Archive for the ‘Clubs/Courses’ Category

The Social Golfer Polo Shirts – ON SALE…

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

The Social Golfer Polo Shirt It’s always nice to look stylish these days on the fairways and now you have the opportunity to model the TSG team colours yourself by purchasing one of The Social Golfer Polo Shirts …

The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – The Design…

After receiving many samples from lots of different Polo shirt companies, we were clear on the look and feel of the shirts we wanted.

We had five key criteria;

    – Good quality breathable material

    – Comfort and design

    – Affordability

    – Appeal to both sexes

    – Availability in The Social Golfer brand colours

The shirt we have chosen and are all 100% cotton and comes in two variations for men and women

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – Our Selection…

– Super long chunky placket details with matching buttons

– Contrast piping detail on collar, cuff and placket

– Twin needle hem provides added strength to the garment and improves durability

– Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) Certified Production

– Fabric: 96% Cotton, 4% Elastane stretch micro pique.

– Weight: 200 gsm

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – Costs/Ordering…

– Single Shirt with Embroidered TSG Logo – Left Breast

– We have sourced a very reputable provider of branded merchandise

Cost = £25 (including free delivery)

PLEASE NOTE: In order to keep costs down, will we ONLY be making orders on a bi-monthly basis OR when we reach the minimum order of TEN shirts.

NEXT ORDER BEING PLACED –  Feb 2017

Unfortunately, due to the nature of embroidery, once the shirt has been made up, the shirt cannot be sold again, so please be very careful when choosing the sizing.

However, there is a quality guarantee and if you are not satisfied with your order, you have 14 days in which to return the product. Contact us on 01277 – 200207

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – Sizing…

 

TSG Polo shirt sizing MEN

The Social Golfer Polo Shirt - Mens

 

 

 

 

TSG Polo shirt sizing LADIES

 The Social Golfer Polo Shirt - Ladies

xxx

 

 

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The Social Golfer Polo Shirt – How do I buy one…

That’s the easy bit.

Just click on any of the following links and pay using a credit card/ debit card or via PayPal account via the PayPal gateway.

So what you waiting for….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50…

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

golfing in the algarveThe Algarve – Europe’s number one golf destination – has reported a record-breaking start to its golden year of golf, marking 50 years of golfing in the Algarve, since the birth of the game in the sunshine region.

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – Europe’s number 1 Golf Destination…

It’s hard to imagine the Algarve without thinking of golf, yet golf wasn’t born on this sunshine coastal area until 1966 when Henry Cotton first laid out the Championship course at Penina.

Fast-forward half a century and our alluring region has not only become one of Europe’s premier holiday spots, but also an award-winning golf destination.

With a staggering 40+ courses/layouts that can be played all-year-round, it’s no wonder the Algarve draws hundreds of thousands of golfers to its fairways each year.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, and more than half of its courses decorate the 150-mile coastline, which also boasts spectacular beaches, picturesque rocky coves, quaint fishing villages and a rich cultural heritage.

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – The stats…

The southern Portuguese coastline boasts 43 fabulous courses and fresh from celebrating its record year in 2015 when more than 1.2m rounds were played.

However, there was more good news with the release of results for the first four months of 2016 showing a huge increase of 17 per cent.

Figures for January to April showed more than 458,000 rounds of golf played – a staggering 68,000 more than the same period last year.

In real terms, that is more than 563 extra rounds played per day, as golfers flocked to the fairways.

Golf in Portugals' Algarve turns 50

Golf in the Algarve turns 50 – what they said…

Maria Manuel Delgado e Silva, ATA golf product manager, said: “What an amazing start to our landmark year for golf! As they say with a good wine or cheese – one gets better with age – and these results give us confidence that the Algarve continues to grow in popularity, attracting golfers from around the world”

“It has been a fantastic team effort from the thousands of people who work so hard and have shown such dedication throughout the Algarve’s golf industry.

“We believe we provide the best blend of golf, accommodation and hospitality, combined with climate, access and value for everyone.”

He added, “We would like to thank all golfers who have already visited and we are ready to extend a warm welcome to many more guests as our golden year continues.”

It’s a significant milestone for the region and it’s also fitting that the cream of European golf will be welcomed in October for the 10th edition of the Portugal Masters.

Thinking of golfing in the Algarve? Portugal is the perfect destination for golfers of all ages and abilities, with something to suit every taste and budget.

For more information visit: www.visitgolfalgarve.com or www.visitgolfalgarve50years.com

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Associação Turismo do Algarve (Algarve Tourism Association) is the official entity, appointed by the Portuguese Tourism Board, responsible for defining strategies and to promote golfing in the Algarve abroad.

ATA is a non-profitable association, a joint-venture between the public and private sector.

My Golf Obsession – Confessions of a Golf Addict Pt 2…

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionLet me introduce myself, my name is Paul and I’m a golf addict!

My Golf Obsession – When did my golf addiction really start?

Someone once said, “The key is to learn from failures and then keep going!”

Well back in the late 90’s Scuba diving was my thing. I loved nothing more than hauling on a dry suit and submerging myself into the murky waters of Stoney Cove or Gildenborough water.

In the summer, I’d brave the Channel and other exotic destinations….

As life does it throws you a curve ball. I picked up an infection at work, (remember I was a roofer) the long and the short of it was I was diagnosed with Necrotising Fasciitis (the Flesh eating Bug).

However, after what I like to refer to as ‘my lost weekend’ I emerged from hospital minus 5 stones in weight… and my right leg above the knee.

What’s all this golf to do with golf you say? Bear with me….

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – What I did next…

After my amputation, I did return to scuba diving but it’s a tough sport with two legs, let alone one. I did do a three and a half mile charity swim for McMillan but my love of this adventure had waned somewhat.

I needed a different challenge…

Enter Amputee Football. This started but I met the England national team amputee goalkeeper (as you do), he  only had one arm!

He put me in touch with the Southend United Amputee Football team manager and I was part of this circus for three years.

Amputee football is seen as too dangerous to be included as a Paralympic sport, so right up my street.

Over the next  three years; I rose to the heady heights of Chairman of the club but again life made some changes and it was time to move on….

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – You look like a golfer!

A colleague of mine at work used to shout out; “You look like a golfer!” every time I limped past his desk.

He was recruiting for the Council’s golf society. “How can I play golf I’d answer?

Plenty of one-legged golfers out there he’d retort“.

This went on for some time, one day he made his usual demand; I stopped looked him in the eye, and said, “OK, put me down for your next event“.  It turned out to be Manor of Groves, Hertfordshire.

Now, ‘time’ had moved on in golf club technology, the Slazenger XTC’s were no longer state of the art equipment.

In fact, when I dug them out from the back of the garage, they were not exactly in what you would call in tip top condition either.

But they will have to do I thought. It had been roughly 12 years since I have hit a golf ball, so off to The range I went.

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – Starting again…

Earlier I mentioned a quotation, which actually came from Sir Ranulph Fiennes. A man I deeply admire. So learning to swing a golf club with a bit missing can’t be that hard….can it?

Memories of those eventful outings with CT came flooding back.  This time around, I intended keeping the ball in play a bit more.

Life on a prosthetic leg can be kind of interesting.  The opportunity of crashing down onto terra firma is never too far away. Balance and stability are key to standing upright and keeping your remaining limbs unbroken.

Introduce the golf club, and life for the leg amputee gets slightly trickier.

I had a little over a week to nurture my swing into a competitive stroke, allowing me not  to look too foolish at the society bash.

The basic principles to hitting a golf ball on one leg are the same as with two.

Obviously over swinging is going to cause loss of balance, so having a more conservative swing with more focus on ball contact makes a lot of sense.

So with a few basic fundamentals in place I turned up at Manor of Groves anxious that I would not make a complete fool of myself.

What a day it was it was! It was a scorcher as the temperature rose into the 90’s, the other society members gathered. I knew a few from work to say hello but none you would call friends.

I was introduced to the captain, given a card “What’s your handicap?” said the secretary discreetly looking at my prosthesis which gleamed from my shorts.

I don’t have one!” I exclaimed. In the past CT and I had played off 18 but that was wishful thinking even then).

“OK how about we try you off 32!”

Seemed fair to me (although I didn’t think I could be more than 28?!).

Paul Houghton - EDGA - TheSocialGolfer.com

My Golf Obsession – It’s the leg, honest…

I was introduced to the four-ball I was playing with….

As you all know, Social golf is a great way of meeting new friends but being the new boy and being half robot does make you feel slightly apprehensive.

A suction socket on Prosthesis is sufficient in everyday life but for sporting activity and on a hot day, air expands and the stump gets sweaty.

So you tend to let out a fart like sound every time you get up from a chair especially getting out of a golf cart – what would these guys make of me?

I shared a bacon roll with my four-ball partners and made my excuses so as to collect my golf bag and get a buggy.

Thrupp off went my leg… charming the lady member of the four-ball exclaimed, my face reddened.

On the tee, I joined my colleagues, hit a scruffy shot down the fairway and took a big sigh of relief.

Thrupp went the leg; my female playing partner looked at me with disdain.

After a few holes, I was getting exceedingly hot, I had secured a few points and the two chaps I was playing with were nice enough, but the lady was a bit fierce.  She was a good player and very competitive.

On one hole she hit her ball into the rough; I thought she had given it up, so returned to my ball in front on the fairway.

She was very hot and bothered and hollered that she could still score if only she could find her ball.

I returned to help her search…Thrupp went the leg “That’s not nice” she exclaimed, “It’s very undignified“.

I can’t help it!” I offered…Thrupp! We played on.

Now this lady was very well-endowed and she was perspiring heavily. Her shirt had become very sweaty in the chest area and was becoming a bit see through.

About this time the others players arrived to help in the search. Hands on her hips she ripped into them (one of them must have stared, a bit too intently at her now semi-transparent shirt on course etiquette).

Are you looking at my chest she demanded!”  Thrupp! I tried to move uncomfortably away from the now intense debacle …only to hear her shout again “Will you stop farting, you rude man!” she screamed!

Needless to say, the rest of the round was a little tense, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Paul Houghton - EDGA 2015

Paul Houghton – EDGA 2015

My Golf Obsession – Back at the Clubhouse…

Shooting well over a 100 I was pleased to contribute a few points into the match even if I was last.

I declined the club cleaning service offered, as I feared the rust and dirt were holding the clubs together.

I left early from the meal careful only to let my stump give out a gentle ‘Thrupp’ as I got up from the table.

I saw my male playing colleagues look over smiling, my female companion was not.

Is that your leg making that noise?” someone asked…

You’ll never know I replied!” and hastily made my exit.

My golf obsession had begun!

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Paul Houghton is a member at Riverhall Hall Golf Centre where he plays off 17. He’s also a member of the Disabled Golf Association and European Disabled Golf Association; he has represented England nine times in tournaments.

South Moor Golf Club – Augusta of the North…

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

South Moor Golf ClubThere have been many famous golf course designers who have made a name for themselves around the world but are there any more celebrated than South Moor Golf Club designer, Dr Alister MacKenzie?

He is probably most well known for being the designer of Augusta (home of the US Masters), Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.

However, not so much is known of South Moor Golf Club in County Durham, England.

South Moor Golf Club – The Architect…

Nicknamed “The Course Doctor“, Alister MacKenzie was born in Yorkshire to Scottish parents in 1870.

He studied at Cambridge and Leeds Universities with degrees in Chemistry, Medicine and Science, joining his father’s medical practice in Leeds.

Away from work, he was an active member of the Leeds Golf Club. He went on to serve in the Boer War 1900-01.

After WWI he joined the Royal Engineers as Second Lieutenant in order to teach camouflage techniques at the Army Camouflage School in London.

Dr Alister MacKenzieHe later took up medicine again but then abandoned his medical practice in favour of golf course architecture.

His decision to do this was in part down to his strong conviction that golf had very real benefits for patients, and he was quoted as saying…

How frequently have I, with great difficulty, persuaded patients who were never off my doorstep to take up golf, and how rarely, if ever, have I seen them in my consulting rooms again!

He then emigrated to the United States and nine years after his work in County Durham, his fabulous Augusta creation staged its first Masters.

He died in January 1934 in California, the year the US Masters was inaugurated.

South Moor Golf Club – The Club…

Over the years the club has always been extremely well supported but in 2015, the club decided is was time to promote this little known gem to a wider audience.

The club originally started life as a miners only National Coal Board golf club in 1923.

MacKenzie was a friend of Basil Sadler, managing director of Holmside & South Moor Collieries and MacKenzie started work on the course two years after its opening to redesign its layout and his work is the bedrock of the course today.

Following the redesign, the club adopted the club motto ‘nil nisi optimum‘, roughly translated from the Latin meaning Nothing but the Best!”.

In 2011 The Daily Express portrayed the “Made by MacKenzie” stamp on our course when South Moor hosted the England Boys Open, the McGregor Trophy.

South Moor Golf Club – The Course…

South Moor Golf ClubThe layout of the course is as good as any the TSG team have played in recently. Each and every hole is different and you can certainly see where some of the Augusta layout was born.

The course starts with a simple Par 3, but don’t assume it’s an easy start. The green has more breaks and borrows than you can see.

Once away, the course meanders through parkland and undulating fairways but none of the inclines will leave you gasping for breath.

However, you will get to enjoy some great views across the Durham countryside.

All of the fairways are beautifully cut and the remains of the originally ploughed fields the fairways were built on just add to the attraction of the course.

Credit should go to the greenkeepers, who clearly love the course. All the tee boxes were immaculate and the yellow gorse (in full bloom on our visit) make the place a delight to walk around.

So, to the stand-out holes. The 4th is a challenging Par 4, dog-leg left finishing to a tiny green protected by bunkers – a real treat to play. The 7th is a perfectly straight downhill Par 4,  but you will need a measured shot to ensure you hold the green.

South Moor Golf Club

The 10th is again a testing downhill hole which requires a conservative drive (in fact most holes do), allowing you top plan your second and third shots to the green, over a ditch and a bunker protected green.

However, could there be a better finishing hole?

A 450 yards right to left terrain, your second shot to the green in front of the clubhouse will either win you the match or have you heading for the bar to drown your sorrows.

Finally, we mention the Par 3’s, as everyone requires a different club! Ranging between 140 yards and 180 yards, you will enjoy every one.

Did we like the course? No, we LOVED it!

In addition, all the staff were incredibly welcoming and all the members we met were very keen to know what we thought of the course.

Which tells you, just how much they do!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club – Where to stay…

If you require accommodation in the area, look no further than  Hill Top View Guest House in Meadowfield.

As good as any 5-star hotel we’ve stayed in and very reasonably priced rooms from £55 per night.

South Moor Golf Club – And finally…

Not many of us will ever get the chance to play at The Augusta National but if you want to get a flavour of what it’s like, you could do a lot worse than heading to County Durham.

Visit South Moor Golf Club, you will not be disappointed!

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For more information on South Moor Golf Club, the history and green fees information, visit the club website or contact the club direct on 01207 283 525.

By Ian Mullins

Essex Golfer makes it back to back major victories at TSG Masters 2016…

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

TSG Masters 2016 - Steve Slater.jpg 2

TheSocialGolfer.com, the online social networking community for golfers celebrated its 3rd annual TSG Masters Championship at Warley Park Golf Club on 23rd April 2016…

30+ Golfers from all over the South East of England gathered at the Essex-based club, all hoping to be TSG Masters 2016 Champion golfer.

The TSG Masters 2016 – How they qualified…

The members of the online social network had all qualified via a number of different means, some via the website’s monthly leaderboard.

Some via other TSG Major events with the remaining spaces snapped up via the ballot and/or by special invitation with no one wishing to miss out on the first TSG ‘Major’ of the year.

This made for an exciting competition and while some TSGers were familiar with the course layout, most were totally new to it.

The field ranging from 6 handicappers to 30 (men and women) played the Childerditch and the Warley ’1 to 9′ loop, two very different layouts offering their own challenges.

The latter including the superb 17th Par 3 signature hole across the water.

The TSG Masters 2016 – The Winners…

The event was won by Essex based golfer (Harlow) Steve Slater, who also won the TSG OPEN at Bletchingley GC (Surrey) in July 2015.

Slater is the first TSG golfer to hold two Major titles at the same time on the popular website.

After 18 holes, Slater scored a hard earned 32 Pts off his 17-handicap but still needed to rely on the count-back to seal victory. Michael Moos 2nd (Herts – 32 Pts) and 3rd Brian Scott (Essex – 31 Pts).

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There was also some fun to be had with 2 x Nearest Pins and a ‘Straightest Drive’ keeping the day alive for those that were not troubling the leaderboard and a Par 3 Competition to add to the drama on the day.

Other winners included popular ‘TSGer’ Denis Conway (Middlesex) with Slater also collecting the ‘Nearest Pin in Two’ and Moos also adding the Par 3 Trophy to his haul.

TSG Masters 2016The TSG Masters 2016 – What they said…

We’ll leave the final words to our new TSG Masters Champion: What a way to start my golfing year and I can’t quite believe I now hold two TSG Major Trophies. I’d like to thank all the TSG team and the Warley Park staff for putting on a great day. Winning is always a pleasure but to beat some of the great golfers from The Social Golfer twice in the same calendar year is a dream. I look forward to coming back and defending the Trophy next year!”

Kevin Smith, Director of Golf at the venue said:“We were delighted to host the TSG Masters 2016 event for the third consecutive year. It’s like we’re becoming the Augusta of TSG! The TSG members are always very respectful to us and our members and they are always fun to have around. We welcome events like this at the course and look forward to having them back again in 2016!”

WATCH VIDEO NOW!

 

National Golf Month – May 2016

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

National Golf Month 2016

Last week saw the start of the third annual National Golf Month

The initiative, created by golf event specialist Doug Poole and the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA) aims to increase the participation in golf getting the 100,000 new or lapsed golfers to try golf in May 2016.

Funded by the ‘Grow Golf’ Trustees and in partnership with amongst others Bauer Media (Today’s Golfer & Golf World)  + all the major Golf Unions and Associations, Golf Clubs, Driving Ranges, Golf Manufacturers and PGA Professionals – the aim is to reverse the trend and get more people playing golf and having fun …

National Golf Month – What’s it all about?

Firstly, there is a new National Golf Month website promoting the month hosted by newly launched activity booking site – www.fibodo.com. This will host all the offers available at your nearest club/range.

Secondly, free coaching will be available at selected venues. And finally, there will be plenty of other golf discounts to take advantage of.

In order to get this event in the public psyche, there will also be a media campaign combining radio, magazine and social media hitting over 25 million people, creating customers who wish to return to golf or learn to play.

However, there are also some heavyweights putting their names behind the cause, including Paul McGinley, Ian Poulter and new kid on the block Charley Hull.

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National Golf Month – Here’s what some of them had to say:

Paul McGinley – Ryder Cup Winning Captain

“I am delighted to be supporting National Golf Month of May 2016. Golf faces many challenges in these times as competition with other sport and social activities intensifies. Golf is a game that has given me, and my family, great pleasure, health benefits and opportunities to meet some amazing people. I would encourage everybody to get behind this”

Ian Poulter – Pro Golfer

““I’m fully behind the great initiative that is National Golf Month. The more people we can get out playing, the better, and hopefully this will help people realise that it’s a fun, healthy and sociable thing to do!”.”

Georgie Bingham – Sports Presenter

“I’ve always been quite sporty but I didn’t find my match until I found golf – I am now a complete addict! Golf is the ultimate leveller; a sport that caters for all abilities – a sport you’ll never be good enough at to be satisfied AND one that is sociable, outdoors and as much about playing against.”  

Charley Hull – Pro Golfer

“I am delighted to be able to support National Golf Month (NGM2016) again this year. It is great to be a part of an event which raises awareness and participation of golf across the UK. I hope to inspire more people to try golf this year. Keep an eye out for all the deals on offer and enjoy getting out on the course!

Melissa Reid – Pro Golfer

“National Golf Month is a great initiative and I am excited to support it in 2016. Golf is an incredibly rewarding sport and I have been lucky enough to travel the world and make lifelong friends through it. I look forward to being a part of NGM2016 and introducing more people to this great game.”

 

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Golfing in Spain…

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Like all golf trips, it starts with one of your golfing buddies suggesting it’s time you went away for a few days without the family. It then quickly moves to everyone saying which courses they would like to play and in which countries….

Golfing in Spain mapThe next step is that one of you has to stop talking and actually go online and do the research, but where do you start?

Despite the growth of new golfing destinations in the world such as Turkey, Morocco and some of the Central European countries such as Bulgaria, Slovenia and more lately Poland, Spain remains one of the most popular destinations for Brits to head for.

Golfing in Spain – The Stats…

The favourable exchange rate has helped in recent years to make it competitive against the ‘new kids on the block’ but it is the lure of some great golf courses that really keeps the punters coming back year after year.

Whilst cost is obviously a key driver on destination selection, we are looking for more than just a holiday. As one UK operator said: “90% are looking for a deal, 10% are looking for experience” (Courtesy of IAGTO Report 2013)

Since 2012 Spain has remained the no.1 destination for UK golfers and whilst the banks are now running many of the courses (following the crash of 2008), why do so many golfers return year after year?

One reason is the guaranteed weather, however, just as important is the variation of courses you can play.

Be your preference a desert course with testing winds or rock-lined fairways with great views or perhaps a flat bunker-ridden style layout that asks you to consider every shot.

 

Golfing in Spain – Mar Menor Golf Resort…

Mar Menor Golf Resort intercontinental-murcia

Mar Menor Golf Resort intercontinental-murcia

Having decided with my fellow explorer that it was a combination of all three of the above we wanted, we settled on spending four days at Mar Menor Golf Resort – part of the IRM Nike golf (formerly Polaris World).

The quality of golf courses came highly recommended, as did the hotel group hospitality and amenities.

The group hosts six golf courses, all ‘Jack Nicklaus’ designed, although only one was actually designed by the great man himself.

The courses include El Valle (Tournament Course) La Torre (Challenge Course), Saurines (Desert Course), Hacienda Riquelme (Championship Course), Alhama (Signature Course) and Mar Menor (Residential Course).

We decided to position ourselves at the Mar Menor Golf Resort (on the Costa Calida) itself and use this as our base to plot our attack on the Spanish fairways……

N.B.  It is quite common if there are less than four people playing in your group, that you will be partnered with other people. This speeds up play and can be good fun. So if you just want to be alone with your best golfing pals, ensure you only travel in groups of four.

Golfing in Spain – The Courses…

 

Alhama

Cost: Public = 80 Euros / Residents = 52 Euros

Alhama Golf CourseAs stated above, this course is seen as the ‘jewel in the crown’ within the group. It is situated an hours’ drive from Mar Menor but is easy to find, thanks to the great directions given to us by the Pro-shop.

At first, you are slightly disorientated on arrival as the course is within the walls of the residential area, however once this hurdle was navigated, you then arrive at an unassuming car park that leads to The Clubhouse.

Wow! You know you are a course that has not only been designed by Mr.Nicklaus but that it has been sculptured beautifully into the landscape. I can only imagine how many hours the green keepers spend attending to all the tee boxes alone.

The course is long (6500+ metres) but don’t be put off, most of the fairways are wide and forgiving but watch out for the wind. The course is built in a valley are when it blows, it really blows.

The Clubhouse is modern but small and doesn’t match the surrounding but I believe this is a temporary structure and will be replaced by one much grander in style, just like the rest in the group. There is a fantastic open air range to hone your game before heading out.

The first three or four holes are a delight, undulating fairways, bunker-ridden par 3’s but once you get past these, the course starts to stretch out (don’t think I hit a short iron into a  green until the back nine!).

Whilst the fairways are brown and barren (it is Spain), there is a good combination of left and right aligned holes. These contrast the greens are rich dark green and firm (i.e. very difficult to land your ball on).

Of course, most have plenty of breaks and borrows, so don’t expect to leave without at least some 3-Putts on your card.

Realistically this course is built for low handicappers (10 and below), so don’t be disappointed if you struggle to score well. Just enjoy the course, and the views and enjoy it in the manner in which ‘Jack’ would want you to.

TSG verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

 

El Valle

Cost: Public = 80 Euros / Residents = 52 Euros

El Valle Golf CourseAs you walk to the first, you immediately know you will enjoy the day. The vast wide fairway (with strategically placed bunkers) is beautiful with a mountainous backdrop that wouldn’t look out of place in the Arizona desert. The tee boxes again were very good and well tended to and cleared marked for all levels of golfer.

As we made our way around we commented on how well the course was designed and that every hole provides you with a different challenge. Ranging from short-ish Par 4 to tempt you to expansive 450 m+ Par 5’s, this course has something for everyone.

The course twists and turns with slight inclines and drops that won’t leave you out of breath. However, there are plenty of bunkers for you to find (on one hole we counted 10) so you will need to think your way around here.

So to the signature hole: It does take a little effort to walk to the elevated 11th tee, that gives you a panoramic view for miles around. However, once you’ve taken in the view, you’re then faced with teeing off over rocks and on to the fairway 50ft below, where bunker will catch a wayward shot – brilliant!

The greens here were very good. Not too firm that you can’t land on them but quick enough to get you thinking. All were true. Whilst water is not the main feature here, the back nine does require plotting your way around some pretty and challenging water but this all adds to the variety of holes.

Finishing the day back on the patio area, we enjoyed some great service, good food and a refreshing drink, whilst we discussed the ups (there were no downs) of both the course and its layout.  We will definitely be returning to this course again.

TSG verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Mar Menor

Cost: Public = 80 Euros / Residents = 52 Euros

Mar Menor Golf CourseWe saved this course for the final day giving us plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the clubhouse, situated in the main Inter-Continental Hotel building.

The staff were all very friendly and the service excellent.

After meeting with Chris Ahern (Commercial Director), he quickly gave us a tour of the facilities and gave us some pointers on how to enjoy the course.

The atmosphere here is very different to the other course and it has much more of a ’local club’ feel about it.

The first tee situated less than a few yards from the clubhouse and offers you a simple Par 4 start but note the fairway doesn’t start for 150 yards, but don’t worry, the sandy fairway is plenty good enough to play from.

The course then meanders around three or four loops, each returning to the main Clubhouse.

The course is flat and has a layout that nicely rotates between Par 3’, 4’s and 5’s. This means you could play it again and again without getting bored.

Upon reaching the back nine, water comes into play on holes 11, 12 and 13 circling a very pleasant reed-lined lake.

Tricky if you tend to fade the ball as all holes are left to right but equally challenging to those that draw the ball, as each hole is also flanked by apartments.

Having navigated these holes, you then return to a parkland style finish with the 18th positioning you back at the main clubhouse.

The only negative we could aim at this course is that it looks a little tired in places but that comes from the fact that is the most played course in the group.

However, this course is much shorter than the others and suits all levels of player. The food in the clubhouse is very good and the club-sandwich is to die for! All in all, we liked this course and we would happily return.

TSG verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Golfing in Spain – The Accommodation…

Mar Menor VillaThe Villas here have been designed by the prestigious architect Melvin Villarroel and they are based on his concept of “Architecture of the Vacío“.

This is the principle of where architecture and nature meet in a ’comprehensive design’ converging  great garden areas with ‘exuberant’ vegetation in which the main hotel swimming pool takes pride of place.

It’s excellent communication a few minutes drive from the best beaches of Murcia and close to natural landscapes and tourist routes, make this a special place for rest and leisure.

Staying in a privately hired villa rather than in the main hotel, these properties are available to rent either on short or long lets.

They all come in various shapes and sizes but are all clean, modern and packed with everything you would expect, including air conditioning, dishwasher, patio furniture and some have their own private pool.

The resort boasts three restaurants and an ‘Irish’ pub (full of golfing memorabilia) with a big screen, that normally shows golf. So you have plenty of choices to eat and the main Clubhouse bar also attracts many golfers back in the evenings.

Golfing in Spain – The Costs…

Mar Menor Villa 2

We hired a Villa privately on the main road into the resort with two bedrooms (sleeps up to 6) into the resort for £250 (four days) but this may vary depending on the time or year and availability.

Hotel/Apartment bookings can be made via the main hotel website but 2016/17 guide prices* are as follows:

 

2 bed (sleeps up to four)

LOW season (Nov 1st  – 14th Feb, 1st May – 15th July, Sept)

Mar Menor Villa 3

7 Nights + 5 rounds of golf = Euros 303

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2 bed (sleeps up to four)

SHOULDER season (Oct, 15th Feb – 30th April)

7 Nights + 5 rounds of golf = Euros 348

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*rates shown are purely illustrative and will vary.

Mar Menor Villa 4

Bookings can be made direct from at the following website and many others:

http://www.golf-marmenor.com (Ask for Steve McGraw – very helpful chap)

http://golfregiondemurcia.com/en/index.html

https://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/mar-menor-golf-resort

https://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/rentals/spain/mar-menor-golf-resort

Alternatively, you can book breaks via the main hotel sites:

http://www.intercontinental.com/hotels

http://theresidences.marmenorresort.com

Golfing in Spain – Other costs…

Flights to San Javier (Murcia) or Alicante can be booked at all the usual low-cost airlines from as little as £80 (book early) and Car hire was less than £50 for four days.

Just remember to get your CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) cover before you leave, as they will try to charge you another £50+ at the terminal, despite it only costing £8 online.

For information regarding the golf you can visit:

http://golf.marmenorresort.com/en/golf

Or contact Chris Ahern direct on cahern@irmgolfexperience.com

Golfing in Spain – The final say…

We spent four great days in the region enjoying both the golf and the food, and having previously visited a number of the courses in the area (including La Manga, La Finca and Las Ramblas), we can highly recommend this group of courses if you’re golfing in Spain anytime soon.

They will provide any golfer with plenty of challenges and enjoyment… and you are ‘almost’ guaranteed good weather!

Alhama Golf Club 2

By Ian Mullins

Golf Tourism England – South Devon Golf Tour….

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Golf Tourism England Logo

Golf Tourism England Logo

The cream of South Devon’s golf courses have combined to create one of Golf Tourism England most glorious and scenically stunning golf trails thanks to the photogenic south Devon coastline that is characterised by charming coves and estuaries and elevated cliff tops that offer panoramic seascapes.

South Devon Golf Tour – The Group…

This mouth-watering collection of Thurlestone, Teignmouth, East Devon and Bovey Castle have all been designed by some of golf’s most revered course architects around the time of the ‘Golden Age’ of golf course design and will be known as the South Devon Golf Tour (www.southdevongolftour.co.uk).

South Devon Golf Tour – The Courses…

Thurlestone-Golf-Club-South-Devon-Golf-Tour

Thurlestone-Golf-Club-South-Devon-Golf-Tour

Located in an area of outstanding beauty, Thurlestone is a magical mix of links turf and cliff-top terrain and much of its location atop a promontory give it its breath-taking panoramas over the legendary Thurlestone Rock to the east and the picturesque Avon Estuary and Burgh Island in the West.

Often compared to Pebble Peach, this Harry Colt design is by no means as severe thanks to its wide open fairways unless of course the coastal winds start to blow.

Teignmouth, created by the famed Alister MacKenzie, also owes a great deal to its magnificent situation.

Laid out on the high moor of Little Haldon over 800 feet above sea level, the outward nine looks over the town of Teignmouth and the estuary of the River Teign. whilst the contrasting back nine looks east over the Exe estuary towards Portland Bill, a well-known headland on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

Teignmouth Golf Club - South Devon Golf Tour

Teignmouth Golf Club – South Devon Golf Tour

Whilst the contrasting back nine looks east over the Exe estuary towards Portland Bill, a well-known headland on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

The course today remains remarkably similar to MacKenzie’s original 1924 design and retains his signature sloping greens, many of which are surrounded by humps on three sides and feature two tiers like many of those found at Augusta.

East Devon Golf Club, perched on the cliff top 400 foot above Budleigh Salterton, commands stunning panoramas over the western end of the Jurassic Coast and the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This 6,231-yard seaside heathland course with wide tracts of gorse and heather dividing each fairway was designed by the great Herbert Fowler, with later input from both Harry Colt and James Braid.

Its defining characteristics include well-drained fairways, close-cropped turf and firm, undulating greens that make it a fair and enchanting golf course, though testing when the sea breezes comes in off the sea.

Finally, the inland retreat of Bovey Castle provides an interesting contrast to the coastal tracks thanks to its setting in amongst the mature woodlands of Dartmoor National Park.

East Devon Golf Club

East Devon Golf Club

Designed by JF Abercromby to rival its sister courses at Gleneagles and Turnberry, Bovey Castles opened to great acclaim in 1930.

The challenging, yet beautiful course meanders through the estate whilst the luxurious accommodation and five-star facilities of the castle mean the resort is regarded as one of England’s most idyllic destinations to play golf.

South Devon Golf Tour – What they said…

You could not find a more spectacular group of golf courses so conveniently located together in one of England’s most popular and jaw-droppingly, glorious coastal locations” comments Andrew Cooke, CEO & founder of Golf Tourism England.

He went on to say:These courses are indeed the cream of the crop in south Devon and together they make an alluring offering when combined with the many natural attractions in the area such as the Jurassic Coast, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Dartmoor National Park, its sandy beaches and numerous walking and cycle trails.”

Golf Tourism England – How to visit…

The development of the South Devon Golf Tour will be helped by the fact that the group has a dedicated golf tour operator working alongside them.

Graham Ruth of Exclusive Golf Breaks will provide golf packages to the area as well as marketing the tour to his clients and to golfers around the world via the website, www.southdevongolftour.co.uk.

South Devon can be easily accessed by car via the M5 whilst visitors from northern England, Scotland, Ireland and Europe (including France, Holland, Spain, Portugal and Italy) can reach the county by air via direct flights into the international airport at Exeter.

The South Devon Golf Tour is another example of Golf Tourism England driving golf clubs and resorts to club together and to market themselves as a group to the multi-billion pound golf tourism industry.

To book a golf package to the South Devon Golf Tour, visit www.southdevongolftour.co.uk or call +44(0)1822 618181.

Golf Tourism England…

First established two years ago in order to promote England as one of the most outstanding golfing destinations in the world, it represents the multi-million-pound golf tourism industry.

Golf Tourism England is now the recognised body that represents every aspect of the golf tourism industry in England and is taking a leading role in the development and marketing of the industry on an international stage.

England’s golf offering is a strong and immensely viable one: it is after all home to over 2,500 golf courses, many of which are widely recognised as some of the finest in the world.

It has four courses on the current Open Championship roster with two other courses having staged the event in the past, it has staged The Ryder Cup 14 times over nine different courses and plays host to The European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship.

England also possesses some of the oldest golf courses in the world that boast a rich history and tradition that cannot be reproduced and has over time turned out some of the most illustrious professional golfers in the history of the sport.

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North of England OPEN…

Friday, April 29th, 2016
South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

Regional and national events have been around for several decades but the 54-hole North of England Open (Under-14) will go into only its third year at County Durham club South Moor in mid-August….

An old hand who played a part in the development of US Masters champion Danny Willett has succeeded with a relatively new tournament helping promising golfers to achieve competitive tournament focus at a younger age

North of England Open – Under 14’s…

Founded and organised by a former chairman of the England Golf junior selectors, Roy Case, the tournament has quickly become so popular the 90-strong field for 2016 is almost half full with three months to go.

Of the 44 boys and girls entered so far – over twice as many as this time last year – 18 have single figure handicaps.

Between 1994 and 2007, Case helped to guide the England junior team to two world titles plus victories in four European championships and eight home internationals.

He managed golfers such as Willett and Justin Rose, who went on to become the 2013 US Open champion.

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

North of England Open – What they said…

The first winner of Case’s Under-14 regional event, in 2014, was Sheffield’s Barclay Brown, an England Boys international from the Hallamshire club who shared the title last year.

Brown’s father Seb, who like his son is a single figure golfer, said: “Barclay is too old for the event this year but the tournament will go from strength to strength. This is thanks to the expertise of Roy Case and the enormous effort South Moor Golf Club put into organising the event, which would be a vast drain on any club’s resources.

 He went on to say: “As a three-round tournament, it improves the concentration factor of youngsters who would only otherwise compete over 18 holes. I particularly like the way there is a re-draw after rounds one and two so golfers doing well can play with others who are in contention, not the norm in most junior tournaments.”

Now lead partner in the Nottinghamshire firm Golf Concepts LP, Case formed a bond with South Moor five years ago when the club hosted the McGregor Trophy, the England Boys Under-16 Open.

Dr Alister MacKenzie, the designer who enabled Bobby Jones Junior to bring his beloved Augusta National into existence, also created the course at South Moor.

*THE 2016 North of England Under-14 tournament will be played at South Moor on August 10-11-12.

To enter, and to see who has entered so far, visit www.northofenglandu14golf.co.uk

There is a separate section for Under-12s plus handicap competitions for the whole field. Players as young as nine compete.

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By Tim Taylor

Indoor Golf – The future?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

GC2 Launch MonitorThere are plenty of golfers who describe themselves as ‘fair weather golfers’. However, is this the reason behind the growth in indoor golf over the last ten years?

Or is it due to advances in technology or the reduction in the amount of time available in modern society but there’s no doubt that we will see more indoor golf clubs opening in the next decade.

We asked ‘Director of Golf‘ Harry Varney at CityGolf in London’s busy square mile, on the benefits of using a Sim and on how the industry will evolve.

Indoor Golf – The History…

Golf Simulators have been around in one form or another since the 70’s.

The first simulators were very simple and TV based using a joystick or gaming control but as both the software and screen technology developed in the 80’s, it was not long before the handheld games were replaced by the golf mat and golf club.

Early on, the sensors measured the movement of the hands and fed the information to the video game. However, the overall experience was rudimentary, to say the least.

It wasn’t until the mid-late 90’s that we started to see real advancements made.

Relying on a battery of environmental sensors, the new software tracked each shot, from impact to how the ball bounces visually on screen.

In this way, the golfer has a detailed analysis of the entire flight of the ball which can be used for practice or training.

There are several types of measurement system used in golf simulation to achieve this, such as Simulator Mats, Sonic Sound systems, Optical Sensor arrays, Radar and Camera ball tracking systems.

Indoor Golf – The TechnologyGC2 Launch Monitor 2

Golf has always found itself at the heart of ‘gaming’ with some of the first computer games simulating Putting…

However, it was the invention of the PlayStation that really saw the potential of indoor golf albeit using a ‘controller’ rather than an actual golf club.

At the moment, there are lots of different ‘Sims’ on the market including TrackmanGolfzon and probably the most well known, GC2 launch monitor. The latter, being preferred by CityGolf.

This industry-leading technology that redefined performance analysis outdoors has also proven to be a game changer for indoor simulation.

Powerful enough to drive the world’s most cutting-edge commercial simulation studios, the GC2 is as flexible as it is accurate.

Two high-speed, high-definition cameras give you a true measurement of performance without compromise, delivering the most realistic virtual golf experience possible.

We chose to go with the GC2 product, as we felt this had an edge of all the other as it calculates over 10k images of ball and its position on impact!” said Varney

The GC2 gives you exceptionally precise understanding of both the club head speed and ball trajectory, meaning we can also provide a very accurate ‘ball fitting’ service too”

Varney went on to say….”In addition, of the four GC2 Sims we use, we have two advanced GC2 HMT (Head Measurement Technology) meaning we can cater to both the beginners and single figure handicap“.

Indoor Golf – The BenefitsCeltic Manor

The advantages of using a golf simulator is the ability to conveniently play and practice in a controlled ambience.

Often this means the ability to play without any pressure while still bringing many of these competitive and social aspects into the simulated game.

For those who live in a cold and wet climate or in urban areas (that’ll be most of us), golf simulators offer the ability to play and practice year-round or within the confines of their locale.

The next important advantage is the player’s ability to see each facet of their swing.

Many golf simulators measure: angle of attack, angle of the club face, club head speed, spin, club path (inside out or outside in), and more.

These measurements help both students and teaching professionals identify exactly what a player needs to know to improve their swing.

You also get to choose where you want to play, including some great UK courses. Courses available at CityGolf include Celtic Manor, The Belfry and Haseltine Golf club (the home of the 2016 Ryder Cup).

Indoor Golf – TeachingHarry Varney City Golf

Sitting chatting to Harry, I soon find myself forgetting that I am not on a standard golf range and concentrate purely on what he is telling me.

In addition, he is quick to tell me why he and his colleague Liam McGrossan, ‘Director of Instruction’, have a different approach to teaching.

Firstly, the first hour’s consultation rarely involves hitting a club but concentrates more of what ‘your’ understanding of the game is.

He tells us that most teaching Pro’s, immediately start critiquing your swing, long before it is understood how much you know about both the dynamics of the golf swing and the physics of the game.

To be fair, this is a fresh approach and given that I am slumped into a big leather sofa, while sipping a coke as I learn this, I really can see why Indoor Golf has taken off.

Coupled with the fact that often, that if you work in London, the chance of getting to the range or out for nine holes after work midweek, in today fast world of living, is difficult to achieve.

Indoor Golf – Custom FittingCustom Fitting City Golf

Getting ‘Custom Fit’ for your clubs is vital towards improving as a Golfer.

Just as a suit is made to measure, so it is fits an individual’s body shape, a Custom Fit is vital towards ensuring that the correct equipment is matched to the each individual to suit their personal needs.

The team at CityGolf have extensive knowledge and experience and are committed to helping each individual find the best equipment for them.

The guys are adamant they have repeatedly seen the benefits that personalised equipment does for a Golfer towards improving distance, accuracy, shot making, and overall enjoyment of Golf.

The cost of this service starts from as little as £50 and last an hour.

Indoor Golf – EntertainmentCityGolf Gym & Bar

Putting the technology, the courses and the teaching to one side, there is another advantage to golf simulators….

In most indoor golf centres, there will a couple of ‘simulators’ available to book but in the bigger clubs like CityGolf there could be six or more.

Thus meaning you could realistically hold an entire golf event in one place, with all your golf mates and you, all playing the same course.

Not only does this mean additional availability for the visitor but it means indoor clubs like CityGolf can hold events and fun nights, regardless of the weather conditions. You can have a beer while you play.

Yep, many Golf Studios also have a bar or refreshments on site; it can make for a very entertaining evening. Consider it….

Hire two golf simulators for an afternoon or evening (from £60ph each) and invite seven golf buddies to join you. You’ll find that three hours flies by.

You’ve played a Texas Scramble at Wentworth, enjoyed a drink and not a speck of rain in sight and you’ve still got change out of £50.

Of course, if you book an evening out at a golf studio, you’re even beating the lack of daylight.

Indoor Golf – CityGolfHarry Varney - City Golf Sim

And finally, having visited CityGolf and seen their set-up, we were impressed!

As such, from April 2016, ALL TSGers are invited to try their facilities and receive a FREE one-hour Performance Analysis’ (worth £90!)

Yep – that’s a FREE golf lesson in the City of London.

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For more information on the benefits of Indoor Golf and claiming you free lesson at CityGolf go to: www.citygolflondon.com or call 020 7796 5960

Alternatively, email the guys at harry@citygolfclubs.com or liam@citygolfclubs.com

Opening Times: Mon-Fri – 6.30am – 9.30pm