Golfers Riding a New Wave at The Links

It’s a great weekend for golf at The Links at Union Vale (luvgolf.com). Weather is sunny and in the 70’s.  What could be any better?  How about a round of golf with a GolfBoard.  GolfBoard – named the ‘Best New Product for Golf’ at the 2014 PGA Merchandise show, has one of its first fleets in the Hudson Valley region at The Links. The most innovative invention for golf since the graphite shaft, the GolfBoard is now surfing the earth at The Links at Union Vale. GolfBoarding is safe, fun, and easy for everyone to learn. Your golf game will never be the same after you play a round on the GolfBoard.

The Links at Union Vale is an 18-hole championship golf course, that is forever changing the way golfers experience the game. GolfBoarding is safe, fun, and easy for everyone to learn. Your golf game will never be the same after you play a round on the GolfBoard.

Golfboard is available at The Links at Union Vale

Surf the earth on a Golfboard at The Links at Union Vale

Powered by an environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery, the GolfBoard is an easy-to-ride vehicle that adds a new level of fun and excitement for golfers of all ages, allowing golfers to ‘Surf the Earth’ in a way that feels similar to snowboarding, surfing, or skateboarding. It is as intuitive to operate as it is fun to ride. GolfBoarding’ changes the golfing experience, without changing the spirit and traditions of the game.

The GolfBoard is a cross between a skateboard and a cart and is built specifically for golf from the ground up. It is a four-wheel-drive, gear-driven, posi-traction golf transport vehicle. The user is always in full control of both the speed and direction. The integrated thumb throttle controls the speed, while the user controls the direction through body movement.

Due to the popularity of the GolfBoard, golfers should make sure to reserve one when they call for a tee time. For first-time user’s there is a 15-minute training required before using the GolfBoard.  So, what are you waiting for? Call today!

See our very own John Haines featured in the NY Post riding the GolfBoard:  Golfers riding a new wave — and we don’t mean golf carts





Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

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Like so many golfers playing this confounding game of ours each time I tee it up I am hoping to get better. We think that this time, this round, this shot is the moment we will find that perfectly grooved swing. This is finally the time we will get it.

Each season I hope that my game will measure up to my dreams and my play on the course would come close to those rounds I picture over and over in my mind.

Ah, but even the best laid plays of mice and men often go awry…and golfers too.

But this year I made a change. I pledged to myself that I would take action beyond hitting range buckets, reading tips in magazines and watching instructional videos. This was the year I would take a golf lesson.

Now, we’ve heard that phrase “go see your PGA pro” time after time but while I have thought about it for years I never acted on it. This year was going to be different.

I went about researching potential candidates that would help me on my journey to improve. Since I am a public course golfer and play at various courses I had no “home pro” to consider but many possibilities.

I had a few criteria which I considered critical. First the pro had to be someone willing to work on my swing and not try and get me to swing like Adam Scott or Tiger Woods. I am 62, a fourteen plus handicap, been hacking it around since my mid-twenties and there is no way this old dog could change ever hope to match that.

I also wanted a pro with some personality that didn’t take himself or me too seriously. I wanted this to be fun…productive fun, but fun. I never wanted it to feel like a chore.

And finally I wanted a good practice facility available for the lessons. I play at many courses with decent pros but the facilities are lacking in some instances. After checking out many possibilities I decided on Pat Sullivan, a PGA Professional and head pro atThe Links at Union Vale. The Links, as we call it is an upscale, semi-public course on a former farm in Dutchess County, New York and a great course with a nice practice facility.

It was Pat’s reputation as a solid teacher, genuine person and good practice facility that won me over and I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

Honestly, I was anxious about our first lesson as putting my ragged game and self-made swing on display isn’t tops on my golfer’s wish list. But after just a few swings Pat had me at ease and I knew immediately we were a good fit.

Now, I am not a neophyte when it comes to the golf swing. I have been a student of it for a long time and I have a wall full of books, old and new on all aspects of the swing. I have plenty of videos that I’ve watched and re-watched and of course, there’s YouTube and the Web, always full of swing tips and instruction.

So I showed up on that practice tee with a swing and grip that was decades in the making. I, like so many golfers think: I know what I should be doing and just need to do it. But it’s never that easy.

Since I started this game, the slice has been my downfall. And I mean the big slice. But over the years I have found ways to combat that banana ball. I have moved my feet, strengthened my grip, tried to swing inside to out, hit on the inside of the ball….etc, etc, all the things the books, videos, articles and Golf Channel talking heads have instructed us to do. But even on my best days, my slice would just be a fade. Left to right was my ball flight and some days it was more right than others.

So as I started to hit some balls in front of Pat and had explained my history to him and after just a few swings he made a change to my grip. I had always thought I had strengthened it correctly with my left had showing a few knuckles and my right matched up against it. But, ah-ha, this is where to eye of a professional pays off.

Pat pointed out that while I had moved my left hand over to a very strong position my right hand was still too much on top of the club. I hadn’t moved my right hand to a strong position. It was still weak and counteracting the strong left hand. And all this time, I thought I had made the correct changes.

After he had me rotate my right hand to the right (stronger) and actually weaken my already (too) strong left hand he asked me to focus on the “v’s” created by my two thumbs, to keep them parallel to each other and pointing towards my right shoulder.

Of course, any grip change is uncomfortable at first and difficult to adhere to but after a few swings my banana ball had morphed into something foreign to me: a draw. Yes, the ball was moving right to left.

A very subtle change, a movement of my right hand that maybe was less than half an inch had the ball traveling in an entire different direction.

And it took Pat barely five minutes to notice. I knew I had made a good choice right then.

My first lesson was a great success as I had made a positive change in ball striking, finally making better contact with the ball moving to the left rather than my weakly struck fades. Plus, Pat and I had hit it off as he is as big a golf junkie as I am.

He left me with some “homework” to do as now we have to reel that big left turning shot into something I can control and execute on command.

I couldn’t imagine my first lesson going any better and over the next few weeks I’ll be documenting my lessons (progress hopefully) as Pat and I move forward to try and improve my swing and game.

But after only one lesson, from a seasoned instructor I know I made the right choice by choosing Pat and investing my money in instruction rather than an overpriced driver.

You can teach an old dog new tricks.


How to Plan a Last-Minute Wedding

Last minute weddings can be a wonderful spur-of-the-moment experience that changes your life –something romantic, spontaneous and a little adventurous. Naturally, things will be happening at the speed of light, and you might not have time to get that decoration you’ve always wanted or fly in your friend who lives in Europe, but with little preparation and sound judgment, you can have a wedding that’s the talk of the town! 

Of course, there’s nothing like the helping hand of a team who’s had their fair share of last-minute weddings to plan and prepare like the one at The Links at Union Vale. Here are a few tips on planning a wedding when you have limited time and a whirlwind of activity to keep things organized and under control. 

*Leave the finishing touches to the experts — Don’t stress over the little things. Brides love to be in control and sign off on every detail surrounding their big day, but it’s not the worst thing to relinquish control. If you surround yourself with a trusted team of helpers, they’ll be able to take a lot off your plate. As for a season-appropriate decoration, let the staff at the venue sprinkle blossoms or rose petals on the tables or simple snowflake decorations to add the wow factor. 

*Go digital — Save-the-dates are pretty romantic, but everyone is online these days. Cut to the chase and send your guests an email save the date. This will save days and even weeks in ordering save the date stationery, sending them and waiting for a reply from your guests. Facebook events and groups are also a great way of letting your guests know about your last minute wedding, and they will help you keep track of how many people will be attending. 

*Loosen the dress code — Your bridesmaids don’t have to have identical frocks to have your wedding seem elegant and refined. Give them a bit of creative freedom to choose their dresses in different shades of the same color. This may improve everyone’s experience as your friends know their figures, insecurities and how to accentuate their best features. This will also save money as you won’t have to budget in for bridesmaids dresses. 

*Getting married last minute is possible — A lot will depend on the destination in which you’re getting married, so check local requirements and make sure you’ll qualify in time. Do some research on local venues and remember that there’s a reason why The Links at Union Vale is a preferred location for couples who want to become Mr & Mrs just a little bit sooner!




Brooklyn Feel in the Hudson Valley


A millennial wedding is even special on its own –and not just because it’s a wedding. There’s a certain type of energy when millennials attend and take part of a wedding. They are looking for and are bringing the cosmopolitan feel of the big city to the romantic scenery of the countryside. They are most excited about dressing up, dancing, and visiting a new place and the Hudson Valley is the perfect destination for those things.


Venues like The Links at Union Vale are finding that the tastes and expectations of the new generation looking to tie the knot are changing. Food, décor, and presentation are now the main points of focus. Guests are looking forward to what surprises, like what the food is going to be, and couples want something different and really good.


It’s all about having a dedicated team who puts care into the little things that will have guests Instagramming everything from your wedding cake to the decorations.  It’s interesting that the little details everyone likes on Instagram or Pinterest are things that guests aren’t paying attention to, but still, create the ambiance they so much enjoy.


In fact, one of the ceremony elements millennial guests value the most is the wedding location – the setting, the area, the arrangement. And The Links at Union Vale brings a Brooklyn feel in the Hudson Valley to introduce some charm at your special day. If you want your guests having the time of their life and snapping pictures left and right, our team can brand your wedding by creating something “unique and meaningful to the couple.”

Taking your wedding out of town to a location that combines the best of both worlds is one way to go above and beyond to make your wedding stand out from the crowd. And venues like The Links at Union Vale have the flexibility to disperse the dinner and ceremony between the serene outdoor grounds and the elegant room with glass windows. This can create the impression of having two venues for your wedding and double the fun and capacity.


There is an expectation for less formal celebration at weddings these days as couples and guests emphasized feeling comfortable and having fun. We’re totally on board with that! Many millennials who book us for their wedding interpret formal attire as flannel shirts with bow ties and bohemian-style sundresses. The Links at Union Vale provides the perfect backdrop to their Brooklyn-feel, Hudson-style wedding.





Why a Rehearsal Dinner is important

Most couples think the wedding ceremony and reception to be the most prominent parts of the wedding and the determining factor in its effectiveness.  They spend hours, days, and weeks planning them without realizing that another important element is being overlooked.  The most underrated event of the wedding process is the rehearsal dinner that happens the night before you say your vows.

The rehearsal dinner is important because it is the first time that most close relatives from both sides of the family will meet and intermingle.  This gives them the ideal opportunity to get to know each other at this event before the actual wedding.  You have the opportunity to see just what the vibe will be like the next day and make any table rearrangements if necessary.

Next, the rehearsal dinner is influential because it sets the tone for the type of wedding day that you want.  If you’re planning a formal and traditional wedding or a laid-back, relaxed wedding, this is your opportunity to make sure everything is thought through.  Don’t overlook the power of the rehearsal dinner as it could make or break the actual wedding day for everyone.

A rehearsal dinner is an ideal occasion to say a few words of appreciation to your guests and family. During the wedding itself, it’s only logical that all attention is on the newlyweds, but the rehearsal dinner is a bit more intimate and informal. It is a time when the bride and groom can thank their wedding party for doing all that they have done to “make the wedding happen.”

Most venues that host weddings will recommend having a rehearsal dinner to make sure your wedding runs smoothly. In fact, some of them offer it as part of the wedding planning package. Venues like The Links at Union Vale even have different wedding packages to meet the individual needs of all couples with or without rehearsal dinners and a variety of customizations. These services can really help you show your bridal party how appreciative you are of them.

Most of the time, those who attend the rehearsal dinner are the bride and groom’s parents, siblings, and their bridal party. However, that is not to say that you can’t invite other close friends, as well give your bridesmaids/groomsmen the chance to bring a date. In the end, who you end up inviting will be entirely dependent upon how much you are willing to spend.

The most appropriate place to host the rehearsal dinner depends upon your budget. Some people can choose to have them in their home, at a restaurant, or even at the actual wedding venue itself. Inevitably, this dinner is typically on the smaller side, so choosing a place where you can all be close to one another is ideal.

Whatever you choose, know that it’s not necessary to spend a fortune on the event, and many brides and couples are opting for less formal rehearsal dinners. You may even use part of the decorations you won’t be using at the actual wedding. It may be the perfect way to involve your mother or mother-in-law in the planning of the wedding, as a rehearsal dinner is more focused on family to begin with. Again, don’t say ‘yes’ to anything that’s outside of your comfort zone, relax and enjoy this night surrounded by loved ones and close friends as you prepare for the most special day of your life.



Winter Bridal Party Gift Ideas


Winter weddings have a certain fairy-tale charm to them. But what to get the happy couple for their special day that’s fitting for the occasion and the season? Today, we give you a few ideas to warm up the winter event with sparkling, snow-themed winter wedding favors. The newlyweds will adore the favors that add an extra special touch to their winter wonderland.

Hot Chocolate in a Jar

Winter is a time to cuddle around a lit fireplace with a warm cup of cider or hot chocolate. And what’s even better than the taste of the chocolate-ty treat is the way it looks when you decompose it into its ingredients and neatly stacked in beautiful jars as a delicious winter treat. A bonus can be a label with the date of the wedding and the couple’s names with warm seasonal greetings – surely, something that will bring a smile or two to their faces when they’re sipping hot chocolate and reminiscing about their wedding.



Hand-made goodies

Nothing says you care like a hand-made present. Even if you don’t know how to knit or sow – there are plenty of options, so don’t worry! Platforms like Etsy offer many hand-crafted blankets, mittens, scarves and other delightful winter paraphernalia. You can even have them personalized with patterns or messages you know will mean something to the couple for a truly snugly gift.

Pinecone Fire Starters


These are easy to make and very effective as well! By simply dipping a pinecone in beeswax, which helps get the flames rolling in the fireplace on a cold winter night. They look adorable and are very practical too. For a festive flare, you can add a colorful surprise with the right kind of salt (Epsom = white flame; table salt = yellow flame; salt substitute = violet flame).

Winter Warmth for Adults

A bit of brandy, small bottles of champagne or vodka infused with flavors of the season make for a very suitable gift for a bridal party. Opt for an assortment of mini bottles that the bride-to-be can enjoy with her groom later and personalize them with labels and glitter.

Snowy Treats

Show up to the bridal shower with a tray of home-baked gingerbread cookies shaped like brides and grooms or some other wedding-themed items. It doesn’t have to be gingerbread; there are plenty of other sweet treats to choose from – cake pops are popular DIY favors and you can winterize them by using white chocolate and rolling each ball in sugar crystals before the chocolate dries – they’ll look like mini snowballs!

Eco-friendly favors

If you want to give the bride something genuinely memorable that is also good for the environment – you’re in luck! You can opt for some eco-friendly favors shaped like snowflakes that the couple can sprinkle later. The seed-embedded snowflakes will then give birth to beautiful flowers. A small potted bean that sprouts and grows into a plant whose leaves carry a personalized message is another thoughtful gift idea.







Decor Ideas to Create Charm and Romance

Every bride wants her special day to be memorable – not only for her and her husband-to-be, but for everyone attending as well. And what better way than to leave your personal touch throughout the presentation of the wedding? From the invitations to the table arrangements, flower compositions, venue decorations, music selection, menu and souvenirs for the guests – there are so many things to think about that can be fully customized to meet all tastes and wants.

Some couples decide to go with the ‘oldies but goodies’ like lots of flowers and lights throughout the venue they have hired alongside classic arrangements and elegant designs. And you can never go wrong with the classics. But if you’re looking for wedding décor ideas to create charm and romance differently, we have a few suggestions for you. At the Links at Union Vale, we have planned and helped put together hundreds of weddings – big and small, casual and elegant, classic and modern – and would love to help you find the style that fits your taste and vision for this important day.

Candy Buffet

A growing trend in modern weddings is a sweet buffet laid out in a central place so that guests can indulge their sweet tooth throughout the event. Seems fitting, doesn’t it? After all, what’s sweeter than love? A whimsical candy bar display with colorful options will be a real treat for everyone.

Personalized Souvenirs 

Everyone wants to share their feelings of happiness and love with the rest of the world. So what better way than small but significant keepsakes that let guests think fondly of your special day after it’s over? There are so many options to choose from – small pots with growing plants that display a personalized message on their leaves (adorable, right?), jars with honey or candy, elegant figurines and many more.

Light decorations

Turn all lighting in the venue into something truly special by bringing in extra sparkle to your wedding. Arrange candle displays on the tables for a more intimate setting or hang light curtains on the windows to create an ambiance straight out of a fairy tale.


Custom logo

Leave your mark literally on everything – from the guest book to the wedding invitations, table seating cards, thank you notes, cake, and decorations. This is a perfect choice for couples who are not afraid to be a bit different and do things outside of the ‘traditional.’ And it will give your wedding a lot of personality!

If you have more ideas and want to see them realized, our team at the Links at Union Vale would love to discuss all possibilities to put together the wedding of your dreams!

Photos credit https://www.majesticstudios.info/


Plan your warm cozy winter wedding at The Links!

Winter is approaching quickly, and most couples get caught in the daze of planning the holidays instead of a wedding. But what if we told you – there was a way to celebrate a cozy Christmas and have a magical wedding all in one month? Yes, it’s doable if you turn for help from a professional event planner and find a venue that can squeeze you in between the numerous office and Holiday parties, as well as New Year celebrations.

Whether you DIY your entire wedding without a planner or are just making a few things yourself — the most important thing is to not put anything off until the last minute at home or for a destination wedding. Still, there’s nothing quite like the helping hand of a person who’s hired to do one job and one job alone – take the hassle out of planning your wedding down to the smallest detail.

What many couples fail to realize is that they can still DIY some things even if they hire an event planner. They won’t object to you hand-picking your wedding decorations or hand-making a bunch of sentimental goodie bags for your guests. They will, however, gently remind you if you’re overstretching your means, time, and budget. The most significant risk of a DIY wedding is having the events executed smoothly during the wedding weekend and getting a chance to enjoy your wedding at the same time. It’s a tricky balance, but it can be achieved. Here are several things you’re better off leaving (at least partly) in the hands of your event planning professional for an exceptional winter wedding:

Don’t try to do your flowers and decorations unless you are a florist or know one. Pinterest is full of lovely ideas that are oh-so-tempting to make, but the Internet is even more full of DIY disasters of people trying to recreate them. Your wedding is not the time and place to experiment with your artistic side. You’ll be stressed, pressed for time, and the stakes are just too high. It’s just not worth it.

Don’t DJ your wedding and only accept the help of friends and family who are professional musicians. It’s not enough to set up playlists and stick a phone into an iPod dock. There’s a great deal of synchronization that goes in the back-end – music has to be stopped and started and cued correctly for your entrances and other significant activities at the wedding. A poorly selected playlist can be a real buzzkill, so this is not the service to cheap out on.
Don’t compromise with your venue as it sets the tone for your entire wedding. Meet in advance with the team in charge of event planning and see if they are agreeable and willing to accommodate your requests. Of course, it’s not reasonable to expect impossible things, but a good venue will treat their clients with respect and courtesy, making it clear what they can and cannot do. Don’t settle for less.

Part of a DIY wedding is being actively involved in the preparation and venue selection. Different things are important to different couples, and your event planner is there to provide advice and assistance on the elements you can save on and the ones that are crucial for the day. Of course, you have the last say in everything, so don’t be afraid to speak your mind and sign off on every decision.
If you have your heart set on a romantic winter wedding, The Links at Union Vale can serve as the perfect backdrop for your special day. A newly-renovated elegant ballroom and private cocktail lounge with an over-sized dance floor with windows overlooking the golf course provide the ideal setting for hours of fun and entertainment. A private bridal suite with bathroom is available for your use throughout the day and a maitre d’ is assigned to ensure your wedding is coordinated seamlessly.

The Links does have 2018 winter dates still available. Call us today to check winter availability and off-season packages.

Photos credited to Majestic Studios


Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Most women have been dreaming about their wedding ever since they were little girls. But now that it’s all happening, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times.  We all know that planning a wedding isn’t all fun and games — there’s a lot to do to prepare for your big day! But if you’re struggling with all the preparations, you should consider hiring a wedding planner.

A wedding planner is a professional consultant who helps you with most (if not all) of the tasks related to planning a wedding. From dealing with vendors, shopping for accessories, etiquette and even the smallest of details, this expert has the skills and contacts to make your day come together seamlessly. Not to mention that hiring a wedding planner will free your time to enjoy the planning process instead of stressing over all the preparations.

Since wedding planners are professionals, they know the industry inside out and have many valuable contacts with vendors and venues that are perfect for weddings. They can make recommendations on locations that will suit your preferred wedding type (e.g., outdoor, evening, etc.) and coordinate everything to the last detail.

Hiring a wedding planner is especially handy if you have an out-of-town wedding. Whether it’s a different city or state, if you have travel arrangements and transport for decorations, catering and everything else – it’ll be helpful to hire someone who’s familiar with the area as well as local vendors and venues.

Not only can a wedding planner help you get more bang for your buck, but they can also represent you at meetings with your vendors before the big day. A planner who knows the area will help organize all of the details you’ll need to cover for your guests, such as hotel accommodations, welcome baskets, maps, and directions. Their experience and knowledge of the industry and sector will even let them come up with a list of fun suggestions for guests to do during their downtime.

If you have budget limitations, a wedding planner can help you get the most value for your money. They will work with you to understand your limits and then help you stick to a reasonable budget, stretching your dollar as far as it will go. It’s easy for couples to overspend on items that are not essential and forget to factor in others that are if they’re doing things themselves. A wedding planner takes the time to understand what’s important to you but also helps you determine what items can be cut from the budget so you can afford to get what you want. Because most wedding planners have established business relationships with vendors, they won’t just get you the best deal in town — they’ll also help you rest easy knowing you’re working with reliable companies.

A wedding is, after all, a fun and exciting event that you’re supposed to enjoy to the fullest. Sadly, many couples stress over planning and preparation, missing out on one of the happiest times of their lives. Hiring a wedding planner buys you one thing it’s hard to put a price on – freedom. Freedom to have fun while organizing your wedding, because someone else is taking care of all the tedious little tasks that tie the whole event together. And buying peace of mind can be the difference between a having a good and a great wedding.