Evelyn´s Travel Insights

For Memorable Golf Experiences!


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Los Cabos – Mexico´s undisputed golf capital

diamante golf1

Set back from the shoreline’s beaches and sparkling waters are 14 exquisite layouts built by luminaries such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and Davies Love III. With two courses on GOLF Magazine’s “Top 100 in the World” list and four of the top five courses in Mexico as ranked by Golf Digest, Los Cabos is considered the golf capital of Mexico.

I had the pleasure to meet Esteban Toledo, a multiple winner on the PGA Champions Tour and the official golf ambassador for the Los Cabos Tourism Board, at my last visit to Los Cabos. Attending Toledo´s golf clinic was fantastic but actually playing a few holes with the Mexican celebrity and Champions TOUR star – Toledo won the Champions Tour event at Pebble Beach in 2015 – was an unforgettable experience.

Toledo knows Cabo’s fantastic array of courses better than anybody else. He has played them all and raves about the beauty, challenge and variety of these world-class courses, which is second to none.

In an interview with my good friend Brian McCallen, former Senior Editor of GOLF Magazin, Toledo was asked to pick his favorite holes in Los Cabos and came up with a scintillating front nine. Comprised of three par 3’s, three par 4’s and three 5’s, each hole showcasing Cabo’s unique mountain-desert-ocean ecosystem.

“Not only does each hole present a compelling challenge, but taken together, I can’t think of a more scenic collection of golf holes anywhere in the world,” Toledo said. Yardages are listed from the back (championship) markers, though each hole has multiple sets of forward tees that give handicap players an appropriate test—and a fighting chance.

#1: Cabo del Sol (Ocean Course – No. 17) – Par 3 – 178 yards
One of the most dazzling par 3’s in the world. From the back set of markers, tee shots are played over a sandy cove to a perched green set atop a granite shelf fronted by scalloped bunkers, with the ocean crashing into the rocks on the right. The green is sizable but exposed to onshore breezes.

#2: Quivira No. 13 – Par 3 – 148 yards
A truly spectacular par 3. The tiny green at this breathtaking short hole crowns a massive pinnacle of granite that rises 150 feet from the foaming surf. There is a bail-out area to the left of the putting surface, but this hole requires a solid short-iron shot over a gaping abyss to the smallest target on the course.

#3: Puerto Los Cabos (Marina – No. 15) – Par 3 – 216 yards
Set on a bluff directly above the Sea of Cortes, this solid par 3 on the Marina Course at Puerto Los Cabos is one of the toughest one-shotters in town from the back tees. The subtly contoured green, flanked by bunkers, is half-hidden among the windswept dunes and can be very elusive.

#4: Palmilla (Mountain – No. 5) – Par 4 – 401 yards
From a hilltop platform, the tee shot at this dramatic par 4 is a forced carry over a deep arroyo to a long, sinuous fairway that looks like a green island floating in the blue sky. The approach shot is played to a sunken green fronted by a dry river bed and defended by a pair of deep sand pits. It’s the No. 1 handicap hole, and deserves to be.

#5: Cabo del Sol (Desert – No. 18) – Par 4 – 427 yards
At this picturesque closing hole, with the Sea of Cortes on the horizon, a meandering creek tumbles along the left side of fairway before crossing in front of the putting surface and spilling into a lake that guards the right side of the green. Based on pin placement, the large, undulating green can be very tricky.

#6: Cabo Real – No. 14 – Par 4 – 454 yards
With a fairway that tiptoes along the rim of a steep canyon and a green set beside a precipice at the layout’s highest point (460 feet above sea level), this challenging par 4, like most of the holes on Cabo Real’s back nine, is chiseled into desert foothills below rugged mountain peaks. A very firm test.

#7: Club Campestre – No. 7 – Par 5 – 541 yards
Tumbling down rolling foothills in the Sierra del la Laguna Mountains, Campestre’s signature hole is the risk-reward par 5 seventh, a Z-shaped double-dogleg that plays to a well-bunkered peninsula green that juts into a pond. This hole can be played boldly or conservatively but never easily.

#8: Cabo San Lucas CC – No. 7 – Par 5 – 610 yards
This club’s parkland-style layout, the only golf course in Los Cabos with a view of the iconic sea arch at Land’s End, boasts the double-dogleg par-5 seventh, which swings around a lake and stretches to 610 yards from the back tees. It ranks among the longest and most challenging holes in all of Mexico.

#9: Diamante (Dunes – No. 17) – Par 5 – 588 yards
This sturdy par 5 is a true three-shot hole that heads inland from the sea and usually plays downwind. Players must hit their tee shots over a broad arroyo to find a preferred landing area. An accurate lay-up is followed by a lofted approach shot to a shelf-like green perched 50 feet above the fairway.

If you have not had the chance to experience any of Cabo´s magnificent courses yet, put this awesome destination on your bucket list. You will surely be impressed by the quality and diversity of these golf experiences on offer at the tip of the southern Baja California Peninsula.

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Sage Valley – rivaling Augusta National GC?

sage valley

You want to play Augusta National but have been denied? Then you´d better take action. That is exactly what business man Weldon Wyatt did when his Augusta National membership application was rejected – at least that´s what rumor says.

Weldon Wyatt, who has made a fortune as the nation’s leading developer of Walmart stores, set out to create his own personal playground just a few miles away. “Bigger, better and more beautiful than the iconic Augusta National” that was his dream. The business tycoon asked Augusta National stalwart Jack Stephens, whom he would recommend to design his course. Tom Fazio, one of the luminaries of golf course architecture, was on the top of the list. Fazio likes to leave everything as natural as he can and has the ability to move things around, making everything look natural. In addition, no living designer has more credits on Golf Digest‘s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and Golfweek’s collection of America’s Best than Fazio.

If playing beautifully designed Sage Valley is unforgettable, so, too, was Wyatt’s first shot off the tee. The course that looks and feels much like Augusta National was opened on September 11, 2011 – despite of the national emergency caused by the terror attacks.

Sage Valley´s attention to professionalism, detail and service is second to none and you can feel Wyatt´s passion to strive for the ultimate experience in golf everywhere on-property. Even the maintenance people stop and wave. Perfectly manicured fairways, a drainage system under the undulated greens and thousands of colorful azaleas and dogwood trees add to the experience. The Caddies in white jumpsuits are perfectly trained and certainly enhance the golfing pleasure. Club employees caucus twice a week to discuss ways to improve your time even more.

“The thing that makes Sage different, I believe, is the way Sage treats people when they’re here. And we hear that consistently. It’s making them feel at home. The caddies here are different. The caddy program here, I’d put up against any place in the world.” Wyatt was quoted in the Augusta Magazine.

“From the moment you pull through the gates, until you leave, you feel like you have died and gone to golf course heaven, not to mention that the food is free at the half-way house, playing golf really doesn’t get any better than Sage Valley” raves Aaron Carson, a discriminating golfer who had the chance to play this ultra-exclusive course.

It is kind of unique to have two high-caliber golf courses just within 15 minutes of each other and people in Augusta have certainly drawn comparisons between Augusta National and Sage Valley. But even though the latter one provides an ultra-exclusive golfing experience and has hosted the planet’s most recognized celebrities, athletes and world leaders, it can and never will rival its famous neighboring course built by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie 83 years ago. You simply cannot replace historic value and mystique.

If you, however, should ever get the opportunity to tee-it up at Sage Valley, don´t miss it!


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Top 5 Reasons Why The 6th International PLAYERS Week should be on your bucket list

EPE logoNot surprising that FFCG has earned the recognition as the Sunshine State´s prime golf destination. A wide variety of accommodations will suit your taste, your budget and your style. Easily accessible, a fabulous climate with plenty of sunshine and with lots to do and to discover in addition to golf, this diverse destination is well worth visiting any time of the year. There is, however, one unique week in May that should be on the bucket list of every golfer – The International PLAYERS Week.

And here is why:

Reason #1: UNPARALLELED FAN EXPERIENCE at THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP at TPC SAWGRASS

THE PLAYERS Championship at famed TPC Sawgrass, recognized as the “5th MAJOR” , boasts not only the strongest field but also the biggest purse on the PGA TOUR. Walk the course with Tiger, Rory, Sergio & Martin and cheer for your favorite player on TOUR in the game’s greatest stadium. There is no other tournament on the PGA TOUR where you can get that close to the stars.

PLAYERS Championship

Watching the best players in the world challenge the famed island green at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most exciting experiences ever!

TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach is also home to the most famous hole in golf. Although just 137 yards long, approximately 11% of all balls are lost in the water surrounding this notorious hole during the PLAYERS Championship. According to PGATour.com, Lefty has plunked seven in the drink surrounding the peninsula green, while Tiger has only rinsed a measly three since 2003. Witness and experience this kind of drama in person at the most-photographed hole in the world, guaranteeing life-lasting memories.

Did you know that The PLAYERS Championship was ranked as the #1 tournament on the PGA TOUR calendar in 2015? In the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season, an unbelievable number of 47!! Tournaments were played in 50 weeks. The Players Championship turned out to be the #1 tournament of the season – followed by The US Open and The Masters Tournament.

According to CBS Sports Network, it truly checked all the boxes: Great winner! Thrilling play-off! Shot of the year! Unbelievable theater!

Reason #2: GOLF ON DIVERSE GOLF COURSES, SPICED WITH SEVERAL HIGHLIGHTS – ALL WITHIN AN EASY DRIVE!

The 75-mile stretch of FFCG beautiful coast line boasts more than 1000 superb golf holes and unlimited opportunities for the golf traveler. But quantity doesn’t come at the expense of quality. The game’s rich history and impressive golf course developments provide an abundant selection of outstanding layouts in different terrain. Playing partners from all around the world will add to the uniqueness of this week. Tee-it up on top-ranked courses including King & Bear GC, the world´s only Nicklaus& Palmer co-designed golf course! And if you have not surfed a golf course on a golf board yet, you will have a chance to do so during this week at St. Johns Country Club!

Group Photo

Part of the group participating in the 2015 Tournament – Argentina, Austria, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and USA

Reason #3: THE PLAYERS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP, RAPIDLY BECOMING FLORIDA´s #1 ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT!

THE 6th International PLAYERS Championship powered by Florida´s Firs Coast of Golf is traditionally run at King & Bear Golf Club on the last day of the week. Who will be crowned THE PLAYERS Amateur Champion 2016?

“We are expecting a record field in 2016. ”Tour operators have signed up their clients from as far as New Zealand again” says Paul Clare, CEO of Elite Golf Experiences®, who has been successfully running this multi-national PLAYERS week since 2011.

German and NZ Ladies signing flags

Ladies from Australia, New Zealand, Germany & Switzerland

The number of female golfers attending the tournament has been increasing over the last couple of years! “I have sent several groups and numerous repeat clients to this special week and everybody has always had a fantastic time” compliments Fernando Copete, General Manager Astro Tours Colombia, who has escorted groups from year 1.

Fun golf challenges and exciting Hole-In-One contests including a VIP trip for two people to The Masters

Ladies from Colombia

Ladies from Colombia

Tournament in Augusta, valued at $ 15,000.00 as well as the multi-national ambiance will add to your golfing pleasures. Having fun with old and new friends from all around the world has always been the key element of this special day.

Reason #4: DIVERSE ATTRACTIONS IN ADDITION TO GOLF

The stretch from Jacksonville to St. Augustine boasts numerous attractions. Learn more about the legends of golf through the world-renowned World Golf Hall of Fame! Step-back in time in America´s oldest city St. Augustine and discover its rich history. Experience Jacksonville´s vibrant nightlife! Shop till you drop – from artisan-crafted creations in unique shops in the historic district to the latest designer clothes at the outlet malls. A shopping excursion in this sensational shopping paradise will lead you to discover numerous treasures! Beautiful sandy beaches invite for relaxation after your round of golf, a wide range of excellent restaurant options will send your taste buds to nirvana. You’re spoilt for choice!

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World Golf Hall of Fame

In this unique International PLAYERS Week, everything can be perfectly combined and coordinated with your golf program. Besides your accompanying non-golfing partner will never have a dull moment either! Attend the private guided Tours to the World Golf Hall of Fame and St. Augustine! Take advantage of discount coupons for the Outlet Malls.

Reason #5:   INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS WEEK IS AFFORDABLE!

Golf at its Finest, Wow! Experiences and Life at its Best – all at a keen deal! “Value for money” is definitely one of the most overused terms in today´s world but it is certainly true for this week. In these rough times, you want to get more for your bucks, don´t you?

PLAYERS-2014--Argentinian-visitors-1Book this unbelievable International PLAYERS Week Experience for less than the price of one Masters Badge!

Interested in more detailed info on this year´s 6th INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS Championship WEEK – spiced with more highlights than ever before; May 11-18, 2016 in Florida?

Excited to experience the crown jewel of the PGA TOUR at TPC Sawgrass – live?

Ready to enjoy Golf at its Finest, Wow! Experiences and Life at its Best at Florida´s First Coast of Golf – all at a keen deal!

Experience the excitement; enjoy memories for a life-time!

www.ElitePlayersExperience.com