Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The golf-recreational vehicle (RV) lifestyle has become very popular over the last several years, with more than 200 RV-golf themed resorts in the United States and Canada. Some of these resorts offer plenty of parking sites to accommodate bus-sized RVs and challenging courses for its guests.

For example, Emerald Desert Golf and RV Resort in Palm Desert, Calif. offers 760 full-service manicured spaces for RVs. Nestled against the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains and situated directly in the heart of the Coachella Valley, Emerald Desert -- 11 miles from Palm Springs -- lures RV-golfers like a magnet.

That includes John Daly. According to Emerald Desert manager Sammee Zeile, the long driver pulled in last January requesting a spot for his 45-foot Featherlite Prevost. However, Daly was traveling with his children, so he was politely informed of the immaculate RV park's no-children policy. "He was very understanding," recalled Zeile.

Daly isn't the only PGA Tour player to use a recreational vehicle. In fact, last season 19 Tour players traveled the circuit in motorhomes, including Davis Love III, Zach Johnson, Marco Dawson, Esteban Toledo, Kent Jones, Brenden Pappas and Rory Sabbatini.

Sabbatini purchased his first RV a few years ago in response to the Tour's grueling traveling schedule of 30 to 35 weeks a year. Sabbatini, who travels with his wife Amy, infant son Harley, and a pair of dachshunds, Chloe and Zoe, says that touring in an RV is having a positive effect on both his family life and golf game.

"You don't find yourself getting stressed out," said Sabbatini, who finished 16th on the 2004 PGA Tour money list with more than $2.5 million in earnings. "Now, my wife and son come with me on Tour. That has allowed me to relax and play more events without getting fatigued or stressed out." Traveling by RV, he said, "is like being at home and is more relaxing than flying and staying in hotels."

In fact, Sabbatini decided to upgrade to a custom-built RV, otherwise known as a "land yacht." In April, Sabbatini will take possession of a 45-foot Millennium Prevost; upgrades include a king-sized bed, dash-mounted GPS with CD player and stacked Bosch 240-volt washer and dryer.

Davis Love III, who helped start the RV trend three years ago among pro golfers, echoes Sabbatini's sentiments. "I've got my bed, my pillows, my satellite card, my underwear and socks in the RV," he told the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Love singled out the freedom and feeling of home as major perks of traveling in his 45-foot long land yacht, which cost a reported $1.25 million.

How comfortable are these rigs? According to John Hall, Featherlite's marketing manager, amenities of the 20-ton, $1.3 million Dalymobile include the following:

  • Three, 42-inch flat screen televisions. Two satellite dishes track television signals even while the vehicle is moving.
  • A large propane gas grill that also slides out of the bay for outdoor cooking. Daly says he can cook 20 steaks at a time on it.
  • Mirrored ceilings from front to back and several floor-to-ceiling wall mirrors create the illusion of openess.
  • A synthetic tiger-skin carpet, a fold-out couch upholstered in artificial tiger skin, a swivel rocker, a massaging recliner and a dining table that seats seven.
  • Three stereos -- front, back and outside -- with Bose speakers throughout the home. A full-size refrigerator with freezer and icemaker, a stove and a large microwave.

Those staying at the RV park also have use of a private practice green with bunker as well as a driving range. "We built a separate practice green and driving range just for the RVers," said Frei. "Of course, they still have access to the 18-hole championship golf course and 18-hole championship grass putting course."

Desert Canyon has garnered awards over the last decade, including recognition as one of the top 10 golf courses in America for women. The spectacular views overlooking the Columbia River, coupled with more than 300 days of sunshine each year, make this an RV-golfer must-visit destination. When traveling through the Lone Star State, Shallow Creek Golf and RV Resort rolls out a huge welcome mat for visitors. Located in Gladewater, Texas, 100 miles east of Dallas, Shallow Creek offers an 18-hole championship golf course along with 63 full-service RV spaces. "Since adding the park a year ago, we have increased rounds at the golf course by 25 percent, Monday through Thursday," said owner Larry Odom.

Shallow Creek amenities include 30 and 50 amp hook ups, instant phone, cable television, high-speed Internet, and access to a 5,000-square-foot club house, swimming pool, showers and a full kitchen and snack bar. The Shallow Creek Golf Course, with a terrain reminiscent of the Ozarks, plays 6,765 yards from the tips, with plenty of water hazards to test your aquatic skills.

View Point RV and Golf Resort in Mesa, Ariz. has also turned a few heads in the last several years. In 2002 and '03, it was selected as the number-one RV resort in the nation by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. Open year-round, View Point offers 375 full-service sites along with an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole executive course.

And as with other quality-conscious resorts, View Point offers a plethora of amenities, including cable television, pools, spas, Laundromat, tennis courts, shuffleboard, billiards, restaurant, carts, driving range and putting facility. Other perks that keep guests returning year after year include a courteous staff, great practice facilities, cool drinks and a desert sunset. Can you think of anything for enticing to try out a RV on your next golf vacation?

Ready to Buy a RV?

There are two main categories of RVs: Motorhomes (motorized) and towables (towed behind the family car, van or pickup). The types of towable RVs available are folding camping trailers, truck campers, conventional travel trailers and fifth-wheel travel trailers. There are also three size categories: Type A motorhomes (largest), B (smallest) and C (in between A and B).

Prices start at approximately $6,824 for folding camping trailers; $13,103 for truck campers; $16,631 for conventional travel trailers; $63,463 for type C motorhomes and $143,834 and up for type A motorhomes.

Note that those prices include a shell. Add in options and the price goes up. Check out the price tags on these furnished 2005 models:

  • Prevost XLII: $989,000
  • Monaco Signature: $525,000
  • Newmar Essex 4502: $495,000
  • Travel Supreme Select 45DS: $462,000
  • Newmar Mountain Aire 4304: $324,000
  • Holiday Rambler Sceptor 38: $277,000
  • Fleetwood Discovery 39L: $198,000




www.rvra.org

Depending upon the season, motorhomes rent from $70 to $170 per day and truck campers and travel trailers average $50 to $120 per day. Remember that the fee includes your transportation, sleeping accommodations and a kitchen, which gives you the option of reducing food costs. Unfortunately, it doesn't include green fees (though some RV-golf resorts do offer that as a perk).

Attending an RV show is one of the best ways of becoming familiar with RVs. You'll discover they come in all shapes, sizes and costs, with many on display at the dozens of RV shows around the nation. Show dates and locations are searchable at www.rvra.org.

General RV information is available at the Web site of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association, www.rvda.org or the Go RVing Web site at www.GoRVing.com. These Web sites offer information on RV travel trends, vehicles types, show listings and links to RV dealers and campgrounds in your area. You can also order a free "Getting Started" video or CD-ROM by calling 888-Go-RVing or online at www.GoRVing.com.

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