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How ‘The Godfather of comfort stations’ plans to reinvent them

How ‘The Godfather of comfort stations’ plans to reinvent them

LOS CABOS, Mexico — One of the joys of playing golf at several of the courses that dot the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula are the outrageous comfort stations, which include all the snacks and candy and drinks that your heart desires.

Five years ago, I checked out Twin Dolphin, a course designed by Todd Eckenrode with Masters champion Fred Couples and the marketing guy told me that their “Red Door” comfort stations were designed to top anything that had come before it. They didn’t disappoint.

The one at the fifth hole is where Couples filmed an episode of Golf Channel’s Feherty show, a lavish setting that many assumed was Fred’s home. Its selection of sugar-laden treats would make Willy Wonka blush, and Couples, it turns out, is a candy addict. “I like the Snickers and Hershey Kisses, but I try to stay the hell out of there,” he says. “If I’m there seven days, it’s a losing proposition.”

The bar was stocked, too, and manned by a full-time attendant who made me a salty margarita and talked me into what he billed as the best tequila I’ll ever taste. Did I mention the fresh guacamole, fish tacos, and octopus ceviche? In case anyone could possibly be hungry or thirsty again, there’s a second Red Door between holes 12 and 13 and also accessible when moving from 15 to 16. You won’t need lunch or dinner. (Don’t skip the sliders!)

On Saturday, I bumped into Mike Abbott on the practice tee at El Cardonal at Diamante, the host course of the World Wide Technology Championship. Abbott,  who returned to Diamante to run the Legacy Club, a third course at the facility that is being touted as a members-only club and likely the future home of the tournament, was looking resplendent in pink. Abbott knows all about the comfort stations and when I mentioned how they had jumped the shark, he shook his head and said, “They’ve turned into Costco’s out there.”

“That was never the purpose of comfort stations,” he added. “It was to have a couple of unique items that were signature to that facility, some nuts and snacks and a little bit of candy and something to freshen your drink.”

Abbott should know. He’s considered the Godfather of the comfort station. As the vice president of operations of Discovery Land Company, where he oversaw all aspects of the development of courses such as Vaquero near Dallas, El Dorado in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Mirabel in Scottsdale, Arizona, Abbott introduced and perfected the comfort…


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