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The World Am is a unique and incredible golf experience for those who like a little competition. It mixes fun and focus like no other such event. (Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday)

The World Am is a unique and incredible golf experience for those who like a little competition. It mixes fun and focus like no other such event. (Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday)

What do thousands of Myrtle Beach-bound golfers know that you don’t?

You may have seen it on Sunday on the face of Billy Horschel as he won the FedEx Cup (and a cool $11.4 million): the thrill of competition.

Amateur tournaments like the annual Myrtle Beach World Am and many others give players like you and me the chance to feel what the pros feel on a weekly basis.

(I played in the World Am a few weeks ago, to see what all the fuss is about, and let me tell you – it’s the real deal).

If you tee it up in one of these events, you’ll notice your heart pumping a bit more than it does in your weekly $2 Nassau. Plus, you’ll get to meet fellow avid golfers and make new friends and lasting memories, which is part of what makes golf so special.

Bottom line: if you haven’t played in one of these events, you’re missing out. Let me show you:

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While watching the BMW Championship this weekend, something dawned on me.

It was the first time the PGA Tour had been to Colorado since legalization…

…of recreational marijuana.

Now, it’s not my cup of tea (or THC), but it’s no coincidence that there’s been an uptick in tourism this year in the Rocky Mountain State. That goes for golfers as well, especially if Golf Digest’s recent article on the intersection of strokes and tokes is any indication.

Here at Golf Vacation Insider, we pride ourselves on staying on top of any and all new trends in golf travel, for the good of our readers, who may or may not be curious about “elevating” their golf games out West.

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Regular readers of Golf Vacation Insider know I often send reminders of critical dates and deadlines.

Well, one of these critical deadlines is not a deadline anymore. Even still, if you’re thinking about playing the Old Course at St. Andrews next year, you’d better act before September 15, 2014.

Miss this opportunity, and you’ll likely have to pay about $1,000 for an advanced, Old Course tee time you could have obtained for about $250.

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Carmel Valley Ranch's amenities include a Pete Dye-designed golf course and a terrific tennis facility. (Carmel Valley Ranch)

Carmel Valley Ranch’s amenities include a Pete Dye-designed golf course and a terrific tennis facility. (Carmel Valley Ranch)

A lot of our tips tend to revolve around encouraging you to go on vacation that are more or less all golf, all the time.

This is not one of those tips.

I know how many of you feel: golf should be a huge part of any vacation. But should it be the only leisure activity

No way!

One favorite non-golf activity among golfers is tennis. With its slightly more intense brand of exercise and similar embrace of pairs or foursomes, tennis is a natural companion activity to any golf vacation.

Keeping in mind that tennis fans are fixated on the U.S. Open from New York, here are ten resorts where you can have fun both on the course and on the court:

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Arcadia Bluffs, with its spectacular views of Lake Michigan, is a tremendous place to play and stay. (Arcadia Bluffs)

It’s like waking up, walking to your kitchen, and finding breakfast on the table waiting for you.

The opportunity to walk down a flight of stairs and find oneself on the first tee of a nice golf course is a rare treat.

See, most resorts have their accommodations near the course. But there’s just something a little bit sweeter about the opportunity to stay “on” the course. Here are six places where you can do just that:

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Colorado's The Broadmoor is one of America's great old-line golf resorts.

Colorado’s The Broadmoor is one of America’s great old-line golf resorts.

If you drink bourbon, you probably know there’s Pappy Van Winkle, then there’s everything else. Pappy is Pappy because it is aged, and the aging process makes the product better than just about anything else out there.

Consider these seven, then, the Pappy Van Winkle of resorts.

Still somewhat on the more formal side, they have housed, nurtured and refreshed thousands of discerning travelers for decades. Their classic décor, gorgeous settings, fine dining, impeccable service and storied histories are part of the experience.

To visit is to take your own place in the history of one of America’s great resorts.

Here are seven such resorts, each worthy of the title “Grande Dame”:

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What the gorgeous Green Glory book looks likeThis is one of those real “finds” I love tipping you off about.

The timing is perfect given what’s happening this week.

An awesome golf book about The PGA Championship and golf’s other major tournaments was recently published…but very few people know about it.

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There are plenty of PGA Championship courses you can play on golf vacations, including North Carolina’s Tanglewood Park Championship Course, above.

Do you think Tiger Woods will get his major championship mojo back this week? You probably recall his thrilling duel with journeyman Bob May back in 2000. Dustin Johnson was looking like one of the favorites at Valhalla until his latest suspension for testing positive for cocaine put a halt to all that.

With all this golf news swirling as the season’s final major approaches, I have been wondering how many past and future PGA Championship courses are available for public play, much like I’ve advised with respect to U.S Open and British Open courses.

Guess what? There are more of these courses than you might think…and you probably live or will soon travel near one of them.

Check out the list here:

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