Jason Deegan's best of 2012 travel awards: The golf courses
I’ve already shared my golf photos of the year (click here), so now it’s time to reveal my 2012 travel awards.
It was, to be sure, a satisfying year of golf where I scratched off more courses on my bucket list. My favorite trips were to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos; Los Cabos, Mexico and Las Vegas, with shout-outs to the American Club and an East Coast swing as well. Read my past travel awards here (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008).
I’ll follow up this blog reviewing the courses I played with a look at the best resorts and restaurants I saw before 2013 kicks in:
• Best course: The Straits course at Whistling Straits blows me away every time. Honorable Mention: Royal Portrush, Cherry Hills Country Club, The European Club.
• Prettiest oceanfront course: The Ocean course at Cabo del Sol. The dunes and beach shimmer in the morning light (pictured above). Honorable Mention: European Club, Mid Ocean Club and Port Royal Golf Club in Bermuda.
• Prettiest Inland course: (tie) The Bigwin Island Golf Club and The Highland course at Primland. The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia provide the backdrop at Primland, while the Bigwin Island sits on an 800-acre island in a lake in the Muskoka region north of Toronto. Honorable Mention: Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Washington state, Taboo in Muskoka.
• Best Private Club: Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver. I made two birdies in the first six holes on this iconic gem on a day I’ll never forget. Honorable Mention: Mid Ocean, Secession Golf Club, Colorado Golf Club.
• Biggest surprise: The Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Mexico. P.B. Dye transformed flat land into a fun resort track in the Riviera Maya.
• Best Desert Course: The Pinnacle course at Troon North. It was bitter cold and I played like it, but this is still a Scottsdale superstar. Honorable Mention: We-Ko-Pa’s Cholla course, Talking Stick’s North course.
• Best links course: (tie) Royal Portrush and The European Club. There’s a great mix of shot-making over dreaded wood-plank bunkers and beauty along the shore at the European Club, but Portrush has the history and tournament pedigree. Honorable Mention: Sandy Hills at Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort, County Sligo.
• Best Casino Course: The Wynn Golf Club. Too bad I only got to play nine during a scramble before darkness set in. Honorable Mention: Salish Cliffs.
• Best score: Desert Pines Golf Club in Las Vegas. I shot a scrambling 77 on this short but tight course in Sin City thanks to a brand new Miura wedge.
• Best Caddie: (tie) This is a tough one. I had a beautiful, flirty female “T-Mate” escort me around Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson near Las Vegas, but it’s hard to top “Scottish” Billy at Secession Golf Club in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
• Best Pro Tournament I Attended: As much as I loved playing in the Irish Open pro-am at Portrush, it rained the day I spent at the tournament. That leaves the 2012 Waste Management Open at the TPC Scottsdale the hands-down winner. The energy of the crowds was fantastic and the party afterward was pretty cool, too.
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