Tiger Woods loves Orlando's Bay Hill Golf Club, but what's the best PGA Tour stop for us: the travel golfer?
Another electrifying, 72nd hole win by Tiger Woods at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational, and suddenly this Orlando jewel is on that many more golfers’ bucket lists.
Hosting a PGA Tour event is big business. Clubs must not only renovate and lengthen their layouts constantly to adapt to the changing pro game, but also ensure the infrastructure is in place to host 40,000 spectators, hundreds of media - not to mention pamper the players and their families.
But if you do host a tournament, the exposure that is priceless (especially if You Know Who is in the field). Look at about every golf destination, and the course that hosts a PGA Tour event is usually the most expensive course there. When a golfer sees a pro playing a golf course on TV, they instantly add it to their list. Just look at the British Open rota in Scotland. They’re not incredibly different from some of the links that don’t get a venue (other than being able to get 40,000 fans to the club and around the course, and keep a championship length over 7,200 yards), but they often charge double the quid for 18 holes. And we pay it.
With this in mind, we just posted a feature on TravelGolf.com on the top PGA Tour venues that everyone can play (Click here for the full article). We’ve ranked them by three catetories 1-10, three factors I think are most important to traveling golfers when they’re willing to shell out more cash than their comfort zone usually allows:
Prestige: Hosting the PLAYERS Championship is a little different than hosting a Silly Season event. Courses like Pebble Beach & Torrey Pines South are U.S. Open venues and have their share of historic moments every golfer knows about. A great signature hole, like the 18th at Harbour Town helps too.
Value: Sure, we all want to play Pebble, but not all of us, no matter how golf-obsessed we are, will be willing to foot the mandatory $1000 (or more) stay-and-play fee. None of these courses are cheap, but some offer reasonable stay-and-play deals or good off-season rates like Harbour Town in Hilton Head.
Golf Destination: For a lot of golfers, a great PGA Tour venue is a centerpiece to a top-notch golf trip. A trip to Monterrey is going to be better than a trip to Miami, for example.
We couldn’t get to all the courses in this column, so we highlighted the courses that have been traditional venues over a number of years for the PGA Tour and their tournaments attract the top fields. Our apologies to the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, Kapalua Plantation in Maui among a few others. These courses are certainly worthy of a traveling golfer’s buck, especially given their locations.
Now, this list does not include major championship venues that aren’t on the schedule every year, so there are a few notable courses left off this list, like Pinehurst No. 2, Bethpage Black and Whistling Straits. Sounds like a good follow-up feature…
We’d love to get your thoughts on the rankings, especially those who have played several (or even all) of these golf courses. You can comment either on this blog, the story itself or rate the golf courses via WorldGolf.com’s Exit Polls.
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