Created in the same factory where both the Porsche Cayman and the Porsche Boxster are built, the ultra luxurious Garia Soleil de Minuit golf cart makes its public debut!
Glamorously posing alongside of some of the most technologically advanced "supercars" at the 2010 Top Marques Monaco exhibition (considered by some to be the greatest show on Earth), the Garia was inspired by Formula One race cars with a haute-couture feel to create a unique golf car "guaranteed to give an exceptional driving experience. "
Should there be more fanfare for the Garia Soleil de Minuit as golf cart aficionados discuss the most expensive golf car ever made by a manufacturer? For $52,000 are you getting your money's worth?
Not only is she rounded and sleekly designed but the Garia Soleil de Minuit also features "a carbon roof, one-of custom paint tailored to enhance all of her design features, two-colored hand-stitched luxury seats, an alcantara roof lining and numerous hand-made details to create a truly unique luxury golf car."
Coolers in the standard, cookie-cutter golf carts just don't cut it in the Garia and an upgrade to a built-in refrigerator is available.
With exclusive personalization, your Garia can also be painted to resemble any automobile in the garage.
"Under the hood" for that price: double wishbone front suspension, drivetrain built by an Italian company that produces Ducati gearboxes and aluminum profiles in the frame.
So the "super" golf cart is born. Now it's only a matter of time before Jay Leno has one in his garage. As for me, I'm happy when my golf cart comes with a GPS!
On board the exquisite Dinamar Yacht after a great lunch at the Yacht Club at Palmas Del Mar.
There were so many great picture opportunities for Bahia Golf and Beach Resort (an ecological wonder) that I have selected a few here and will post the remainder on Flickr. A St. Regis Hotel is currently being built on the property (opening October 2010) and will only stand two stories high with great views and a southern feel!
The Gran Melia is a five-star luxury all-suite Resort located in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Views abound and for those vacationers who rarely see palm trees, you will never want to leave!
The pool at Gran Melia PR is one of the largest on the isla de encanta and the Wet Bar serves up an excellent mojito!
So many beautiful aspects to the Gran Melia Puerto Rico, from the Gardens to the Beach. Here are a few more pictures of this luxury resort!
The Gran Melia transforms at night and takes on a very romantic feel. I was told that there is a person who has the specific task each night of lamp lighter for all of the candles within the Resort that cast a magnificent glow!
A Grand View at Sunset from the Beach at Gran Melia in Puerto Rico.
There are top quality, ecologically-friendly golf courses nearby: Bahia Golf Club, Palmas del Mar (I would mention Rio Mar in more detail but we played seven holes in a downpour) with Trump International PR as this Resort's next door neighbor. Although the Puerto Rico Open prevented us from playing here, the experience was well worth it!)
Delicious food (yes, I do have picture of some of the meals, just ask), sunsets like this and a warm welcome from the staff of the Gran Melia (and El Coqui) make you feel like Puerto Rico is truly the isla de encanta!
For the second consecutive year, Kodak selected the 18th hole of the Bay Hill Golf Club & Lodge as a participant in the $1 million Kodak Challenge competition.
What makes this final hole worthy of a Kodak moment?
According to Kodak, "the Kodak Challenge was created to celebrate the beautiful holes and memorable moments in golf."
Steve Powell, Director of Development for the Kodak Challenge added, " Number Eighteen at the Bay Hill Golf Club & Lodge is one of the most historic and exciting holes in golf and is the perfect example of what the Kodak Challenge is all about for players and fans."
The par-4, 485-yard finishing hole looks simple on paper. It's straight away to a wide fairway, but that's where simple ends. The large, kidney shaped green is fronted by rocks and water, requiring a longer carry to the right half. The bunkers left of the green await errant shorts of the hydrophobic.
Tee shots on this great finishing hole must find the fairway to give you a chance to get home in two. From the tee, favor the fairway's left side. Then take enough club to carry the lake. Shots hit over or left of this green will find a bunker or heavy grass. Take deep breath and fire away.
A back tee was added to increase the hole yardage by approximately 10 yards. The renovated green is almost a carbon copy of the old green with slight modifications in the green size to accommodate an additional front pin location and middle back pin location.
Despite Tiger Woods' absence from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it was reported that ticket sales remained unaffected. Although the media questioned whether or not Woods would defend his title (which briefly raised sales for the event) the Masters will benefit from his return.
Look for Woods' image, removed from the top banner of the official Arnold Palmer Invitational web site after the scandal erupted, to be back on the site as the 2009 champion.
This event has now become glory's last stand for Phil Mickelson who has one chance remaining to make his mark this season before having to compete with a hungry Tiger Woods.
Walking through to the rear of the local Golfsmith store, the putting green is surrounded by about a hundred different putters. Every big name and style of putter encircle the perimeter from Cleveland, Odyssey, Ping including belly putters, flat blades as well as two and three ball putters.
How many golfers that come upon this area in their local golf shop will walk away with just the right putter?
Some may simply walk over to a putter because of its look, pick it up, feel the weight and then take it into the putting 'green' to see how the ball bounces off of the clubface.
If a few golf balls find their intended target then 'voilà' the putter goes home with golfer to try out on the golf course. If the 'flat blade' works for a golfer out on the course then it gets rave reviews and pitched to friends, family, any one who will listen. If, however, your game suffers and your putts per round increase, that new putter either gets returned, exchanged or relegated to golf bag storage.
The above trial and error is one of the mainstays in which the amateur golfer can tell which putter works as putting is definitely based on feel.
I just received another email from a golf club manufacturer, Cleveland Golf, this time urging me to try the latest Classic 1 BRZ putter, "inspired by the classics, crafted for performance".
The new Cleveland Classic BRZ 1 putters are designed with a copper infused face insert for a soft yet responsive feel at impact and comes with its very own oil cloth to help prevent oxidation. According to PutterZone.com, "oil cloths are typically associated with high-end carbon steel putters bearing “oil can” and black oxide finishes.
Putterzone.com continued with the fact that the "finishes are much more sensitive to the elements—such as water and fertilizer—than stainless steel or plated finishes. Rubbing them down with oil adds a protective barrier to rust and corrosion."
Great, more work trying to keep my golf clubs in optimum condition.
The soft feel at impact as well as heel-toe weighting, however, may provide interest to golfers who will benefit from added forgiveness.
As it is said, 'it's the arrow, not the Indian' so the question for me is whether or not the reward of placing a new putter in my bag to possibly see an improvement in my putting outweighs the risk? Also, shelling out approximately $100 for yet another putter when my Odyssey two-ball putter does the job doesn't necessarily seem worth the investment.
On the flip side, the Cleveland Classic line of putters have earned best buy honors from PutterZone.com for the past two years and are really great looking! However, with all of the many choices in putters, don't be too quick to grab a putter from your local golf store with the hopes of improving your stroke and lowering your score.
Take your time to research the different putters on the market, find a golf store where you can feel the putter in your hands, take more than a few putts and be sure to ask about a return or exchange policy.
With golf club manufacturers eager for your business, be aware that sales is their primary concern. It is up to you to understand the market as well as your stroke.
Maybe this is just a rhetorical question as anyone keeping track of the PGA Tour can easily find the information but, with the internet and other assorted golf venues clogging up the airwaves with the return of Tiger Woods at the Masters Tournament, I had to go to the very bottom of the Golf Channel website in order to find out that the Transitions Championship is being telecast live today. I guess the Golf Channel must feel that "buzz" sells better than golf.
Even the mesmerizing John Daly, with his own Golf Channel presence and past indiscretions, cannot hold the attention of the public like the current fiasco which surrounds Woods.
I wonder if Daly is happy that the press is leaving him be for the present or dismayed about his loss of coverage to Tiger?
From "The Biggest Story Ever" which claims that Tiger Woods is indeed not as "big" as the Masters itself (but his story is) to "Things We Won't See or Hear at the Masters" which is basically a litany of Tiger briefings aimed at quelling the Q & A's before they start flying, golf writers are having a field day wondering what to talk about next in order to get as much press out of "The Return" as possible.
Frankly, I'm just interested in hunkering down to my yearly ritual and watching the Masters at Augusta. Knowing in advance that this particular major is known for its southern graciousness and hospitality, I don't think it will be because of the Masters that the tournament turns into a media circus.
As Richard Roeper stated, "With Tiger's return, the 2010 Masters will probably be the highest-rated golf tournament ever -- but that still won't make it the second-biggest event in 10 to 15 years." That is, as Roeper mentioned, unless Woods has the wherewithal to levitate above the golf course and start speaking in tongues."
Let's give each tournament the respect it's due, follow golf for the sake of the sport and leave personal sentiment and proclivities behind closed doors, where they belong!
Check out the Transitions Championship this week on the Golf Channel.
Golf fans are creatures of habit and are therefore are used to watching a regulation four rounds of tournament golf on the usual Thursday through Sunday without interruption. When that schedule goes awry, viewers tend to scatter and abandon their proclivities for other more regularly scheduled programming.
So went the tale of the 2010 Puerto Rico Open. Weather delays forced fans who normally would have been swept up by the drama of "must see" golf television to comfortably burrow into their strato-loungers and follow the WGC-CA Championships where Ernie Els did not disappoint.
As golf writers desperately searched for inspiring stories by following veteran John Daly (T24), one overlooked yet newsworthy rookie, Derek Lamely, was surging up the leaderboard.
Although Lamely won on the Nationwide Tour in 2009, his name is not yet synonymous with the big draws because it takes time and many attempts to get noticed and some positive press. Although he m/c'd his last three out of four events Derek has made four out of eight cuts on the PGA Tour this season.
Even more impressive, looking at Tour stats, Derek not only turned in the second lowest final 36 holes on the PGA Tour this year with a 15-under 129 but fired a course record 9-under 63 in the third round. His 19-under 269 total is a tournament record. Last year Derek finished tied for thirteenth after entering the event as a Monday qualifier.
Derek Lamely made Trump International golf course look easy!
Congratulations to Derek Lamely on his breakthrough win! With his full exemption on the PGA Tour through the 2012 season, does he now have enough confidence to take on Tiger Woods?
As Derek Lamely admitted after his win, "I'm still a rookie out here, even though I just won."
In spite of rainy conditions at the 2010 Puerto Rico Open an estimated 30,000 people attended the event at Trump International Golf Club. Barry and I spent much of our time tweeting and taking pictures from the Banco Popular and Puerto Rico Tourism skyboxes, as well as from areas around the 14th and 18th holes.
More images of the 2010 Puerto Rico Open at Trump International Golf Club can be seen on our Flickr page.
At a cocktail reception held Friday evening in the lobby of Puerto Rico's luxurious Gran Melia Resort, we engaged in conversation with General Manager Hendrick Santos. Barry casually mentioned that the hotel staff always has a smile and maintains a pleasant attitude whenever we have been in their presence. Being reasonably well-travelled within the US and the Caribbean, we noticed this friendly warmth at Gran Melia more so than at other resorts in which we have stayed and believed it important enough to make mention of it.
As you can see from the pictures, we were excited to be asked to say a few words about this to the housekeeping staff, to let them know that guests really do see and take mental note of the attitude of the resort in which they stay. There are many beautiful retreats in the world but it is uncommon to find such hospitality as we found here at the Gran Melia in Puerto Rico.
Robert Berkowitz, Director of Group Sales, was among the gathering this morning. We asked if there were plans to upgrade the natural beach surrounding the property to a soft, silky sand. He told us that the Puerto Rican government has finally given permission and approvals to extend and improve the beach area depth to twenty feet and complement the very large pool areas of the hotel. This project should be completed by April 2011.
GranMelia is now a "preferred" hotel with a newly earned five-star designation. Well deserved.
After a delicious breakfast consisting of bagels and smoked salmon at the Cafe Soleil, we shuttled over to Trump International Golf Course to catch up with the golfers at the end of round two and view the cut line.
Banco Popular invited media for lunch and to watch PGA Tour golfers putt out on eighteen. Although Puerto Rican hopeful, amateur Erick Morales missed the cut, he drew the loudest cheers. Rafael Campos, another up-and coming PR golfer, was also among the crowd.
We're now heading out to the pool, in order to catch the last rays of Puerto Rican sunshine before we fly back to New York. At the Delta desk, we're going to use a tip we received from an airline employee and ask for a seat upgrade so our bags can fly for free! Costs about the same but at least we'll be comfortable!
By looking at the course and grounds of Trump International Golf Course in Puerto Rico, you would never think that there more than a sprinkle has fallen in the past week.
Mark Stevens at PGA Tour HQ relayed that a total of 6.6 inches of rain fell on Thursday. Five inches of rain fell on the course between Friday, March 5th and Sunday, March 7th. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week an additional four-tenths of an inch fell. That's a lot of rain and I hear that New York will be suffering while we're here taking in the great weather.
In stark contrast to Nueva York, the sun is shining brightly today in Puerto Rico, the Shining Star of the Caribbean, and the "tan" index is great. With only two days left to our stay, I wonder when we will return but a good golfer knows to always remain "in the present". With that in mind I will look only as far forward as to the fiesta in the hospitality center tonight, the theme being "El Yunque".
Aside from another morning swim at the incredibly large and glamorous Gran Melia Resort pool complex we had a great almuerzo (lunch) at the Wet Bar overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. While eating at the grill we were surrounded by a variety of players who had just finished their first round and many were commenting that they have never stayed at such a large, beautiful resort as the Gran Melia.
Barry and I also viewed great golf action today along the 14th and 18th holes.
By positioning ourselves at the 18th, we were able to easily move to the 14th tee so we saw great drives, approach shots and putts by Tom Kite and Gustafsson. Barry helped untangle Gustafsson's caddie from his caddie bag and I watched as Gustafson carefully entered his score after his round. This was all as close as if you were a part of the foursome!
Tom Kite hit his drive on eighteen near a palm tree just a few feet from me and, after his great approach to the green (Kite thought it wasn't so great), a fan shouted out, "don't look so upset Tom; you designed it!"
All in all, the golfers are happy to finally play golf. Rumblings of a Monday finish may lessen the number of fans at the course but the Golf Channel will cover the Puerto Rico Open through to its finale so stay tuned!
Today was supposed to be an early start to Day One at the Puerto Rico Open but Mother Nature did not comply. Early rains and a very wet Trump International golf course delayed the resumption of Round One despite all efforts to make the course playable, including a helicopter to blow dry the fairways.
Instead I took an early morning swim in one of the largest pools I have ever seen at the Gran Melia. After un desayuno muy delicioso (it's amazing how you can learn Spanish so quickly here) at the Soleil Cafe, we wandered through the royal gardens, again waiting for word that play would continue but...no luck.
The waiting game is more frustrating for the golfers than for the press or even for the fans. While stretching our legs we came across John Daly who was heading over to Trump International Golf Course. Jonathan Margolies was standing at the front desk with us but not to practice as he unfortunately missed the cut this week.
On the tram over to Trump GC, Chris DiMarco mentioned that he was "bored" and when Barry asked does this happen often DeMarco replied, "this year there have been a lot of weather delays. It's just something you have to get used to."
Vance Veazey's caddie, John, was offering me tips on the mental game of golf. I was curious as to how heavy Vance's bag is and John said, "give it a try", so I did and found out that almost sixty pounds of dead weight is too much to carry for eighteen holes. I give John, and all caddies, a lot of credit!
Crossing our fingers, the golfers should get out by 4:35 pm. Even so, with only about two hours of sunlight left for the day, I don't think that anyone will complete Round One of the Puerto Rico Open today without the help of a flashlight!
Round one of the Puerto Rico Open turned out to be an early wash with "unplayable conditions". Although Skip Kendall eagled the first hole at Trump International Golf Course, there is sure to be plenty of action in the coming days. Play resumes tomorrow (Friday morning) at 7:15 am with only a 30 percent chance of rain.
The golfers will be playing "Preferred lies" which is mentioned in the appendix of the official rules of golf. Briefly stated, a player whose ball is in the fairway would be allowed to improve the lie due to weather conditions.
Puerto Rico is a place where you can still have a great time in spite of the weather; a true test of a great vacation destination!
For example, shopping for clothes at Trump's Proshop while waiting for the rain to let up?
Barry and I also had the opportunity to learn more about the island "experience" as well as new and exciting plans for Puerto Rico while speaking with Jaime A. Lopez Diaz, the Executive Director (Minister) of Tourism for Puerto Rico.
One important attraction for main-landers is that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States which means no passports are required. The very tropical, caribbean feel is evident from the palm trees which sway and crackle in the breeze to the music which defines the island.
Although we played golf at Bahia Beach yesterday (where the Puerto Rico Open qualifiers were held), there are eight courses in this region with a total of twenty-three in Puerto Rico; seventeen which are championship standard.
Upscale hotels and villas are springing up all around the Gran Melia from the Wyndham (set to open in 2011) to the St. Regis, which is located on the Bahia property. The understated elegance all around us makes this area a great value for the dollar.
Sure, we'll be following the golfers at the beautiful Trump International Golf Course but I also hope that we can get in a bit of sightseeing. I understand that El Yunque is one of among twenty-eight nominees as a new "7th Natural Wonder of the World" and that there is life that exists in El Yunque that can be found no where else in the world!
Puerto Rico is abuzz this week for the Puerto Rico Open. Trump International Golf Club, right next door to the Gran Melia, is hosting the PGA Tour event. I hear that Donald Trump is staying somewhere on the premises, probably in one of the luxurious beachside villas.
We haven't seen Trump in person yet because, as he was losing to John Daly, we were playing a round of golf at the extraordinary Palmas del Mar.
Barry and I have our own suite at the Gran Melia checking out not only the tournament but also taking in the sites and playing golf on some of the wonderful courses nearby.
Today, we were invited to Bahia Beach and Golf Club. It is one of the most magnificent, tropical/ocean golf courses you would ever wish to play. Each hole has unsurpassed views everywhere you look. The course is challenging and can also be user-friendly, depending upon your choice of tee-box.
We will be updating you throughout the week from the Puerto Rico Open with interesting facts and pictures as we see it, both on Golf for Beginners and through Twitter. We hope you enjoy our coverage.
Both the Puerto Rico Open and the WGC-CA Championships are being played this week but Doral doesn't quite hold the same "mystique" as in previous years.
With Tiger Woods opting out of another event on the PGA Tour schedule, fans need excitement and the Puerto Rico Open is an event ready to comply!
Here are just a few reasons to tune in to the 2010 Puerto Rico Open this week:
1. This is the only stop on the PGA Tour that lands in Puerto Rico. In 2009, forty-two year-old Michael Bradley landed an 11-foot birdie putt to seal the deal at the 18th hole on Trump International Golf Club. He will be in the field to defend his win.
2. John Daly received a sponsor's exemption. Expect the Lion's clothes to match his colorful spirit. As he said on Twitter, "Changing out grips and Gettin Ready for a great Week at the Puerto Rico Open."
3. Check out some of Latin America's finest players: Rafael Campos, Max Alverio and Erick Morales. The PGA Tour is not all about Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker, now is it?
4. Champions Tour golfers Tom Pernice Jr. and Fred Funk will be in the field. Let's watch Funk's return after knee surgery I don't think Vijay Singh ever really recovered, do you?
Tom Kite, the course designer of Trump International GC, among other great golfers, will also be in the field.
5. Trump International Golf Club, at 7,526 yards, is one of the longest on the PGA Tour. Scores have been so close in the previous two years of the event which leads to dramatic thrills on the 18th green. Views of El Yunque Rain Forest and the Atlantic Ocean are breathtaking!
Puerto Rico is a 3,350 square mile Commonwealth of the USA. Watching this stop on the PGA Tour may just give you the desire to visit the Shining Star of the Caribbean!
The Golf Channel will cover the event from Thursday through Sunday. Check your local listings.
Designed with an impact resistant top and high density foam padding to ensure maximum protection, this stylish new model further strengthens the Company’s innovative travel cover line.
Featuring an ergonomic neoprene handle for easy maneuverability, the T-700 comfortably fits a 48” driver and up to a 10” cart bag and is equipped with internal compression straps that stabilize the bag to ensure clubs are packed safely inside while being transported. A lockable, full wrap-around main zipper offers easy access for packing and unpacking while an over-sized dual zippered shoe/garment pocket leaves ample space to store shoes and/or additional personal items.
“Our intention for all of our travel cover designs is to make the club transport process as seamless as possible, offering products that are easy to maneuver and access but more importantly can absorb the rigors of travel without damaging golf clubs,” said Craig Ramsbottom, President, The Bag Boy Company.
Constructed with weather and tear resistant 600D polyester, the T-700 features deluxe skid bars on the back with a durable skid resistant PVC base and an integrated ID tag holder. For easy maneuverability the T-700 is equipped with smooth rolling in-line skate wheels perfect for climbing up steps and high curbs, and a lift assistant handle for easy loading into a vehicle.
The T-700 is offered in Black/Royal/Silver, Black/Charcoal/Silver and Black/Red/Silver. The travel cover will be available in green grass and retail locations in April 2010, and has a suggested retail price of $79.95. It's a small investment which yields peace-of-mind!
About Bag Boy
Founded in 1946, Bag Boy has become one of the most respected brands in golf by building a reputation for unmatched quality, unbelievable durability and unsurpassed innovation and design. Bag Boy designs, manufactures and distributes a full line of innovative golf bags, push carts, travel covers and accessories designed for a golfer’s on-course convenience and comfort.
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