Getting Ready for Big Thanksgiving Golf Trip

As I watched the President’s Cup this weekend, I couldn’t help but get excited for my upcoming trip to Florida/Georgia/South Carolina. Almost every commercial break featured MasterCard commercials about TPC Sawgrass, so it was getting me quite geeked up for the experience.

In case you are curious, I’ll share my plans for this extended Thanksgiving weekend trip. No family obligations or awkward moments with relatives I barely know. Just me and a whole lot of excellent golf.

I’ll be leaving Thursday, arriving in Jacksonville in the evening. From there I’ll be driving about an hour-and-a-half up the coast toward St. Simons Island, GA, home to the famed Sea Island Resort. I’ll be staying the night at The Lodge there and then playing 36 holes on Friday (morning 18 on the Seaside Course and afternoon 18 on the Plantation Course). Now normally, I wouldn’t stay at a resort if I didn’t have to, but to play Sea Island you have to stay at least one night there. Not cheap accommodations, but I’ll live it up one night in order to play golf on two superior courses.

Friday evening, I’ll drive another couple of hours up the coast and stay the night on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I planned this little extra detour in order for the opportunity to play Harbour Town Golf Links, a regular PGA Tour stop and, like Sea Island, one of the top ranked courses in the country. I’ll be playing there on Saturday morning.

From there I’ll hit the road yet again and head back toward the Jacksonville area. I may drive through Savannah for a little Southern Hospitality (and food). Seems like it will be worth the slight detour to see such a unique town so rich in Southern history and tradition.

Saturday night, I’ll be staying at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedre Beach, FL. I will stay there the rest of the trip. They had a great winter deal going on–$730 for three nights stay and three rounds of golf (two on Dye’s Valley Course and one round on the world-famous PLAYERS Stadium Course). I will be playing Dye’s Valley on Sunday afternoon. Then I play PLAYERS Stadium on Monday morning. I’ll finish with Dye’s Valley again on Tuesday morning before heading to the airport that evening and flying back home.

I am considering adding a round on Sunday morning, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. May be a decision that happens the day before. If I do that, I am currently looking at one of the World Golf Village courses in nearby St. Augustine (also home to the World Golf Hall of Fame, which  I will also visit if I have the time).

You may be wondering, why so much driving? Obviously, I could easily spend the entire trip in just one area and get plenty of different golf courses in. Hilton Head Island alone is worth its own trip. Well, as a “Golf Nomad” it’s not my style to stay in one place for too long. My biggest reason, though, is the fact that I have a personal dream to play golf in all 50 states. As I am still early in that goal, I plan to cram in as many states as I can into each little trip I am able to take. This trip will bring me up to 14.

In fact, this trip started with just the idea to play Sawgrass. But as I looked at the map and started looking at options, I saw the opportunity to play the top-ranked course in Georgia (Sea Island-Seaside according to Golf Magazine rankings) and the second-ranked course in South Carolina (Harbour Town–#1 is Kiawah Island, which is a little too far to squeeze into this trip). I hope to someday return to all three resort areas and get to play every course in each region. But for now, I have to pick my battles and make a plan that accomplishes as much as possible in the time I have.

Either way, it should be one hell of a trip. I cannot wait until Thursday! Should be a very memorable Thanksgiving this year. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting plenty of pics and stories from the trip.

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