Field Notes: New horizons await travel operator

For more than a decade Tom Cotter, the owner of The Consummate Pro, a golf travel operator, had planned trips to Ireland and Scotland for Robert Redfield and his buddies who were looking to relieve the stress of Wall Street.

When Cotter heard last year that Redfield was leaving the financial world, he picked up the phone to catch up. 

“Tom asked me, ‘What do you really want to do now?’” Redfield says. “I said, ‘Well, I’ve got a lot of juice in the tank and I can’t stop working, so I’d like to do something fun. I love travel, I love selling, I love people, I love golf.”’

Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland.

It didn’t take Cotter long to tell Redfield “I could use a guy like you in the United States.” 

As a boutique golf travel company based in Ireland that prides itself on personal touches, Cotter spent countless hours with his clients on their trips, meaning he then had to carve out time in the offseason to come to the United States to sell his overseas trips. That yearly ritual meant Cotter had very little down time. 

With the 61-year-old Redfield based in San Francisco, the connection was a natural fit, meaning Cotter can mostly remain overseas now while Redfield beats the bushes for The Consummate Pro in the United States. . 

Redfield’s territory includes Northern California, Utah, Colorado and soon Texas. He heads out to meet golf pros and general managers of private clubs who are interested in taking a complimentary “Fam Trip” — familiarization trip — in the hope that they will return and spread the word to their membership.”

The model has worked well for The Consummate Pro for 15 years. 

“Once the pros come back to their club it kind of spider webs out,” Redfield says. 

There are more than two dozen golf tour operators that highlight Ireland and Scotland trips, so separating from the masses is a key component for long term success.  

“For us, I would say Tom being a Belfast native and being an Irishman with the Irish accent helps keep the business going,” Redfield says. “The golf pros come back and they just rave about the service, the professionalism, the fantastic golf … Tom doesn’t miss a beat.

“And our first-hand knowledge is fantastic. We wouldn’t put anybody in a hotel we haven’t stayed at or we wouldn’t put anybody on any golf courses that we haven’t played, and Tom has played them all. Selling something that you know intimately helps the case, helps the sale.”

In addition to groups of men, Redfield says he’s seeing a resurgence of couples trips to Ireland. 

“I think during COVID a lot of families got together and played a lot more golf because it was one of the few things you could do, and it was a good way for families to kind of reunite,” he says. “So, now there’s just a lot more women playing the game, which is great to see.”

To that end, several pros mentioned that The Consummate Pro should focus more on women’s trips. That request will be fulfilled in Spring 2025 with The Consummate Pro taking 40 women on a trip to St. Andrews. “The ladies game is growing so fast, and the 2024 AIG Women’s Open will be held in St. Andrews this August,” Redfield says. “We will use this profile to satiate the huge demand for women’s overseas golf trips as well as putting money in the St. Andrews economy and on the surrounding St. Andrews golf courses.” 

Hole No. 5, Arthur Hills Course, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.


Located in the heart of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is where college stars such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson demonstrated their early prowess during the resort’s longtime intercollegiate golf tournament. 

The resort’s three outstanding courses are named after their respective designers — the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, Arthur Hills Course and the Fazio Course, designed by George Fazio and his nephew, Hall of Fame architect Tom Fazio. 

The trio of Palmetto Dunes layouts have each been named South Carolina’s “Golf Course of the Year” at some point. They are each distinctively different yet uniquely appealing — the Jones is the longest but also most wide-open; the Fazio features lagoons running through the course and Donald Ross-style elevated greens; and the Hills is arguably the most challenging.

Always on the cusp of golf technology, the 2,000-acre Palmetto Dunes resort recently upgraded its Robert Trent Jones practice range and learning center, becoming the Southeast’s first resort to introduce Toptracer technology in a covered driving range. The addition allows guests to compete against friends, play virtual courses and receive instant shot feedback.

Embracing the state-of-the-art technology used during televised PGA Tour events to track the shots of the game’s best players, while also providing ways for all types of golfers to have fun and improve, the Toptracer Range at Palmetto Dunes became an instant game-changer. High-speed cameras with sophisticated computer algorithms providing instantaneous information once considered exclusive is now accessible and enjoyable for all.

Guests hit balls from underneath a sun-and-rain blocking awning in the Toptracer Range’s 14 hitting bays while enjoying food and beverage service — and there is a VIP area for larger groups from 8 to 10 players. The Toptracer Range quickly became so popular that Palmetto Dunes added lights so guests could continue using the bays after dark during seasonal hours.

“We take tremendous pride in the fact that Palmetto Dunes offers the best of all worlds,” says Clark Sinclair, the resort’s longtime director of golf. “We’ve got three memorable layouts designed by a trio of legendary golf course architects. We’re on the cutting edge of golf technology with our Toptracer Range. We offer a wide array of additional world-class amenities and we’re conveniently accessible from almost anywhere in the country.”


As the weather starts to warm up across many sections of the country, thoughts of the upcoming tournament season for many golf clubs is fast approaching. And inevitably pros are tasked with filling “goodie bags” for its participants. 

What’s cool? What’s unusual? What’s functional? What fits into the budget? 

The UltraBlu portable charger and sanitizer.

The boxes are all checked when it comes to UltraBlu, a portable charger that also sterilizes, disinfects and kills viruses, bacteria, molds, and other pathogens, including COVID-19, on any surfaces in less than 10 seconds.

UltraBlu co-founder and CEO Robert Nathanson displayed his new invention at January’s PGA Show in Orlando, Florida, and received positive interest from many golf clubs. In fact, the San Francisco-based company has sent 320 of the logo units to clubs in Montana and Washington for upcoming May and June tournaments. 

Several more golf clubs have followed suit as the product, which features UV-C light technology, is starting to gain significant momentum in the golf world. Nathanson, who unveiled the product less than 12 months ago, said he has inked new deals with Staples and Verizon, and the product is also now stocked in Walmart

“And the golf clubs are saying ‘We don’t want to give another blanket away or give another head cover away,”’ Nathanson says. “And our product is about the same price, so they look at it as a great gift item.” 

The hand-held unit is small enough to fit into your pocket or slip into a zipper compartment of a golf bag. The cost is just $65 or two for $99. Once activated, UltraBlu can clean any surface, including your hands, phone, golf clubs, grips or balls. 

“Everyone who owns a phone needs juice,” Nathanson says. “So what’s great about this product is it’s much more efficient than the chargers that are out there on the market today. And it has that capability of cleaning any surface. That’s where the bread and butter of this product is — it can clean the seats of a golf court, the steering wheel, you name it — and then it also magnetically attaches to anything.”

Nathanson said the product has an endless path in the golf market.“Everyone who plays golf owns a phone, right?” he says. 


The timing and the venue couldn’t have been more perfect this past weekend for the Nicklaus Companies. Playing in his first Masters, Neal Shipley was the low amateur. Why was that a big deal to the Nicklaus folks? Well, as an ambassador for the Nicklaus Brand, Shipley was outfitted in both the Jack Nicklaus Black Label and Blue Label collections during his four rounds, making him only the second player — along with the Golden Bear himself — to ever wear the iconic logo on golf’s biggest stage. And millions of TV viewers saw Shipley, who also attended Ohio State University like Nicklaus, get plenty of air time — and logo time — wearing the Nicklaus garb in the Butler Cabin. … Invited, formerly known as ClubCorp, has announced the grand opening of the renovated clubhouse at the prestigious Atlanta National Golf Club. As part of a multimillion reinvestment project at the Pete Dye- and P.B. Dye-designed club, the clubhouse was completely renovated from top to bottom to create a refined, yet inviting, environment that best fits today’s members. In addition to Atlanta National Golf Club, Invited owns and operates 15 private membership clubs in the Atlanta area. … In addition to world-class sailing and tennis, golf has been a thriving sport on The Classic Coast of Newport, Rhode Island, since the late 1800s, when it staged the first U.S. Open Championship. This year, Newport Country Club will host the 44th U.S. Senior Open Championship, June 27-30. This will be the fifth USGA championship for the historic venue, which was the site of the inaugural U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur in 1895.