So-called "golf tours" for amateurs are, for the most part, little more than come-ons (or, more accurately, come-on-downs) designed by travel agents to lure duffers to one or another resort hotel. They are offered as package deals with hotel and travel charges included, but the bargain-basement gift wrappings often conceal a thick padding of extra charges for tips, greens fees and who knows what.
Mr. J. D. (Drury) Howard has a different idea of what a golf tour should be. He believes it should concern itself with golf. "I got the idea," says Drury, "when I suddenly realized that there are thousands of golfers with, say, a 15 handicap who never get to play tournament golf at all and certainly never know what it is to join the pro tour."
As president of an organization called World Golf Ltd., Howard is offering the duffers of this world a series of golf tours patterned on the pro tours and played in accordance with the USGA tournament regulations, with the overall winners to receive trophies, awards and prizes.
In this, the first year of its program, World Golf Ltd. offered a Caribbean Amateur Classic that played courses in Miami; West End, Grand Bahama; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. This was followed early this month by the Grand Bahama Invitational, featuring five of the island's most challenging courses and costing $390, including airfare from Miami to the Bahamas.
Next will come the South American Amateur Invitational (Feb. 1-March 2, 1969) for $2,266 from Miami, which will take the golfer to courses in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bogotà, Caracas and Panama. There is a special lower fee for nongolfers (meaning wives) who may want to go along.
By far the most exciting tour promises to be the First Annual World Invitational Amateur Golf Tournament. This will not be available until the summer of 1970. The tour has been set up for 148 accomplished amateurs, who are to be recommended by their country-club pros. The lucky 148 will play 10 courses beginning at the Grand Bahama Country Club, then on to Pebble Beach, Calif.; Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii; Kawana, Japan; New Delhi; Rome; Paris; St. Andrews, Scotland; Madrid; and Dorado, P.R. Total cost: $5,500.
Applications may be requested by mail from World Golf Ltd., 158 Port Road, Port of Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Fla. 33404. Handicaps must be certified by the golfer's country-club pro. Golfers who may already be clutching their clubs (limited to 14) may call Maritz Travel in Detroit (313-547-1600) for immediate information.