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  1. The muni, Fort Myers CC, is fabulous.
  2. Sea Island vs. Sand Valley is not a golf resort dilemma I anticipated seeing, but given the responses I kind of get it. The observations about the expense of Sea Island are correct, though I haven't seen any mention of the Inn at Sea Island as a lodging option, which is literally hundreds of dollars less on a per-night basis than the Lodge or the Cloister. The Inn is a five-minute drive from the golf courses whereas the Lodge is literally right upstairs, obviously. Seaside is excellent and I think the post-renovation Plantation Course is actually just as fun from a design perspective (obviously Seaside has the scenery advantage, but as a collection of holes I like Plantation a ton). And the Retreat course is also solid. Just off-island but well worth playing, especially for the $, is Sanctuary Golf Club. Really fun low-profile course that has fully rebounded from a tough early life (it opened basically at the beginning of the late-Oughts recession). If you or your buddies are private club members, you can probably arrange a round at Brunswick CC, a lovely Donald Ross course, just off-island too. Southern Soul BBQ, hell yes. Also, the "pork-pop" biscuits for breakfast as Sweet Mama's are a must. Being a Keisers/Dream Golf joint, you know what you're getting at Sand Valley: an all-out commitment to maximizing your golfing pleasure. Hard to go wrong, although May weather could indeed be iffy (June, you should be good to go). Absolutely add a round at Lawsonia Links, and I also really like SentryWorld up in Stevens Point, a little north of SV. You're going to have a ton of fun either way.
  3. The Breakers Courses should fit your conditioning requirements. I think Florida Club is a good call; under its new ownership it has been terrific each time I've been there. The three courses at PGA Village up in Port St. Lucie should also be to your liking.
  4. Arroyo Trabuco is nice. I thought San Clemente was fun, too. Gotta roll over to Goat Hill Park late one afternoon and play in your flip flops.
  5. Changing shoes between rounds a good call, but not nearly as important as changing SOCKS in between rounds, IMO. Would be worth investing in good socks, too - Kentwool, Swiftwick and Surino all make wool socks for golf that I find noticeably more comfortable than just the regular cheap stuff. A fresh pair of underwear between rd 1 and rd 2 or rd 2 and rd 3 would be advisable, too.
  6. Big fan of the South Course. I want to see more of John Fought's courses.
  7. Spokane, WA - great local courses that are around $50 to play and in great shape, with Coeur d'Alene (amusing, pricy) and Circling Raven (cheaper and better) about an hour away. Grand Rapids, MI - 3 awesome courses designed by Mike DeVries (Diamond Springs, Mines, Pilgrim's Run) plus others in the area, all within your budget.
  8. I'd recommend joining Youth on Course. Really great and growing organization. https://youthoncourse.org/
  9. Golden Eagle is one of the 13 or so Tom Fazio courses where Mike Strantz was the main design guy on the ground. That fact makes me interested in seeing it someday.
  10. I haven't played Sarasota National but looking at it on Google Maps, etc., it seems similar to Lakewood National, in that it's a golf course through a master-planned housing development. Which is to say "scenic views" may be a stretch to describe the sights. What I will say is both golf courses at Lakewood National are excellent and well worth playing. The Ritz-Carlton Members Club will come closer to checking the "scenic views" box because there are no houses out there. Course is solid as well but I actually find the Lakewood Nat'l courses more interesting to play overall.
  11. PGA Tour pros are figuring out that it's easier to stop a second shot on/around a par 5 green with a 7 wood than with a 3 iron, which is something we less skilled golfers have known for a long time.
  12. What about Charlottesville or Richmond? Wilmington (NC) may also be worth considering.
  13. Pawleys Plantation is quite walkable, and last I heard FGI, the ownership/management group, was allowing walking at all of their courses. That would mean you can walk River Club, Litchfield, Founders Club, etc.
  14. North Palm Beach CC is really solid. I haven't been there yet but everyone raves about the Palm Beach Par 3, as noted above. The Palmer course at PGA National has a pretty interesting set of greens since it was redone a couple years ago. I second the recommendation of Florida Club, which shouldn't be too crazy a drive from WPB. If you're willing to go a little further, I love the courses at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie. Courses in that area that I've not played but would be interested in include Atlantis, Palm Beach National, Abacoa, Village GC and Sandhill Crane.
  15. I've had a V-Steel 7 wood in my bag for a decade, with a steel shaft in it that makes it slightly longer than my 4 iron. It's a great club, but the .350 hosel has made it almost impossible for me to source an X-flex steel shaft to put in it to bring it in line with the rest of my bag (irons have KBS Tour x-flex). Any ideas out there?
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