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Chips + Putts

Championship Flight

Want to eagle the eighteenth at Torrey Pines South?Start with an eagle-eyed view of the course—as well as La Costa, Aviara and more than a dozen other San Diego-area layouts—with a Dapper Duffer Aerial Golf Tour offered by Biplane, Air Combat & Warbird Adventures. Co-owner "Tailspin Tommy" Harnish and his twenty-five pilots fly two 1920s-vintage open-cockpit biplanes. "One was built the month Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic," says Harnish. "The other's from Chicago—a detective used it to transport a gangster-sniffing bloodhound." With wife "Cash Register Kate" Lister, Harnish runs a decade-old business that picked up when it began offering golf trips. Though he doesn't play, Tailspin Tommy calls the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe one of his favorite courses: "Where else do you drive a golf cart across a suspension bridge from tee to green?" Harnish charges $299 to fly two guests on an hour-long tour. For $119 he'll take you on a twenty-minute flyover of the Four Seasons Resort's Aviara course; you can also customize your flight path. Call 800-759-5667 or visit barnstorming.com.

Against the Grain, Opinion by Evan Rothman

Golf needs the Olympics like I need a herniated discus. The game should just say no to a proposal by the International Olympic Committee's program commission that golf join the Games. Given recent IOC and Olympic behavior—bribery scandals, drug scandals, judging scandals, co-opting wacky X Games stunts—the Olympics would stand to gain more from golf's squeaky-clean image than golf could ever gain by rubbing shoulders with the debased behemoth the Games have become. We have Tiger's "stinger" two-iron; they have Tonya's stinging tire iron. But the real issue is that no one would care about Olympic golf. Just ask tennis fans, who are more likely to know who won Wimbledon or the Australian Open than the gold medal. Four majors and a Ryder Cup are all the megaevents golf needs.

I'll take the Olympics only on one condition: no pros. Remember the joys of amateurism?Golf still does.

The Buzz from Fuzzy

"What do people say?They say, 'Fuzzy, what the hell is that?'" Fuzzy Zoeller is talking about the Putting Peg, a contraption he invented with business partner Dave Lobeck. Designed to help Zoeller make short putts—"money putts," he calls them—the Putting Peg resembles a jumbo tee. Thrust it into a practice green and you've got a new, smaller target to shoot for, one that's about one-quarter the diameter of a regulation hole. Hit the peg with your ball and you'll be rewarded with the best sound in the game: the plunkety-plop of a ball falling into the cup. (Zoeller's design team dropped a microphone into a hole to capture the sound.) "After you putt to the peg for ten or fifteen minutes, the cups on the course look like coffee cans," says Zoeller, who took just twenty-five putts in the final round to win the 2002 Senior PGA Championship. To order the peg or a Putting Pod for indoor practice (each costs $9.95), call 866-734-7888 or visit puttingpeg.com.
—Kate Dolan

Now on TV: You

Have you ever pictured yourself on television, lining up a putt as Jim Nantz whispers in the background?Ben Harvey is betting you have—and that you'd love to make that picture come to life. Harvey is executive producer of VIP Coverage, a service that treats your golf outing as if it were the Masters. He will dispatch a TV crew of more than thirty, headed by announcers such as Nantz, Lanny Wadkins, Dan Hicks, Peter Alliss and Judy Rankin, to record a network-quality video of your event that can be customized with music, "Up Close and Personal" segments and even commercials for your company. VIP treatment isn't cheap—prices start around $150,000—but as Harvey sees it, he's providing a once-in-a-lifetime service. "This is the ultimate," he says. "You will never forget your show, whether it's your company tournament or four friends playing a cutthroat $10,000 skins game." Harvey also offers VIP Aerial Coverage, a sky-view guide to a course of your choice, for $40,000. For details call 914-767-0900 or visit vipcoverage.com.

License to Thrill

Here is your chance to play James Bond for a day. Stay in one of three premium suites at Pebble Beach's newest resort, Casa Palmero, and you'll be handed the keys to agent 007's preferred brand of wheels. Through December, Casa Palmero is offering guests who stay in its Palmero Suite, which rents for $1,950 per night, or one of two $965-a-night Courtyard Suites complimentary use of a $166,000 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante—minus, of course, the bulletproof windshield and smoke-screen muffler that millions of Bond fans associate with 007's Aston Martin. Guests can reserve the convertible Volante in two-hour blocks, either when booking their rooms or when they check in at Casa Palmero.

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