03/31/2015

Have you done everything you want to do in golf?

Well, if not, then you should listen to Gary Player and “for the love of golf” pay a visit to the World Golf Village and the Golf Hall of Fame.

My friend and I extended our annual Myrtle Beach golf and basketball trip by two days to make the trip to St Augustine last week. The place is awesome! I’d like to tell you about it.

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First there is the golf! The World Golf Village has two courses: The King and Bear and The Squire and Slammer. The King and Bear is a few miles off the main property while the Squire and Slammer is situated under the shadow of the Hall of Fame tower. We played The King and Bear.

We found The King and Bear to be the beautifully manicured test of golf one would expect at the World Golf Village. We played from the Blue tees which, listed at 6500 yards, played all of that and then some. Seriously, it must have been a sea level thing because every hole looked miles away!

Play was steady and we finished in just over 4 hours on a very busy day. The greens were consistent and true. I was surprised, however, by the lack of GPS in the carts. Oh–by the way–if you play this course, please do not pay attention to the hole descriptions in the online yardage book. It was a challenging course, but not as hard as they want you to believe!

The next day we visited the Hall of Fame, the crown jewel of the World Golf Village and an overwhelming experience. (Plan on at least two hours just for the inside exhibits.) You start out in a Bob Hope exhibit. Interesting–yes–but I wonder how long before the average guest doesn’t remember him?

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The next area ‘the origins of the game.’ Here you get a chance to play a replica St. Andrews green (stimpmeter=4) using period equipment. An interesting note–back then the grass was cut longer and because of the grain on this replica, the uphill putts were actually faster than the downhill ones! As you move forward in time, you also get to try a modern PGA Tour green (stimpmeter = 14)!

I am an Arnold Palmer fan and so I focused on his memorabilia. One of his gloves was on display. Or should I say his catcher’s mitt?! The guy has enormous hands. There was also a entire room dedicated to Nancy Lopez. What a great story!

Included with your entry fee are two outdoor activities. What would you do faced with a 137-yard shot, all carry over water, to an island green?

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Well, you get a chance to find out on a replica of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. I was successful 2 out 3 times! Plus there is an 18-hole, all grass miniature golf course. No windmills! No clown faces! Just pure putting joy.

Finally, we had a bite to eat at the Caddyshack restaurant. It is right next door to the Hall of Fame but is, surprisingly, one of the few places to eat. It is actually owned by Bill Murray and his brothers. Apparently, he is a regular visitor but we did not see him. The place was packed so we sat at the bar and watched some hoops and had a few beers. It is a fun place, but the food is just average.

World Golf Village is a terrific golf destination. Don’t worry about the non-golfers in the family. St Augustine, the oldest city in America, is minutes away and has loads of places to visit. But don’t wait too long to visit–they might replace the Bob Hope exhibit.

Now, who was that guy again?