I have visited the Caribbean a number of times, starting in 1974 and the last time in 2003. Although there for a vacation, (minus the golf clubs) I have been increasingly aware of the lack of safety in certain areas. Once you 'step outside' the safety of a tour group or a resort, you had better be briefed as to the potential of criminal activity. Personally, it could have not been more obvious in Puerto Rico and Jamaica for example.
You know something is seriously wrong when armed police travel the beaches in pairs on ATVs and all access to the beaches are locked down before dusk! That's a no-brainer! (Puerto Rico) Also, there can be an armed policeman standing behind the counter of a pharmacy - which has iron bars on all windows and the door. Duh! Beware of taxi drivers also. Two couples off a ship in Ocho Rios travelled together (safety in numbers - right?) only to be robbed at gunpoint by armed bandits, including their driver. A daughter has worked every winter for a number of years on one of the smaller islands - and there are places she would never consider to travel alone. What on earth is wrong with telling the truth? Warned is forearmed. I cringe at some of the glossing over that is done by the travel industry. It's like not warning swimmers about the 'Big White' in the ocean off Australian beaches.
Audrey Wright, Nanaimo, B.C.
I have "enjoyed" the Tim McDonald articles on golf in the Caribbean. It is really lucky the Travel.com is not a commercial enterprise, otherwise you would have to employ real golf writers (does Dale still "write" for you?) Some of his facts are correct but certainly none of the GOLF facts! I have been involved in the golf industry in the Caribbean (and Bahamas) for over 30 years and the dangers McDonald points out certainly do not apply on the golf courses. It is too difficult writing in this little window, but I would love to take Tim on a golf tour of Jamaica (much safer than Miami, or Detroit).
After rereading all of Tim McDonald's "pieces" I want to ask: what do people think when they click a related link to one of your destination sites? Does his attacking style fit with your efforts? Every country in the world has its problems and Tim McDonald will never be a Michael Moore, and in the last 100 years I can recall only one incident on the golf courses in the Caribbean (wasn't that in a U.S. area?)
Gary Slatter, Wyndham Rose Hall
Your writer attacking carribean golf's safety is borderline moranic. being a florida resident, i play their often and am unscathed apart from losing some nassau's. now, the usga president is at question? the enquirer or star is where he should be. tabloid golf? please take me off your email list and i'll do my part to make sure i dont read your "the sky is falling" tabliod golf trash anymore. what happened to travel updates and vacation info?
Ashley Wilkinson, via email
If McDonald is in such a hissy fit about USGA president Fred Ridley being a member of two all-male clubs, why no uproar about the U.S. Women's Open being played at a course owned by an all-FEMALE school? Why no uproar? Easy answer. No political agendas or great PR opportunities (a la Martha Burke). Talk about hypocrisy.
Bruce Berlet, The Hartford Courant
If you feel the need to further your "politically correct" viewpoints, run for political office. I'm not interested in reading liberal rants in my golf publications.
Jim Colello, via email
In regards to Tim McDonald's comments and questions concerning Fred Ridley's membership to two country clubs that have no female members. I am always amazed at the furor that this creates. It is still my own opinion that a PRIVATE club has the rights under law to allow whoever it wants into membership. There are some clubs only that only females are allowed to join, so what? do you see an outcry for that? Of course you don't. So why is it such a BIG DEAL? Isn't there other things far more important then worrying about what club someone belongs to? I would hope so and besides remember this is a FREE country so allow people to have a difference of opinions and not let it seem that they are discrimination against someone or somebody.
Jeff Wilson, PGA Golf Professional
Why don't you Politically Correct nerds get a life? The women do not invite or welcome men onto the Ladies Tour or into the Daughters of the American Revolution. For that matter, how about men competing against the women on the Pro-Tennis tour? There are thousands of women's groups and places where men are not welcome and should not be welcomed! GET REAL!
Bob Rice, via email
Who cares about the hypocrite Martha Burk. She's in an several organizations that itself discriminates against men and any disenting opinion. There's plenty of private clubs that cater only to women. Your case falls on deaf ears. I could never get into these clubs either for I lack the monetary resources. Maybe that's a case that you should take up, class discrimination. Please don't bore me with McDonalds commentaries anymore.
Michael Hall, via email
Tell you what, you tell Tim Mc Donald to go take a flying leap off the Moon into the deep dark void of nothingness. Martha Burke?? Are you kidding me? Since when did he become the moral arbiter of all things considering private clubs? Who says a club can't have the members it wants? Does this club forbid women from playing? Does this club forbid women from being on club grounds? Doubt it. If a club was to start up tomorrow that allowed only women members I would say damn good for them!! There are women only organozations all over this country of almost any kind. Ever heard of NOW! Daughters of the American revolution? Don't sound like guy kinda places to me. Tim McDonald is nothing more than a tearjerking left wing weenie who has nothing better to worry about than this? Give me a break.
Linvel Lisenbee, via email
I have to wonder what country Mr. Mcdonald is from. In this country the constitution provides private organizations the freedom (the premise our society is based on) to allow whom they want to join (see boy scouts, girl scouts, NAACP, Daughter's of the American Revolution)as long as those organizations abide by the law. Mr. Mcdonald if you are so anti-freedom there are many societies that welcome and adopt the no liberty philosophical doctrine (see Iraq).
Steve Nelson, via email
Thank you, Tim McDonald. I have been watching my golf business decline for the past two years. I have also watched my own city's public golf course record a 25 percent decline in rounds and in return raise the green fees in effort to recoup the lost revenue. The notion that golfers are of the adage "if you build it they will come" is not true. Spending $125 and up for a round of golf every week in this economy no longer makes sense to golfers no matter baby boomer or avid. What's needed are not high end exclusive courses but reasonably priced courses that are playable to the average golfer, men and women. Until that happens, golf will continue to lose more players and you will be seeing those $400 drivers and $200 putters show up in garage sales.
R. Bivings, Mountain View, CA
I guess I do not understand why there can not be men only clubs. Why must women be a part of everything we do? I wonder why NOW does not admit men.
Laird Levison, via email
Can I be a member of the LPGA or be eligible to be MS AMERICA? Come on, don't beat a dead horse. Try putting a positive light on something. I know Robert wants to be edgy, but be cutting edge and write about something new and exciting. If you need suggestions on material give me a call or look me up when you in Vegas and I'll buy you a coldy and bend your ear on what I mean. I'm not saying you don't do a good job as I always read the first page to see what's up. Keep up the good work!
Scott Bowles, Golf Adventures
Oh, come on Tim McDonald! Cut the crap. My wife and I own 2 women only health and fitness clubs in Florida. If a woman wants to be able to work-out without men around, SHE should be able to do so. If a man wants to play golf without women around HE should be able to. I'm tired of people like you trying to force this unisex approach to everything in life on the rest of us. If our club members want to work-out in a gym without "a bunch of sweaty men" around as one of our members puts it, she should have that right. It's called freedom of association. Men have the same right to be able to enjoy a club of any kind where they can enjoy the company of other men. With people like you, someday we won't be able to go to the bathroom without a woman watching.
Nick Aramino, Contours Express
I am sick & tired of people with a righteous attitude telling me that I can't belong to an all male club. You know what, sometimes I just do not want to be around women. The best time I have are when I am golfing with the guys & I can fart & belch when I want. Get off your high horse Tim McDonald & leave guys like Fred Ridley alone.
Richard J. Durina, via email
It is a neverending source of amazement to me that Women's Membership in private clubs is an issue! I do believe that one of the rights won in the War of 1776 was "freedom of choice"! If a group of Irishmen band together and wish to exclude all but the Irish they should be able to do it! As long as they are not subsidized by "federal money" ie. tax dollars.
If you have writers like McDonald who expound the usual "liberal" pap, you will definitely not have a reader like myself! There are clubs across this land that only have Jewish membership, there are 3 clubs here in Florida that are men only...and in my judgment are right in excluding who ever they want as long as they are paying the freight!
How come the LPGA does not allow male players? Don't play the NOW mantra in this publication or you will lose many like myself who are tired of it! Why don't they climb all over the RAP singers who write and sing songs denigrating women with "bitch ho"... or promote violence against them! Why not take on the Black entertainment cartel. You guys stick to golf and the playing of it not the politics of it....fire that guy or have him come and talk to me and or give me equal space!
Jerry McManamon, Jerry Mac Golf, Inc.
My interest in golf exploded when I saw the many Korean women players in the LPGA. It got me excited and on the driving range about once a week. I never felt that way about Annika, though she is quite good as well.
I am surprised at the comments on this board. Why would someone ask a gifted young golfer to go back to school, unless he or she felt threatened. No one is stopping you or other golfers of other nationalities from playing golf- young or old. If anything, I see Annika playing better as a result of the challenge. Much like Mickelson's current surge against Tiger. The comments about Asian players being robot like are racist. So face the truth, you're a racist.
Last, I don't enjoy looking at the physical features of Meg Mallon. Maybe she should get on that Atkins diet, because she makes me turn off LPGA golf.
Edward Kim, via email
I'm stumped by your article "Caribbean golf: take your clubs, wallet and bodyguard" Wouldn't a Caribbean golf Web site want to encourage people to go play golf in the Caribbean? Aren't you shooting yourselves in the foot?
The article didn't have enough hard statistics on crime, disease, etc. to convince me (a journalist), but was rather general in telling people to steer clear of an entire island (St. Croix).Anyone who travels knows that not everyplace is as safe as the US (actually, how safe is the US?) How about some practical tips for travelers besides "don't go"? ("Ignore offers to buy drugs" goes without saying!)
Travel journalists have a responsibility to tell readers what to expect, but really, it's as if you're telling people not to go to the Caribbean at all! Some people like to have adventures when they travel, and if you only go to places that are perfectly safe, these days that's not going to be very far from home.
Mary Burnham, Key Largo, Fla.
I know others who travel and write about the carrib will disagree, but I think it's wonderful that you covered the topic of crime. Too many websites and mags serve as PR mouthpeices because we/the writers have accepted fam trips and feel compelled to give the destination a positive spin. Most publications covering carrib and carrib golf, in particular, can't afford to send their writers on assignment on the publication's tab. Isn't that true for travelgolf.com, too?
Name withheld, via email
Why anyone would want to travel to the Caribbean after reading this story is a mystery -- I'm assuming the writer moved - he obviously hates the region and is bitter about some personal experience he had. I travel to the Caribbean often -- have never had a single problem. Balanced coverage is one thing -- copy written to inspire panic is another.
Beth D'Addono, Belmont Hills, PA
Wow! It's been a long, long time since I read such a negative travel article. Either the writer had a VERY bad day or is really p*ssed off about something. Whatever. That's not the worst feature of the article... the worst part is that the writer insults the residents of the Caribbean Islands as he spews his hatred. I find that very distasteful.
Linda Coffman, Augusta, GA
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!