Even though I’m a huge sports guy, I’ve never cared much for golf. The first time I played real golf (not the miniature version one) I was 32. The second – and last – time I went golfing I hit a real bird and broke a car’s window (yes, really) before I had shot four holes.
These personal golf facts make it all the more ironic that when the St. Augustine visitor’s bureau folks invited my family and I to “America’s Oldest City” they help put us up in the 271-room World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort that is also home to THE World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum.
THE WORLD GOLF VILLAGE RENAISSANCE ST. AUGUSTINE RESORT
The resort sits smack in the middle of gorgeous golf greens, which is only fitting because this is the main resort where golf legends stay when they visit or are being inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame.
The World Golf Village has every amenity you would expect from such a high profile venue for golf-minded aficionados including spacious, comfortable rooms (our kids got one of their own), a gorgeous open atrium, a huge golf ball-like pool and a large convention center. This is arguably one of St. Augustine’s top three premier hotel properties and once you see the golf inspired views surrounding the hotel on every side, you instantly know why the hall of fame is located here.
THE WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM
The most pleasant surprise of our entire trip to St. Augustine was our visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, a convenient two-minute walk from the resort and one that is surprisingly as super engaging for golf enthusiasts as it is for non-golfers. Quite simply, the people who put this museum together got everything right because my son and I were so blown away by the museum that we extended our planned excursion there as much as we could before our drive to Charleston, South Carolina.
The museum part of the name refers to the history and cultural impact of the game itself. One entire wing, for example, is devoted to the late comedian Bob Hope who in countless films and TV programs became an iconic supporter of the sport. As a boy I was a big fan of Bob Hope so it was interesting to see how this part of golf history is given strong priority in telling the story of golf. Other museum wings follow the history of golf, the rules of the game and even the evolution of golf clubs.
The hall of fame part is equally interesting because it focuses on the legendary players who have retired or passed away. One of the most clever parts of the museum is an entire wing that features locker stalls for all of the hall of fame’s inductees. Inside the lockers you find personal artifacts and memorabilia that tell you something about each of the players’ personalities, tastes and even game day superstitions.
As you might expect, the museum is not just interested in engaging your heart and mind. It also wants you to swing your golf club. One of the funnest parts of the museum is a golf game that lets you take a full swing at a real ball that fires into a digital green screen. (My son Jonathan actually surprised everyone with a first-ever full swing at a golf ball that looked like it had been hit by a veteran).
ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY SPONSORED BY STATE FARM
I don’t like to carry cash with me because frankly almost every place you go nowadays takes credit but when you’re on a family vacation, you need to have cash. As a rule of thumb I recommend you have $10 cash per vacation day. This should generally cover things like tips, parking meter and other miscellaneous expenses that may not allow credit card payment.