My Troon Bucket List
I've been familiar with the Troon brand for a long time, but it wasn't until recently that I started paying closer attention to their work. I have to give the credit to Ricky Potts for opening my eyes to the Troon organization and peaking my interest to learn more about their facilities and their various golf initiatives. I quickly became enthralled with the golf juggernaut known as Troon, which lead to the inception of this article.
With over 250 golf courses around the world, it was no small feat to sift through information, images and websites to narrow down my top 10 'bucket list' of Troon facilities. Over the past few months, I've visited every course website and have finally completed this grueling filtration process. My selections are based solely on personal opinion, with no direct influence or compensation from the Troon organization. That said, if anyone within the Troon organization would like to assist in the 'bringing to life' of this bucket list experience, I'd welcome that discussion with open arms.
The courses have been selected based on a variety of criteria including location, course layout, branding, uniqueness and the overall experience (or perceived experience). The course selections are spread far and wide geographically, in an effort to capture the global presence of the Troon brand. This includes courses in Canada, USA, England, Norway, Maldives, Australia and Greece, all of which are locations that I would jump at the opportunity to visit.
So without further a due..
Quilchena, BC, Canada
Kicking off the list is Sagebrush, the one and only Troon managed golf course in Canada. Located in Canada's western most province, British Columbia, Sagebrush is amidst a region known for tourism including countless vineyards, ski resorts, orchards, golf courses and more.
I called British Columbia home for four years while attending college and working at Silver Star Ski Resort and have returned for countless visits. Although I've played and visited a lot of courses throughout the province, Sagebrush has eluded me, but not for long. It's on my radar, and I'll undoubtedly be paying them a visit next time I'm in the area.
About the course: Set on 400 acres overlooking Nicola Lake, Sagebrush opened in 2009 to rave reviews. The links-style course earned highly coveted accolades including "Best New Course in Canada" by both Golf Digest and SCOREGolf. It was later named No. 3 "Best Modern Course in Canada" (built since 1960) by Golfweek in 2012 and in 2014, Golf Digest named it No. 85 in the "Top 100 Best Courses Outside the U.S."
For more information visit: www.sagebrushlife.com
Bend, Oregon, USA
I was first introduced to Pronghorn on an episode of the #WednesdayMatchPlay where host Ricky Potts was joined by Spencer Schaub, General Manager of Pronghorn. Listening to Spencer describe the unique Pronghorn experience left me daydreaming about visiting (or moving to) this amazing property. I love how Pronghorn and the surrounding area offers the entire package allowing it to be branded as a 4 season community. From dinning, outdoor activities, real estate, craft beer, golf, skiing and more, it seems to be a full package of an epic lifestyle community.
About the course: Set among the canvas of serene high desert terrain, lie two golf courses, offering the best of both worlds. The first celebrates the natural beauty of Central Oregon and appeases the golfer who thrives on the sensory enjoyment inspired by his surroundings. The second embraces the spirit of the game, testing each player's skill, focus and strategy only to award him with a deep sense of accomplishment. Pronghorn brings two masters of golf course design, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio together for the first time to create an experience that captures each spectacular aspect of the game. The aesthetics of the Fazio course inspire a sense of awe, seamlessly blending each hole into its natural surroundings. The intrigue surrounding the Nicklaus course invokes a sense of reverence for the game, tempting players with the challenges it affords. Either course you choose to play, Pronghorn promises a golf experience unlike any other.
For more information visit: www.pronghornresort.com
Velaa Private Island
Noonu Atoll, Maldives
Velaa Private Island is unlike anything I've ever heard of. I feel like this concept was plucked straight out of a golfers fantasy/dream world. A private island golf community?!?! Say no more. Located in the Maldive islands, I would love to learn more about this facility, their operations, amenities, clientele and most importantly, how I can get there.
About the course: Velaa Private Island is a place of outstanding natural beauty. Part of the Maldive archipelago which stretches north from the equator in the Indian Ocean, Velaa (which means Turtle) opens before the end of 2013 and consists of a number of modern, luxurious villas placed either by the white sand beach or overlooking the turquoise waters of the lagoon. Coupled with bars and restaurants of the highest standard and cuisine by Michelin-star Adeline Grattard and a world class My Blend by Clarins spa, Velaa offers the ultimate in luxury for discerning travellers.In addition to the outstanding accommodation and service, Velaa Private Island is also home to a Troon Short Game Academy. "Private Golf Moments by Olazabal" has been designed by the ex-Ryder Cup captain and twice Masters champion and will provide an unrivalled level of intimate tuition to enhance the short game of any visitor to the Island. With the latest technology available to assist the PGA professional, guests are guaranteed a learning experience bespoke to their individual needs. The spectacular surroundings provide an excellent canvas, which will be maximised through the utilisation of Troon's expert agronomy staff to deliver first-rate golf course conditioning. This is despite an extraordinary environment that results in exceptionally fast growth in indigenous grass. Meanwhile, a clubhouse with overnight accommodation, meeting rooms, cafe, pro-shop, driving range, putting green and pitching green, ensure that all golfers' off-course needs are fully taken care of.
For more information visit: www.velaaprivateisland.com
Words can't even describe how cool this course looks. I've been mesmerized looking through online images of this breathtaking golf course. As if the course isn't picturesque enough, it is often enhanced even further by the natural light show known as aurora borealis. But the Northern lights aside, this course is in an ideal location, on the shores of the Norwegian Sea and also surrounded by a beautiful alpine backdrop.
About the course: The experience at Lofoten Links is completely unrivalled, offering golfers 24-hour daylight during the summer months of May through July, in surroundings reminiscent of a classic Scottish links. The sea is an integral feature on six of the nine holes currently in play, providing a testing and enthralling challenge. With the second nine holes completed, the full course will open in the summer of 2015. A boutique hotel and spa is planned and its close proximity to the ocean in between the jagged Lofoten Mountains in Northern Norway will make this a "must visit" location, with the course combining elegantly with the ever-changing Arctic light to offer golfers much more than just a round of golf.
For more information visit: www.lofotenlinks.no
King Kamehameha Golf Club
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Hawaii is one of my favorite places on the face of the earth. There is a laundry list of reason I've frequented the Aloha State, and beautiful golf courses is one of them. I love the look and feel of this course, slightly removed from the coast, nestled in to the foothills of the West Maui Mountains. The course layout, conditions and clubhouse combine to be the epitome of golfing in paradise. Although I've been by the facility several times, I've yet to set foot on the course; fingers-crossed, this will change one day.
About the Course: Known as Maui's only private 18-hole golf course, King Kamehameha Golf Club is a historic property featuring bi-coastal ocean views of both the north and south shores of the island and a historic clubhouse designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Nestled in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains, the golf club was named to honor the greatest king in the history of the Hawaiian Islands whose legacy includes unifying the islands into a peaceful and prosperous kingdom. Originally designed by Ted Robinson Sr. in 1991 and refreshed in 2005 by Ted Robinson, Jr., the course works in partnership with nature to create a pure golf experience with no surrounding homes or nearby traffic. In addition to King Kamehameha's golf facility, the club also features elegant and casual dining venues and outdoor terraces that feature the mastery of Frank Lloyd Wright's design. Honoring the local island culture is the club's extensive art collection, creating a cultural sense of place for members and their guests. The club's expansive golf shop features an equipment alcove and a seating area overlooking the scenic 18th hole, blending the intimacy of a member's club with the variety and selection of a resort boutique.
For more information visit: www.kamehamehagolf.com
As with all properties donning the Fairmont title, this is truly a world class facility. Combine that with the exceptional management capabilities of Troon, and you've got yourself a 'must-visit' golf course. Although I'm not typically drawn to 'links-style' courses, this one is an exception to the rule. With amazing panoramic coastal views, I would fully embrace the opportunity to experience playing this course.
About the Course: The 520 acre five star Fairmont St Andrews resort encapsulates luxury, elegance and truly breathtaking surroundings in the "Home of Golf." A truly unique and special venue that makes your visit one to remember, with its lavish and stunning surroundings, peaceful setting and stunning cliff top views of St Andrews and the North Sea. The resort prides itself with an array of fabulous facilities including two championship Golf Courses, The Torrance and The Kittocks, excellent dining experiences for every palette, ranging from our new Italian eatery La Cucina to The Clubhouse serving the freshest of Steak and Seafood.
For more information visit: www.standrewsbay.com
Paradise Palms Cairns
Kewarra Beach, Australia
Australia has long been on my travel bucket list, and when that day comes, playing Paradise Palms Cairns will definitely be on the itinerary.
About the Course: Located only a few kilometers north of Cairns, nestled between the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, Paradise Palms Cairns boasts a unique location against the backdrop of a tropical paradise. Currently ranked as one of Australia's top-100 courses, Paradise Palms Cairns has developed over 25 years of heritage and welcomed iconic Australian players to test themselves over the outstanding layout. With the vision and investment of Darren Halpin and his team, and under the guidance of Troon, it is set to become a centerpiece in Northern Queensland's real-estate and leisure sector. In conjunction with local businesses and stakeholders, the ownership has developed a masterplan with the ambition of attracting guests and investment into its residential proposition.
For more information: www.paradisepalms.com.au
Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Club
Great Exuma, Bahamas
Looking at the above picture, there's little explanation needed as to why this one makes the list. This resort style course encapsulate what I would expect from a dream Bahamas getaway.
About the Course: Winding through seaside dunes along a stunning peninsula, Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course is consistently regarded as one of the best in the Caribbean, with not one, but six signature holes created by Greg Norman. Deep within the idyllic waters of the Exumas, Sandals Emerald Bay brings unprecedented luxury to the easy-going rhythms of the Bahamian Out Islands. The luxury Bahamas resort is a privileged enclave, where service reigns supreme and Bahamian-style architecture of elegant villas and suites harmonize with nature. Secluded within 500 tropical acres along a pristine, mile-long beach, civilized pleasure coexists with exotic adventures, from three impressive pools - including a half-acre, zero-entry pool with a dramatic fire pit in the middle - to seven exceptional restaurants.
For more information visit: www.thereefexumas.com
La Quinta Resort
Palm Springs, California
I had the opportunity to visit La Quinta Resort & Club this past summer, and that missed opportunity will haunt me until I set foot on the property.
About the Course: La Quinta Resort & Club is a legendary hideaway and meeting destination, renowned since 1926 for its charm and serenity. Situated at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains, this resort has been the personal refuge for Hollywood luminaries and travelers from around the world. The masterful layout and hand-crafted hacienda style architecture feels all at once like a charming village and a luxury destination. La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST feature 90 holes of some of the country's best golf and has earned the name "The Western Home of Golf in America." Designed by the top names in golf architecture, Dye, Nicklaus and Norman have created five masterpieces that should be at the top of every golfer's bucket list.
For more information visit: www.laquintaresort.com
This course screams serenity. With a Greek heritage, it's only a matter of time before I visit my homeland, indulge in my family history and of course enjoy a round of golf. Although golf is likely not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Greece, this course begs to differ. Located on the western coast of mainland Greece, Costa Navaino provides amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea.
About the Course: Costa Navarino offers to all guests a unique, world-class Greek golf experience deserving of its historical seafront setting. Located in Messinia, Southwest Peloponnese, Costa Navarino is Greece's premier golf destination featuring two 18-hole signature courses, dramatically different in terrain and characteristics, both however situated on seafront properties, boasting wonderful views in all directions. The Dunes Course, designed by former US Masters Champion and Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer, in association with European Golf Design, is set in a diverse landscape with amazing sea and river views. Greece's first signature-designed golf course, par 71 course measuring almost 6,200 meters from the back tees ad a little more than 5,000 meters from the front tees, features a full-size driving range and a short-game practice area, an impressive clubhouse including Flame restaurant, a designated members' lounge and an exclusive pro shop. The Dunes Course has recently featured among the "Top 100 Golf Courses in Europe 2011" according to Golf World magazine and among "Europe's Top 50 Golf Courses" according to Golf Monthly magazine. The Bay Course, designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones II opened in October 2011 at the nearby Navarino Bay site. Providing a challenging yet fair test to golfers of all levels, The Bay Course meanders through rolling hills and lush olive groves, offering sublime sea views, with two holes played adjacent to the historic bay of Navarino. The Seaside, Canyon and Grove holes provide striking contrasts that create a dramatic and memorable round. Both courses have a golf academy featuring a state-of-the-art teaching center. The US publication Robb Report has included The Bay Course among the "Best of the Best: Golf Courses" and Golf Inc. Magazine has chosen it as a Finalist for the "Golf Development of the Year" Also, the German magazine Golf Journal has selected Costa Navarino's golf courses as "Newcomer of the Year."
For more information visit: www.costanavarinogolf.com
Tiburón Golf Club
Last but not least on my Troon bu