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Jun 06, 2014 | 06:12 AM

The Pick Of Portugal

Portugal doesn’t get enough credit as a golf destination, which means it also doesn’t get as many golf visitors as it deserves. This lovely little country—on the Iberian Peninsula tucked along Spain’s western border—is trying to do something about that and traveling golfers stand to benefit. The Portugal Golf Membership is a free program that entitles those who sign up to discounts on rounds of golf up and down the country (that’s Ribagolfe, just outside the capital city of Lisbon, above), as well as on hotels, golf packages, car rentals, and other activities such as winery tours and horseback riding on the beach. There’s much more to Portugal than golf, of course, including incredible beaches (the Algarve coast was recently named Europe’s leading beach destination for the second straight year), terrific seafood, shopping, touring, and more, and the prices are very agreeable. Check out the website for suggestions of what more to do along after you’ve played some of Europe’s finest golf courses.

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Jun 05, 2014 | 11:50 AM

The Online Open

There are 156 spots still available in this year’s field at Pinehurst No. 2 — in the World Golf Tour’s Virtual U.S. Open championship that is. Since 2009 the San Francisco-based company has created an impressive online version of the annual U.S. Open venue that can be played for free on a computer or mobile device. Last year 3.3 million virtual rounds were played on Merion. This year’s Virtual U.S. Open Qualifying runs through June 30th. One sweepstakes winner gets a $500 gift card for tournament merchandise at usga.com and a trip for two to next year’s U.S. Open, while qualifiers will play four combined rounds between July 1st and July 16th to determine a winner (who also receives a $500 gift card and a trip to Chambers Bay next June). Can’t handle the major championship pressure? Then play any Pinehurst No. 2 hole without signing up for the tournament by clicking here.

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Jun 04, 2014 | 12:09 PM

No. 1 at No. 2

Attired in lime-green shorts, Rory McIlroy got his first look at Pinehurst No. 2 this week. He loved the scruffy look and the fact that the wide fairways will encourage players to hit driver at next week's U.S. Open. Of course, just like any first-timer, he had to try the Payne Stewart putt on 18, saying it was a lot slower and more uphill than he expected. He even mimicked Stewart's victory punch. "At least if I have the putt next Sunday, I know what it's going to do," he said after his round. McIlroy plans to spend the rest of the week practicing at home in South Florida on another Donald Ross design, Seminole. With his first win of the year recently at Wentworth and six top tens on the PGA Tour this year, as well as being ranked sixth in the All-Around category (basically all the stats combined), the long-hitting Irish lad has to be considered the favorite next week.

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Jun 03, 2014 | 06:08 AM

Ninehurst

As if the folks at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club didn’t have enough to crow about, with back-to-back men’s and women’s U.S. Opens just a week away, now comes the news that the resort has acquired National Golf Club and its Jack Nicklaus signature course. which will be renamed Pinehurst No. 9. The course, located within the village of Pinehurst, is available for play immediately to Pinehurst Country Club members and will be open to resort guests beginning in July.

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