The drumbeat is yet faint for the 37th Ryder Cup. But by the time the biennial matches begin in mid-September, the sports world will be squarely focused on the American attempt to wrest the trophy from three-time defending champion Europe.
It has been nine years since the United States last won golf's ultimate team competition just around the corner at The Country Club in Brookline. This fall's edition will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course 20 miles east of Louisville, Ky., which has hosted a pair of PGA Championships, in 1996 (won by Mark Brooks) and in 2000 (Tiger Woods).
If you'd like to watch the competition live, don't bother looking for individual tickets. They were parceled out last fall in a lottery conducted by the sponsor, the PGA of America. But as is typical for marquee events, there are still packages available - at a premium price.
The best we could find was offered by Premier Golf of Duluth, Ga. It includes four nights at the Holiday Inn Lakeview, about 25 minutes from the course, breakfast daily, a Ryder Cup souvenir, tickets and transportation to the Thursday opening ceremonies and the competition Friday through Sunday, and an evening at
Call 866-260-4409 or go to premiergolf.com for more information.
Grass is greener
Easter comes early this year, just two weeks away. If the holiday provides a chance to get away to Florida, there is a sweet deal available in Orlando, just a few miles from Walt Disney World.
The Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge includes two courses that have hosted the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament Finals, most recently last year. Despite their proximity to Disney, the Panther Lake and Crooked Cat courses at Orange County feel very far away. The 36 holes are spread over more than 900 acres with no homes fronting the fairways, and they have been listed among the "Top 10 You Can Play" by Golf magazine. The facility also boasts one of the largest practice areas in the country.
The Easter special is available March 15-26 and includes two nights' stay, three rounds with cart and GPS system, two breakfasts, practice balls, club storage, bag tag, and complimentary play on the resort's nine-hole short course. The price is $269 plus tax per person, double occupancy on weeknights, and $299 on weekends. Groups of eight or more players also receive one dinner. The price climbs to $379 weeknights and $459 weekends from March 27-April 10, but it drops again after that and is under $200 weeknights from May 12-Oct. 12.
Call 888-727-3672 or 407-905-2330, or go to ocngolf.com.
It's never too late
We watch the tour pros on TV as we wait for the snow to melt, all the while vowing that this year is going to be different. We're finally going to shed the old habits and faults in our swings that constantly cost us strokes.
Here's an idea: Head south for lessons, and create a blueprint for success for when the weather warms up here. According to Golf magazine, the Steve Dresser Golf Academy in Myrtle Beach, S.C., has been one of the top 25 US golf schools five years running, and it is housed at True Blue Plantation, one of the top public courses in the country.
A typical three-day school goes like this: class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., lunch, and a round at either True Blue or its sister course, the renowned Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, in the afternoon. You'll receive a welcome gift, a take-home CD of your swing analysis, unlimited practice, certificate of completion, and a copy of Dresser's book "Golf From the Ground Up." Packages that include four nights in a True Blue condo go for $954 through May 20.
Game improvement won't happen in a day, but it makes sense to start with the foundation. Book a school package before April 1 and receive a free hybrid club built to your specs. Call 800-397-2678 or go to dressergolf.com.
Ron Driscoll can be reached at email@example.com.