By David Theoret
If you’re into golf, The World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida has everything your heart desires. From world class golf on their two championship courses designed by four Hall of Fame members, to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the acclaimed Renaissance World Golf Village Hotel, golf enthusiasts will leave thoroughly impressed and content. Need to improve your game? The PGA Tour Academy is also on site and ready to put the latest technology to work to help cure your swing woes.
The Renaissance World Village Resort has received a AAA Four-Diamond rating and is located next to the World Golf Hall of Fame. The resort offers 301 Colonial Asian-designed guest rooms, which feature spacious spa-inspirited bathrooms complete with granite countertops. In the sleeping area you will find comfortable beds, a mini refrigerator, coffee maker and a 37-inch, flat panel TV. Each room provides a great view of the property, whether it’s the Hall of Fame or the golf course. High speed Internet access is also available in each room.
Downstairs the Villagio Italian Grille features fresh seafood, great steaks, traditional Italian cuisine and more. If you’re looking to catch your favorite sporting event, odds are you’ll find it on one of the seven televisions. There’s also a complimentary shuttle service to and from historic downtown St. Augustine for registered guests as well as a gift shop, where you can pick up World Golf Village memorabilia.
Also, on property is the PGA TOUR Golf Academy, a one-of-a-kind, full-service game improvement facility. Their goal is to improve your golf game and exceed your expectations in every facet of their work. Since opening in 2000, the PGA TOUR Golf Academy has become one of the most recognized instructional academy locations in the country and serves as a training headquarters for all certified TOUR Academy instructors. They use the latest technology, including Trackman, Flightscope and V1 Digital Sports Coach.
No trip to World Golf Village is complete without a visit to The World Golf Hall of Fame. Golf Historian Dr. Tony Parker and his staff do a wonderful job keeping the exhibits fresh and interesting. The World Golf Hall of Fame keeps visitors engaged with interactive storytelling and exhibitions featuring artifacts, works of art, audio, video and photography that are meaningful and memorable to the history of golf and beyond. The genuine artifacts have been sought out by Dr. Parker, donated, or are on loan to the museum, in a variety of constantly changing exhibits.
The journey through the Hall of Fame starts with a history of the game and how different cultures may have had an influence on the origin of golf. It ends with a trip through the Member Locker Room, which features a locker for every inductee into the Hall of Fame, and provides insight into their personal lives and interests. The ticket price includes all-day admission, a round on the 18-hole natural grass putting course and a shot on the Challenge Hole; a 132 –yard island green reminiscent of the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. You can also take in a movie at their IMAX theater.
The Slammer & Squire Golf Course is located on the World Golf Village property, just a wedge shot away from the World Golf Hall of Fame. It’s an 18-hole championship course that was designed by Bobby Weed, with considerable input from its namesakes: Sam “The Slammer” Snead and Gene “The Squire” Sarazen.
The course features two distinct nines with generous fairways, contoured greens, and plenty of water hazards. The Slammer and the Squire provides a challenge, regardless of which tees you play from, or how good you might be.
The King and Bear Golf Course is located a few minutes down the road from the rest of the World Golf Village, with shuttles available for easy transport. The course is “a collaboration of two friends,” according to Jack Nicklaus.
Arnold Palmer and Nicklaus created a course, where each hole exhibits characteristics of both players. For Nicklaus it is the wide fairways and generous landing areas off the tees; for Palmer it’s fast greens. At the time it was built, King and Bear was the only course in the world that the two had built together.
The King and Bear meanders around pristine lakes and ponds with beautiful loblolly pines and stately oak trees throughout. These trees are spectacular to look at, until they impede your shot. The emphasis here is on a part of the game that both men were famous for – driving the golf ball. Regardless of which tees you play, you will be challenged. A good game from the tee boxes goes a long way in shooting a good score here.
Last Word: No matter which course you play, make sure you warm up with some complimentary range balls and get in the groove before you hit the first tee. Be sure to grab a chilled apple from the wooden bins on the 1st and 10th tees.
Both courses are over seeded during the winter months which makes for superb playing conditions year-round and a caddy service is available at both courses, if you prefer to walk.
There is so much to do at the World Golf Village; it takes several days to take it all in. A lot of resorts offer golf and dining, but why settle for a half day’s activities, when you can have so much more. After all, an early tee time on either the King and Bear or the Slammer and Squire, followed by lunch at either the Champions or Legends Grille, plus an afternoon at the World Golf Hall of Fame makes any golfer’s perfect day.
For more information on these facilities, check out the following websites: