Golf, in case you didn't know, is one of the fastest growing sports in the world of travel. There are now 28.5 million golfers in the United States, and, by the year 2000, another 20 million are expected to take up the game. It's expected there will be 5,000 new courses by then also.
On Cape Cod, which one golf pro describes as the Pebble Beach of the East, there is the new Old Barnstable Fairgrounds Golf Course.
Even in areas one might not expect, golf is expanding. Northern Michigan, for example, where the number of courses is expected to double within four years, is being called the next Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Elk Ridge course there has just been named second best new public course in the country.
Most resorts and courses offer packaged lesson plans. One of the most famous names in teaching is the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School, where "the idea is to integrate fun and learning," according to legendary Jack Nicklaus.
While the swing is the key to all lessons, Jim Flick, '88 PGA Teacher of the Year, added, "We do not teach a theory, trend or idealized vision of the perfect swing; we teach people on an individual basis." Three- and four-day schools across the country, including Pebble Beach and the PGA National at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, are offered. For details, call (800) 642-5528.
Learning at such luxurious places needn't be costly. At the Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Fla., a beginner's course begins at $69.50 a person a night through Oct. 31. Call (800) 327-7028 for details.
Another way to add interest to your game is to play it in Finland, where the sun doesn't set in summer. At the Green Zone Golf Course, the northernmost course in the world, half the play is in Sweden. While no passports are needed on the course, there is a one-hour difference between the countries, so the ball arrives in Sweden an hour ahead of the players. Not bad. Call the Finnish Tourist Board for details, (212) 949-2333.