Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pasatiempo - A Must-Play For Golf Purists

Pasatiempo 11th Hole
11th Hole, Pasatiempo. Photo courtesy of Rob Babcock/Pasatiempo Golf Club
California has so many great golf destinations it's easy to overlook one of the best courses in the state--if not the nation--simply because there's no resort attached to it and the professional tours don't stop there. I'm talking about Pasatiempo, the classic Alister Mackenzie gem roughly midway between San Francisco and the Monterey Peninsula, home to one of his other famous designs, Cypress Point (not to mention Pebble Beach, Spyglass, et al). No matter where you're playing otherwise in Northern California, Pasatiempo is well worth the short side trip. It's a must-play for serious golfers not to mention students of golf architecture. How good is Pasatiempo? When Bobby Jones played it on opening day in 1929, he immediately hired Mackenzie to design Augusta National.

Pasatiempo is only 6,521 yards from the tips, but it plays to a stalwart 72.4 rating/143 slope. Its dramatic elevation changes and seemingly endless natural hazards make for a rugged course whose difficulty is cranked up several notches by Mackenzie's strongly contoured greens and sprawling, glorious bunkers. Every hole seems to offer a risk and reward tactical choice and every green runs fast, true, and convoluted.

Each successive tee box presents you with a unique challenge. The opener is a 457-yard par four that requires a long, accurate approach as well as a powerful drive. The third hole, a magnificent 235-yard uphill par three, is protected not just by its length but by four menacing greenside bunkers along with a mind-messing cross bunker. The first par five you play, the sixth hole, is 567 yards, but believe it or not, accuracy counts more than length on every shot due to the tight fairway, cross bunkers, and long, narrow green. Next up is the shortest par four on the course, the 348-yard seventh hole, where trees from both sides nearly meet overhead to practically form a tunnel over the fairway. Needless to say, a controlled tee shot is essential.

Natural hazards abound on the back side. A bottomless ravine threatens both your drive and your approach on the 392-yard eleventh hole, then comes back into play guarding the green on the 373-yard twelfth. Fifteen is a 141-yard one-shotter perched behind another deep fissure in the earth's crust, as is the 169-yard finishing hole, which also slopes--and putts--more like an icy ski slope than a golf green.

Pasatiempo 16th Hole
16th Hole, Pasatiempo. Photo courtesy of Rob Babcock/Pasatiempo Golf Club
The number one handicap hole on Pasatiempo is the 387-yard sixteenth, a hole Mackenzie himself considered the best two-shotter in the game. The drive is uphill, blind, and rewards a high draw if you can pull one off. The approach is what separates the men from the boys, however. It's back over the ravine you've encounted on several holes and into a brutal three-tiered green that is a full 49 yards deep and has a frightening false front. Coming up short is not an option, nor is leaving your ball above the hole. In other words, par on this hole is almost always a function of a perfect second shot. It's easy to see how Pasatiempo was built to enhance match play, the predominant form of competition in its day.

The club has hosted numerous USGA championships and is the permanent home of the Western Intercollegiate Golf Tournament where everyone from Ken Venturi and Gene Littler To Johnny Miller, Dave Stockton, and Tiger Woods competed during their college years. LPGA star Juli Inkster literally grew up on the course and Alister Mackenzie chose to live there--his home is along the fairway on the sixth hole. And here's an aside for New York area golfers: Mackenzie is believed to have worked on Century Country Club in Purchase while he was a partner with Colt & Allison, the official designers of the course.

One of the best features of Pasatiempo is its status as a semi-private club. Certain tee times are reserved for members, but you can book a time online as much as 365 days in advance. If you treasure the classical traditions of golf architecture or otherwise want a spectacular golf experience, book yours today!

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Half Moon Bay: Perfect Northern California Golf Weekend

The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay epitomizes the perfect golf weekend destination. Just 30 minutes from San Francisco International Airport, the resort offers accommodations at a fabulous Ritz hotel, two very entertaining golf courses, and guest pampering that won't stop.

Golf is the heart of the resort and two excellent and completely different golf experiences are available to both resort guests and daily fee players. The Old Course, a traditional parkland-style track that opened in 1973, was designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane. Its18th hole along the ocean has been ranked among the 100 best in America. The Ocean Course was designed by Arthur Hills to pay homage to Scottish links-style courses. It debuted in 1997 and was remodeled in 2009 to make it play even more true to the style.

Half Moon Bay Old Course 18th Hole
18th Hole on the Old Course. Photo courtesy of the resort.
The Old Course stretches 7,001 yards from the tips. The generous fairways and gentle greens are perfect for the resort player who chooses the right tees (the whites are fine at 6,323 yards). The better player will be rewarded by well-placed tee shots and aggressive pin-seeking approaches while the less-than-perfect golfer won't be decimated by a miss or two. The Old Course ends with two thrilling holes on the Pacific, a 167-yard one-shotter that plays dead into the prevailing wind followed by a risk-and-reward 405-yard par four with the ocean on the right and a ravine crossing the fairway smack in the middle of the range of just about everybody's tee shot. A driver should probably be your last choice off the tee on the final hole. The shot into the tiny 18th green is a simple short iron or wedge made a bit more demanding by the audience typically watching from the hotel patio and fire pit adjacent to it.

The Pacific is in view from every hole on the Ocean Course, but is in play (kind of) only on the 184-yard par-three seventeenth hole, where an errant tee shot can easily find the beach at the bottom of the cliffs next to the green. The ocean breezes (or gales), though, shape every shot you make on the 6,854-yard track--especially on the back nine. The course plays much like pure links, with rolling, contoured fairways where odd bounces prevail and approach shots into generous greens demand careful consideration of the humps and bumps of the greenside terrain. Shot values matter more than sheer length and power. The fairways are generous but the rough is mowed short around bunkers to bring the hazards into play on tee shots. Greenside surrounds are cut to “just above green” mowing height to foster ball movement on the ground and native fescue between holes provides you with visual cues about how to direct your shots.

Half Moon Bay Ocean Course 18th hole
18th Hole on the Ocean Course. Photo courtesy of the resort.
With a little planning, it's easy to play both courses in a day. Just be sure to leave time for a generous lunch break in Mullins Bar & Grill in the clubhouse or in the Conservatory Lounge in the hotel. The sliders of pulled pork cooked for 48 sweet hours deserve your full attention, so allow enough time between rounds to enjoy them.

Other dining options include the nautically-inspired Navio, which serves fine coastal cuisine from a 1,000 sq. ft. display kitchen and ENO, a wine bar that contains over 5,000 bottles of international wines and includes sommelier-selected wine flights. Other resort amenities include a 16,000 sq. ft. Spa and Fitness Center with a unique co-ed Roman mineral bath, an immense patio perched on the cliffs above the beach, and soul-searing views of the Pacific from nearly every room. There also a scenic trail that winds along the cliffs and activities nearby include horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, whale watching, sea kayaking, hiking, biking and antiquing.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kiawah Island - Not Just For PGA Champions

Shrimp ‘n Grits. Even if you don’t want to play one of the most exciting golf courses in the country, bask on a top-ten beach, or luxuriate in a five-star spa, it’s worth the trip to Kiawah Island just to chow down on Shrimp ‘n Grits, a dish you’ll fortunately find on many menus at the resort. I liked it so much I had it for breakfast one day.

The dish is a lot like the entire experience at Kiawah, the oceanfront resort just 21 miles from Charleston, South Carolina. Each mouthful seems to combine the briny breeze off the Atlantic with the nutty grist of the dunes, all smothered with the creamy gravy of Southern hospitality. The resort melds into a 10,000-acre barrier island, home to egrets, loggerhead turtles, and alligators, not to mention ten miles of perfect Atlantic Ocean beach. You can stay at the ultra-luxury 255-room Sanctuary Hotel or rent one of the 600 charming villas and private homes on the island. There are world-class tennis facilities, a nature center with on-staff naturalists, bike rentals, three swimming pool complexes, a 21-acre park, and year-round family activities.

But the prime attraction at Kiawah Island—or at least the reason we went—are the five championship golf courses headlined by Pete Dye’s Ocean Course, once named America’s Toughest Course by Golf Digest, home of the 1991 Ryder Cup, and home of the 2012 PGA Championship. Not to be overlooked are the other four courses at the resort, all creations of the world’s top golf course architects. They are Osprey Point by Tom Fazio, Turtle Point by Jack Nicklaus, Cougar Point by Gary Player, and Oak Point by Clyde Johnston.

Golfers with a sense of history remember very well the “War By The Shore,” the 1991 Ryder Cup that poured gasoline on the spark of rivalry ignited by the European win in 1987 and the jaw-clenching tie of 1989. When the matches came to Kiawah, they took on a death-before-dishonor tone that they’d never really seen before. Corey Pavin and Steve Pate wore combat-style camo hats in their second day match, the fans were beered-up and raucous, the course was windswept and fast, giving the golfers on both sides fits as they tried to navigate the tough layout and hit the tiny target greens. As the final day dawned, the teams were tied. The singles matches went back and forth, with one memorable moment after another including Mark Calcavecchia’s choking finish that culminated in a missed two-foot putt. The Americans won the event on a missed putt, too, this one the last putt of the last hole when Bernhard Langer’s four-footer slid past the cup.

There may not be chants of “USA! USA!” when you play the Ocean Course, but that won’t make it any less thrilling. The 7,296-yard, par 72 layout runs back and forth along the dune line, giving you views of the ocean on practically every hole while forcing you to play the wind differently on each one as well. The course doesn’t play flat like some other tracks in the region, but has many not-so-subtle elevation changes Dye carved into the fairways to add to the fun. Among the stand-out holes is the 543-yard par-five second, a double dog leg that features a cross hazard in the landing area for the second shot, forcing either a heroic effort to carry it or a precise layup to avoid it. It’s followed by the shortest par four on the course, the 390-yard third hole where the green is perched on a natural sand dune that requires a perfect, high, soft approach to hold the green.

The Ocean Course plays progressively harder as you proceed through the round. At the fourteenth hole, the wind is either your best friend or your worst enemy. Your only choice on this 194-yard par three is to hit the green, which is surrounded by a waste area on the left and a steep collection area on the right from which it’s almost impossible to get up and down. The seventeenth hole strikes fear into the heart of every golfer who stands on the tee and tries to muster the strength and courage to carry the water to the green as much as 221 yards away. The average player at the resort loses two balls on this hole—and most play from the forward tee boxes!

Turtle Point, the Jack Nicklaus design that opened in 1981, is almost the opposite style of golf course, although not much less challenging. It’s a low-profile track where fairways and greens blend into the existing landscape without the artificial mounding and radical features that have become so popular elsewhere. At 6,914 yards from the tips and five par fours measuring 420 yards or longer, the course offers a fine test. The 412-yard fifteenth hole, with its tiny green tucked into the dunes, is part of a three-hole oceanfront duo and possibly the hardest hole on the course.

Tom Fazio’s Osprey Point features four large natural lakes, fingers of saltwater marsh, and dense forests of ancient live oaks, palmetto palms, and magnolias. The 6,871-yard, par 72 course has a great mix of golf holes including the 453-yard par-four ninth and two 200-yard-plus par threes, as well as some short par fours that tempt the big hitter to take a trip on the wild side.

Cougar Point, designed by Gary Player, is known for its three-hole stretch through the front nine bordering the tidal marsh and offering panoramic views of the Kiawah River. The countless wading birds, wave-skipping pelicans, and soaring osprey can easily break your concentration on par—in a good way. The 6,861-yard, par 72 course has an excellent finishing stretch that begins with the 542-yard par five fifteenth hole and ends with the dramatic 415-yard eighteenth.

Oak Point lies just outside the Kiawah gate. It’s a more typical parkland course and makes a good break from the on-island courses. It’s not to be taken lightly, either. At 6,701 yards, it’s long enough to keep your attention and tricky enough to put a big number (or two) on your scorecard.

Kiawah Island is one of the country’s prime non-golf vacation destinations, too. Tennis Magazine ranks it among the top tennis resorts in the nation, based on the quality of instruction as well as on the two separate tennis facilities, one with 14 Har-Tru clay courts, two lighted hard courts and a backboard, the other with nine Har-Tru clay courts (one lighted) and three hard courts (one lighted) as well as a zoned practice court with a ball machine and automatic retrieval system. Family activities include swimming, canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, cookouts, oyster roasts, sing-alongs, and nature walks. Staff naturalists conduct marsh creek canoe trips, sea kayaking, birding walks, night beach walks, and bike tours. Guests at Kiawah enjoy a uniquely pristine beach that stretches ten miles along the Atlantic—and 100 yards wide at low tide! Island homes are set back behind the dunes and the Sanctuary Hotel is the only one on the beach, so it’s much like enjoying  your own private beach.

After all the fun and games, you’ll need a place to lay your head, of course. You have two options. First is the Sanctuary, an ultra-luxurious oceanfront resort and spa that opened just seven years ago. Ninety percent of the guest rooms—which are among the largest you’ll find anywhere—have ocean views and all of them have five-fixture bathrooms with walk-in showers and deep soaking tubs. The hotel’s spa has a Five-Star Mobil rating and features 12 treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, and whirlpool as well as a beauty salon and fitness center. Indulge yourself—or a treat a special someone—to a Mint Julep facial, Lowcountry Verbena Body Polish, or a Body Wrapture—a treatment with warm grain- and herb-filled wraps used to induce deep relaxation.  For an additional housing option, you can rent a private home or condo through the Villas at Kiawah Island.

Now, back to the Shrimp ‘n Grits. Kiawah offers an array of dining options—all of which offer more than just my favorite dish. The Ocean Room at the Sanctuary is the resort’s premier restaurant. It specializes in serving local, grass-fed beef, helping to earn it both the Forbes Five-Star and the AAA Five-Diamond awards. Jasmine Porch, the more casual restaurant at the hotel, serves up Lowcountry cuisine in a setting of authentic Charleston brick, oak-planked floors, and a breath-taking view of the Atlantic ocean. Yes, this is the prime destination for Shrimp ‘n Grits, but you can also enjoy She Crab Bisque, house-made charcuterie, and other local specialties. There are also several casual eating spots on and around the property and each of the golf courses offers dining options as well, although some don’t offer dinner. The Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course concentrates on fine local seafood while Tomasso at Turtle Point is an Italian eatery

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Free Books To Celebrate Read An eBook Week

Celebrate Read An eBook Week with 50% off all my full-length books at Enjoy any (or all!) of my novels and Dynamic Manager books by using this coupon code when you check out: REW50. Hurry, the sale ends March 10!

Heart Of Diamonds: a novel of scandal, love, and death in the Congo

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Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wales - Home of the 2010 Ryder Cup - Part 3 of 3

No golf trip to Wales or anywhere else in the UK would be complete without at least a sampling of links courses, which to me represent the heart and soul of the game. Royal Porthcawl is as good as links golf gets. How good? Tiger Woods and the rest of the American team went down in defeat there in the 1995 Walker Cup matches. Maybe they were distracted by the views of the sea which you get on every single hole, or the knee-deep rough, or the persistent wind that is as important to the success of every shot as your stance, grip, and swing. Royal Porthcawl has hole after excellent hole, with the 466-yard 15th and 430-yard 16th (both par fours) standing out as prime examples of where sand, grass, elevation, and wind come into play. Both require long tee shots downhill to landing areas constricted by impossible cross bunkers. The second shots are blind and uphill to small greens wearing pot bunker necklaces. One hole plays downwind, the other back into it. These are just a few of the reasons Golf Magazine added Royal Porthcawl to its list of Top 100 Course in the World.

The place to stay when tackling Royal Porthcawl is the Great House at Laleston, which was originally given to the Earl of Leicester by Elizabeth I to use as a hunting lodge (although he’s rumored to have frequently cavorted there with the neighborhood milk maids as well). The restored inn is about fifteen minutes away from the golf course, but the food alone is worth the drive. My fillet (sic) of Welsh beef was fork-tender and perfectly charred with a red center, and the grilled mushrooms and tomatoes were a fabulous touch.

As much as I admired the Twenty Ten Course and enjoyed the struggle to break par at Royal Porthcawl (I wasn’t even close), my favorite round came at Tenby Golf Club, the oldest organized golf club in Wales. Today’s Tenby is a fascinating seaside course full of quirky challenges like the fourth hole, a 436-yard tester where both your drive and second shot must be aimed over striped marker poles because the landing areas are completely hidden. If either ball is stuck off-line, hit a provisional—Tenby’s fairways are the narrowest I’ve ever seen, measuring twenty yards or less in most places (less than the usual U.S. Open width!) and the rough hasn’t been cut since about 1875, when official records show the Tenby town court proceedings were adjourned so the mayor and magistrates could get in a round before returning to the affairs of state.

Not far from Tenby is St. Brides Hotel and Spa, sited on a hillside high above the beach at Carmarthen Bay in Saundersfoot. Even if you are foolish enough to forego a massage after your round, don’t miss the bubbling spa pool overlooking the bay, the sensation chamber where you choose tropical rain, cold mist, or gush showers, the sauna, or the two steam rooms—one aromatic, one with salt water. The Cliff Restaurant was exceptional, too. I went for Whole Black Bream with Garlic Butter and Spinach, one of many dishes prepared almost exclusively with fresh local ingredients. For some fun after dark, take a short walk to the many raucous pubs lining the beach below the hotel.

One of the best parts about a golf trip to Wales is that getting there is easy. We flew into Bristol on a direct flight from Newark and were registering at Celtic Manor less than an hour after our plane landed. Alternatively, Cardiff has an international airport, but is also only a couple of hours by train from London’s Heathrow. If you need a jet-lag break before golf or a place to decompress even further before heading home, try St. David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff. Sweeping views of the docks and the Bristol Channel as well as easy access to the revived waterfront shopping and dining district are just a couple of the luxuries in the ten-year-old high-rise masterpiece.

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Advertising: How To Grow Your Business With Ads That Work
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wales - Home of the 2010 Ryder Cup - Part 2 of 3

There is more to golf at Celtic Manor than just the Twenty Ten Course. The Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed Roman Road Course has enough elevation change and highly contoured greens to challenge the best players. At 6,515 yards, it’s long enough, too. The Montgomery Course is a 6,371-yard par 69 layout that features punitive pot bunkers and a few other delights added by designer Colin Montgomery, who happens to be the captain of the European Ryder Cup team this year.

Dining at Celtic Manor is as adventuresome as the golf. The top spot is The Crown, where the prix fixe menu features seared scallops, curried sweetbreads, and cauliflower panna cotta among the many options and amuse bouches are served before every course. For less formal dinners, the Olive Tree has a sumptuous buffet of contemporary European cuisine each evening and the Rafters in the Twenty Ten Clubhouse presents dishes based on local Welsh ingredients. The Lodge Brasserie overlooks the 18th green on the Roman Road Course and the Patio at the Manor House has a relaxed setting and traditional Italian fare.

You have a wide range of places for drinks, too, led by Merlins Bar in the Resort Hotel with its comfortable sofas, snooker table, and terrace overlooking the rooftop gardens. That’s the place for afternoon tea, too, if you prefer something a little more civilized for your after-round libation. The Manor House has the Cellar Bar, a plasma-screen-filled sports bar, as well as the Lounge Bar with its historic theme d├ęcor.

Need to un-kink after your round? Head for the Forum Health Club in the Resort Hotel with its 34-station gym, 20-meter pool, whirlpool, saunas, steam rooms, and luxurious marble changing rooms. For the ultimate in un-kinking (or a place of refuge for the non-golfers in the group), the Forum Spa offers the latest in therapies including massages and facials, hydrotherapy, and manicures and pedicures. For total indulgence, try the Rasul Mud Ritual, a 45-minute exfoliating experience. There’s another full gym and spa in the Lodge, too.

If your game needs a little tune up (or a complete makeover), take advantage of the Celtic Manor Golf Academy. Its staff of teaching professionals gives lessons in state-of-the art swing studios, practice greens, and short play areas, then let you practice what you learned in the 28-bay two-tier driving range.

When you want a break from golf, take advantage of the 1400 acres of parkland surrounding the resort for a hiking or mountain biking adventure. The concierge will also help you schedule a half- or full-day of clay pigeon shooting, salmon fishing in the River Wye or fly fishing on the River Usk. Horseback riding is available, too.

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Advertising: How To Grow Your Business With Ads That Work
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wales - Home of the 2010 Ryder Cup - Part 1 of 3

Rampant red dragons will join birdies and eagles in golfers’ dreams this year as the Ryder Cup Matches make their debut in Wales, an enchanted land where it is easy to imagine fire-breathing lizards (the country’s symbol) flying down the fairways of some of the finest golf courses in the world. I swear I saw a dragon or two when I played the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor, the site of this fall’s biennial competition between America’s and Europe’s top golfers.

When I hopped across the pond for a look at the course where Tiger Woods and the rest of the American team will defend their title, I discovered an easily-accessible golf paradise any golf traveler should add to their must-play list. Wales has pretty much played fourth fiddle to Scotland, Ireland, and England as a premiere golf destination, but that time is over. Golf in Wales is affordable, the clubs are friendly and accommodating, the courses are challenging, varied, and seldom crowded. There are some fascinating places to stay and the food was fabulous. What more could you want from a golf destination?

But if you’re going, hurry before the word gets out. The Ryder Cup will bring Wales into the golf world spotlight, which was the reason Sir Terry Matthews built the Twenty Ten Course at his Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, just a few minutes from the capital of Cardiff. The course was designed expressly to host the event and promises to provide a stern test for the teams and great vistas for the spectators. The Usk River valley shapes the experience. It serves as a wind tunnel for the sea breezes sweeping up the Bristol Channel and brings water into play on nine of the eighteen holes. Add fairways without a single level lie, rough so thick and high you can’t see your shoes (much less your ball), and you have a world-class golf challenge.

The 2010 Course at Celtic Manor, site of the Ryder Cup

The course has plenty of length, too, measuring 7,493 yards for par 71. The bunkering was designed with today’s big hitters in mind, so no one is going to bomb and gouge their way around the course. Fortunately, multiple tees not only give us hackers a chance to enjoy the track, but also gives the set-up committee options to make several of the par four holes drive-able, although pin-point accuracy and some luck with the wind will be required to take advantage. The sharp right dogleg 377-yard fifteenth hole will be particularly interesting because there is a small gap high in the trees allowing a 270-yard tee-shot straight at the green for the most intrepid players.

The three finishing holes rank with the best championship venues in the world. They all play directly into the prevailing wind and are further complicated by tough bunkers and heart-stopping elevation changes. The16th is a 508-yard par four with a narrow fairway guarded by bunkers on either side. A tee shot even slightly right will end up rolling over a steep embankment. The 17th is an uphill par three measuring 211 yards to a long, narrow green protected by bunkers deep enough to hide a herd of Welsh cattle along the entire front right side.

The finishing hole is a classic risk-and-reward par five. At 613 yards and playing only slightly downhill, it will given even the longest bomber a second shot to think about if he hasn’t closed his match out before he gets there. Even if he carries the bunkers on the left by flying his drive 331 yards, he’ll be left with a downhill lie to a green fronted by a pond that stretches across the entire fairway. The green is elevated, too, with a steep shaved bank that will send any short shot back into the water. My favorite feature of the hole is a big old gnarly oak behind the green that’s probably been there since before the colonies stuck their finger in King George’s eye.

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Advertising: How To Grow Your Business With Ads That Work
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Golf Buddy Trip Destination - Whistling Straits

Enchanted by the TV coverage of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits? Consider it as a destination for a buddy trip.

First you fly to Milwaukee. Milwaukee? You bet. The land of polka fests and cheeseheads also happens to be the home of the Midwest’s only AAA Five-Diamond resort and the site of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. When they played it there in 2004, you may recall, Vijay Singh won his third career major. The Straits course, which opened in 1998, is two miles of rugged Lake Michigan shoreline sculpted into brutal, windswept links by golf architecture’s bad boy Pete Dye.

At the same complex and just inland from the Straits Course, Dye built the deceivingly tranquil Irish Course, where the grassland and dunes are crossed by four meandering streams. There’s also a flock of Blackfaced sheep complete with bells, which makes for an other-worldly experience when they trot between the pot bunkers as you’re aiming your tee shot. Kohler also offers two slightly more conventional courses at nearby Blackwolf Run, also Pete Dye designs. All the courses—-and everything else in town—-are operated by Destination Kohler, a division of the well-known plumbing fixture company.

There are basically two places to stay in Kohler, a quaint, carefully manicured company town where stately elms line the streets and even the bricks in the old factories look scrupulously clean. The AAA Five-Diamond facility is the distinguished American Club, where every room features a Kohler whirlpool bath (it is a plumbing fixture company), down comforters, and memorabilia honoring famous Americans. Less posh but still comfortable is the Inn on Woodlake, a 121-room hotel overlooking an eleven-acre lake with private beach and its own putting green. The tiny village also offers ten places to dine, including the Whistling Straits Restaurant in the stone clubhouse overlooking Lake Michigan, which received the 2005 Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Advertising: How To Grow Your Business With Ads That Work
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Heart Of Diamonds Travels Well

Heart of DiamondsIf you're looking for an exciting, compelling novel to accompany your travels, consider the second edition of Heart of Diamonds. The revised edition just came out.

Most significantly, perhaps, the new edition recognizes four organizations whose work helps the people of the Congo. A couple of these organizations are large, the other two are small, but the work they all do contributes to the well-being of the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

HEAL Africa

Women For Women International

Georges Malaika Foundation

Doctors Without Borders

The new edition of Heart of Diamonds is available from the publisher or You can also find (or order it) from your favorite local bookseller. If in doubt, use the ISBN 9781449919924.

If you are a traveler who perfers e-Books? You can now put the new edition of Heart of Diamonds on your Kindle, Sony Reader, Stanza, Palm, or just about any other e-Book reader with just a couple of clicks.

Check your favorite online bookseller, or go to for a comprehensive listing of available versions. For the Kindle edition, visit

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Lunacy Museum

One of the most unusual museums you'll ever visit is the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. It's on the grounds of what was originally named "State Lunatic Asylum Number Two" when it was established in 1874. It's packed with full-sized replicas, interactive displays, artifacts and documents detailing how treatment of the mentally-ill--and others--evolved over the last 135 years.

The facility opened with 25 patients in 1974, then grew to over 3,000 at its peak in the 1950s as it expanded to provide treatment for tuberculosis patients, syphilitics, alcoholics, and patients with physical disabilities. The museum, located in a building on the original grounds that had once been used as the admitting ward and the clinic for hospital patients, not only details the history of treatment in this hospital but other mental health facilities from as early as the 16th century.

Exhibits almost guaranteed to give you pause include the tranquilizer chair, dousing tub, and an amazing array of objects swallowed over time by a singularly disturbed patient.

The Glore Psychiatric Museum is located at 3406 Frederick Avenue about one mile west of Interstate 29 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the