Pictured above: Hole No 8, Pinehurst No 2
By TJ Rule / Golf Away Tours
It’s this time of year when I start missing golf again. I’m lucky enough that I get to play a fair number of rounds during our short Ontario golf season at my beloved Scarboro GC, so come November, I don’t mind the break from playing, and December seems to fly by every year with holiday parties, shopping and family time over Christmas. So it really doesn’t hit me until we stumble into the New Year, and I then I get the itch. And every year the itch gets worse. I used to make it through our winters without swinging a club, but now I’m making frequent trips to the basement to waggle my driver (did that come out right?)
I have to say that I do enjoy hitting balls in the new golf simulators and have spent many an hour down at Lakeshore Links over the past few winters, however, despite the significant improvements in golf simulator technology over the past few years, it still doesn’t compare to seeing a ball soar into the air and travel further than 13 feet!
So, the past few years I have made a point of taking a winter golf trip to Florida, Arizona and Portugal among other places. This year, I’m heading to the PGA Show in Orlando via Pinehurst. I’ve been to the PGA Show once before, and this year I am looking forward to meeting with many industry colleagues while sneaking in a round or two of golf. Matt and I already have our tee time booked at Streamsong Resort, and I’m excited to get a first hand look at what has been viewed as the best golf resort to open in the US since Bandon Dunes.
Normally I would fly to Florida, but this year, I’m making a road trip out of it! It helps that I like to drive, and who doesn’t like a guy’s road trip? My good friend Darren is joining me on the road this year, and I’m actually looking forward to the initial 12 hour overnight drive to Pinehurst. Although many prefer the convenience of air travel – and I can’t blame anyone for flying instead of driving – there’s something exciting about driving south in the winter; the anticipation growing with every state you pass through on your way to the Carolinas, or Georgia, or Florida. I get giddy when the outside thermometer on my car reaches double digits, and love rolling down the window every couple of hours, sticking my arm out to feel how “warm” it really is. 12 degrees is downright balmy!
I’ll be making a beeline to Pinehurst to see the newly renovated #2 course that will host both the Men’s and Women’s US Opens on back-to-back weeks in June. I’ll be staying at the magnificent Pinehurst Resort, which is a must see for all golf enthusiasts. We’ve had many requests for trips to Pinehurst in 2014, and if you’re interested, you’d better act quickly because after the Opens in June, #2 will be closed for a few months to change all of the greens from bent grass to Bermuda. So in order to see how the best men and women in the world will be playing the course, you’ll have to tee it up there prior to June.
As much as the trip down is exciting, the drive home is the exact opposite. I guess that’s the price you pay when you decide to drive south for a winter golf vacation. Reality eventually strikes, and you realize you have to return to the cold Ontario winter and start counting down the days to April. But at least this year I will have had my golf fix, and that should be enough to get me through the rest of the winter. Aw, who am I kidding, I’ll be on the road again in February.
TJ Rule is co-owner of Golf Away Tours, which offers personalized golf experiences to the best destinations in the world.