler you have no idea how good sunlight and 65 to 75 degrees feels in November! There is so much golf here at every price point it is a golfers paradise.
The one thing to remember about golf in the Phoenix area is that all the courses go through an over seeding process usually in October. The summer Bermuda grass goes dormant and they overseed the courses with rye grass. I like to wait until mid November for the courses to get in great shape from the over seeding, but if you want to go down earlier just call the courses for an update. My public favorites include both courses at Grayhawk, TPC Scottsdale Stadium course, Troon North and the Raven at Verrado. Some of the best private courses in the US reside here. Take your pro with you- maybe he/she can get you on!
Desert golf tips: Take and old 5 iron so you can play shots out of the desert without wrecking you new Nike’s! See photo!
Look for Downtown Phoenix: All putts break towards downtown.
Beverage of choice: Fat Tire
Well this is a no brainer. Great weather, great golf- what else do you need. There are surprisingly quite a few options and such a small island. You will have to open up the wallet and play the Plantation Course at Kapalua. Get the first twilight time and you’ll finish no problem. Fairways are miles wide but they need to be. If the wind comes up you’ll need all the fairway they give you. Stunning landscape, great views, whales jumping, awesome holes and Tiger plays here! Spoil yourself.
There are two great courses on Lanai. Take the 30 minute ferry ride from Lahaina and spend the day there playing the Nicklaus and Norman courses. Hang out on the bar at the Four Seasons while you wait for the ferry back. This is a great day golf trip. There are also some great courses at Wailea and Kaanapali.
Maui golf tips: Make sure you know which way the grain is running in the Bermuda greens. If you have never putted on Bermuda it can drive you crazy. Have fun!
Beverage of choice: Mai Tai of course.