Travel Insider: Pinehurst, Casa de Campo, Nike Camp, and more

By: Brian McCallen

Looking for an unbeatable shoulder season program at an iconic resort in the North Carolina sandhills? Pinehurst Resort’s “Evergreen Escape” package, available through Feb. 20, 2013, features one round of golf (or one spa treatment), resort accommodations, and full buffet breakfast. Package prices start at $159 Sunday through Wednesday, $189 Thursday through Saturday. For a reduced surcharge of $100, guests can add a round on Pinehurst No. 2, which was recently restored by Coore & Crenshaw and will host the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks. Guests can also play Thistle Dhu, the new putting course built to resemble St. Andrews’ Himalayas. Children 12 and under stay and eat free with a paying adult; children 17 and under play golf for free with a paying adult. 

Good winter deals for top-notch golf in Florida are as rare as sand dollars, but the Pines Golf Course, a municipal facility operated by the City of Pompano Beach, is a notable exception. Treated to a $4 million redesign by Greg Norman and slated to reopen in December, the gently rolling layout, located near Fort Lauderdale, will feature “reasonable” high-season rates. Framed by mature woodlands, the original 1960 layout was completely re-graded and re-grassed by Norman, who lives in nearby Hobe Sound. “I was introduced to the sport through public-access courses in Australia, so this project and public golf are very special to me,” says Norman. 

The perfect Irish getaway for a large group of friends and family? Ballinacurra House, a splendid “private estate for exclusive hire” in Kinsale 20 minutes from Cork on Ireland’s south coast, offers accommodations for up to 28 people (main house only), or up to 44 guests (whole property). The restored 1791 mansion, traditional stone cottage, and coach house is set within a walled garden and offers an outdoor entertainment patio, croquet lawn, small boat jetty, forest pagoda, and woodland walks. The charming resort town of Kinsale, the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland,” is 40 minutes from Old Head Golf Links, which is routed atop a promontory high above the Atlantic. Ballinacurra House also has a helipad, enabling easy access to Ballybunion, Waterville, Lahinch, Doonbeg, and other world-class Irish links.

Do you have a junior golfer in the household who wants to take his or her game to the next level? Jeff Ritter, one of the nation’s top-ranked junior golf instructors, is heading up a Nike Winter Golf Camp in Arizona at The Raven Golf Club-Phoenix from Dec. 26–30. Designed for high school and tournament-level players ages 12–18, the program features personalized instruction and daily course play, video analysis and online game plan, sports psychology and golf fitness sessions, accommodations at nearby Legacy Golf Resort, a Nike amenity package, and supervised off-course activities. Space is limited to 40 participants. 

Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, heralded as the “Caribbean’s Most Complete Resort” and recently treated to a $40 million makeover, is offering Golf Lodge packages featuring the property’s 63 holes of Pete Dye-designed golf. The program includes unlimited golf on The Links, reopened earlier this year after a major overhaul; one round on Teeth of the Dog, Dye’s seaside masterpiece; and one round on Dye Fore, the upcountry 27-hole layout high above the Chavon River (seven-night package guests only). Rates include shared cart for 18 holes daily, unlimited range balls, Golf Lodge accommodations with free Internet access, breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, unlimited drinks by the glass at resort bars and restaurants, and unlimited use of gym/fitness center. Packages begin at $1,128 for four nights, $1,997 for seven nights, per person, double occupancy. Program is available through Dec. 20; and again from Jan. 4–April 30, 2013.


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