The best golf destination is the next one. Like a bright white canvas or stocked pond that’s never been fished — it’s the golf trip you’ve never taken that pings the greatest excitement. Most of us have an internal golf course to do list. We daydream and plot our next trip, and how we’re going to rally the crew for a getaway.
Even with something as simple as golf travel; goals should be specific, realistic and timed. For example, winning a green jacket in April at Augusta National Golf Club isn’t an achievable goal — perhaps start with the open-to-the-public Pebble Beach or Pinehurst. Personally, there’s a lot to do, but I’ve made progress on my personal golf to do list: Thailand, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Nova Scotia and Colombia are dear to my heart. But I have so much work to do — here are my top four goals for 2020.
Those that visit the D.R. typically say the same thing, “Think Pebble, but even better.” I love playing golf in the Caribbean — my round with Greg Norman at Emerald Bay Golf Course in the Bahamas was quality and Four Seasons Nevis was good too, but I haven’t teed it up in the Dominican Republic and it’s high on my list.
Targets: Puntacana Resort & Club and Casa de Campo
The Aloha State is symbolic for the start of a new PGA Tour season, Justin Thomas just won the Tournament of Champions in Maui. The television coverage is a nonstop tourism ad campaign for the eight major Hawaiian Islands — breaching whales sell tickets. Perhaps the biggest mistake of my golf life is when I passed on a trip to Four Seasons Resort Lanai in 2018. No problem though, Hawaii will knock again.
Targets: Nanea Golf Club and Kuki’o Golf & Beach Club
It’s a shameful confession, but I don’t own a single Scotland memory. Alas, no Kingsbarns or Carnoustie, but that will change. I’ve prepped for Scotland by losing dozens of balls in Ireland’s fescue dunes. The weather at European Club just south of Dublin was so bad it nearly forced my Irish playing partner to quit. I’ve been conditioned, but haven’t made it to the home of golf. It’s gonna happen and when it does, it will be so, so sweet.
Targets: any and all
There are a lot of quality places to tee it up in America. Personally, I love South Carolina and Michigan. Both places have elite golf, but the Lowcountry shrimp and Great Lakes fried crappie are equally as good. Michigan is special for its bent grass greens, blue spruce trees, pristine course conditions and cool summer nights. When the snow melts, Michigan blossoms. To the west and across Lake Michigan is Wisconsin and the world famous Destination Kohler. Pete Dye’s Whistling Straits is there, it will host the 2020 Ryder Cup. Another Dye masterpiece is also there, it’s called Blackwolf Run — it’s 36 holes of the best holes Pete Dye ever designed.
I chatted with a gentleman a few days ago. He’d just returned from Ireland and was beaming from the experience. I logically asked, “Do you play golf?”
He replied, “No, never have.”
I felt slightly sad. I can’t imagine going to Ireland and not playing golf. After all, the Guinness tastes a lot better after you’ve just made a brilliant par on 18 to break 100 in a 40 mph wind.
A new year provides new opportunities — these are my goals. What are yours?