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TravelGolf.com Reporter's Notebook

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - John Grisham, America's favorite lawyer/fiction writer, is receiving all sorts of good press for his latest novella, "Skipping Christmas."

While we here at TravelGolf.com can't bring ourselves to recommend anything so drastic as bailing out on the tree, the presents, and the turkeys of Christmas, we can offer up a few suggestions on where to travel and golf during the holidays.

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island Resort will host a Holiday Celebration with activities for the entire family and special rates on recreational amenities and accommodations. Children will be able to have "Breakfast With Santa" when visiting the resort during the holiday season while parents will have the opportunity to play golf at the resort's two championship golf courses, play tennis at the award-winning Racquet Club or holiday shop only minutes away at any of historic Charleston, S.C.'s boutiques and shops.

Seabrook is located just a half an hour south of Charleston, right next door to Kiawah Island. Seabrook is home to two excellent, but often overlooked golf courses, Crooked Oaks and Ocean Winds. For more information on Seabrook's "Holiday Family Recreation Package," contact Seabrook Island Resort at 1-800-845-2475 or log onto www.discoverseabrook.com.

The Low Country on the Boob Tube

"Links Illustrated" is a half hour, syndicated prog

ram that is created and produced by Myrtle Beach resident John Erlenbach and Wild Wing Plantation teaching pro Mike Schroder. The show recently packed up hits bags and headed out of the Grand Strand for the charms of the Charleston area.

Schroder and Erlenbach are filming 17 shows at 17 Charleston area courses during the winter months. Erlenbach signed a one-year deal with Charleston Golf Inc., a non-profit marketing cooperative. Links Illustrated is one of the country's most venerable local golf shows, sporting a 15-year history. All but five of those years featured exclusive coverage of Grand Strand area golf courses.

Sign of the Times in Myrtle Beach?

The Links Group may not be alone in its struggles to stay afloat in the golf course management business. MyrtleBeachGolf.com sources indicate that the highly respected Legends Group, run by Grand Strand golf mogul Larry Young, may be flirting with going out of business. Unlike the Links Group, the Legends Group is known for operating some of the beach's best facilities, including the Legends complex off Highway 501, The Heritage Club in Pawleys Island, and Oyster Bay and Marsh Harbor in Brunswick County, N.C.

Fort Mill's Regent Park Gets a Scare

Just two months ago, Regent Park, a Ron Garl designed golf course in Fort Mill, S.C. just 10 miles south of Charlotte, received news that it would host an LPGA event in 2002. When the 2002 LPGA schedule was released recently, Fort Mill was nowhere to be found.

The schedule included three tournaments "to be determined" during the weeks of April 25 through 28, Sept. 26 through 29, and Oct. 10 through 13. Tournament Director Jack Sullivan said the likely date at Regent Park would be in September between the Solheim Cup and the Samsung World Championship.

Both tournaments are LPGA Major events. The April dates are also a possibility since the LPGA seeks to improve the geographic flow of its events. The three tournaments following the April dates would be in the southeast, so Regent Park would be a natural fit.

From Florida - Trump Knows his Golf

Spending $10 to $15 million to build a golf course is considered lavish these days. So it comes as little surprise that Donald Trump spent $40 million on his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. Trump hired architect Jim Fazio to design the course, and essentially told him that cost was not a factor.

"He said if there is anything you want to do out here, just do it," Fazio said of his boss. "There was not budget. As an architect, you can't ask for anything better than that."

But Trump's micromanager side did make a brief appearance.

After finishing a round at his home course, the seven handicapper sat down at a table with Fazio and sketched out a redesign of the 16th hole.

"It is a good hole, but I think it could be a spectacular hole," Trump said.

Trump's tract hosted the LPGA's top 30 players in the Tyco/ADT Championship in November.

Arizona Stroke Play Championship

Four previous winners will be in the field of 96 players for the 28th Arizona Stroke Play Championship Monday through Sunday, but the defending champion will not be among them. Chad Hossack, the 2000 champion from Mesa, joined a special services unit of the U.S. Army this summer and will not defend his title at the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain.

Two-time champion Ken Kellaney (1997, 1999) of Phoenix, who is also a two-time runner-up, will be trying to nail down his sixth Arizona Golf Association Player of the Year award. Kellaney is currently atop the points standings after winning the Arizona Public Links and Arizona Mid-Amateur championships. Other former champions include Armen Dirtadian (1976) of Tucson, Roger Brown (1996) of Arkansas City, Kan., and Bill Myers (1983) of Scottsdale.

The top returning finishers from last year are Mike Spiher (second) of Tempe, Brett Naylor (fifth) of Scottsdale Community College by way of South Africa and Dan Myers (sixth) of Oro Valley. Naylor, who accepted a golf scholarship from Arkansas, was one of four SCC players to make the cut.

Derek Scullard, a 23-year-old SCC sophomore from Durban, South Africa, could be poised to move up from last year's 15th-place finish after winning medalist honors at last spring's National Junior Community College championships.

ASU also will be well represented. Jesse Mueller, an 18-year-old freshman from Mesa, won the Arizona Amateur championship; Brian Nosler was a semifinalist at the 2001 U.S. Amateur; and Kurt Mayr of Austria finished 12th a year ago despite a final-round 79.

Other players to watch include 22-year-old Russell Bergsted III, the Northern Arizona Amateur Champion, and lefty Kevin Tone of Gilbert, the Southern Arizona Amateur Champion.

Also see this week's column: "Why Pinehurst Just Feels Like Home"

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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