Archive for the ‘Golf Resorts’ Category

Junior Golf: Parents-Appreciate And Understand

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at a picture we see a lot of, but sometimes take for granted. Those folks who are not around elite junior golfers don’t fully grasp their skill level. (photo

S3, Linda and I pulled up to The Conservatory for our final round on the wonderful Hammock Beach Resort courses. As we were heading to the driving range, the starter came up and said that he had a single, a club member, that would like to join us, would we mind? It would be our pleasure, we all replied and Pascual introduced himself. All of us hit it off immediately and we headed to #1 tee.

Pascual mentioned he had heard someone in our group was playing from the tips and he really wanted to be a part of our 4-some. When S3 cranked his 1st drive right down the middle, Pascual said something to the effect of, “Man I’m going to enjoy this!”

As we got to know each other better, P had a stroke a few years ago and his Doctor said he would likely be wheelchair-bound and his golfing days were over. Well, sheer persistence and determination pulled him through to where he walks with no limp and still hits the golf ball in play and has skills around the green. It seems the prestroke Pascual was quite a good golfer. His left side is a bit weaker than his right so he hits a fade, but really is amazing to watch. He is a very positive man! What an inspiration!

Back to our round. I can’t tell you how many times P was in awe of S3’s distance and accuracy. It was a great blessing for us to spend a few hours with this delightful man. As our time together was ending, P emphasized several things: 1st how much he enjoyed our family’s interaction and that we should appreciate that we have it, 2nd how thrilling it was to see S3 hit so many professional quality golf shots and 3rd that he wanted to make sure he got S3’s name correct so he could follow him on the PGA Tour. What a great experience! (photo

Parents, we all get used to seeing our youngsters hit amazing golf shots because we are around them so much. The distance and accuracy at the elite junior golf level for boys and girls is surprising to those who do not see it on a daily basis. Please do not take your kiddo’s skills for granted. You, above everyone else, knows the time and effort required to achieve and maintain this high skill level. Take a breath, relax and actually see/focus on each shot and enjoy it and appreciate it. Remember that if your junior golfer regularly breaks 80, he/she is already playing better than 99% of golfers worldwide!

See you on #1 tee ready to appreciate what you have… Sam

Junior Golf: Tom Watson’s Masterpiece

img_0135In this Monday Mulligan we will spend more time discussing The Conservatory, considered Tom Watson’s finest golf course and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course. (photo

We played both Hammock Beach Resort courses twice and as strange as it seems we lost a lot more balls on The Ocean Course than on The Conservatory. There is just pretty much water everywhere on the Ocean Course and when you are right next to the beach on those gorgeous holes, the wind is blowing about 100 miles per hour. As a Jack Nicklaus course it is a 1st class design and has a number of fade holes for a right-handed player. And there are alligators in the water so you don’t get too aggressive about searching for balls in or near the ponds.

The salt air is hard on Bermuda greens and Paspalum Platinum grass will soon be on the greens at The Ocean Course as this grass has a high tolerance for the salty coastal air. The Conservatory was changed over to PP a couple of years ago and I must say those greens are immaculate and perfect. We were advised however, that putts tend to NOT die in the hole on PP. Players are advised to use a firm stroke to get the ball in the hole and we concur. S3 teeing off on #18 on The Ocean Course, how beautiful!image

Yes, S3 played The Conservatory from the tips both times and averaged 78, which is pretty much the rating for this course (actually 78.2). I must tell you that the communication among staff at Hammock Beach is beyond that of any hotel/resort where we have ever stayed. From the PGA pros to the starter and golf cart team to the food cart girls, everybody knew our names and was so polite and accommodating. When we showed up for our 1st round, basically getting out of the car and heading to The Ocean Course, the pro shop asked if we had eaten. Our response was not really and they asked if we would like them to make some turkey wraps and have them delivered to us on the course? Wow! Yes, we would and we had them about 2 holes later and they were delicious.

Now these courses are about 15 minutes apart and we were playing the same course every other day so our clubs needed to be transferred back and forth. No problemo. At the end of each round the cart guy asked for instructions for where our bags needed to be and the transfer truck always waited until the last group was finished before shuttling clubs from 1 course to the other. Absolute 1st class! Everything was so seamless and stressless that we could just relax and enjoy our family time at this wonderful place. Below is the driveable par 4, #15, at The Conservatory.image

Both courses are very special and lots of fun. If we had to pick, The Conservatory would be our favorite because every hole is visually breathtaking. I mean how many times can you say, “Wow” in a round? And it is a blast seeing your son play from the tips on Florida’s longest and likely, toughest, golf course!

If you haven’t guessed by now, we can’t say enough great things about Hammock Beach Resort and their 2 outstanding and highly-rated golf courses. We bought the Just Golf Package that included a 3-bedroom condo and lots of golf for all 3 of us. While this is not an inexpensive package, it does render superior value for the price. Our family totally recommends HBR and can’t wait to get back and tee off on those 2 great golf courses!

See you on #1 tee, looking salty… Sam

Junior Golf: Big Achievement Big Reward

In this Friday Flop Shot we will discuss how Mom and Dad should give recognition to your junior golfer when he reaches a goal or completes something very meaningful. This can range from making an adjustment to his putting stroke, to winning a tournament, getting a golf scholarship or in our case graduating from college in 4 years on a golf scholarship.image

Once S3, Linda and I acknowledged we were all on the same page regarding college golf and college graduation as the end goals, we proceeded full-speed ahead. As it became clear S3 would get his degree, we began planning his graduation gift/recognition. A nice golf and coast-oriented vacation with Mom and Dad was requested and I went to work. (photo

Since we love Florida, that became our focus. A search of golf resorts came up with several including the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. It didn’t take long to see that this was where we needed to spend some time. It was good geographically being close enough to the World Golf Hall of Fame so we could take a day trip and still come back to Hammock Beach and play an afternoon round. And it was a decent drive from Navarre Beach where we would spend time with our dear friends Shirley and Steve.

Our first stop after a 12-hour drive was Navarre Beach and S3 and I played Tiger Point Country Club the next day. Although the course was suffering from water issues, it was easy to see how this layout could be very tough with proper course conditions. So we worked out the kinks from the previous day’s drive and played call-shot golf. Great fun really when you want to do something different on a mostly vacant golf course.

Next morning we drove to Hammock Beach Resort for a 3pm tee time on the fabulous Ocean Course. The HB Resort courses are top-rated and both are stunningly beautiful and very hard. The Ocean Course has about 6 holes right on the Atlantic beach and there is water of some sort on nearly every hole. The 2nd course, The Conservatory, is regarded as Tom Watson’s masterpiece of golf design. It is Florida’s longest course at 7777 yards tipped out. As an inland venue, The Conservatory has a million sand traps, lots of undulations, some water and has every inch of grass in perfect shape. The are no proper words to describe the exhilaration you feel when you are playing this course! It’s a must play! Below, S3 is cutting the corner on this lengthy par 4 on the back 9 at The Conservatory.image

After our 4 days at HBR we headed back to spend Memorial Day weekend at the beach with Shirley and Steve before driving back to San Antonio. S3, Linda and I enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and had so many extra-special moments. It was more than any of us had anticipated!

So parents, the point here is that your junior golfer will benefit from your acknowledgement/recognition of improvements to his game and goals he has achieved. Your response should be appropriate, in kind, to the level of your son’s achievement. Smaller for smaller and bigger for bigger.

See you on #1 tee ready to achieve something… Sam

Junior Golf: PGA Village

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at 1 of the premiere golf resorts in the world. This is a fabulous place our family has become well acquainted with over the last 4 years.image

Folks, we’re talking about the PGA Village in Port St Lucie, Florida. It is on the east coast of Florida about 2 hours north of Miami International Airport and about 3 hours south of Jacksonville. This is a golf resort with so much to offer, it’s hard to do it justice in a blog. With 54 holes of championship golf, a wonderful staff, excellent restaurant, plenty of teaching pros, lessons and camps and the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, it is the ultimate experience for a golfer of any age. Yes, and your junior golfer has plenty to do here. (photo

Stay and play packages are available and if you haven’t filled up your summer vacation calendar, I suggest you take a look at this great facility. Frankly, I can’t say enough good things about the PGA Village. S3 has been here the last 4 years playing in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship and he and all the young men and women and their families are treated like PGA pros. The warm welcoming atmosphere and the attention to every detail to provide an environment above and beyond anything these young adults have ever seen is amazing! Players, coaches and families will tell you that they are treated fabulously here and it is hard to imagine being treated any better.image

And the golf courses are perfect. As PGA Village Membership Director Jack Lutz told us, “This is where the PGA is able to offer regular folks the quality of golf courses that the tour pros play.” And he’s not kidding or bragging, it’s a fact. After S3 finished the event his freshman year he told me, “Dad, this (Ryder Course) is the best golf course I’ve ever played on. Every blade of grass is perfect and if you read the putts right, the ball goes in the hole.” Now keep in mind our son has played on a ton of top quality golf courses, so this was a strong statement. This year, his Aussie teammate, Adam, was at PSL and he is Einsteinian in his knowledge of golf course grasses and he said that unequivocally this was the finest Bermuda he had ever seen. Yes, there are agronomists who can provide grass at this high level for those of us not on tour!

The point here Dad and Mom is that the complete atmosphere at the PGA Village is an amazingly successful 1 that many resorts strive for but few achieve. It all starts at the top with PGA’s top executives and permeates through the whole staff from PGA Village General Manager, Jimmy Terry, to every person working in the grill, restaurant, cart barn or golf course. The PGA Golf Club is part of the PGA Village. Check them out at

See you on #1 tee, maybe at the Ryder Course at PGA Village… Sam

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