Travel: Golf Ireland and Jamaica
by Art McCafferty
Ballybunion, Lahinch, Old Head, Connemara, Portsteward, Donegal, Royal County Downs, Druids Glen, Waterville, K Club at Straffan, Tralee and Killarney are all names that will have your hand searching for a pint of Guinness. These are but a few of the storied courses in Ireland that are responsible for a sizable jump in Irish tourism of late.
For Dr. Clyde LeTarte, former Representative in the Michigan House, former President of Jackson Community College and presently a golfer that has played many of the best that Ireland has to offer, it was time to think about adding this niche to the product line of New Horizons. New Horizons is the 15 million-dollar a year travel company that Clyde's wife Kathy built, while Clyde was busy with his educational and political careers. Together they recently opened their new office building in Jackson, providing a beautiful workspace for their 23 employees.
After retiring from the House of Representatives, Clyde finally had the time to pursue his love of golf. His home course is White Lake, a private course north of Muskegon. For Clyde, Ireland seemed the best place to start, as it is probably one of the hottest travel destinations in the world. The current Irish golf frenzy has been fueled by the announcement that the 2005 Ryder Cup will be held at the Arnold Palmer designed K Club at Straffan in County Kildare. The K Club has been the home of the European Open for the last four years.
Clyde had the opportunity to play many Irish courses and visit many of the lodging sites as a guest of Aer Lingus this past spring. He now wants to share his knowledge with Michigan golfers. He is looking at a number of target markets for his golf tours. He realizes that there are the traditional "men only" groups that go and play till they drop. He also feels that there is an emerging group of golf travel couples that he feels will be interested. With the spectacular growth of women's golf in this country, this move seems to make a lot of sense. He is planning his first tours in late summer of 2000, with a more robust schedule for 2001 and beyond.
New Horizons tra-vel will also be looking at domestic golf travel such as Myrtle Beach, Orlando and other popular U.S. destinations. Look for their information on newhorizons.com or call them at 1-800-327-4695.<\p>
You can now add the beauty of 218 fairways to this early marketing message of explorer extraordinaire Columbus, Jamaica has now joined the list of countries that are trying to exploit their golfing inventory to a hungry travel market. Loretta Meissner of Hallmark Tours, an Ann Arbor based travel firm for the past 28 years that has concentrated on Caribbean travel, is testing this market with a number of trips to Jamaica this coming fall. The $1299 pp dbl.occ. price tag* is an all inclusive golf vacation at the Wyndham Rose Hall Golf and Country Club.
Golfers will tee up at a course famous for its imaginative layout as well as for its historic site. The course was built in the 1970s by Henry O.Smedley and wraps around the resort from the beach to the hills. He will be remembered particularly for his 8th hole, a bedeviling par 4 nicknamed "Chinamen's Reef" that was described by Malcolm Campbell, of Golf Monthly magazine, as "one of the most difficult golf holes in the world."
Loretta indicated that there would be five Michigan and Ohio flights to catch for this eight day seven night package; Oct. 27 from Colum-bus, Nov. 3 and 10 out of Cleveland, Nov. 17 from Detroit and a Thanksgiving getaway leaving Cincinnati on Nov. 24th. For further info, contact them at 800-244-8361 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
*Those dreaded airport taxes ad $66.
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