Great Vacation Destinations for Golfers

Golf VacationGolf and vacation, is there a better combination? For those of you considering a vacation in the near future but are unsure of where to go, why not check out one of these destinations?  We decided to make this list based on cities, not resorts, because everyone knows the top resorts, and you can either afford to go there or you cannot. By picking the best golf vacation destinations based on city or region, we hope to make this list a little more attainable. Ultimately, we made this list based on a number of factors, but the most important feature to each town is this: the city lives for golf.

Colorado Springs, COColorado Springs is world famous for its golf. Three hundred plus days of sun a year, endless options for golf, and magnificent golf courses make this city a golfer’s paradise. The fact that you can hit the ball much further in this high altitude location is certainly an added bonus.

Phoenix, AZPhoenix boasts over 200 golf courses, meaning you can get a tee time just about whenever you want. Add in the majestic scenery and ability to golf year round, and you have the makings of a world class golf city.

Maui, HI – Priding itself as the island of choice for golfers, Maui has more golf courses per square foot than any other island in the chain. This clear dedication to the sport of golf, coupled with some of the best weather and nicest views in the world, makes Maui an easy choice for any golfer’s vacation list. If you are lucky enough to play in Maui, be sure to play the Plantation Course in Kapalua.

Hilton Head, SC – The South Carolina coast is simply stunning, and can be played practically year round. The small island of Hilton Head has over 20 golf courses to choose from, which is pretty substantial on an island with an area of only 55 square miles.

Palm Springs, CA – With over 100 golf courses, a backdrop of palm trees and mountains, and a community committed to golf, Palm Springs might just be golf nirvana. This city has been a haven for golfers for decades, and continues to have some of the nicest courses in the world.

This list is in no particular order, but if you would like to assign one, or if you think we missed a particular city, please leave a comment.

2013 Golf Ball Preview

Golf ball companies have upped the ante every year in the elusive race to produce a better ball than the Titleist Pro V1. So far, TaylorMade has come closest with the Penta TP5. Engineers from companies as diverse as Callaway, Bridgestone, and Nike have taken a crack at beating the Pro V1. Perhaps 2013 is the year of the golf ball breakthrough. The following is a preview of what to expect next year:

Titleist – Titleist lost Rory McIlroy to Nike this offseason. But no matter – the Pro V1 remains the most popular ball on tour. There are rumors that Titleist is testing a new prototype ball. Titleist has big shoes to fill and they should never be expected to replicate the impact of the Pro V1. But if any company can do it again, it’s them.

Nike – Nike has some big challenges ahead in trying to incorporate McIlroy into its golf family. They look to make improvements to the 20XI with the addition of a new RZN core. In addition, sources are reporting that the RZN technology will be added to its ONE line. We covered how Tiger Woods plays with an older ball not available to the public. Will this new RZN core addition persuade him to play with the 20XI? Also, it will be interesting to see what ball McIlroy uses.

TaylorMade – TaylorMade has internet messageboards abuzz with a secret ball dubbed “Project 5”. Justin Rose won the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final last October with the ball. Very little is known about the ball but many speculate that “Project 5”, or whatever it ends up being named, will replace the Penta TP5 as TaylorMade’s flagship ball. Early reviews have been outstanding. Could this be the next great ball?

Bridgestone/Callaway – There isn’t enough information out there, but it would be reasonable to assume that each of these companies will make an improvement to their top of the line balls (Callaway with the HEX Black Tour and Bridgestone with the B330). We’ll post reviews once details become known.

There is a lot at stake on and off the course for golf balls in 2013. Check back to this blog for regular updates and reviews.

Golf Balls used by the Top 5 Pros

As this blog has covered time and time again, the balance between distance and feel is the big question mark hanging over golf ball technology. Golf companies tout their latest achievements by finding new ways to bridge this gap. But as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”. So what do the golf pros think? Below is a list of golf balls used by the top 5 players in the world:

1. Rory McIlroy – Top ranked golfer Rory McIlroy is in a transitional period. While he has played the Titleist Pro V1 throughout his professional career, reports indicate that he has signed a sponsorship deal with Nike this off season (Nike, for the record, would have Tiger Woods AND Rory McIlroy in their golf wing). Nike is in an interesting position with its golf balls – its current top of the line ball is the 20XI, yet Woods plays with the One Star Tour D, an older ball that is not available for retail. The intriguing question is whether McIlroy will endorse the 20XI, or perhaps an entirely new ball all together.

2. Luke Donald – Donald uses the Titleist Pro V1 as well (it’s not the best selling golf ball without a reason). Unlike McIlroy, he remains signed to the brand going into next season.

3. Tiger Woods – As previously mentioned, Woods plays the Nike One Star Tour D. The 20XI is the One Tour D’s upgrade, yet Woods continues to play with the older generation. The ball is not sold to the public, but perhaps Woods’ continual success will give it a retail life. Look for Golf Balls Unlimited to add this ball to its offering if and when it becomes available in the market.

4. Justin Rose – Rose plays with the TaylorMade Penta TP5 ball. This ball has been gaining popularity with golfers around the globe and many swear that it is just as good if not better than the Titleist Pro V1 ball.

5. Louis Oosthuizen – Surprise, surprise, Oosthuizen plays the Titleist Pro V1. And like Donald, he remains signed to Titleist for the upcoming season.

The biggest takeaway from the top 5 is the unwavering popularity of the Pro V1. We previously covered how much of a game changer the ball was when it debuted over a decade ago and it’s continued popularity is a testament to its unmatched quality. 86 tour winners in 2010 used the Pro V1. Although Justin Rose is the only pro in the top 5 using the Penta TP5, it is also a popular choice among pros. The most intriguing prospect on the list is how McIlroy will take to Nike golf balls next season and how he will shape a new generation of Nike golf ball technology. Needless to say, the Titleist Pro V1 is the holy grail of golf balls.