This one is going to be tight. I just received the new Ecco S-Drive golf shoes for review. The golf season here is winding down and I’ve already gotten my skis tuned and my ski boots refitted. I hope the weather holds out long enough for me to put these new S-Drives through the rigorous HOG review battery before the snow flies.
These are quite unique looking. Check out the laces and top of the shoe.
I hope to get my review done in the next few weeks. If not, you’ll know I’m enjoying some deep Utah powder and the review will come in the spring. For now, check out the press release from Ecco, detailing some of the S-Drive’s features.
ECCO S-DRIVE represents an entirely new take on golf footwear. Drawing inspiration from the running market, the bold, athletic styling is matched with a simple, yet highly-technical asymmetrical last to enhance both fit and feel. The result is a lightweight, agile design that still offers the comfort, stability and performance golfers demand. ECCO S-Drive highlights the company’s commitment to innovate, through a unique set of performance and comfort properties, including:
- An asymmetrical closure system enables a revolutionary, close to the foot fit, resulting in excellent support and stability.
- Soft mesh upper for a comfortable feel, and bonded with microfiber for optimal support and stability. Treated with HYDROMAX® for superb weather and perspiration resistance.
- A removable Ortholite® inlay sole offers long-term cushioning, enhanced breathability, antimicrobial function and the option of extra width.
- Wrap up on the side of the midsole adding support during golf swing. Direct-injected TPU outsole featuring E-DTS® technology for excellent grip, traction, durability & flexibility.
It wasn’t quite Bermuda, but I last wore this fantastic Bermuda Sands Woodland Polo while playing golf in the Dominican Republic. I thought it was fitting, pun intended.
Bermuda Sands Woodland Polo
Woodland Polo Overview
The Woodland Polo is part of the Bermuda Sands fall collection. The materials in this polo are 92% polyester and 8% spandex. No cotton, which is good! These fabrics are so much better than cotton because they breathe, flex, resist wrinkling, don’t shrink, and are easy to care for.
The Woodland’s fabric has a striated heather look (I had to google it to see what it was). It’s a pattern in the fabric, like grainy or lined look. It’s very popular these days in golf apparel.
The Woodland is available in five colors: purple (shown here), green, red, gray, blue.
Sizes range from small to triple-extra-large.
On The Course
I’ve worn the Woodland in some very different conditions with great performance and comfort. Here in northern Utah I’ve worn it in 50 degree fall temperatures. In the Dominican I wore it in 90 degrees with super-high humidity. In both situations I was very comfortable. The Woodland’s moisture wicking fabric really helped.
The fit of the Woodland is great. There is no binding, pulling, stretching, or limiting of my rotation in the golf swing.
The $75 retail Woodland is a classy, stylish, comfortable, and high performance golf polo which competes against polos costing much more. I highly recommend trying out the Bermuda Sands Woodland. Upgrade your apparel scripting.
I started blogging golf course reviews before most current day golf bloggers or golf journalists were off the first tee. Now golf course reviews are more common than sour kazoo notes at a Kenny G concert. More common than selfies on Paige Spirinac’s instagram. More common than unfixed ball marks on the local muni’s greens. More common than… I think you get it.
The problem with these reviews is they all sound/read the same now, stamped out of the same old same old mold and using the same worn out clichés. I’ll admit I’ve probably used some of these at some point so before you get on my case about it, I admit it. But I vow to not use any of these overused phrases again, and for Pete’s sake golf bloggers and writers you should do the same.
“Great track” has to be one of the worst and most overused golf clichés in history. I have to hold back my vomit every time I read or hear it. First off, a golf course is not a track. Tracks are where they race horses, dogs, cars etc. Perhaps saying “great tract” is better, as in “tract of land.” Resist the temptation to use this filler. It’s barely worthy of putting on the bottom of a bird cage.
Oh. My. God. If I hear this phrase one more time I might have to wrap my 4-iron around someone’s neck. Hidden gem? Really? How original. For fun, let’s Google the phrase and see how many results we get… 1,770,000 results. Stop it. Please.
What the hell is it with gems and jewels anyway? Crown jewel? So this course is the same as regalia and vestments worn by kings and queens at their coronations? Got it.
Straight out of the cookie cutter. Try something more creative, like, I don’t know… anything.
I’m trying to think of a phrase more vague than “great layout.” Hmm. Nope. Can’t think of one. Stop writing it. Stop saying it. What makes it great? Let’s start with that and see where we go.
Coooookie cutter!!! Gag me.
What exactly is this supposed to mean, “championship course?” What championship? Any course can hold a championship. The muni down the street with the broken down car on the 7th fairway could. Golf courses and golf PR and advertising companies are just as guilty of using this one as writers and bloggers.
It’s Right There In Front Of You
WTF is that supposed to mean? It’s right there in front of me? What if I play it facing backwards? Is it still right there in front of me or would it be right there behind me then? What if I play the course facing at a 90 degree angle to either side? Would it be “right there beside me?”
I think my head is going to explode. This one gives “great layout” a run for it’s vague money.
“The course is a fair test.” How many times have you heard that one? What makes it fair? Who judges what is fair and what is unfair. Do I have a vote? Can a course be a fair test for one golfer but unfair for another? Is there such a thing as an “unfair test?” I think I’d rather play a course that presents and unfair test than a fair test. It would probably be more interesting.
You know what would be better and more informative in course reviews? A must not play! “You must not play this course. It is terrible and their range balls suck!”
ALL TOGETHER NOW – Can I get them all into one run-on sentence?
“A hidden gem, this renowned championship course is a great track and classic layout which is a fair test that’s right there in front of you, a must-play crown jewel topped off by its signature hole.”
I did it! I should just make that be my whole review for all my golf course articles from this point on! BOOM! #WINNING #thisonegoestoeleven
Northern Michigan is one of my favorite places in this great country of ours. It’s a special recipe featuring the waters of Lake Michigan, dense Michigan forest, fresh air, interesting topography, and friendly people. It is always a fantastic time when I can take the HOG World Tour to Northern Michigan, an opportunity I’ll always take advantage of. On the last World Tour leg to the area I had the pleasure of staying at The Inn at Bay Harbor, an elegant resort right on the shore of Lake Michigan, minutes from the town of Petoskey.
Inn at Bay Harbor Overview
The Inn offers nine different types of accommodations, from a standard guest room to a penthouse suite. The property offers access to some great recreation in the area, like golf in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Located directly on the shore of Lake Michigan, guests can enjoy the pool or take a dip in the Lake. Other activities on property include kids activities, spa, dining, biking, shopping, and wine tasting from local vineyards.
I’ve been in the Penthouse Suite and the Master Suite, so I can speak to what they offer and show a few photos. Let’s go big first, with the Penthouse Suite.
Suitable for large groups, the 3,000 square foot Penthouse offers five individual bedrooms and common living and dining areas. There are two full kitchen areas for food prep (below).
Penthouse Suite Kitchen and Living Areas
There is also a laundry room with washer and dryer. The best feature of the Penthouse is the huge deck area overlooking the grounds and Lake Michigan. The view is stunning, especially at sunset.
The 720 square foot Master Suite offers a single isolated bedroom and large bathroom. The living area is spacious, including a kitchenette, fireplace, large screen TV, and a Murphy bed.
A comfy deck is also enjoyable for enjoying some fresh air. Unlike the Penthouse there is no washer/dryer in the room, but down the hall is a shared washer/dryer setup. This was great for me as I had been traveling for many days, and ran out of clean threads.
There’s some excellent dining on property at The Inn: Vintage Chop House & Wine Bar, Sagamore Room, Inn Cafe, Cabana Bar.
The Vintage Chop House served up amazing cuts of beef which I really enjoyed, and the atmosphere overlooking Lake Michigan was terrific. The breakfast buffet at the Sagamore Room had a large selection of very well prepared breakfast items.
There are many great reasons to visit northern Michigan: golf, water sports, skiing, biking, or just relaxing on a hammock on the shore of Lake Michigan. I strongly recommend staying at The Inn for your northern Michigan trip.
Sunset on Lake Michigan as seen from The Inn at Bay Harbor
Think golf buddy trip here. Your group of buddies could all chip in and book the Penthouse Suite. Golf in the day and poker, or whatever your fancy is at night in the shared living space.
If you were considering a Caribbean vacation but thought otherwise due to recent hurricane damage, think again. The Dominican Republic was not directly hit by Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey, and their tourism industry is 100% open for business. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive Caribbean resort suggestion or Caribbean stay and play golf ideas, read on.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa is a sparkling brand new all-inclusive, adults only Dominican Republic resort which opened in November of 2016. The resort features 457 suites in several different buildings. Some rooms feature lovely swim-outs as seen below. In addition there is a spa, fitness area, beach, and massive pool area with bars all over so one isn’t far from a tasty and refreshing island beverage of choice, all included of course.
The resort features a spectacular open-air lobby area which contains resort registration, a bar, shops, coffee shop, and live entertainment most evenings.
My suite at Secrets Cap Cana was comfortable and spacious. The bed was so fantastic I wish I could have taken it home with me. I slept so well on it. Inside the room is a desk, sitting furniture, linen closet, large screen TV, safe, dressers, and secret box. The secret box is where you can request staff to put items you request, like room service.
The shower in the room was huge with three water spouts, two in the ceiling. The bathroom featured two very cool sinks, great lighting, and an isolated toilet.
The deck area in my room had a great view (night shot above). On the deck was a nice sitting area as well as a bathtub. I quite enjoyed my evening outdoor bath. It was, liberating. Yes I washed behind my ears.
Next time I get back, and I hope it is soon, I hope to get a “swim out” room. They’re rooms on the ground level with their own semi-private swimming area. See picture below:
Secrets features eight gourmet restaurants, all included with the all-inclusive resort fee. If you want to eat sushi every day of your vacation, there’s no extra cost. There are also restaurants featuring French, Italian, Japanese, buffet, snacks, and more. I really enjoyed the spectacular buffet for breakfast and lunch (below). There are numerous themed areas for meats, fruit, beverages, breads, entrees and custom prepared items. The meats and cheeses were fantastic. My go-to places were the buffet and the coffee shop. I enjoyed numerous lattes, shakes, and snacks in the coffee shop.
The resort occupies a massive acreage on the southeastern shore of the Dominican Republic, just 30 minutes or so from the Punta Cana airport. The Punta Cana airport is home to flights from most major airlines.
Naturally the fantastic weather and warm shallow waters of the Caribbean provide many possible activities. On property of course is the beach, with soft, fine sand. The water is very shallow and warm, and the shallow area extends hundreds of feet out. My guess is 500 feet. I thoroughly enjoyed relaxing on the beach as the service folks came by with my beverages of choice. One must stay hydrated of course. Other water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, fishing, yachting, water sports and even working out in resort provided classes on the beach.
My group enjoyed a catamaran excursion which was very fun. The excursion included a scenic cruise along the shoreline, snorkeling, and even chilling out sipping beverages served up in a floating bar.
Secrets Cap Cana features a huge pool area. Sections and slivers of the pool wind in many directions. Numerous areas have a small connected pool area which is surrounded by a small number of lounge chairs. The pool could easily accommodate hundreds of people, yet each person would feel like it isn’t crowded because of the layout.
There are several bars in the pool area and plenty of service people to make sure the fun is flowing. There’s also a hot tub, but it didn’t make sense to use it when I was there.
The Dominican Republic is undoubtedly the golf capital of the Caribbean. It’s home to the 39th ranked golf course in the world, Teeth of the Dog, the masterpiece of famed architect Pete Dye. Teeth of the Dog is located at Casa de Campo, roughly a 60 minute drive from the resort. A mere 30 minutes away is Punta Cana, a Jack Nicklaus signature design which is ranked the #1 course in the Caribbean and Latin America. These two courses produce some of the most scenic and dramatic oceanside golf you’ll ever experience. There are nearly 30 other courses to choose from in the Dominican as well, including another famous Pete Dye called Dye Fore.
On most nights one can enjoy live entertainment at Secrets, ranging from small combos to full bands, and DJ’s.
If you have a group or business need, there is a business area with computers. There are some great meeting areas and banquet rooms which can handle very large groups.
Service is very important in the travel industry. The staff at Secrets works hard to provide their part of a fantastic experience. Despite only being open for about a year, the management at Secrets has their system down and have trained their staff to be courteous, knowledgeable, and ready for anything.
Photo courtesy of Greg Corbo
I was warmly greeted by every staff member and all were extremely polite and helpful throughout my entire 5-day stay.
The weather in the Dominican Republic doesn’t fluctuate much, except in rainy season. I was there in rainy season and it rained for 10 minutes on the way to the resort from the airport. That was it. Year-round the temperatures are always going to be somewhere between 75-90. The humidity is quite high and I did have to adjust, coming from a desert. Be ready to sweat when not in the pool or the ocean. Stay hydrated and bring plenty of sunscreen.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa is a fantastic choice for a romantic, all-inclusive trip with your loved one. The crisp new facilities are warm and welcoming with great dining and activities and of course, great weather.
Secrets and the fantastic golf courses nearby would also make for a great golf buddy trip. Forget Florida, South Carolina or other golf destinations. Make the Dominican Republic the location of your next golf buddy trip.