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Travel Insider: California Renaissance, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, and more

By: James A. Frank

California Renaissance. Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells offers all you need for a few days of well-earned R&R in the California desert. The “No Hassles” package, beginning at $404 per person, includes three nights at the resort and three rounds at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, the only 36-hole facility in the state with two top-20 courses. Package also includes comprehensive travel insurance. Additional days and courses are available.

Lazing In A Hammock. Florida’s Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort has added another course to its holdings, Hammock Bay, an 18-hole layout designed by PGA Tour star Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. Located about 10 minutes from the resort, Hammock Bay is an Audubon International Gold Certified Signature Sanctuary, one of only 25 in the world, recognizing it as a sustainable community within a natural environment. The course will only be open to members and resort guests, and joins the resort’s other 18-hole layout, The Rookery at Marco.

Never-Search.com
Courses At Your Fingertips. Never-Search is a very cool computerized travel program for your PC that provides the exact location of every golf course, driving range, and retail golf shop in the U.S. A number of special touches make Never-Search a must-have for traveling golfers: It’s updateable, includes street maps of North America (so you can really see where you’re going), and once downloaded it works without the internet so it’s fast, able to locate all 18,500 courses in the U.S. in about 4 seconds! There’s much more—detailed course descriptions, listings of nearby restaurants, GPS linking—and it’s only $39.95 (with one year of updates). The program downloads from a website or DVD, and you can take a test drive before ordering.

Golf On The Horizon. New golf courses are in the works that true aficionados will want to put on their calendars.
        The work never stops at Bandon Dunes, which hot on the heels of opening the wonderful Old Macdonald last year will open Bandon Preserve on May 1, 2012. It’s a 13-hole, par-3 course laid out by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw on land that begins next to the first tee of Bandon Trails (their other course on the property) and runs toward the beach with great views of the Pacific from every hole. The resort is taking tee times for Bandon Preserve.
       Watch for as many as a dozen golf courses opening on the island of Cuba within the coming decade. The Cuban Government has given the go-ahead to Carbonera Country Club, a $300 million project in the beach resort of Varadero, east of Havana, as well as a 2,000-unit community with three courses in the same region. Three developments are in the plans for the province of Pinar del Rio at the island’s western tip, with numerous others in talking stages. There’s sure to be more Cuba golf news soon, and just think—golf and cigars: Sweet!

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