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Playing Ahead with TravelGolf.com

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Planning is an essential element in both traveling and golfing. So when you publish the world's most highly read websites on these two captivating subjects, a good part of your year is spent thinking ahead.

Somewhere, tucked away in some dark basement surrounded by pie charts, computer monitors, and coffee pots, the TravelGolf.com editorial staff is hard at work on cutting-edge features for 2002.

Okay, so it's more like a posh mahogany office table in some cushy conference room in some sunny resort town, surrounded by golf courses, but you get the point.

Warning, shameless plug approaching: We garnered a Forbes Magazine "Best of the Web" award for 2001 for our continuing commitment to exploring new ideas, and improving upon successful ones.

That being said, one of our most exciting new features for the New Year is a major increase in our coverage of PGA Tour events, beginning with the season-opening Mercedes Championship at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

We realize that if web surfers want the last word or the latest updates on tournament proceedings, they'll simply check in with ESPN.com or PGATour.com. We don't want to be the Internet's source for PGA Tour news, because that a waste of your valuable online minutes.

Instead, we simply want to be what we've always been - the world's leading source of golf and travel information. Now, we want to turn our coverage up a notch and be your one stop shop if you are planning on attending a Tour event in one of our major market areas.

Over the years, we've made a commitment to covering Arizona, California, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Texas based Tour events. Writers such as Dave Holland, Derek Duncan, Jeff Rendall, Joe Bruno and myself have worked hard to identify the best golf courses you can play in the tournament area, the most accommodating places to bed-down, and the out-of-the-way locals only joints where you can enjoy a hot meal and a cold drink.

In 2002, we are casting a larger net. All 51 regular season events will be covered, ranging from basic stay and play profiles for tournaments outside of our market areas to full blown daily travel coverage and features for tilts in Arizona, California, Virginia, the Carolinas, Las Vegas and Texas.

As always, our myriad of travel desks will be available at the touch of the mouse button so you can book your tee times and accommodations in these white hot golf destinations.

Also on deck for 2002

We are continually evaluating the way in which we present our course review information. In an effort to convey more vital information in a more attractive space, the traditional TravelGolf.com course report cards will get a slight overhaul, including a new look, and new and revised categories to help you make decisions about where to play.

A select number of our course reviews will also be amped up, from a multi media standpoint. Already, we are publishing reviews replete with slide shows and MPEG streaming videos of proshops, signature holes, and exclusive instructional tips from head professionals. Look for even more of this multi media experience in course reviews and features from our senior writers.

We also expect 2002 to be a huge year for equipment and instruction at TravelGolf.com. We realize that equipment reviews and instructional articles will help you to better play the game and have more fun on your golf travel endeavors.

Already, we've sought out the world's best teachers, like Dave Pelz, Dana Rader, Scott Sackett, Tom Ward, and Lynn Marriott, and picked their brains for everything from instruction to the golf course design. We will have a bevy of writers on hand at the PGA Equipment Show in Orlando, Fl. Later this month, bringing you daily coverage of the latest developments in clubs, balls and instructional aids.

And speaking of golf course design, we think an educated golf traveler makes for a happier golf traveler. In 2002, we'll continue on with our extensive golf course architect Q and A's, but we'll also include more designer interviews in our course reviews, and explore basic questions like "what makes good golf course design."

As winter turns to spring, and spring to summer, we'll be turning our soft spikes towards some of our northern markets, providing readers with unprecedented coverage of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and Chicago area golf courses. We realize that the golf travel market isn't always north to south, and some of the best courses in the world lie above the old Mason-Dixon line.

So enjoy the rest of your holiday, take in a few bowl games, and get those clubs out of the closet and give them a shine. It's time to take golf and travel to a new level in 2002, and once again, we're ready to lead the way.

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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