While golf fans eagerly wait for the class of 2015 to be inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame on July 13 (Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A. W. Tillinghast), you can celebrate those who’ve already earned the honor by visiting the World Golf Hall of Fame in St Augustine. Then head to the nearby World Golf Village to stay and play.
The Hall of Fame attraction honors the best golfers in the world—both men and women—every year by housing an amazing array of their historic artifacts and personal memorabilia.
Stroll through the Inductee Hall to find your favorite golfers and see some photos of them at their peak, vintage golf clubs, trophies and meaningful artifacts from tournaments. The Hall of Fame’s Member Locker Room, recently expanded and renovated, features 22 lockers housed inside an area that feels like a posh clubhouse.
Then head up to the Trophy Tower with its 360-degree view of the entire World Golf Village. Looming at nearly 200 feet above the Hall of Fame, it’s the tallest point in St. Johns County. Besides the views, take in some of golf’s most historic and interesting trophies.
And if that's not enough, the IMAX theater onsite is one of the biggest in the state of Florida and shows not only shows educational documentaries but also current Hollywood blockbusters.
After being inspired by the world’s best golfers, you’ll want to try out some of your own skills at the 18-hole, natural-grass putting course. The outdoor, interactive exhibit challenges you to keep a focused swing an eye for slope and the perfect line. Making par may be a challenge, but it puts (or putts) you into the shoes of pros under pressure. One round on the course is included in admission.
Now you're ready for the real deal: a full, immersive experience at the nearby World Golf Village, which features luxurious accommodations and two championship golf courses, King & Bear and Slammer & Squire. King & Bear, is the only course designed as a collaboration between famous rivals, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus (both of whom are World Golf Hall of Fame members, naturally). The 7,279-yard course is set in a lovely natural setting with lakes, stands of tall pine trees and craggy live oaks. See if youcan get par 5 on several challenging holes plotted along wide fairways and fast greens. Recuperate from 18 holes and share some highlights of your game with your pals at Champions Grille over beers and perhaps a “Bear Burger” with cheese and green chiles or a “King Melt” with stacked slices of steak on ciabatta.
Famous course architect Bobby Weed Hall consulted Hall of Famers Sam Snead (The Slammer) Snead and Gene Sarazen (The Squire) to create the The 6,939-yard Slammer and Squire course. It opened in 1998, one year before Sarazen died at the ripe old age of 97. Snead, who died in 2002, and said this about the course, “We built a golf course that people will enjoy playing and included the need for some good shot making.”
So, maybe your game could use a little help after whiffing it a few too many times or launching several balls into the sand trap. Who doesn’t need a little fine-tuning? The PGA Tour Golf Academy is full-service game improvement facility that can work out the kinks in your game. The facility includes two high-tech hitting bays, video swing analysis, large private practice and a s short-game practice area with putting and chipping greens and practice bunkers. The academy’s menu includes private lessons, junior camps and clinics.
You’ve played, toured, and even eaten golf, time to sleep golf, too. The World Golf Village has lots of accommodation choices. Pick a room or suite with spa-inspired bathrooms and wet bar for relaxing after a full day of hitting the greens or choose a villa overlooking the 17th and 18th holes of the Slammer & Squire Golf Course. There are plenty of arrangements suitable for couples or a full bachelor party.
After a good night’s sleep, maybe that dream of hitting a birdie on the 18th hole on the King & Bear will become reality when you get up to play the next morning.