Tag Archives: Florida

PGA Golf Club at PGA Village Verano

With the perfect address for a golf club, PGA Golf Club, at 1916 Perfect Drive in Port St Lucie, is a golfer’s dream destination. Play three championship 18-hole golf courses, The Wanamaker, The Ryder and the Pete Dye, all owned and operated by The PGA of America.  And stay like a resident in a beautiful home on property at PGA Village Verano, minutes from the three golf courses in a resort-style golf community with a Stay & Play package.

Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano
Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano photo credit: Kolter Homes

The Wanamaker Course is one of two Tom Fazio designs on the property and does its namesake – PGA founder Rodman Wanamaker proud. Fazio designed both the Wanamaker and Ryder in 1999, but the twins are definitely fraternal and reveal different personalities.

Hole 18 on the Wanamaker Course PGA Village
Hole 18 on the Wanamaker Course PGA Village photo credit: John Cameron

Department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker helped establish the PGA of America, funded the first PGA Championship in 1916 and has his name attached to the champion’s prized trophy, The Wanamaker. Fazio’s Ryder Course honors Samuel Ryder, the namesake and founder of the Ryder Cup matches, which began in 1927. All 36 tees have plaques that unveil the storied lore of both the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup.

On the Ryder Course, Fazio transports you to North Carolina, with his holes winding among majestic pines, rolling hills and elevation changes, and recurrent red-staked hazards.

 

Pete Dye Course PGA Village
Pete Dye Course PGA Village photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Pete Dye’s eponymous course at PGA Village opened for play in 2007. Highlighting the native environment, especially the wetlands, Dye fashioned a links-style course reminiscent of the British Isles, like playing in Scotland or Ireland without the airfare.

The three courses have their own driving range and putting and chipping areas as well as the “Short Course,” six holes between 35-60 yards where you can work on your finesse shots. However, the nearby 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance is a golf instruction, practice, technology and fitness park all in one. Named a “2013 Golf Range Association of America Top 50 Range,” the center includes more than 100 hitting stations (many weather-protected), short-game practice areas, putting greens, three practice holes and nine separate bunkers that simulate play worldwide.

Grab lunch at the Taplow Pub in the clubhouse – the street tacos are delicious.  After your round, enjoy a drink and dinner with PGA members at the 19th hole and watch golfers approach the 18th green on the Wanamaker course.

Museum at PGA Village Golf Club
Museum at PGA Village Golf Club photo credit: John Cameron

While not a comprehensive museum on the history of golf ( for that check out the excellent World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine) PGA Village does have  the on-site PGA Museum of Golf. There’s plenty here to impress the golf fan if you love the game. Open to the public, it traces the history of the PGA of America through its major championship and the Ryder Cup. Check out the Wanamaker trophy. Golf fans can see more great golf memorabilia at Sam Snead’s Grill & Tavern at the nearby Holiday Garden Inn.

Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano
Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano photo credit: Kolter Homes

During a Kolter Homes Stay & Play, visitors have access to award-winning golf on the Ryder and Pete Dye courses in addition to the Wanamaker course. 

Pool at Club Talavera
Pool at Club Talavera photo credit: Sherel Purcell

A-three day, two-night stay includes access to the new 27,000 square ft. Club Talavera Social Center with full use of all amenities including the13,000 square ft. Fitness Center, with yoga, tennis, indoor/outdoor pools, bocce ball, basketball, Har-Tru tennis courts and one round of golf for two at the adjacent PGA Golf Club.

PGA Golf Club is just off I-95 at Exit 121, 45 minutes north of Palm Beach and a two-hour drive from both Orlando and Miami.

 

 

What’s New in Tampa

Tampa Bay, including St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach, has a combined population of 3 million people. A diverse economy, a warm temperate climate and a lower than national average cost of living have made Tampa the third most populous city in Florida.

Where to Stay

The only Four-Diamond hotel in downtown Tampa, Le Méridien has transformed a 100-year-old US. Federal courthouse into a 130 room boutique hotel.

Le Meridien, Tampa
Le Meridien, Tampa photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Impossibly high ceilings, wide hallways with polished terrazzo floors remain intact from its previous incarnation as a courthouse.

Bizou Brasserie
Bizou Brasserie photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Open for all-day dining, on site bistro Bizou Brasserie was a former courtroom. Le Meridien is a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America.

Fun things to do 

Get a day pass and explore Tampa Bay from the water on the bright yellow pirate water taxis. Board downtown and ferry up the Hillsborough River to Tampa Heights.

Walk or bike the Riverwalk which runs along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel for 2.4 miles.

University of Tampa
University of Tampa photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Look across the Hillsborough River to the west bank – the silver minarets and ornate Victorian gingerbread adorn entrepreneur Henry Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel, opened in 1891, now occupied by the University of Tampa.

Tampa Museum of Art
Tampa Museum of Art photo credit: John Cameron

If you’re staying at Le Méridien, a guest day pass to the nearby Tampa Museum of Art is complimentary. The museum balances its permanent antiquities collection with a  strong commitment to showing contemporary art.

Amalie Arena Tampa
Amalie Arena photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Hockey fans are passionate about watching their home team The  Lightning trounce visitors at downtown Amalie Arena.  Amalie Arena is also used for music concerts and basketball.

TPC Tampa Bay
TPC Tampa Bay photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Golf where the pros do at the Bobby Weed designed 18-hole TPC Tampa Bay course, a 25 minute drive from Tampa. An annual stop on the PGA Champions Tour for 21 consecutive years, Golf Digest gave this course a 4 ½ star rating.  The course winds through natural wetlands, ponds and lagoons and a variety of tee boxes allows golfers of all levels the opportunity to score well.  After your round, grab a bite or a drink on the patio at iCUATRO Restaurant & Bar and watch golfers play into the 18th green.

Where to Eat 

Armature Works

Armature Works Tampa, Florida
Armature Works photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Tampa’s newest and most exciting spot for casual dining is Armature Works, a renovated trolley barn in Tampa Heights. Think multi-ethnic, tapas style, with the freshest ingredients and great prices. Try the creative cocktails at Fine & Dandy, the best lobster roll ever at Surf & Turf and the Cuban soul food at Hemingway’s.

Pizza Margherita from Ava at Armature Works
Pizza Margherita photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Popular Italian restaurant Ava also serves its famous wood-fired pies in trendy Armature Works. Ava chef Joshua Hernandez wows with the classic Neopolitan pizza -the Margherita.

 

 

The Columbia

Professional and attentive service are usually a good thing but at The Columbia in historic Ybor City, I feel like a tourist cog in a well oiled money-making machine. Customers pour through the doors in busloads for dinner and a Flamenco floor show.

Oxford Exchange

Oxford Exchange, Tampa
Oxford Exchange, Tampa photo credit: John Cameron

A classic bistro with century old brickwork, diffused light from the glass roof and a contemporary menu make The Oxford Exchange a perfect, relaxed breakfast/brunch/lunch spot. After dining,  shop for curated lifestyle home furnishings,  the latest books and eye glasses.

Ulele

Ulele Tampa
Ulele Tampa photo credit: John Cameron

The owners of the Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant, created this popular restaurant in Tampa Heights and named  it for the Native American princess, Ulele. Ulele’s creative Native Indian inspired menu showcases fresh-caught fish from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. Start with the fantastic Barbacoa-grilled oysters, with garlic butter, grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses and wash them down with a flight of great craft brews from Ulele’s on-site brewery.