No more excuses: 2009 is the year to finally book that Scotland golf vacation
If you and your golf buddies have been on the fence about booking that Scotland golf vacation the past few years but haven't pulled the trigger, in 2009 it's going to be dang difficult to "wait till next year."
For starters, the British pound is weaker against the euro and U.S. dollar than it's been in years (about $1.45 to £1 currently). Last year at this time, it was over $2 to £1. And the annual 5-10 percent increase in green fees at many clubs appears to have finally halted. Royal Troon even dropped their mandatory day pass, so you can now just book one round on the Old Course and save £60.
But on top of that, the golf courses in Scotland are dishing out their own pre-emptive strike against the global economic (and travel) slowdown of 2009 by offering the country's biggest free golf giveaway ever.
It's the "Drive it Home Scotland" initiative, and they're giving away thousands of free fourballs for the summertime to golfers from all over the world.
Here's how it works: More than 100 of the 550 golf clubs in Scotland have agreed to offer a number of free foursomes over the course of 2009. You apply for a free foursome online at DriveItHomeScotland.com. When approved, you'll receive notification of the club and tee time, and it will be up to you to RSVP you and your three buddies.
The clubs range from lesser-known traditional local clubs to Open Championship venues like Royal Troon and Carnoustie. Even Glenagles made all three of its fabulous heathland courses available - or you could score a round on the Fairmont St. Andrews' Kittocks or Torrance courses.
The first phase, which gave away more than 2,000 foursomes, sold out fast. But a second phase is schedule to begin in mid-March (and another phase may be offered around the time of the Open Championship). If you want to make sure you don't miss the next window, go to DriveitHomeScotland.com and enter your e-mail, and you'll be notified once the giveaway is back on.
The South Padre Island, Texas area is a great winter getaway for golf because the secret isn't really out on the local golf scene. If you spent a few days on the South Texas coast, you could play quality layouts like Rancho Viejo Resort & Country Club and South Padre Island Golf Club, and you won't have to max out another credit card to do it.
Prowling the floors at the PGA Merchandise Show, I was on the lookout for the hottest, new things from women, things not only to improve our game but apparel that would make us look like we were scratch golfers, Katharine Dyson writes in her latest Ladies Locker Room column.
We know golfers love the courses at Torrey Pines, but it seems people also think very highly of the resort there. So much so that once again, according to Travel+Leisure magazine readers, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is the No. 1 resort in the San Diego area, followed by the Four Seasons Resort Aviara.