pebble beach (no magic on 17)

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cabot links

I must take a minute to mention where it is I’ve been staying on Cape Breton Island: Cabot Links, Canada’s only authentic links course. And while regular readers of this site might be aware that my knowledge of and interest in golf ranks right up there with hockey, clad in cedar shingles the Lodge at Cabot Links is a beautifully modern riff on the maritime traditions of the area, with spectacular views of the beach, dunes and Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s luxurious in a low-key way; sensible - Canadian, you might say – with an attention to detail that doesn’t feel compelled to call attention to itself. The fantastic food I’ve been featuring over the last few posts has come from the in-house restaurant, Panorama, which manages to maintain a level of fine dining without feeling pretentious – an impressive achievement in a town with less than a thousand full-time residents. Were I a golfer I’d think I died and gone to heaven. It says something that even a philistine like myself can appreciate how the course – which only opened in June – looks not so much impressed upon the landscape but coaxed out of it, as though the terrain had been merely lying in wait for the right person to come along and scatter a few pins. When a planned second links course opens in 2014 you’ll be hearing a lot more about Cabot Links. And when the bunker spa opens I, too, will be back.

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bucket list: 2010 – december

MIAMI:  A last-minute jaunt down to Miami ended the year in travel with a bang.  Yet again, it wasn’t nearly as warm as expected – a recurring theme this year, no? – but how can you complain when you’re walking around in shorts the week before Christmas and watching Micheal Jordan play golf outside your balcony?  The highlight:  catching up with old friends down in the Design District at Michelle Bernstein’s Sra. Martinez, where we wisely decided to let the captain order for us. Plate after plate of fresh tapas came out of the kitchen like a tasting menu gone wild – not that anyone’s taste buds complained. (Plus, it was good practice for next month’s upcoming trip to Madrid.) One menu item I’m determined to try at home come 2011:  crispy eggplant, drizzled with molasses and sea salt.  The delicate savory crunch, mixed with a dash of sweet and salt, was as addictive as … well, travel.

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three-putting the fifth green, scottsdale

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obligatory swilken bridge photo

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a whale of a tail

The Jack Nicklaus-designed Pacifico course at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita – where I happily spent four cosseted days – features one of the coolest par 3’s in the game:  3B, the world’s only natural island green, nicknamed The Tail of the Whale due to the giant mammals that surface off the coast during the annual winter migration.  I won’t pretend to have parred the hole – or even to have played for that matter – but at low tide I did trek out along the breakwater just to see what all the fuss is about.  Something tells me there’s a veritable army of stray golf balls residing at the bottom of the Pacific.

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