Cubs fans travel south for baseball and golf

By Dave Berner, Senior Contributor

CHICAGO, Ill. -- You don't expect a Chicago Cubs fan to sit still, do ya? Not when the Cubs are making history, and certainly not when a little post-season baseball can be mixed with some late-season golf.

When a Chicago baseball team gets to go to the balmy climate of the American south in the month of October, you know something special is going on. Something that hasn't happened in decades of baseball seasons. It means someone's throwing heat, someone's cracking wood, someone's in the playoffs. And, even though it may not be as crazy as California politics, somehow The Terminator as Governor makes more logical sense than the Cubs as a World Series contender.

But believe it. The Cubbies beat the Braves and have moved on to face the Marlins. Great for Chicago baseball fans. Superb for those fans who also love their golf.

The stands at Turner Field were packed with thousands of Chicago fans during the Divisional Playoff Series. And there is no reason to believe that Pro Player Stadium also won't be jammed-up jelly-tight with frequent-flying Cubs fans. It sounds like a perfect weekend. The Cubs are scheduled to play Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Miami, and we all know the weather will be go od, so, grab a cheap flight, scalp a couple of bleacher tickets and put the sticks in the travel bag. It's time to head south.

Golf by Day. Cubs by Night.

That blue you see in Miami these days is not the Atlantic Ocean, it's not the color of the glorious Florida sky one experiences this time of year, it's the blue of a baseball uniform. It's Cubbie blue. And although this current baseball scenario is as rare as a Chicago steak, that blue will be the predominant color on the golf courses around Miami. The Cubs cap you wear to the game is also perfect head gear on the golf course.

There are four solid choices for golf in the Miami area, and each just a Texas League single from where baseball is being played. Golf in the daylight, baseball under the lights.

Miami Shores Country Club

This is traditional, old-Florida golf. And just to keep the baseball theme rolling, Miami Shores was one of Joe DiMaggio's favorites. Joltin' Joe loved his golf, and in his era he was believed to have played a good deal at the classic Miami Shores.

The par-71, 6,373-yard course has been through extensive renovations but still holds much of its original 1936 design by architect Red Laurence. The front nine has small greens with plenty of bunkers. The incoming nine forces you to keep it straight with tight fairways.

The Club has also been host to the Florida State Open and celebrity events featuring Bob Hope, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Sam Snead. And all of them have had an after golf cocktail in one f the coolest bar's in Florida golf - a 120 seat lounge with a panoramic view of the course, the range, a swimming pool, and tennis courts.

Miami Shores Country Club
10,000 Key Biscayne Blvd.
Miami Shores, Florida
Green Fees - $45-$60
Time from Pro Player Stadium - 20/40 minutes

The Links at Key Biscayne

You've got to get off the peninsula to knock it around The Links. But it's not far to Key Biscayne. The Island is first off the Florida coast and the golf course has some of the most breathtaking views of the City of Miami. You can see the city from the fairway and between the openings in the Mangrove trees. And when you're driving into Key Biscayne, all you can see from the Rickenbacker Causeway is the entrance to the 18-hole course and the 5th green. The rest of the course is hidden from view. But just a glimpse will get your juices flowing.

The Links at Key Biscayne has been rated as one of the top-10 municipal courses in Florida for many years, it's the home of the Royal Caribbean Classic on the PGA's Champions Tour, and it's always in wonderful shape. Plus, it's tricky. Even though it sits on an island and the sea is just beyond the trees, the heavy growth keeps the ocean winds away, unless you hit the ball high above the tree line and then, suddenly, its like the wind blowing out to centerfield.

The Links at Key Biscayne
6700 Craydon Boulevard
Key Biscayne, Florida
Greens Fees - $40/$70
Time to Pro Player Stadium - 30/40 minutes

Miami Springs Golf Course

It doesn't quite have the history of, say, Wrigley Field? But Miami Springs does carries some history. First, it was the original venue for the Miami Open. And second, the course was just about in the center of Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992. The powerful storm ripped out over 500 trees on the property. But since then, the course has planted new trees numbering over 550 and has been able to restore and even improve some of the conditions and playability of Miami Springs.

This is a pretty flat course, but the rough is thick and the greens have a good deal of undulation. The hole is remember? The par-3 7th is 140 yards with an elevated green and a horseshoe shaped bunker.

Miami Springs Golf Course
650 Curtiss Parkway
Miami Springs, Florida
Green Fees - $20-$50
From Pro Player Stadium - 20/30 minutes

Don Shula's Golf Club

Alright, it's not baseball. But certainly Don Shula, the Dolphin's legendary Head Coach, also admires those who compete in that funny game they play on a diamond instead of a rectangle. It's already a given he loves golf.

Shula's Golf Club is a full resort - rooms, tennis, banquets, restaurants, athletic club, it's all here. And yes, golf. The 18-hole course is newly renovated and in super shape. The course gives you a taste of tree-lined tight play and a more open modern-day Florida style golf, too. It's a very natural looking golf course with plenty of native plants and active wildlife.

There's also a lighted, par-3 course at the facility and you can get around those 18 holes in less than 2-hours.

Don Shula's Golf Club
7601 Miami Lakes Drive
Miami Lakes, Florida
Green Fees - $70-$90
From Pro Player Stadium - 30/40 minutes

Sports bars where Cubs fans will find a safe haven

Pete Rose Ballpark Café
8144 West Glades Road
Boca Raton, Florida

Playoffs Sports Grill
3001 East Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fast Fact

At the stadium's opening day in 1987 the Chicago Bears defeated the Miami Dolphins, 10-3.

Dave BernerDave Berner, Senior Contributor

Dave Berner is a long-time journalist for CBS radio in Chicago and has freelanced for CNN, National Public Radio, and ABC news. He created and produced the popular radio feature "The Golf Minute" for CBS-owned radio station WMAQ in Chicago along with writing a regular column for Golf Chicago Magazine. He is also author of "Any Road Will Take You There: A journey of fathers and sons" and "Accidental Lessons: A Memoir of a Rookie Teacher and a Life Renewed." Follow Berner on Twitter @DavidWBerner

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