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By Dave Finn
Earlier this week I had the tremendous privilege of participating in the 17th Annual Chelsea Hotel Charity Golf Classic at Wooden Sticks in Uxbridge, Ontario. Not only did I get the opportunity to play at one of Canada’s premier golf courses, the tournament raised over $100,000 for a very worthy cause.
Tournament Organizer and Director of Public Relations for the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, Tracy Ford told me that:
“We have raised $1.5 million net for the following charities – Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity (when we were part of the Delta Hotels chain and it was their charity of choice) and then from 2013 to present, it’s SickKids Foundation. I chose them when we made the transition and had the opportunity to choose our own charity.”
by Michael Cunningham
Riding by horseback in the 1880’s from Tucson to the Mexican border site of Tubac, Arizona was a two-day journey. Ancient mountain ranges, multi-limbed 40-foot Saguaro cacti miraculously staking their rightful place on the dry desert floor, endless reminders of the severity of the journey.
Chiricahua Apache Indians, under the leadership of Cochise and Geronimo, were orchestrating relentless raids on early colonizers. In the 1880’s, southern Arizona was truly the ‘wild west’ a land of adversity and conflict a time of desperados and law enforcers.
‘Tin Stars’ the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Pat Garrett were “faithfully” serving out justice while improving the employment opportunities for morticians throughout the state.
How is it that within the generation of these mainstays of notoriety that a golf course would be developed. But in 1899, the prestigious Phoenix Golf and Country Club was constructed [the course’s permanent site was established in 1920]? With desert sand as fairways and oil to “level” the putting surface the dawn of golf in Arizona had commenced.
By Jane Finn as published in the Summer 2018 Issue of Travel Life Magazine
¡Pura Vida! ¡Pura Vida! In Costa Rica, whether you’re traversing a mountain range, hiking in the jungle, relaxing by the water or ordering shi-frijo for lunch, you’re bound to be the recipient of this distinctive Tico greeting. Two simple words that translate as “Good Life” but how do you define it?
Is it dangling on the precipice of a volcano, zipping above the treetops, hearing the roar of a waterfall or playing a round and spotting an animal in their native habitat? Is it meeting new people, savouring the flavours of a region, volunteering or a combination of all or some of these pursuits?
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a twosome, ‘fore-some’ or family, in Costa Rica you can immerse yourself in nature, get grounded and rediscover the essence of who you are.
For me, ¡Pura Vida! means doing more of what you love to do. Walking your happy path, wherever it may lead. For now; we’ll focus on the magical, mystical Pacific Coast.
by Edward Kiersh
Bergamo Italy – 3378 yards, extremely-tight fairways, and countless blind shots to microscopic greens all add up to pure deviltry, a par-seeker’s Hell.
So how does one prepare for the undulating fairways, sharp doglegs, and Alpine streams that complicate and doom even the best of shots?
Before heading to Bergamo’s L’Albenza Golf Club, once home to famous European Tour player Constantine Rocca, extreme measures might be necessary.
In intriguing Bergamo, an often-ignored, medieval-walled, “upper city” between Milan and Venice in northern Italy, that may well mean invoking golf’s gods—praying to them and asking for a blessed touch on L’Albenza’s dauntingly-slick, treacherously-sloped greens.
It’s unknown if Rocca, a runner-up at the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews believed in such saintly intervention, but before tackling L’Albenza’s 27 holes it’s best to get a good night’s sleep in the “upper city’s” boutique Gombit Hotel—and to find some heavenly inspiration in the towering Santa Maria Maggiore church.
As published in the July issue of Planet Golf Review Magazine
by Jane Finn
I love my wine … sometimes a little too much … especially on a Friday evening after a long week of too much work and too little fun but a ten day Tuscan golf and wine vacation has taught me not only how to swirl, sniff and sip a fine glass of Chianti but even more importantly, how to be in the moment and savour the entire experience.
Every month in Tuscany offers endless possibilities to indulge your passion for golf and wine but if you are as fortunate as we were to visit in September, every corner of the region is a whirlwind of festivals dedicated to the celebration of the grapes. The medieval village of Greve sits at the epicentre of the verdant Chianti valley that lies between Florence and Siena and I can’t think of a better place to start your own personal nine and wine odyssey.
by Edward Kiersh
Forget all the hocus pocus remedies about overcoming this malady. There is a cure—and it’s not found in pills, sleeping strategies, or the “Jet Lag Rooster” app.
If flying to dynamic Frankfurt, Germany, the gateway to Reislingland, charming Heidelberg and the Black Forest, wonder-working renewal comes in a curious mixture. Part John F. Kennedy at his boyish, flamboyant best; a sun-soaked, hotel atrium where relaxation means watching blond-haired frauleins; and a golf course where it’s easy to unwind.
Only 15 minutes from the clamorous airport, the Frankfurter Golf Club offers the perfect parkland course to get back into the swing of your natural rhythms.
Founded in 1913, and a genteel bastion in a city known for its energetic financial scene, the course has challenged the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer.
by Edward Kiersh
Villa Castagnola Italy – The adventure begins by first snaking past long-abandoned border outposts, into and out of Switzerland and Italy every few miles. Houses and small hillside farms also seem to be forsaken, and that’s understandable. The one lane roads here, twisting and turning, are mean and harrowing, edging precariously close to cliffs dropping off into oblivion.
It wasn’t easy leaving the comfortable confines of the five-star, Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, an 1880-built getaway once home to a noble Russian family that sits wondrously right on Lake Lugano. Instead of braving “mad” Italian drivers hurtling through hairpin turns, it would have been far less blood-curdling to sit at one of the Villa’s bars smoking a Cuban cigar, dining in the Michelin-starred Gallery Arté al Lago restaurant, or simply watching the world go by in the Castagnola’s sculpture garden.
Within our region, there are over 85 golf courses to suit every level of skill, and the majority are much more affordable than the GTA or Muskoka. Depending on your budget and location, there are 9-hole courses with green fees starting at $15, and championship courses like Blairhampton, that will test your skills. No matter your choice, our courses offer a relaxed environment with a lot less intimidation factor.
I was ten when I first swung a club, and I was hooked. I’d collect balls at the driving range and caddy, but I was in my twenties before I took my first lesson, one of my few regrets. If you have children who show an interest, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the many opportunities we have to teach them when they’re young.
Most of our courses offer group and individual lessons for adults, but I would suggest you enroll your kids in a summer golf camp. It will teach them patience, manners, respect, honesty and most importantly, perseverance.
by Jane Finn
I’ve listened to hundreds of TED talks and paid big bucks to listen to motivational speakers, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been as inspired as I was today after having lunch at the 18th with José Quesada.
José is a natural redhead, a spitfire, a bundle of energy, and a force to be reckoned with, who just happens to be the PGA Director of Golf for Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort. When José is not dreaming up innovative destination events or making improvements to an already exceptional course, he’s giving back to the community and that is the focus of this post.
Golf is an amazing game and a challenging sport for those of us who are able bodied. Just imagine how much more challenging it would be if you were blind, had autism or Down’s syndrome, were missing a limb, or were completely paralyzed.
Twelve years ago, after a close friend became disabled after an accident, José set out, with the support of his employer, on a mission to help people with physical or mental disabilities find hope to overcome their difficulties to not only survive but thrive.
By David Theoret
It’s getting to be that time of year again, the time of year when all eyes in the golfing world stare directly at Augusta, GA and the PGA Tour’s first major of the season.
Augusta, GA is certainly a well-known golf destination. Outside of that course that very few will ever have the privilege of playing, there are a number of great local tracks that the public does have access to. One of these courses is Forest Hills Golf Course, an 18-hole Donald Ross masterpiece that has been repeatedly named “Best Public Course” by Augusta Magazine.
Ross designed Forest Hills in 1926, and then in 1984, the Arnold Palmer Company redesigned several holes to accommodate construction of the Augusta University Athletic Complex. In 2004, the course was restored to its original design and has remained that way ever since.
There’s a lot of history behind Forest Hills; it’s where Bobby Jones started his Grand Slam of Golf in 1930. It’s also home to the 2010 NCAA Division I National Champions Augusta University Men’s and Women’s Jaguar Golf Teams, a feat which the Men’s Team repeated again in 2011. Several PGA Tour Professionals also played here during their college careers including Phil Michelson and Davis Love III.