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TravelGolf.com Reporter's Notebook

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

Also see this week's column: "A Caddy's Life: Walking with the Stars"

Rumors, ramblings, and other things admissible as news from around the travel golf world …

Carolina Blonde beer has committed to be title sponsor for the Carolina Blonde Amateur Golf Tour in 2002. This agreement marks the fifth year the Mooresville, N.C. based beer has sponsored the tour, and both sides hailed the decision as a milestone. Terms were not disclosed.

"We have such good synergies going with the tour. It's a great tie-in for Carolina Blonde beer," said Mike Smith, CEO of Carolina Beer Co. "It's a quality tour and we have a quality beer."

Dennis McCormac, founder and president of the Carolina Blonde Amateur Tour, welcomes the stability Carolina Blonde's name has brought the tour, and said he's excited to help Carolina Blonde launch its new, golf course-friendly 16-ounce shatterproof plastic bottle, dubbed the Tall Blonde.

"You don't keep a sponsor for five years unless there's a good working relationship, and they've really gotten behind the concept," McCormac said. "We're the exact demographic of the typical Carolina Blonde drinker, and we're especially pleased to promote the new Tall Blonde packaging for golf courses."

The tour, for amateur golfers with handicaps from 0-20, was founded with a single division in Charlotte in 1995. It's grown throughout the Southeast to the point where, in 2002, there will be 19 separate divisions in five states.

Markets to host tours in 2002 are: Asheville, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Columbia, Fayetteville/Pinehurst, Gastonia/Shelby, Greenville/Spartanburg, Hickory, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach/Wilmington, New Bern/Greenville, Orlando, Raleigh, Rock Hill, Savannah, Tampa, Triad and Virginia Beach/Williamsburg.

One of Pinehurst's Best Poised to Get Better with New Marketing Director

Mary Kim Koppenhofer has joined the National Golf Club in the Village of Pinehurst as membership and marketing director. Koppenhofer's hire is part of the club's push to grow its membership and eventually become private. Koppenhofer officially began at National in late October.

She's working with new owners Kenneth and Claudia Robinette to further their vision of making the club a totally private entity. National currently allows a limited amount of outside play on its Jack Nicklaus-designed course.

"I felt this would be a satisfying opportunity to promote National Golf Club because it's such a beautiful place," said Koppenhofer. "I think this is one of those situations were things are coming together perfectly. The golf course is in great shape and the ownership is committed 110% to improving all of our amenities, which should make my job easier."

Koppenhofer is a Southern Pines resident and native of Dearborn, Mich. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1990 with a double major in political science and pre-law. She most recently was employed as a marketing rep for the N.C. Middle School Association, and is excited about bringing in new members and serving the current membership at National. She is also making a push to let Moore County residents know that National is available to host a variety of functions.

National, a Jack Nicklaus designed, 18-hole semiprivate facility, is regarded as one of the most challenging, well-conditioned tracks in the Sandhills.

Las Vegas Paiute Resort to add Third Course

Construction began in mid-October on a third golf course at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, according to Tribal Chairperson Curtis Anderson of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.

The 7,400-yard course is a part of the resort's overall $500 million resort destination project that already includes the existing two courses and clubhouse with a pro shop and banquet facilities. The $170 million phase two includes the third golf course plus a fourth golf course, luxurious accommodations, a casino, restaurants, conference and banquet space, spa and additional recreational centers.

The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe broke ground for phase two this past June.

"Our third course, also designed by award-winning golf course architect Pete Dye, will differ dramatically from the other two courses in its overall configuration," said Kent McCutcheon, director of golf course operations for the resort. "Players will notice a more severely mounded course with numerous elevation changes and more canyons and slopes. The course will also feature two lakes."

The two existing courses, Snow Mountain and Sun Mountain, have received national acclaim and are a prime golf destination for players the world over. This year, Golf Digest gave both courses a 4-½ star rating out of a possible 5 stars. No other courses in all of Nevada have received a higher rating. The publication has also ranked the Snow Mountain course as the Number One Public Access Course in Las Vegas.

And From the Grand Strand... The Rich Just Get Richer

Caledonia Golf and Fish Club recently completed a beautification project, which began in April. The project included the installation of brick bridges, steps and retainer walls and wrought iron guide rails on various holes throughout the course. The antique brick, used in the project, was originally used to construct various historic buildings in the southeast.

As part of the beautification project, authentic Olde English brick was used to construct retainer walls, steps and bridges specifically on the "3rd" and "10th" holes, while wrought iron was used for the steps' handrails. The Olde English brick, used by Caledonia, was originally brought over on ships from England in the early 1700's and was recovered from historic buildings in both Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, S.C.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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