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The addition of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve adds a level of luxury to Dorado Beach Resort & Club.

The addition of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve adds a level of luxury to Dorado Beach Resort & Club.

Donald Trump’s redesigned Blue Monster course had a grand coming out party last week hosting the PGA Tour.

And there’s a lot more where that came from, and not only at Doral, sorry, Trump National Doral Miami.

Some of the best-known courses and resorts have recently received major improvements and additions.

Here are some I thought you might want to know about before making your spring and summer travel plans:

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I’ll never forget my first time playing golf in Mississippi.

After the round, one of the course rangers said:

“Man, you’re crazy to stomp around in these woods looking for your golf ball. Aren’t you worried about all the [deadly] Cottonmouth snakes in there?


I don’t remember my response because my mind was screaming, “Now you tell me!”

And that’s the point of today’s tip:

There are many popular golf destinations with wildlife issues — even if it’s relentless insects during certain months — but it’s usually assumed you’re aware of the risks and how to avoid being bitten, stung…or eaten.

So, want to avoid winding up in the emergency room…or worse?

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The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is one of the memorable off-course experiences in Northern Ireland

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is one of the memorable off-course experiences in Northern Ireland.

Last week I shared 14 of “Golf’s Greatest Off-Course Experiences” and asked for your help in getting us to 18.

All I can say is, “Wow.”

And, “Thank You.”

More than 50 great ideas came pouring in from you and your fellow, well-traveled readers.

Here’s a short list of the best experiences; those I either left out…or didn’t even know about (plus the full list of 65+ ideas if you want to see everything).

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Golf’s Greatest Off-Course Experiences

by Craig Better


tom-morris-shopUnless you live or vacation somewhere unaffected by this soul-crushing winter, you probably haven’t been playing a lot of golf lately.

So, today I’m going to share a few more ways to not play golf.

Wait — that didn’t come out right.

What I mean is…ways you can have very meaningful — often moving — golf experiences in your travels on days when you’re not playing golf.

Here’s my list of 14, but I’d love your help with the final four to get to 18 (because all golf lists have to have cute numbers like 9 or 18, right?)

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18 Great Golf Resorts for Couples

by Craig Better


I’m not someone who goes overboard for Valentine’s Day, but with the “holiday” coming up, I thought it would be a great time to answer a question I get quite often.

It goes something like this…

“I want to take my [special someone] away for [a special occasion]. Which resorts best combine a truly romantic, couples retreat with high-quality golf?”

A tall order, to be sure — especially if your mate doesn’t play the game — but a few places are so good, you’ll both be on cloud nine on and off the course.

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I don’t have stats on this, but it sure seems like more PGA Tour events are now played on publicly accessible courses than ever before.

Given how they look in high-definition and how Jim Nantz gushes about them, you might think you should jump at the chance to play any PGA Tour course with direct or indirect public access.

Sure, in many cases, it is a thrilling, memorable experience.

But take it from someone who has been burned more than a few times: not all PGA Tour courses are created equal. And just because you can “play where the pros play,” doesn’t mean you should.

The truth is, tour stops aren’t necessarily chosen because they are the best courses; there are lots of factors including (in some instances) how much money they are willing to shell out to get the exposure.

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The PGA Merchandise Show

The annual PGA Merchandise Show is wall-to-wall (and sometimes off-the-wall)golf. (Photo courtesy of PGA of America.)

Every year, I leave the PGA Merchandise Show saying, “now I’ve seen everything.”

And every year later I’m happily proven wrong.

“The Show” is the annual, Orlando, Fla., circus, er, event where everyone with golf-related products comes to hawk their wares to the trade.

And I do mean everyone: from the big boys like Titleist and Nike, to hopeful (and sometimes delusional) mom-n-pop inventors.

I saw some very cool things and met travel insiders I’m going to tell you about in the coming weeks.

But before we get to the best, I thought we’d have a little Friday fun and look at products and pitches that struck me as some of the worst.

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adam-scott-winsRemember Adam Scott rolling in that long, sudden-death putt to win last year’s Masters?

Or Bubba Watson the year before, hitting that magical, curving shot to win his green jacket?

The Masters always seems to produce this kind of drama, and if you want to experience it in person, keep reading.

That’s because I’ve arranged a $550 discount on the Masters trip of a lifetime.

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