Archive for the ‘Golf Articles’ Category

Il Picciolo Golf Resort, Sicily – TSG Review…

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Paul Houghton - The Social golfer - Il Piccolo Etna - Sicily 4Having planted my ball on the 7th green at Peeble Beach (at the TSG Open Championship on a simulator!), the next thing I know I’ve won a golfing trip to Sicily courtesy of Golf Escapes and Il Picciolo Golf Resort.

And having added a few dates to our trip, here’s my review for my fellow Social Golfer members to enjoy….

By Paul Houghton


Il Picciolo Golf Resort, Sicily – location and accommodation, Facilities…

Il Picciolo Golf Resort in the centre of the Mediterranean island of Sicily is situated roughly 50 miles from Catania Airport.

The hotel is over half way up Mount Etna the scenery is spectacular.

The transfer cost is 120 Euros (one way) and takes 50+ minutes.

The hotel and course itself were built in 1989 but sadly the outside of the hotel reflects this and is badly in need of refurbishment.

On arrival you approach a rather dated reception, where details are taken, language is not a barrier but no help with luggage was offered?

Sadly, the first thing to note is the hotel is not overly disabled friendly, some steps are not accompanied with handrails.  However, the rooms are of a good size with on suite bathroom facilities.

Paul Houghton - The Social golfer - Il Piccolo Etna - Sicily 5

They are clean and the chambermaid service is very good.  Towels and shower gel etc changed every day. The room boasts Sky television and a mini bar.  Only four coat hangers per person encourage you to travel light, but there’s plenty of space for clothing and storage is available.

The restaurant was very spacious but a little dark, the staff were courteous but surely on occasion.

The three-course evening meal costs 29 Euros and was very good, most of the time.  The Saturday evening buffet was superb, only the last night did I feel the food was of a poor standard.  The breakfast layout is bland but of good quality.

The service during breakfast seemed more relaxed.  I fell one evening slipping on a discarded cucumber slice and the staff were very quick to act, cleaning up the debris, but alas did not follow up to ask if this disabled man was injured, so we felt could have been handled better.

The hotel catered for coach parties which stayed one or two nights at the hotel, staff seemed more attentive towards them than the longer staying cliental.

The cocktail bar was run by a very efficient member of staff for most of our stay (7 nights) but when she was not on duty, she was replaced by staff who obviously did not enjoy the role.

The drinks were not cheap at £7 for a G & T, we were never offered a complimentary appetiser even though it was part of our deal?! As far as entertainment goes it karaoke style.

Paul Houghton - The Social golfer - Il Piccolo Etna - SicilyOne evening a singer sang along to backing tracks until midnight (about 5 hours), alas she was the only entertainment of the week and whilst it was ok, New York New York wears a bit thin after a while!

The spa was very tranquil and ticked many boxes as to treatments.

The staff there were helpful and made it a very enjoyable experience.  Information on the few trips (3) offered was sparse, no leaflets were offered.  A trip up Etna was offered for £100 but no meal made it seem very expensive.  Getting a taxi return to Taormina was over a £100 it was 30 minutes away.

Il Picciolo Golf Resort, Sicily – The staff…

To be brutally honest, overall, the staff communication was a problem the whole week.

There was a power cut one day, no explanation was offered to the guests and we only got into our room by seeking help from a cleaner?

The resort manager (Guy) did make an effort to discuss how our experience was going, he was very friendly and chatted whenever we saw him (he was English) but surprisingly, no other staff engaged to that level, instead, they saved their conversation for Italian guests

Il Picciolo Golf Resort, Sicily – The Golf Course…

Paul Houghton - The Social golfer - Il Piccolo Etna - Sicily 2

The Clubhouse is situated a few hundred yards from the hotel.  Your round can be booked through the hotel, but buggies have to be paid for at the club. The Pro at the club is friendly and his staff are very helpful.

The office doubles with helicopter rides up Etna, so they are not only focussed with the golfers. A spacious locker room is accompanied by shower facilities.  There are drinks machines for refreshments and confectionary.

There had been a fire in the kitchens, so no other food was available at the golf club which was a little disappointing.

However, the Practise facilities are VERY good, a driving range, practice bunker with plenty of sand in it, a dedicated chipping green and practice putting green.  I was given free practise balls – refreshing as that wouldn’t happen in the UK.

A round of golf is not cheap at 85 Euros buggies are 45 Euros.  The course is nicely set out with some challenging holes but the clover (just off the fairways) is four inches long and thick.

 

Lost balls are inevitable as the fairways are no more than 20 paces.  I felt this was too penial, looking for balls becomes a bit of a chore when you’ve hit a good shot.

It’s a shame as the course has some dramatic holes, but its let down by unkept rough, clover, daisies and very poor signage. A stroke saver is essential for 5 Euros. The slope index does give the average golfer two shots, but it’s the looking for balls that effects your game. #

Paul Houghton - The Social golfer - Il Piccolo Etna - Sicily 3

This is a very undulating course so if you’re going to walk be prepared, the temperature can fluctuate 10 or 12 degrees while you are out there. A fair bit of work needs to address these issues to bring the course up to its best.

However, one thing I will always remember is the scenic backdrop, the views of Mount Etna are spectacular…. and would make me return just to view again.

In summary, Il Picciolo Golf Resort could be an exceptional course but it really needs a lot of work on it to get it above a 3 out of 5 rating.

Would I revisit Il Picciolo?  Probably not until I see improvement in the course, its nowhere near the standard of courses for the same money in Spain or Portugal.

I think its pricing its self out of the market of the average golfer if it wants to attract the better player a lot of work needs to be done to compete with the Algarve etc.

TSG Verdict – 3 out of 5 stars

 

 

Which Golf Ball is right for me?

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Which golf ball is right for me? Premier Lake Balls - Hard or Soft...Which Golf Ball is right for me?

It’s a pretty simple premise that using the same golf ball in practice as you do in competitions, will help heighten your feel.

It also makes for a more reliable short game but what golf ball will suit your best? And what do you need to consider?

We asked Scott from Premier Lake Balls for his thoughts…


Which golf ball is right for me – Soft or firm? 

A lot of the best golf balls 2018 has to offer come in alternative versions that spin slightly less for players, who prefer a firmer feel or more control off the tee.

Try both types from a range of distances to find your preference. As a guide, the softer the ball, the higher the price tag will be!

Which golf ball is right for me – Cover material?

Urethane covers offer the best spin control and feel but do cost more.

Experiment to see if you notice enough of a difference to validate the extra cost, you may find losing 20 yards off the tee for more spin does not benefit your game.

After all, spinning an 8 iron rather than a wedge is tougher even for the better players.

Which golf ball is right for me – Long game or short game?

With conflicting fitting messages from different brands, consider if your game will benefit most from extra yards off the tee or better feel and control around the greens.

A mid-range ball that offers a bit of length and also a little bit of spin is quite often the best way to go.


Receive 5% discount on all purchases at Premier Lake Balls by click on this link…

For more information on the type of golf ball you should be using… email scott@premierlakeballs.com or visit www.premierlakeballs.com 

Chateau Des Vigiers is better than ever…

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Chateau des Vigiers Golf ClubOne of France’s leading golf resorts Chateau des Vigiers has prepared for the country’s first Ryder Cup year by making a wide range of improvements…


Chateau des Vigiers – The Resort…

Chateau des Vigiers, the 27-hole golf resort in the heart of the Dordogne wine region of south-west France, now promises ‘visiting golfers’ an even better experience.

With upgraded golf & leisure facilities, renovated bedrooms, and a sumptuous new wine cellar in the chateau’s Michelin Star restaurant, “Les Fresques”.

Known as ‘Petit Versailles’, the resort’s 16th-century chateau forms an enchanting backdrop when you check into one of the hotel’s 65 four-star rooms.

And if you’re a golfer you will find new-look changing rooms, a much more comprehensive pro shop and upgraded golf buggy tracks this season, as well as improved bunkers out on the golf course.

The latest Callaway and Titleist golf equipment is now available to test and buy from the Chateau des Vigiers pro shop, with the 2018 range of FootJoy golf shoes plus golf apparel from Under Armour, Adidas, Glenmuir, Rohnisch and Brax all on show.

Chateau des Vigiers Golf ClubChateau des Vigiers Golf Club – Property…

For those looking for a more permanent ‘home away from home’ in beautiful south-west France, Chateau des Vigiers also now has five brand-new golf homes for sale overlooking the 7th and 8th greens, each individually-designed by French architect Didier Griffoul.

The one, two and three-bedroom properties come complete with their own golf buggy, and give owners direct access both to 27 holes of French resort golf and to the estate’s many facilities, right on the doorstep.

If you are seeking to relax as well as play golf, the newly-renovated Spa at Chateau des Vigiers will reopen in May 2018 with a new hydrotherapy pool.

Three new treatment rooms and a new team of beauticians on hand with the 2018 range of Sothys Paris beauty products.

Chateau des Vigiers Golf Club – What They Said…

2018 is a significant year for golf in France, with the eyes of the world upon us when The Ryder Cup visits our country this September, and we are expecting to welcome record numbers of golfers to our wonderful facility.” said Niels Koetsier, Managing Director at Chateau des Vigiers.

Our goal is to end 2018 ranked well inside Europe’s Top 50 golf resorts, and among the top five places to stay & play golf in France.”

“Our enchanting location, our beautiful accommodation, our gourmet dining and of course our majestic golf course and chateau all make Chateau des Vigiers a unique experience, and these recent improvements will make your memories even more magical.”

Director of Golf Matthew Storm said: “Alongside the other golf facility improvements which we have made over the winter, we have also recently invested in our greenkeeping team. “

“As a result, all 27 holes will be in stunning condition for the new season. Our greens, tees and fairways offer truly wonderful playing surfaces, and golfers will find one of France’s best-maintained golf courses when they come here in 2018.”

New shareholders took a controlling interest in Chateau des Vigiers in July 2017, and have already spent in excess of one million Euros on improvements.

The resort is now under new management, headed by Niels Koetsier who took over as the resort’s new Managing Director, also in July 2017.


Visit www.vigiers.com to book your next trip to Chateau des Vigiers, or call the resort on +33 (0)553 61 5000.

 

Ends.

Unique Golf Courses – Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club …

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club

Following on from Scottish Bob’s blog series on the Oldest Golf Courses of the World by continent in 2017, Bob now turns his attention to some of the lesser known courses around the world, this time its the turn of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club…


Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club –  Golfing China…

This magnificent golf course set in the bottom of a valley which faces the famous Snow Dragon Mountains which stands at 18,360 feet in the Yunnan Province of China.

The course was designed by renowned golf course architects Robin Nelson & Neil Hawthorn.

This 18 hole par 72 golf course was opened in 2001 and is the longest regulation golf course in the world, measuring 8548 yards from the pro tees & earning themselves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Situated at a height of over 10,000 feet above sea level making it the highest golf course in China and the second highest in the world after La Paz in Bolivia standing at 10,964 feet.

However, when playing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club, at this height, the ball is known to travel 20 percent further due to the thinness of the mountain air.

The front nine of this golf course has a Scottish feel to it, while the back nine is undulating and mountainous, the back nine couldn’t be more contrasting.

The two sets of nine have completely different characteristics, with the Par 5, 5th hole, standing at 711 yards which is the longest par 5 in the world (Seriously!!).

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club – The Locals …

The caddies are from the Local “Naxi” people who have lived in the area for generations and who wear their traditional costumes.

And no matter where you are playing your shot from you will have spectacular views of the snow -capped mountains.

The 13 peaks of the Snow -covered and sometimes fog-enlaced mountain resembles a Jade Dragon, lying in the clouds, hence the name “Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club”.

In addition, this is also the Southern Most Glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, the mountain range stretches for 22 miles and has a width of 13 miles.

This beautiful place is not just for golfer’s, but with an abundance of different plant species on show and wildlife.

No matter what part of the Snow Capped Mountain you visit, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club is a truly unique place.

Till Next Time…

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scottish Bob’ Davies

More articles from Bob… Golfing in The Antartica …

 

TSG Interview – Paul Armitage at Le Golf National…

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Paul Armitage - General Manager at Le Golf National, ParisFollowing our round on L’ Albatros we sat down with Englishmen, Paul Armitage (General Manager of Le Golf National) to discuss his vision for the course and his excitement at being one of the few people in golf to experience, and deliver, the greatest show on earth this September…


Afternoon Paul and thank you for giving up your time for The Social Golfer. Firstly, you don’t need me to tell you, but I think the course playing  superbly. 

The Ryder Cup layout not only provides the event with a natural amphitheater, but I have no doubt that it will also prove a hit with the spectators too. There’s a real sense of theatre about the viewing positions, which will generate a superb atmosphere.

So, what’s an Englishmen doing in Paris running a Ryder up venue, how did you get here and what has been your greatest challenge since taking over the helm in 2014?

“Well, I was born and bred in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire and whilst I was an avid golfer, I was never good enough to think about being a golf professional and I never wanted to be an assistant pro.

So, I went to Northumbria University and studied international business finance. This included a year in France as part of the Erasmus program, meaning I discovered continental Europe at an early age.

Meanwhile, I was there, I was volunteering at a local golf course at the kid’s school and was later asked if I would be interested taking care of the competitions and events….

I did that job for three years, very happily, developing the turnover, membership programme, when a very exclusive private members club approached me to work for them.

However, as I was only 27, I was really far too young to take it through the change that was needed at that golf course.

As an Englishman, the Continentals assume you know everything about Golf, which of course you don’t but I coped and four years later we had created a Challenge Tour event and many high-end business events.

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

This then became a golf events agency, which turned into a marketing agency.

Later I worked for Le Club Golf, which is a network of 130 clubs (in France there is 700+ golf club with 50% of these belonging to a commercial group).

I was then asked to join the team at Le Golf National.  I started in August 2014 (after the bidding process) – the flagship venue for the French Golf Federation.”

What an opportunity, so what has been the Paul Armitage strategy at putting Le Golf National at the heart of the French Golf network?

“It’s been a creative process but ultimately, we can sum this up in a four-letter word. It’s not the one that you’re thinking of…. It’s LOVE!

It’s been about instilling this in all the staff minds and the visiting public. (Yes, Le Golf National is a PUBLIC course! – Ed.).

We concluded that we must put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and demonstrate to visitors, how much we LOVE the venue too

This follows through from the marketing staff through to the greenkeepers. The current Greenkeeping team is headed up by hugely talented and young man from Spain, who was working there for Jack Nicklaus design.

He also spent long periods in America. He is very passionate about the course and I think he’s brought 15 centimeters of extra sand on both fairways and greens.

We were very good from tee to green before 2014, but you wouldn’t recognize this place compared to today and that Is a credit to the team.”

So as a Public course, what is the business model?

Le Golf National - L' Albatros, Paris - Ryder Cup 2018 v2“When I started there was little difference on price across our three courses, so we immediately invested in L’Albatros (now circa 120 euros), which appealed to a higher end audience with the L’ Aigle (now circa 60 euros) providing visitors with a  more affordable green fee option.

This has allowed us to raise the quality of the flagship course hugely.

Previously the course has hosted more than 20 French Opens, meaning we are top of mind for French visitors but The Ryder Cup will allow us to reach golfers from further afield e.g. the UK.

In addition, the venue will be host to the 2024 Paris Olympics meaning there is a legacy for the course beyond September”

How and why was Le Golf National chosen as this year’s host venue and can you describe the course to potential visitors?

“Well one of the things going for us was the course was both established and proven in hosting big European tour events.

In addition, it’s also a good reward risk or reward golf course meaning that it is much loved by the European tour players, a big help when convincing the ‘powers that be’ to choose us.

Our well-earned reputation was also underpinned by the support from the French government and the French Golf Federation.

There was immediate state support ensuring the event was also secure and credible and not a financial risk.

In addition, all French golfers were part of a crowd-funding project whereby every golfer paid a levy on their membership fee to the tune of 3 euros per year.

Some of these funds were also channeled into the next generation of French academy golfers. The final reason is the proximity to Paris.

This will be the first Ryder Cup to be played in a capital city, meaning transport links, accommodation, are already in place”

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

So, if you had to sum of Le Golf National in one sentence what would you say and how much does it cost to be a member and what level of golfer do I need to be to play here?

“I want Le Golf National to be the MOST exclusive public golf course in the world!”

“We don’t have any members. We have a small number of subscribers who buy different Flexi memberships from around. 200 euros a month.

However, you have a handicap of 28 or below to play L’Albatros” (very reasonable! Ed.) Whilst it’s unfair to compare any golf course to another, we see Bethpage Golf Club as who we can aspire to be.

Bethpage is publicly owned by the Public Parks Council in New York. So, they’re very similar to us.”

Let’s talk about the competition, what are you really looking forward to most and what has been your most memorable moment so far?

“You know, I haven’t thought about this one. Hmmm…Of course, I am really looking forward to welcoming all the players on the first day.

However, I am very excited, about the first day when we will host the BIGGEST ever grandstand on the first tee in the history of the event but there is so much to do between now and then.

I guess the proudest moment of my career to date was to be asked to MC at the ‘One Year to Go’ event and Gala Dinner – a very proud moment indeed!

But now I think about it, I think there are many moments already which would have been amazing. It’s really a massive honour to do this job. I’m not joking.

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

You know, I don’t do it for free obviously, but it is an achievement in life that you look back on with huge pride.

What’s the best so far? Maybe working with the 800 kids in a match between Thomas Bjorn and Jim Furyk.

They didn’t actually play with a Captain of the USA and European teams, but they followed the youngsters in buggies with microphones, interviews, that was fun!

I am also looking forward to seeing how the teams react, The US team have got a young and friendly generation coming up who were changing things a bit American golf and they have built close relationships with each other than before.

Like our guys (European Team) 10, 15 years ago when Rose, Poulter, Westwood, and Rory were coming through, we were a team”.

The feeling we get from Bjorn and Furyk is there will be a friendlier atmosphere at this year’s cup but who is going to win?        

“Hmmm…. I’m going to send that one back to you. You must ask them that. It’s not for me to say. All I can say is they will both want to win!

I don’t mean to suggest that anyone will be unfriendly, but they are both wonderful people and highly motivated.”

Paul Armitage - Le Golf National 1

And finally? What is your message to TSGers who want to come and play L’Albatros?

“Please come! We welcome all golfers to visit and enjoy a great experience. Play both a Ryder Cup AND the 2024 Olympic Games golf course.

And hopefully, you will fall in LOVE with Le Golf National too”.

Paul Armitage was talking to Ian Mullins for TheSocialGolfer.com

 


 

Our TSG Verdict: We couldn’t have been welcomed more by the staff and team at Le Golf National – our thanks to everyone there – we wish Paul Armitage and all his team well for September. We’ll all be glued to our screens cheering you, and European Team on to victory!

 

 

Crown Golf Membership – Love Golf, This February …

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Crown Golf - Love Golf This FebruaryWith romance in the air this month, it got us thinking about all the reasons there are to love golf this February and our Crown Golf Membership ….

Now call us biased, but there is just so much about this wonderful sport to be enjoyed, it seems impossible to narrow it down to a few key reasons.

We’ve done our best though, and come up with five, fact-based (see, we can be impartial) reasons people get into golf, and stay in golf!


Crown Golf Membership – Love Golf – 1

It varies (No game is the same!) – If you’re an avid Golfer, you’ve probably heard it more times than you can count, that same old question ‘Don’t you get bored playing the same course all the time’?

Simply put, the answer is ‘no’! That’s because, even though the course may be the same, the conditions on the day, the people you play with and your own particular golf will be completely different.

No game is the same. Not only that but if you do like a change of scenery, there are https://www.thesocialgolfer.com/ViewOffers.aspx?type=tsgpartnerclubsbeautiful golf courses at your disposal all around the country. Plus, a golf course is certainly more beautiful than a football pitch!

Crown Golf Membership – 2…

It’s steeped in tradition – Yep, in a world now full of contactless payments and self-driving cars, a round of golf is almost like taking a short time-out from the hustle and bustle.

Not only that, it’s a sport which requires certain etiquettes and respect, helping it teach us good manners and patience towards one another. There is something delightfully old-fashioned about this, which is another reason we love golf,  it’s a sport that requires a certain etiquette

Crown Golf Membership – Love Golf – 3…

It’s good for you! – No, you may not look at the average golfer and think ‘athlete’, however, there is a lot to be said for the effects Golf can have on overall health and wellness.

Being in beautiful surroundings and enjoying the fresh air can make you feel so much better mentally. It’s a time to forget about all other stresses in life and simply focus on the game.

Plus, according to ‘golf-monthly’, on average a golfer will walk over 6 miles during the course of an 18-hole round. With that kind of cardio, you’ll more than earn that post-round pint.

Crown Golf Membership – 4…. 

It’s social – You’ll rarely find a lonely Golfer. One of the greatest things about Golf often starts with the Clubhouse.

Crown Golf Membership - Love Golf This FebruaryYes, predominantly this is a place to socialise but more importantly, it’s a place where keen golfers can find playing partners who also love golf.

Regardless of age or ability, you’ll find a challenger who will bring out your competitive side, or simply help you to refine your skills. More serious?

You’ll also be able to sign-up to any club competitions in the clubhouse which will help take your game to the next level.

Crown Golf Membership – 5…

It’s a lifestyle – Meeting up with friends, old and new, Enjoying a great sport and be able to make yourself at home in a Clubhouse are just a few reasons people everywhere remain members of their Golf Clubs.

You don’t just love golf, you love the lifestyle and opportunities it provides.

The ability to travel and visit other courses, to constantly improve and challenge yourself and the access to fantastic facilities in the Clubhouses make Golf far more than just a sport.


 

Looking for another reason to love Golf? Currently, anyone who joins a Crown Golf Club before the end of February, receives a custom Putter fitting and a free Putter worth up to £80*.

Perfect for those who are wanting to get started, get back into the game or simply refresh their skills. Get in touch with a team at a club local to you and unlock your love of golf. *Or up to £80 towards a putter of choice.

To book a tee time today call… 0330 365 1818

 


Crown Golf is an Official Partner of The Social Golfer

 

 

Top Tips for Golf Holidays (courtesy of Golf Escapes) …

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Top Tips for Golf Holidays

We all love to get away on a golf holiday but given the number of options available, what can help you decide when and where to go? We asked Stuart Ridley of Golf Escapes what his five Top Tips for making a good golf holiday, a great one…

1. Top Tips for Golf Holidays – Location, Location, Location…

Choosing your location is obviously one of the most important parts in ensuring your golf escape is the trip you have been hoping for.

There are a few things to consider when deciding where to take your partner, friends, colleagues or golf society/group.

Firstly, are you looking for peace and quiet or are you after a few lively nights out?

If it is a quiet weekend/week away you are looking for, then maybe base yourself at one of the many wonderful ‘Golf Resorts’ around Europe…

Golf resorts such as Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus, La Finca Golf Resort in the Costa Blanca and PGA Catalunya in the Costa Brava, all offer a unique holiday of high-end luxury with fantastic golf on site.

Normally, this type of location will appeal to someone looking for total relaxation without having to leave the resort, or spend too much time travelling whilst on holiday.

However, if you like the ‘party’ side of your golf trips, then there are plenty of towns that can fulfil your expectations;

Spanish towns such as Benalmadena Fuengirola in the Costa del Sol, Benidorm in the Costa Blanca and Los Alcazares in Murcia fit this bill.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, there are destinations such as Vilamoura & Alvor in the Algarve, all of which have plenty of nightlife to compliment your day’s golf.

 

Top tips for golf holidays - PGA-Catalunya

2. Top Tips for Golf Holidays – Try something new…

There are so many fantastic golf courses, hotels, and golf resorts around the world that it is always worth trying something new every now and then.

It is very easy for people to stick to the things they know and love, and I am guilty of it myself.

That is where a golf specialist like ourselves can help (other brands are available!)…

At Golf Escapes, there is always someone in the office who has visited a destination that you may not be aware of.

If you are used to going to Alvor, why not try heading further east in the Algarve to Tavira?

It is a stunning Portuguese town with plenty of bars and restaurants for you to enjoy in the evening.

Not to mention the fact you have the best golf course in Portugal – Monte Rei – just 15 minutes down the road.

However, for those looking for Winter sun, it is not just the Canary Islands that offer you the perfect golfing destination.

In recent years, new golfing locations in countries such as Morocco, Cyprus and Turkey have become available with courses such as Assoufid & Samanah in Morocco, Aphrodite HillsElea in Cyprus and Carya Montgomerie in Turkey.

In addition, there are a number of world-class golf courses to try.

For instance, if you like Marbella, try Prague or Girona.

If you want the best golf, go and visit the Silver Coast north of Lisbon.

With so many superb places to explore, there no reason to keep going back to the same places each year.

 

Top tips for golf holidays - Albatross

3. Top Tips for Golf Holidays –  Book early…

It is a bit of a myth that the best deals are only available when booking last minute!

Of course, there are often last minute deals to be had, but the best ones are always when booking early.

The majority of hotels offer early booking discounts when booking a certain amount of time before a travel date.The earlier you book, the higher the reduction.

We would always advise groups to try and get their trip booked 10 – 12 months before they travel.

Not only do you get the best prices, you also get the pick of the tee times.

With resorts getting busier, year on year, the tee times and hotel availability becomes limited a lot earlier than they used to, so get in there early!

 

Top tips for golf holidays - Aphrodite

4.Top Tips for Golf Holidays – The Flights…

When choosing your Golf Escape, don’t forget about the flights.

It is very easy to get carried away with getting prices together for lots of lovely golf resorts and packages, but if you can’t physically get there on time and in the budget, it can ruin all the plans you have made.

Although we would always advise people to book the hotel and golf package first, don’t forget to check the flights in advance.

www.skyscanner.net is a fantastic tool to help you do this, as is www.kayak.co.uk.

On sites such as these, you can easily search your preferred departure airport, dates and times, and literally search the whole globe for the cheapest flights around there are.

So if flights to Alicante, Faro, or Malaga come up with the best deals, then why not try golfing there?

It is a great way of starting your search, knowing that you already have the cheapest flights available.

However… do act quickly, as flight costs fluctuate every day.

 

Top tips for golf holidays - Assoufid

5. Top 5 Tips for Golf Holidays – Budget…

Make sure you go into the process of organising a holiday with a budget in mind.

Everybody has a budget they need to work too (even the most affluent) and we recommend you stick to it as closely as possible.

If you don’t, costs can soon spiral out of control.

And the last thing you want is for your trip to begin with a debate with your fellow golf travellers, arguing about how….“ We could have got the deal cheaper somewhere else”. 

Yep, we all know who they are.

Furthermore, it is very easy to find the cheapest hotel and the cheapest golf course only to find out that your flight then pushes you over budget.


Finally, feel free to call us (even if you just want advice), we love helping golfers find the best golf holiday, for them!

By Stuart Ridley (Golf Blogger at Golf Escapes).

Macdonald Hotels – Golf World Top 100 Golf Resorts …

Friday, December 8th, 2017
Macdonald Hotels & Resorts

One of the UK’s  leading networks of golf venues, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, has further reinforced its status as Golf World magazine publishes its first ranking of the Top 100 Golf Resorts in the Uk & Ireland …

The UK’s largest independent hotel group saw all five of its golf resorts feature within the new list, which was compiled by an international panel of experts who considered the quality of a venue’s golf course(s), accommodation, amenities and setting to establish the standings.

European Challenge Tour venue, Macdonald Aviemore Resort, located in the Highlands of Scotland, which underwent a £1 million investment programme to develop its new clubhouse in 2013, was the highest ranked Macdonald venue, finishing 23rd in the inaugural classification.

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts – The accolades…

– Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf & Spa, Cheshire, was ranked 53rd

– Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa, Peebles, was 64th

– Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa, Shropshire, was 73rd

– Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club, Northumberland finished 86th

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts – What they said…

Keith Pickard, Group Director of Golf, Leisure & Spa at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: “Our prominence in this influential Golf World listing is the ideal endorsement of the significant investment we have completed over the last four years to further enhance the quality of our golf resorts and ensure we are able to meet the exacting demands of today’s modern golfer.”

The success in the Top 100 ranking follows an investment programme, which included a course renovation project across the five venues and the refurbishment of the hotels as part of a wider £10 million project in 2015, designed to further enhance playing conditions and customer experience.

Commenting on the 2018 rankings, Golf World’s Top 100 Editor, Chris Bertram, said:“The UK undoubtedly has some of the best golf resorts in the world and this inaugural list, which was compiled by a panel of Golf World readers, aims to provide a definitive classification. The five Macdonald Hotels & Resorts golf venues all offer golfers the opportunity to play consistently good and varied courses, as well as provide a number of accommodation options designed to ensure a first-class golf break.”

Macdonald Hotels

Macdonald Aviemore Resort, home of the Spey Valley championship course, was the highest ranked Macdonald venue in the inaugural Golf World Top 100 Golf Resorts in the UK and Ireland, finishing 23rd in the classification
Macdonald Hotels
All five Macdonald Hotels & Resorts’ venues were included in Golf World magazine’s ranking of the Top 100 Golf Resorts in the UK and Ireland

 

 

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts – More information…

– Established in 1990 by Donald Macdonald and colleagues, over the past 25 years Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has successfully expanded from its beginnings in Aberdeenshire to become the UK’s largest privately owned hotel group.

– Operating 55 hotels throughout the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, the group continues to invest and now employs over 4,000 staff and operates in excess of 4,500 hotel rooms.

– Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is proud of its promise to serve only the finest and freshest produce, with flavoursome dishes always prepared from whole raw ingredients.

– A forward-thinking, environmentally responsible hotel group, through its ‘Room 20’ programme led by internal ‘green teams’, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts continues to focus on achieving ambitious, self-imposed energy saving targets.

– This unwavering commitment to achieving the highest quality standards in every aspect of the business has seen Macdonald Hotels & Resorts receive numerous prestigious accolades.

– This has included named 2012-2013 AA Eco-Hotel Group of the Year, receiving the MIDAS award for the Best Breakfast 2011/12, a 2012 Good Egg Award by Compassion for World Farming, the National Customer Service Awards for Leisure and Tourism and the coveted 2013 Carbon Trust Standard.


Oldest Golf Club in Australia…

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Oldest Golf Club in Australia - Ratho Golf ClubIn the last in our series of the World’s Oldest Golf Clubs, this time we turn to Bob’s new home i.e.  the oldest golf club in Australia?

The Oldest Golf Club in Australia…

The continent of Australia is the smallest continent by land mass but the 6th largest country in the world and consists of 6 states, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, & Tasmania, and the Northern Territory, all with their own unique and beautiful golf courses and of course local history.

However, in order to locate the oldest club, we have to travel to Tasmania…In the very early 1800’s, the new colony was then called Van Diemen’s Land and was being colonised and good farmland was being sought, especially by the Scots English, Welsh & the Irish farmers.

The Reid family was one of many famil that set sail from Scotland on the ship “The Castle Forbes”, in search for a better life and future for his family.

After being granted land on the Upper Clyde River north of Hobart in The Highland Wilderness, they and other Scottish families that had travelled with them from East Scotland, settled in a small village called Bothwell and thus in 1822 Ratho Farm was established.

Four generations of the Reid family worked and improved The Ratho farm and golf links until 1932 when Alexander III, sold the farm to another Scottish Businessman named Alexander Stenhouse, who bought the farm for the security of his granddaughters.

After the death of their grandfather Richard & Mary Ramsey, they took over the farm in 1982 and the Ramsay family have continued to upgrade the farm right up until today.

The Oldest Golf Club in Australia – The course…

The Ratho Golf Links is a unique course, as it has sheep that graze on the playing area that keep the grass nice and short, & fences are put up to stop the sheep grazing on the ‘square’ greens, there is also a unique statue of old Tom Morris carved out of a tree stump with a chainsaw.

Many of the Scottish settlers also built golf courses in the surrounding area and one of those golf courses was Bothwell Golf Club. Greg Ramsay and his family have done an excellent job in bringing the Ratho Farm Golf Links into the 21 century.

Not only can you play a round of golf on Australia’s oldest golf course but you can also go Fly fishing on the River Clyde that runs through the property, as well as staying overnight in cottages built by the convicts.

Scottish Bob

N.B. Finally, as a footnote to this series of articles, my wife and I had the pleasure in staying overnight at Ratho Farm Golf Links in one of the small cottages built by the convicts in the 1800s.

After playing the course with hickory golf sticks, after a great meal in the evening and whilst sitting outside our cottage with a cold beer, we watched the River Clyde flow by, the peace and tranquillity was so amazing.

What an unbelievable experience having walked and played golf where so many had played before me, and for which I thank Greg Ramsay and his family for making us so welcome!

OLDEST GOLF CLUB in Antartica…

Srixon and Prostate Cancer raise £42,999…

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Srixon and Prostate Cancer and Graeme McDowellMany brands talk about helping people but very refreshing to hear that Srixon and Prostate Cancer have worked to together in 2017 to raise an impressive £42,999…

Srixon and Prostate Cancer working together…

The sizeable donation comes on the back of another successful year for the brand in the UK, as demand for its 5th generation, Z-STAR / Z-STAR XVgolf ball continues to grow.

Brand ambassador, Graeme McDowell joined Srixon Europe’s Tour Manager, Iain Steele to pose for the cameras with a cheque showcasing the impressive final donation during a recent European Tour event.

The Ryder Cup star and former U.S. Open champion personally played a key part in the multi-platform promotional campaign that spiked media exposure and drove sales.

The ground-breaking partnership saw Srixon donate £1.50 for every dozen Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV golf balls sold at trade to Prostate Cancer UK, helping to raise funds as well as awareness of the life-threatening male-specific disease.

To enhance awareness of the campaign and give its loyal customers more value, Srixon introduced a limited edition 15 ball ‘Z-STAR/ Z-STAR XV Bonus Pack’.

This included an additional free sleeve of the new Z-STAR / Z-STAR XV, decorated with the iconic Prostate Cancer UK logo.

Srixon and Prostate Cancer

Srixon and Prostate Cancer – What they said…

Commenting on behalf of Srixon Sports Europe, the company’s UK & Ireland President, Leslie Hepsworth said, “2017 has been a fantastic year for the Srixon brand in the UK market and we are really proud that we have been able to raise such a significant amount of money, that we know will be put to great use in fighting such a devastating disease.”

The partnership delivered on all levels and provided the perfect complement to the launch of the latest iteration of Srixon’sperformance-packed Z-STAR / Z-STAR XV golf ball,” he added.

IMPORTANT FACT –  One man dies every hour from prostate cancer!

Astark statistic, given that the average length of a round of golf is five hours. The charity’s aim is simple: to stop men dying from prostate cancer. This will be done by shifting the science over the next 10 years to focus on radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and support.


For further information on the Srixon and Prostate Cancer and the Z-STAR and all of the brand’s products visit www.srixon.co.uk

Read about TSG Charities…