It Ziems to Me: Florida’s Historic Coast courses offer variety, affordability

By Len Ziehm PALM COAST, FL. - Our three-month stay in this ocean-side community between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach was much different than our previous three winters, spent in Sarasota, Naples and Port St. Lucie. In this case, "different" means generally better golf-wise with one notable exception. We played lots of golf in cold (50 degrees), windy weather, and that's something we rarely faced in the other, more southerly stops. (more…)

No private golf club in Florida matches up with The Legacy

[caption id="attachment_1390" align="alignnone" width="584"]Bob Foisie's The Legacy Bob Foisie’s The Legacy offers many activities that other Florida golf clubs don’t.[/caption] By Len Ziehm PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida – The Legacy may be the most intriguing course in golf-rich Florida. Located in a community that has five 18-holers in close proximity to each other, The Legacy – the only private course among the five — has been around for 32 years and has hosted local qualifiers for many U.S. Opens and other national tournaments. Its designers carry a highly respected name in course architecture circles and its most progressive 82-year old owner has made upgrades that make his club both special and unique. (more…)

Re-opening of Dye Course underscores progress made at PGA Golf Club

[caption id="attachment_1383" align="alignnone" width="584"]PGA Golf Club Pete Dye course Pete Dye’s bunkers were the talk of the day at the re-opening of the Dye Course at PGA Golf Club.[/caption] By Len Ziehm PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida – The PGA Golf Club is the winter home of the PGA of America’s 28,000 members. It’s also one of just two facilities in America that the PGA operates, the other being Valhalla – the organization’s premier tournament venue in Louisville, Ky. PGA Golf Club, with its four 18-hole courses plus a six-hole short course and elaborate learning center, is one of the nation’s top golf resorts. That’s why this week’s re-opening of its Dye Course will have an immediate impact on the game nation-wide. Visitors, both from all parts of the U.S. as well as other countries, will soon be arriving here with a new, most attractive playing option. (more…)

Another Inkster, Johnson duel at The Legends Championship?

By Len Ziehm [caption id="attachment_1362" align="alignnone" width="584"]Practicing at The Legends Championship The storm is coming, but Legends’ players kept on practicing after their rounds at Pete Dye Course.[/caption] FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Becky Iverson started fast, Juli Inkster finished strong and Trish Johnson’s consistency was critical. In the end they shared the lead after Saturday’s first round of The Legends Championship on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. Rounds started off both the Nos. 1 and 10 tees after afternoon rains entered the weather forecast and the last players putted out before the weather turned bad. (more…)

A new look for golf instruction at Grand Traverse

[caption id="attachment_1275" align="alignnone" width="584"]Mark Hill Grand Traverse Golf Academy Mark Hill believes the most effective golf instruction is done on the course.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm ACME, Michigan – The structural changes at Grand Traverse were made last year when owners of the 30-year old resort spent $7 million to renovate the tower that is the facility’s centerpiece. Grand Traverse has three courses on its 1,400 acres and the resort features 660 rooms, diverse restaurants and lounges and 49,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space, unique shops, health club and spa, children’s center and beach club. Last year’s upgrades were – most understandingly – very well received and they’ll keep Grand Traverse in the forefront of U.S. golf destinations for many years to come. That was last year, this is now. (more…)

A big change is coming at Michigan’s Inn at Bay Harbor

[caption id="attachment_1267" align="alignnone" width="584"]The Inn at Bay Harbor is undergoing a three-stage renovation that will make it even more upscale. The Inn at Bay Harbor is undergoing a three-stage renovation that will make it even more upscale.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm BAY HARBOR, Michigan – This is anniversary time for Boyne Golf, the biggest golf course conglomerate in the Midwest. It has 10 courses among its three northern Michigan resorts and two are celebrating milestones in 2016. The Heather course at Boyne Highlands – the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that got the golf boom started in the area – is marking its 50th season and the most upscale of the Boyne layouts – Bay Harbor – is marking its 20th season. (more…)

Here’s what’s new from some of our favorite travel destinations

[caption id="attachment_1241" align="alignnone" width="584"]Ziehm at LaCosta California’s famed LaCosta was one of our favorite stops during our coast to coast golf tour.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm Our latest, extended travels to golf destinations are over now, and they were unprecedented. We were basically on the road for six months - from Oct. 1 to April 10 - and made visits to destinations in Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California. Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana. We covered about 14,000 miles on this all-driving odyssey and hit 18 destinations with a lengthy stay in Winter Haven, FL., in between - a period during which we tested a number of golf facilities in the Orlando area. All were chronicled in my reports and Joy’s photos. (more…)

Could Thistle be the best of Myrtle Beach’s gems?

[caption id="attachment_1216" align="alignnone" width="584"]The ninth hole of the Stewart nine was our most memorable hole at Thistle. The ninth hole of the Stewart nine was our most memorable hole at Thistle.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm SUNSET BEACH, North Carolina – I’m frequently being tipped off about “hidden gem’’ golf courses. They’re in all parts of the country and are said to be great courses that are off the beaten path enough so that many golfers don’t know about them. The last such course brought to my attention was Thistle Golf Club, a 27-hole facility that opened in 1999. Whether it fits the “hidden gem’’ category is a matter of opinion. Without doubt it is a gem. We will get to that later. (more…)

The First Tee: My grandson’s introduction to golf was much different than mine

[caption id="attachment_1210" align="alignnone" width="584"]Putting wasn’t part of the first session at First Tee but there was still time to use the practice green. Putting wasn’t part of the first session at First Tee but there was still time to use the practice green.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm DURHAM, North Carolina — Everything that I had heard suggested The First Tee program was a most worthwhile thing, but I’d never seen the program in action until my grandson, Sterling Stewart, joined The First Tee of the Triangle for youngsters between the ages of 7-10. Sterling, 7, had a better introduction to golf than I did. After hitting balls on a driving range with his father a few times he had tried The First Tee program at Hillandale golf course last year, but many of the sessions were rained out. Hopefully this spring’s sessions won’t be, but the first session seemed well worthwhile. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: Ross or Raynor? Lake Wales course has a nice dilemma

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm LAKE WALES, Florida - I can’t think of a much more pleasant golf experience than playing a Donald Ross course on a crisp, sunny day. That’s what we thought we were doing when we visited Lake Wales Country Club, which is about 40 miles from Orlando. Lake Wales is managed by Chicago-based GolfVisions, and we found it a well-conditioned, nicely designed layout that clearly had the feel of a Ross course. [caption id="attachment_1182" align="alignright" width="150"]Lakes Wales’ latest logo honors only one of its designers. Lakes Wales’ latest logo honors only one of its designers.[/caption] The club proclaims it a Ross design in its website and uses a likeness of the legendary architect in its most recent logo. There’s only one problem. Ross was involved in the course’s creation for sure, but recent research suggests he wasn’t the only architect and may not have even been the main one. Another almost-as-famous architect, Seth Raynor, was involved as well. (more…)