Monday, February 13, 2012

Northern Trust Open & AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - A Two For One Post!

Photo taken by my artistic husband!

Greetings TWT readers! I apologize for the delay in this post but after a rough week off the course in Scottsdale, and then a sick kiddo and myself in Pebble Beach, I was not feeling up to being grammatically correct until now.

We had a wonderful week at Pebble Beach and the Top – 10 finish was icing on the cake. Since I wrote such a long blog for Pebble last year, I will add one restaurant suggestion this year and a few pictures and then continue on to this week – The Northern Trust Open. So lucky you – a two for one deal!

Great view from MPCC club house.

Pebble Beach.

Although I am only giving one suggestion for the Monterey area this year, it happens to be my favorite place to dine in the entire area. This may not make the locals too happy since the place I am sharing seems to be a “locals only” spot, but I can’t resist! And keeping my readers full and satisfied trumps keeping the locals happy!

Bistro Moulin is a quaint French restaurant that is very French in all aspects. The food is amazing, especially the spinach gnocchi – one of my favorite dishes anywhere. We were lucky the night we went because they also had a truffle gnocchi we were able to try, as well. Although the two were quite different in taste, both were spectacular.

Jimmy had the Hanger steak and his comment was, “If you know anything about steak, you will be really impressed any time a restaurant has Hanger steak on the menu.” (For those who don’t know their steaks, Hanger Steak is also known as the Butcher’s cut because it is the most tasty and tender piece of the cow, so the butchers traditionally kept the cut for themselves.)

And when I say Bistro Moulin is French in all aspects, that means expect slow service, although slow service does not mean bad service. The restaurant is tiny with very few employees so if you intend to dine there go with the mindset of taking your time and enjoying the whole experience.

I strongly recommend making reservations in advance because walking in and them having an open table does not happen. Jimmy and I stumbled upon this spot on 2008 by pure luck at 5pm on an off-night. They told us if we could be out by 5:45 we were welcome to eat. They were in no way shape or form being rude; they were completely booked for the rest of the evening, which seems to be the norm for the place.

So I leave the Pebble Beach section of this post with the single recommendation, but a terrific one it is!

Pebble Beach. A practice round ... I promise! :)

49'ers Coach Jim Harbaugh and me - I'm a big fan!

Northern Trust Open – Riviera Country Club.

As I have said before, the West Coast Swing is always a highlight of our year and especially our week at Riviera. I may have said this last year, but whenever anyone asks Jimmy what his favorite course to play his answer is always Riviera. He claims that if he could only play one course, every day for the rest of his life, this course would be it. (And yes, he has played Augusta before!)

EAT & SHOP.

On one side of S. 26th Street and San Vicente is the back of Riviera Country club and on the other side of the intersection is the Brentwood Country Mart. The Country Mart is a trendy dining and shopping experience with a mix of jewelry stores, boutiques and eateries. The fun thing about Country Mart is that every spot is local and unique. And this is a celebrity hot spot so keep a look out because you never know who might be there!

For a pleasant and casual, outdoor dining experience, try Reddi Chick. For a girl that now resides in Texas, I was pleasantly surprised with this spot. I believe when they say “the best rotisserie chicken and fries in LA”. The BBQ sauce was tangy, and the chicken was moist and delicious.

Opened by California restaurateur heavy hitters Jeff Cerciello and Micahel Darmon, Farmshop is a wonderful combination of sublime eatery and fresh market. With a fresh California inspired menu that features the best fresh ingredients the State has to offer, Farmshop won’t disappoint you. It’s the perfect stop for breakfast before heading to the golf course to watch one of the best fields all year!

If you would rather shop than watch golf, be sure to step in to any number of the Brentwood Country Mart’s fantastic boutique. From adorable children’s shops to eclectic jewelry stores, the Mart has a little (or a lot!) something for every one of any age.

I hope I have given you a few great suggestions for both of these amazing locations. Feedback is always appreciated, if any of my readers happen to visit my suggested spots. I also enjoy heading what my reader’s favorite spots may be that I haven’t already covered.

Be sure to check back later in the week or visit my Twitter account @Tourwifetravels for pictures from our week in the LA area!

Cheers!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Famers Insurance Open - A Sun-sational Week in SD!



A view from Torrey Pines by Jimmy

After a fun but windy week in the Desert, we made our way to the sunny California coast, San Diego. Jimmy wasn’t thrilled with his week at PGA West but is excited with the way his game is coming around since starting in Hawaii, and last week and this week are a testament to that.

I apologize for the delay in my post, but San Diego is a city I easily get distracted in! Add a few family members and fun friends in to the mix and suddenly it is Saturday night and I haven’t written a word.

Reluctantly, I tore myself away from the spectacular sunset off the Torrey Pine Glider Port and made myself sit down and get some writing accomplished.

EAT.

One benefit of delaying my post until the end of the week is we were able to eat last night with some friends and celebrate an entertaining 65 on the North Course by Jimmy. 29 on the back does not happen every day, and it was really fun to watch.

I would like to thank our friends Tina and Bill, who are locals, for taking us to the wonderful restaurant, Ropongi in La Jolla, for dinner. An Asian fusion and sushi restaurant that, in a city full of great eats, did not disappoint. Even if sushi isn’t your flavor, don’t pass on this swanky spot. The tapas menu alone is enough to delight a wide range of palates.

Although everything that passed our lips were fantastic be sure to try the Hot Rock Thin Sliced New York Steak, Hamachi Toro Tacos, and Polynesian Crab Stack, just to name a few. And with a menu this fantastic and upscale atmosphere, reservations are strongly recommended.

For a morning brunch or an afternoon lunch with friends, I highly recommend The Cottage, also located in La Jolla. After a morning strolling around the fun local shops, the restaurant was recommended to us. The Cottage was perfect for our sunny afternoon, and it’s large patio allowed us to soak up the right amount of Cali sun.

I was very impressed with my Fried Egg Sandwich, and was practically licking my plate clean at the end of our visit.

SHOP.

After a great lunch, be sure to walk off a few of those calories by strolling around all the local La Jolla stores. With a few nationally known retailers and a lot of local flair, the shops around Silverado Street will keep avid shoppers happy and occupied.

I don’t normally share secrets like this but ladies for the best brow wax on the planet check out The Brow Bar. It’s amazing how something like a little shaping can change your whole face! Now, if I could just have one of the girls travel with me every week!


#7 Torrey Pines, North Course

ETC.

I am sure there are thousands of websites touting how amazing the San Diego Zoo is but, after my second visit I must say, it really is an amazing and special place. Young children and adults of all ages will marvel at the sheer size of the animals and the park itself. Be sure to bring your walking shoes because it’s quite a hike from one end of the giant park to the other but well worth it!

The last day at Torrey Pines will not disappoint, so head out to one of the most picturesque spots of the year and cheer on the worlds best as they tackle the ever imposing South Course. Between the Navy jets buzzing the course, and the Marine holding the American Flag pin on the 14th green, I feel so proud to be an American and a golf wife.

Cheers!

A great evening view from our bus this week!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Humana Challenge - Fun & Sun In The Desert

We made it through our first week of 2012 no worse for wear. Admittedly, Jimmy wasn’t totally satisfied with his game heading in to Sony, and it cost him on Thursday. After a small adjustment, pointed out by his caddy Andy Sanders, things improved dramatically on Friday. Although he missed the cut by a shot and that is always disappointing, we were able to hop a flight back to the Mainland, grab our son from my parents in Utah, and head to the desert.

It all feels “right” this week. We are back in our bus, and back together as a family. Jimmy got some great work in the past two days and feeling a lot more confident.

Pro-Am’s are always fun, but they make for some very long days for our guys. And with two during the West Coast Swing, it’s no wonder why many TOUR pros choose to play one or the other. By dropping a day, dropping the 4th course and all the wonderful activities planned for players and their families, I really believe we will see a revitalized tournament.

Perfect weather has a name, and it’s called Palm Springs. To me, it doesn’t get much better than daytime temps in the 70’s, and sweatshirt temps in the evenings. After you visit, you can really see why so many people call Palm Springs their winter home. With around 130 golf courses, along with numerous tennis clubs, music, food and wine festivals, and six weeks of world-class equestrian competitions (my favorite sport), the Coachella Valley is an active adult paradise.

EAT.

Self-described “locally owned and nationally known” LG’s Prime Steakhouse is a must while visiting the Desert. Established in 1991 by a husband and wife team, LG’s great steaks and fabulous wine list attract the who’s who of the area. With two locations – Palm Springs and La Quinta - and the latter’s proximity to PGA West, on any given night during the tournament week, you will usually find a half a dozen golfers enjoying LG’s classic American fare and swanky atmosphere.

SHOP.

Why stay inside when the weather is perfect? For shopaholics with the same idea, The Gardens on El Paseo is a wonderful solution. With a mix of local boutiques and nationally known upscale stores, El Paseo’s central location is ideal for shoppers coming from all directions of the Coachella Valley. Be sure to visit She She and She She Kids for unique apparel and gifts that are the perfect reflection style this area is known for.

STAY.

Although this is our first year playing this tournament with our bus, we quickly realized that this is definitely the best spot for RV’s all year. There are some unbelievable resorts in the area (because lets face it, these are NOT campgrounds) and none better than the Motorcoach Country Club & Luxury RV Resort. As soon as you pull in you realize, Toto, we are certainly not in Kansas anymore.

Million dollar motor coaches line the perfectly paved parking spots. Some unique spots boast casitas, water features, top of the line grills and spas. With amenities that include a 9/18-hole golf course, yacht club, tennis courts and a great workout facility, you will check in and never want to leave.

Jimmy and our son enjoying our spot this week.

A evening view from Motorcoach Country Club

GOLF.

It’s been a beautiful week so in the spirit of the Humana Challenge and the Clinton Foundation, get out, be healthy and walk three of the best golf courses in the area. Support all the golfers – great and not so great – and enjoy everything the Desert has to offer.

Cheers!

Players meet and greet with President Clinton.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sony Open - Aloha 2012!

Aloha readers and welcome back to TOUR Wife Travels! In general, I am not usually one to make New Years resolutions, but for 2012, I am bound and determined to blog more and make TWT even better. 2011 was my test run, and now it’s time to get down to some serious writting!

We had a wonderful off-season full of amazing trips, a few horse shows and me dragging Jimmy to the gym multiple times a week. Most mornings there was some serious grumbling on both our parts, but we made it to 2012, and we are stronger for it. Pun intended. I read a statistic that said 90% of people who workout with their partner stick to their workout routines. I believe it! Nothing like having your wife say to you, “I’m not even a professional athlete, and I’m doing another set of lunges” to get you motivated!

So here we are, and we couldn’t be more excited for 2012 and starting our year off in Hawaii. Admittedly, the West Coast Swing is my favorite stretch of golf and Honolulu kicks off our season in the perfect way. Jimmy says I have had a “real smile” (as opposed to a fake smile?) on my face since the moment we landed. Well, it’s not just because we are in paradise but also because I really feel as 2012 is going to be a GREAT year!

Lets start this season off on the right foot with some of my absolute Hawaiian favorites.

EAT.

It looks like a hole-in-the-shopping-center-wall, but Yakiniku Hiroshi’s absolutely cannot be missed when visiting Honolulu. A favorite among the Titleist reps and players like Ryan Palmer, Colt Knost and Shigeki Maruyama, Hiroshi himself is an insane golf nut and the place is plastered with high priced empty wine bottles and Scotty Cameron stickers. Knowing the golfers I know, I’m pretty sure they consumed the wine in those empty bottles too!

Hiroshi’s is, what I suppose you would call Japanese BBQ. And since we were the only English-speaking people in the restaurant last night, they must be doing something right. The restaurant is an “interactive dining experience,” or as Jimmy says, you pay a lot of money to cook your own food. Don’t let the unassuming d├ęcor fool you; the Kobe beef is amazing, as long as you don’t over cook it. And if you do, it’s your own fault!

Visit Hiroshi’s with an open mind and your mind will be blown wide open. (Insert comedic drum-thump-tambourine-sound here. It’s 6:30 Hawaiian time, and I am on a roll!)

Jimmy and his caddy, Andy Sanders, at Hiroshi's

STAY.

We usually stay the Moana Surfrider, but after calling two months in advance and with a supposed PGA TOUR room block, it was booked. So we took the chance on another Starwood property, the Royal Hawaiian – A Luxury Collection property, and I am sure glad we did.

The Royal Hawaiian, also known as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, is one of the oldest hotels in Waikiki opening it’s doors in 1927. After a complete yearlong renovation, the Royal Hawaiian reopened its doors in January 2009. It has returned to its glorious prominence and is once again one of the premiere hotels in Waikiki with all the modern amenities but with classic old-style Hawaiian elegance.

With nice sized guest rooms, a fantastic pool and perfectly located between the beach and shopping, the Royal Hawaiian is truly a pink paradise.

Our beautiful accommodations this week.

SHOP.

Conveniently located next to the Royal Hawaiian hotel is the Royal Hawaiian shopping center. A nice indoor-outdoor mall that winds its way through tropical gardens, the Royal Hawaiian shops have everything from trendy boutiques and art galleries to jewelry and of course an ABC Store or two. They also have an Apple store with a quite friendly staff that replaced my broken iPhone for free yesterday! Score one for me! There are also plenty of restaurants that over look magnificently huge hundred-year-old banyan trees and unique street performers.

The shops are open late, and the center is perfect for an evening stroll and dinner after a long, warm day on the beach.

GOLF.

So far the weather has been perfect and finally, it is time for 2012’s first full-field event. Its been a few years since I have made the traveling squad to this tournament, and I am really excited to walk this beautifully old-style golf course. And according to a recent survey, Waialae Country Club ranked 20th on the list of TOUR players favorite courses to play.

With Jimmy’s 4th place finish here, last year Waialae kicked off what would become our best year to-date on TOUR. We look forward to an even better week and an even better year in 2012.

Cheers and mahalo!



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On The Road Again!

Welcome back to Tour Wife Travels! I apologize for the lack of posts for the past few months. I have been busy on the horse show circuit, and although I visited great spots around the country, my travels aren’t quite as interesting to read about when they don’t involve golf.

I am really excited to have the whole family back together and back on the road. Jimmy joked that as soon as I showed up at Greenbrier he started playing well. As much as I would like to take all the credit, a husband who is finally healthy and back in a groove trumps wife back out on the road.

For Jimmy it was a huge disappointment not to qualify for the PGA Championship. Although he has had 4 top-tens this year, he didn’t make any money after the Barclays last year due to a torn meniscus he had to have repaired. When it came down to it, we were about $30,000 short. The good news is we enjoyed two relaxing (all be it very hot) weeks at home, and Jimmy had a chance to fine-tune things with his coach before this all-important final stretch.

This week we are in Greensboro, NC for the Wyndham Championship. This is only my second time to this fun city, so bare with me as I am still learning the ins and outs of the area.

EAT.

For a restaurant that is always on Greensboro’s “Best of the Best” list, I suggest the Green Valley Grill. Located adjacent to the O’ Henry Hotel, the Green Valley Grill is nondescript on the outside but the classy interior and creative cuisine will leave you full and satisfied. The eclectic American fare is sprinkled with a hint of southern charm and if you can’t make up your mind, try a few dishes from the “Small Plates” menu and share with the table. The Green Valley Grill is definitely the restaurant to visit while in Greensboro.

STAY & GOLF.

If running all over town isn’t what you had in mind during your vacation, check out the luxurious Grandover Resort and Golf. Old world ambiance meets modern amenities, and with 36 holes of beautiful Carolina golf, the Grandover is the perfect spot for a getaway.

With multiple restaurants, bars and a beautiful spa, there is plenty to keep you entertained. If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous interior, perfectly manicured grounds and charming covered bridges dot the romantic property. The Grandover is a favorite for TOUR players and their families while in Greensboro and once you book your stay, it’s easy to too why.

SHOP.

Husbands beware. The Greensboro/High Point area is affectionately known as the furniture capital of the world. And for the world largest furniture retailer, a very short trip from the Grandover Resort is Furnitureland South.

Between the discount prices and over 1 million square feet of retail space, this one-stop-shop is the perfect place for everything your heart and home desires. The Harris family has owned and operated Furnitureland South for over 40 years. They pride themselves in offering some of the best prices in the business, and the selection is absolutely unmatched. The gigantic furniture “campus” is an absolute must see while visiting the Greensboro area.

I hope I have given some good suggestions should you ever find yourself in the Greensboro. As usual I must insert my shameless golf plug here, because if it weren’t for golf this blog wouldn’t exist! Sedgefield Country Club is a beautiful venue and is the perfect southern host for an exciting final week of the regular season. Jimmy says the course is in the best shape he’s seen and it’s sure to be a thrilling week with quite a few top names and past winners vying for FedEx Playoff spots.

Cheers!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sawgrass - The Home of the PGA TOUR


After a few relaxing weeks at home, the Walker family is finally on the road again. It's a good thing we enjoyed a little mid-season break because we won't be home again until August. Packing for that length of time is a huge challenge and always one of my least favorite aspects of traveling. Surprisingly, I was able to keep my bag under the 50-pound weight limit!

Jimmy had a bit of a rough week in Charlotte when a lower back injury caught us all by surprise. It wasn't a great result, but after the way the week started and talks of withdrawing on Friday, we were happy he was able to grind it out. Only after he made the cut -- and some prodding, stretching, massage, ice, ice and more ice -- were his therapists on TOUR able to identify that the strain was actually stemming from an agitated leg muscle in his upper thigh.

If Jimmy had not made weekend, and there hadn't been a lightning delay Saturday morning, the source of the back pain may not have been identified in time for Jimmy to get back to feeling normal for one of his favorite weeks of the year -- THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

THE PLAYERS is one of the most exciting events on TOUR and you really get the "major" feeling when you watch this tournament. The fans are knowledgeable and polite and the field is truly one of the best in golf.

This is the second year we have had the opportunity to play this great event, so we are still getting to know the Ponte Vedra Beach area. I am going to share a few spots with you we have discovered and I will certainly add more as the years continue.

EAT.

Just 18 miles south of TPC Sawgrass is a fun family restaurant called Caps on the Water. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, Caps serves up coastal cuisine that pairs fresh fish with unique southern and Mediterranean flavors. The large deck, sunset oyster bar and great drink menu attracts locals and tourists alike, and everyone has a great time. Be sure to get there early as even when the weather gets warm, this very popular spot is busy early and stays that way until well after the sun sets.

My next suggestion is courtesy of Lauren Teague, PGATOUR.COM's goddess of social media. Don't let the name fool you, Pussers Caribbean Grill may have a horrible name but the food is anything but that. Located just outside the TPC Sawgrass on the A1A, Pussers offers a taste of the Caribbean with unique dishes and fun colorful signature cocktails. And with its proximity to one of the country's best golf courses, it's the perfect ending to a day spent watching THE PLAYERS or playing the TPC.

STAY.

For accommodations as close to the action as you can get, the Sawgrass Marriot is a beautiful property that offers convenient boat service to and from TPC Sawgrass specifically for its guests attending THE PLAYERS Championship.

The Sawgrass Marriot offers access to eight wonderful golf courses in the area, including the TPC's famed PLAYERS Stadium Course and Dye's Valley Course. If golf is what you live for then the Sawgrass Marriot can offer you a trip of a lifetime.

GOLF.

If attending a world-class sporting event is something on your "bucket list' then THE PLAYERS Championship is not to be missed. Although the PGA TOUR has never made the official claim of The Players being the "fifth major," any of the players will tell you it's just that. The field is spectacular, offering a well-balanced mix of PGA TOUR and international players, rookies and veterans, oh, and a Tiger, too.

The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a long, fast, challenging 7,215-yard Pete Dye masterpiece. Designed with every type of player in mind, the course offers a wonderful balance of holes of varying length for every type of shot-maker. And the "stadium" feel offers spectators a chance to see great golf from wonderful vantage points with the famed 17th hole being one of the most intimidating and recognizable holes in golf.

Even with warm May temperatures on the rise, Ponte Vedra Beach and THE PLAYERS Championship is a stop that every golf fan needs to make.

And now it's time for this TOUR wife to take full advantage of this wonderful week and head to the course. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

Is there such a thing as “home field advantage” in golf? We would like to think so! And this week we are excited to welcome everyone to our hometown, San Antonio, for the Valero Texas Open!

Jimmy has been a San Antonio resident since grade school and, I reluctantly, moved here when we were married in 2005. After almost 6 years, I have become a big fan of the city, the people and really feel like San Antonio is home.

Jimmy and I are ready for a full week of family, friends and a little golf too! We are also excited to share with you a few places we consider our hometown “favorites”.

EAT.

San Antonio is known for it’s charming downtown Riverwalk and if you are going to be spending an evening exploring downtown, there is no better place to stop for dinner than Boudro’s. A self-proclaimed “Texas Bistro,” this trendy place is always packed and a favorite among locals braving the Riverwalk crowds. The pink Prickly Pear Margarita may look and sound girlie but don’t let it fool you. This tart little concoction should probably come with a two-drink limit or you may find yourself at the bottom of the San Antonio River. (Don’t panic, it’s only about 3 feet deep!)

The second must-have item on Boudro’s menu is the Tableside Guacamole. Simply put, it’s the best. I’m willing to stand by my statement and will give away some sweet golf swag to the person proving me wrong!

The entire Boudro’s menu is great, and the atmosphere is fun and festive. Be sure to make it a priority stop on your trip to San Antonio.

There aren’t many restaurant signs designed to keep the masses away but that’s exactly what “Rudy’s Worst BBQ In Texas” tries to do. And they fail miserably. After traveling to some of the self proclaimed “Best BBQ Joints” in the country, Rudy’s worst is better than the Best’s best. Pulling up to the gas stations that house Rudy’s you will undoubtedly question our suggestion but one bite of anything on the menu and you will understand why Rudy’s is basically a religion around here. Be sure to sample a little bit of everything but don’t forget the “sause”.

SHOP.

For premiere shopping in San Antonio be sure to head to the Shops at La Cantera. The beautiful outdoor shopping and dining experience is perfect this time of year when mild weather is at a premium in South Texas. With tons of shops and restaurants to choose from, it’s easy to lose track of time enjoying the mall.

STAY & GOLF.

Open only a year, the JW Marriot San Antonio is not only the host hotel for the Valero Texas Open, it is also the largest Marriot property in the world. The 1002 rooms and 85 suites are a beautiful blend of Texas Hill Country and contemporary elegance, with every inch of the property total luxury.

While all the restaurants live up to great expectations, the Vegas-inspired High Velocity Sports Bar should not be missed. No matter who you root for, the 120 foot-long high definition video wall makes you feel as you are right in the middle of the action.

Don’t feel like heading down to the Riverwalk? Don’t worry, the JW Marriot San Antonio has built it’s own! The River Bluff Water Experience, a six-acre water park, is one river you will actually want to swim in. Parents try to keep your excitement under control and not push your kids out of the way when you see everything that the JW Marriot has to offer.

If you can tear yourself away from the massive hotel, be sure to book tee times at two championship golf courses located about a nine-iron away, at the TPC San Antonio. The Pete Dye designed AT&T Canyon Course and Greg Norman designed PGA TOUR stop AT&T Oaks Course are the two newest additions to the TPC network.

The Oaks Course that the TOUR Players play may be the first you choose to because, lets face it, everyone wants to play where the pros play. But absolutely do not overlook the fabulously designed Canyon Course. When Jimmy and San Antonio resident and TOUR winner, Cameron Beckman aren’t hard at work prepping for the Texas Open, the Canyon Course is on the top of their list of links to play.

Being a private golf club, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity JW Marriot guests have and play these two awesome tracks.

ETC.

Party with a purpose? That is exactly what this week’s Fiesta San Antonio is all about. A premier festival in San Antonio with over 100 events and each event is produced by a nonprofit organization. With an economic impact of over $200 million, the funds raised provide services to San Antonio residents throughout the year.

This is the first year Fiesta and the Valero Texas Open dates have coincided. With events ranging from parades and food and wine tasting, to art shows and symphonies, Fiesta is another reason we love San Antonio.

We are so excited to have the TOUR in our town this week and hope you enjoy San Antonio as much as we do. With wind coming from all directions this time of year and the AT&T Oaks Course a rolling, whopping 7,522 yards monster, it’s sure to be an exciting week of tough golf.

Cheers!