Travel Insider: Florida, Kenya, California...

By: Brian McCallen

As of November 2012, guests of the Seagate Hotel & Spa in Delray Beach, Fla., now enjoy playing privileges at Seagate Country Club, home to one of the finest private courses in Palm Beach County.  Formerly known as Hamlet Country Club, Seagate CC is home to a well-groomed Joe Lee-designed course set on 300 wooded acres.  Hotel guests are provided with complimentary transportation to the nearby club, which offers an excellent practice facility, a full-service clubhouse, a fitness center, Har-Tru tennis courts and a swimming pool. Delray Beach was recently named the “Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today.

Planning on heading someplace warm this winter but not quite sure where? Request a free copy of the annual Golfpac Golf Vacation Guide, a 98-page brochure featuring a full line-up of the tour operator’s destinations organized by location, with descriptions and prices for all properties. Headquartered in Florida, the firm’s specialty is Sunshine State golf holidays, from the Space Coast to Sarasota. “Our annual vacation guide is a labor of love, as it highlights our favorite resorts and courses in all our domestic destinations,” stated Dave Turley, Golfpac’s operations manager. The company creates custom packages using net room and golf rates wherever possible.

Situated on Puerto Rico’s south coast near the historic downtown area of Ponce, the island’s second-largest city, the Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort celebrated its recent 20th anniversary with a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. Enhancements include a new bridge that leads from the resort hotel to Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club, a 27-hole facility that skirts palm-fringed beaches and 14 man-made lakes set below a range of rugged mountains. A posh 32,000-square-foot clubhouse anchors Costa Caribe, one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets. Golf packages feature updated accommodations, daily breakfast for two, two rounds of golf with cart or caddy, and other extras. A three-night minimum stay is required.

More than a quarter century after Seve Ballesteros and Ian Woosnam had their names carved on the trophy of the Kenya Open Championship, the country credited with pioneering the safari holiday is reaching out to international golfers. Golf in Kenya – the Natural Choice is part of marketing push by Kenya’s tourism and golf authorities to attract adventurous players who wish to combine wildlife viewing, beautiful beaches, fascinating cultures, and world-class golf. Among the top-shelf courses profiled in Golf in Kenya are Royal Nairobi (1906), the nation’s first golf club; Muthaiga GC, home of the Kenya Open since 1967; the high-altitude Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort; and Vipingo Ridge, a new 2,500-acre residential golf estate near Mombasa, its Baobab Course described by Woosnam as “one of the most beautiful coastal courses anywhere in the world.” 

Located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., is one of Orange County’s most deluxe hotels. The resort’s Monarch Beach Golf Links, designed in 1983 by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., was completely rejuvenated last year. The 6,601-yard, par-70 layout, known for the crushed white marble in its bunkers, is revered for its “Ocean Loop” (holes one through five), which takes players along low bluffs near the beach. Golfers can relax in the recently enhanced Club 19 clubhouse restaurant, which offers small plates and specialty drinks. The hotel itself boasts a private beach club, award-winning Spa Gaucin, beautifully appointed rooms and suites with private balconies, and signature restaurants, notably Stonehill Tavern, Michael Mina’s dinner-only restaurant.


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