Archive for the ‘Golf Travel’ Category

Golfing in Antarctica …

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Golfing in AntarcticaNo doubt you will all be aware that there aren’t any ‘traditional’ golf courses at the South Pole but can you go golfing in Antarctica?

Rest assured, golf is played on this cold and wind-torn continent, more frequently than you think!

Golfing in Antarctica – McMurdo Station…

The residents of McMurdo Station (if the weather permits) improvise and build themselves a make-shift golf course, around all the huts and buildings of their surrounding area.

In the freezing conditions (which is most of the time!) they hold their golf tournaments, like the “The Winter’s End Classic”. 

The McMurdo Station is built on the bare volcanic rock on Ross Island and it is the farthest south solid ground that is accessible by ship, and it was built in 1956.

In 2009 I was lucky enough to make friends with a couple of workers based there via email and they were kind enough to send me one of their scorecards which I have in my special scorecard collection.

Which is the Oldest Golf Club in Antarctica – Scott Base Sation…

The same applies to the residents and workers at Scott Base Station where they hold their own golf tournaments, including the 2007 “Ross Island Masters International Invitational”.

Unfortunately, I do not know when golf first started being played on this part of the Antarctica but I am sure it was well before 2006.

I will try and do my best to find this out, and who knows maybe any of the readers of The Social Golfer might be able to let me know if they have any knowledge of golf being plated before these dates?

Til next time…

Scottish Bob

Next – The Oldest Golf Course in Asia…

Golf Escapes & The Social Golfer partner in new alliance…

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Il-Picciolo-Etna-Golf-Resort-Spa-Golf-EscapesThe online golf networking community TheSocialGolfer.com (TSG) has announced that itself and leading provider of Golf Holidays, Golf Escapes, have formed a strategic partnership which they hope will provide unique and great value to their respective followers…

Both companies have agreed on a one-year, detailed and unique activity plan whereby The Social Golfer will promote Golf Escapes packages and offers in its monthly newsletter and via the onsite TSG email.

All TSG members will receive a £25 discount on every booking made through Golf Escapes (T&C’s apply)*

In return, Golf Escapes will be offering everyone that books a golf package with them during the agreement, FREE annual membership to the popular online golf club worth £25 each.**

Furthermore, Golf Escapes will be an Official Partner at all TSG’s Major competitions throughout the year including their flagship event The Social Golfer OPEN which attracts over 70+ golfers from all over the south-east and as far away as Botswana!

This year, the event takes place at Farleigh GC (Part of the Foxhills Collection) in Surrey, on 30th July and Golf Escapes and their hotel partners will give all TSGers attending, the chance to win a luxury golf trip to Il Picciolo Etna Golf Resort & Spa in Sicily.

Finally, as part of the agreement, The Social Golfer will host a Golf Escapes Society page, whereby the Golf Escapes team will be able to liaise directly with its own customers, posting additional offers and packages in the co-branded space.

Thus providing the Golf Escapes team, with the opportunity to have a great dialogue with its customers even when they are not travelling.

In addition, both parties will be sharing golf editorial and articles and social media content across their networks.

The deal, negotiated between Golf Escapes Commercial Director, James Bryan and TSG Managing Director, Ian Mullins will run from June 2017 to May 2017 with the option to extend beyond this period.

The Social Golfer & Golf EscapesCommenting on the partnership Bryan said “We first met with Ian in March this year and it quickly became obvious that their way great synergy between our two brands. Ian and his team are growing a fantastic interactive platform on which golfers can participate in golf games in the UK and abroad, and we have no doubt that this kind of agreement can only help us to grow the awareness of the Golf Escapes name among a very golf savvy audience. The Social Golfer is already providing superb value to its users and we can compliment this perfectly. I can’t wait to start working together!”

Mullins said “We have been working on finding a right golf travel partner for TSG for a while now but as soon as we sat down with James, we knew immediately we were talking to the right partners, with the same approach to customer service that we like to offer our members. James is the consummate professional and has already demonstrated that he does what he says he’s going to do. We are so pleased to be partnering with a company with such history and focus on providing golfers with a depth of information and expertise – it’s going to be fun!

For more information, please contact, theteam@thesocialgolfer.com or james@golf-escapes.com


Terms & Conditions…

Below are the T&Cs of the £25 discount as promised;

– This promotion entitles TSG members to a £25 discount from any Golf Escapes Ltd holiday booked for 2 nights or more for a group of 4 or more

– This promotion is valid for all TSG members but may be stopped without general notice

– Only one discount per booking may be used

– This discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other Golf Escapes offers, promotions or vouchers

– This discount is not exchangeable for cash or another voucher

– Any additional cost exceeding the value of this voucher will be paid by the redeemer

– This discount is exclusive to TSG and cannot be transferred or used by non-TSG members and cannot be used retrospectively

– This discount is valid only at Golf Escapes Ltd and can only be used towards the balance payment of a holiday and cannot be used for a deposit payment


** Only open to new members of TSG

The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters…

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletter v2

Welcome to The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters…. plus catch up on the latest developments on the website.or look back at TSG history…

In addition, you can look back at The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters history, find out who won what and who played who….

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Have you signed up to The Social Golfer Monthly Newsletters?

Rest assured, this is not a vehicle for us to send you unsolicited promotional offers like some sites but a great coffee time update on all site goings on and the winner of TSG monthly leaderboard along with tips and advice from our own PGA Pro contributors!

Click the link below then tick “Send me The Social Golfer monthly newsletters” (N.B. You can unsubscribe at any time!)

Ps. Got a story you’d like us to feature? Fancy having a go at writing something yourself? We’re always keen to hear from TSG members. Send us your stories to theteam@thesocialgolfer.com

Modify your subscription to the email newsletter

 

Gourmet Golf Classic – Open Event…

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Gourmet Golf Classic

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Enter the Gourmet Golf Classic – 10th to 13th September 2017…

Following sold out events in 2015 & 2016, The Gourmet Golf Classic is back with its unique combination of great golf, great food and great fun.

Guests of the Gourmet Golf Classic will be treated to 3 nights bed and breakfast in the luxury Clayton Whites Hotel, which is situated in the heart of Wexford Town leaving you only minutes walking distance from all the shops, pubs and cafes.

Each day you will tee it up at a different golf course not more than 20 mins drive from the hotel. The courses are Wexford Golf Club, Enniscorthy Golf Club and Rosslare Golf Links.

The Club Choice Stena Line Gourmet Golf Classic Package includes:

– 3 nights B&B in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford

– 3 rounds of tournament golf: Rosslare Golf Club, Wexford Golf Club, Enniscorthy Golf Club

– 2 Evening Meals in award-winning local restaurants

– Return coach transfers to restaurants

– Return Ferry (car + 4 passengers)

– Presentation dinner in Clayton Whites Hotel

– Daily and overall prizes

Price: €399 per person sharing*.

BOOK NOW

 

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The Gourmet Golf Classic – more info…

This is a ‘Team Event’ with a social twist… each team will consist of 4 players, male or female, in any combination.

Each day your team will be split into pairs and then play in consecutive tee times opposite another pair from a different team.
For those wishing to enter in couples or three balls, we will do our utmost to allocate you into teams, if you wish.

In the evening time, you will be treated to three different dining experiences in some of Wexford’s finest award winning restaurants.

The first two evenings guests will dine at two of our partner restaurants; La Marine Bistro, Greenacres Restaurant and The Lobster Pot.
On the final evening, everyone will gather together for a four-course Presentation Dinner at Clayton Whites Hotel.

The package includes return coach transfers to the restaurants so no need to worry about who’s driving!

There are Daily prizes, Overall Prizes and prizes for Ladies & Senior Teams.

Club Choice IrelandTo book, call Club Choice Ireland on 0800 285 1490

Email info@clubchoiceireland.com or use our contact form.

* Pricing is based on teams of 4 sharing a single car and includes return ferry. Terms and conditions apply.


Gourmet Golf Classic – Irish Entrants…

Golfers from Ireland will be pleased to know that they too can be a part of the Club Choice Gourmet Golf Classic Event. Irish players will enjoy:

  • 2 nights B&B in Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford
  • 3 rounds of tournament golf:
    Rosslare Golf Club
    Enniscorthy Golf Club
    Wexford Golf Club
  • 2 Evening Meals in award-winning local restaurants
  • Return coach transfers to restaurants
  • Presentation dinner in Clayton Whites Hotel
  • Daily and overall prizes

Price: €265 per person sharing. Pricing is based on teams of 4. Terms and conditions apply.


 

 

The Open Championship 2020 returns to Kent…

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The Open Championship 2020Its official, The Open Championship 2020 will be played at Royal St George’s Golf Club…

In the build-up to the 149th staging of The Open Championship 2020, the golfing world will turn its attention on Royal St George’s – also known simply as Sandwich – as well as the many other fine golf courses in Kent, putting the county in the media spotlight.

The Open Championship – Royal St George’s…

The Open Championship 2020 sees the competition return to the county after an absence of nine years; its last staging, also at Sandwich, was in 2011 when it was won by former Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland.

Royal St George’s, recognised as one of the top 10 golf courses in England, remains the only course in southern England to feature on The Open Championship roster.

Royal St George’s is honoured to be chosen to host The Open Championship once again and it will be a fantastic opportunity to show the world what a tremendous golf offering Kent has in terms of top quality courses, excellent accommodation and a range of historic and cultural off-course attractions,” commented Tim Checketts, Secretary at Royal St George’s.

The Open Championship has a longstanding association with Kent. When it returns in three years time, it will mark the 18th time that the county has hosted the tournament.

Indeed 2020 will be the 15th occasion that Royal St George’s has staged the event, with the first time dating back to 1894.

Neighbouring Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, another of England’s most revered championship links, was the venue for The Open in 1909 and 1920 whilst Prince’s Golf Club, adjacent to Sandwich, hosted the tournament in 1932 when it was won by Gene Sarazen.

The east coast of the county is also the location of another championship links gem at Littlestone and the challenging clifftop course at North Foreland, both of which have hosted Final Open Qualifying events for The Open Championship as recently as 2011.

The Open Championship 2020  – Other Kent Courses…

Kent also has an abundance of highly-regarded inland courses such as the two downland layouts at London Golf Club that were designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

In Edenbridge, Hever Castle Golf Club offers 27 holes in picturesque parkland, with its very own ‘Amen Corner’ from the 11th to the 13th of the championship course made up of the King’s and Queen’s nines.

Not far away in Lenham, an exquisite nine holes at Leeds Castle Golf Club overlooks what is said to be ‘the loveliest castle in the world’.

In addition, Pentland Golf’s downland courses at Boughton and Etchinghill are built on typical Kent terrain.

Boughton, near Canterbury, has taken advantage of the county’s naturally undulating landscape whilst with Etchinghill, close to Folkestone has been expertly carved out of the hillside overlooking the Elham Valley.

Golf in Kent is a partnership set up between Visit Kent and some of the county’s leading golf clubs and hotel providers to promote the county as one of England’s premier golfing destinations.

Known as ‘a golfer’s paradise in the Garden of England’, Kent offers a wide variety of golf breaks which are easily accessible from the international airports of London and from Europe via Eurotunnel le Shuttle and the ferry port of Dover.

For more about Golf in Kent and its partners, go to www.golfinkent.co.uk

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Golfing in Sicily …

Monday, November 7th, 2016

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortFirst thing that gets mentioned when people think of Sicily is the Mafia, quickly followed by the movie The Godfather, aka Al Pacino and Marlon Brando… however, when it comes to golfing in Sicily, all the talk is about the Verdura Resort!

And for those that have visited this ancient Mediterranean island, the discussion refers to beautiful coastlines, a temperate climate and the passionate locals – who’s love of fresh food and excellent wines are second to none.

Golfing in Sicily – The Location…

The infamous island of Sicily is found just off the South West coast of Italy’s mainland.

At its closest point it is less than 10 miles, however, the locals see themselves as very different from their mainland cousins.

Famous for its volcano (Etna), the rock that stands tall in the heart of the Mediterranean. The resort is located on the southern coast of Sicily between Agrigento and the fishing city of Sciacca, a 80-minute drive from Trapani and Palermo airports.

Golfing in Sicily – The Resort‎

Since opening in 2009, Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte hotel has quickly established itself amongst Europe’s premier contemporary luxury golf and lifestyle destinations.

The resort is set in 230 hectares of stunning landscape with 1.8km of private coastline, and offers golfing guests and families a very modern five-star experience.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resort-7Verdura features 203 rooms and suites, all with sea view, and is built with the golfer in mind.

Golfers can enjoy the two 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole par-three course, all designed by world-renowned golf architect Kyle Phillips and playable all-year-round.

Verdura was the host venue for the European Tour’s 2012 Sicilian Open and its three links-style layouts have been built to the highest specifications.

The resort’s Par 72 East Course is ranked as one of the finest in continental Europe.

While the West Course (also Par 72) provides the ideal complement and features one of the most memorable finishes anywhere in the world, with the final four holes set alongside the Mediterranean.

The courses are also supported by an on resort golf academy.

There is even a Par 3 course which is more than a good test, even for the seasoned Pro.

Verdura’s other sports facilities include six tennis courts; a 60m two-tiered infinity pool; numerous watersports, one football pitch,  fully-equipped gym and a collection of running trails through olive and lemon groves.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortThe resort’s award-winning 4,000sqm SPA complex includes 11 treatment rooms, gym, yoga studio, a 25-metre indoor lap pool, four outdoor Thalassotherapy pools, a double-height steam room, male and female saunas and a SPA bar for healthy alternatives.

Guests can sample an authentic taste of traditional Sicily with an array of dishes at one of the resort’s four restaurants and five bars – with  fresh, organic produce sourced straight from Verdura’s own garden.

I enjoyed beautifully cooked steaks and marinated Tuna salads, all with the lashings of Olive Oil made on site.

You can even have Sicilian cooking lessons, which I did and managed to surprise my playing partners and even myself with a fine attempt at the local pasta dish – Pasta Alla Norma!

Verdura Resort has received widespread international recognition and won numerous awards since opening.

Among its most recent honours, it was ranked fourth in Golf World’s inaugural list of the ‘Top 100 Golf Resorts in Continental Europe’ and named by Golf Digest as a recipient of an ‘Editors’ Choice Award’ for Best International Resorts 2016.

Golfing in Sicily – The Accommodation…

Verdura Resort fuses strong, modernist, environmentally-sensitive architecture with design that is firmly rooted in Sicilian culture and inspired by this superb setting.

In keeping with the raw, rugged scenery beyond the property, the architect, Flavio Albanese of Vicenza and Palermo, applied minimalist, contemporary lines to the construction of Verdura‟s accommodation, spa, restaurants and outdoor entertainment arena.

In fact, one of the things you first notice is how low rise everything is.

Rooms are generous and simply designed and each room is self-contained in such a way that you would be forgiven if you thought you were the only people staying.

On numerous occasions we remarked on the peace and quiet to be found around the resort. This is complimented by the common use of bgolfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortikes by all the visitors, thus keeping down noise.

Each room has a private terrace with views of both the sea and the golf courses, the orange, lemon and olive groves, to the mountains in the distance.

In addition, Verdura Resort has green credentials at the heart of its design.

In 2014, in collaboration with the Botany Department of Palermo University, they committed to the creation and naturalization of wetlands, which are a stopping point for migratory birds and nestling waterfowl.

The project entailed the re-naturalization of the land by restoring over 70,000 native Sicilian plants and scrubs species

The East Course – 6200yards – Par 72…

The first tee on the East course is a 360 yard dog-legged Par 4 right with bunkers positioned on either side of the fairway at the turn.

By all means take on the pin with a high fade leaving you a short iron in to the raised green but over cook it and you’ll find yourself heading back to the tee. This hole sets the tone for the rest of your round.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortThe front nine is mostly flat‎ but their are many undulations and protected greens that mean accuracy (not length) and  patience is required to score well.

The signature holes going out are the challenging 450 yard Par 4 with a tee required to clear water and your second needing to avoid the 30 yard turfed gully protecting the raised green  over looking the sea.

This quickly followed by the Par 3 6th, a 110 yard hole with the green surround by the pebbled beach of the ‎south Sicily coastline.

A flat circular green rewards the brave but you will find this a tough if a sea breeze is prevailing.

Finally, I’ll tip my cap to the Par 4 7th but only as a piece of unashamed self-indulgence, as this hole produced the greatest golf shot of my golf life.

A 175-yard end shot into a protected green, one bounce and in the cup for my maiden Eagle! (sorry Ed.)

The beginning of the back nine almost  mirrors the starting hole only this time it’s a dog-leg par 4 and your turning left. Following this, the course opens up.

Expansive fairways, soft sand filled bunkers,  a challenging Par 3’s (200+ yards uphill) but more chances to get a few pars on your card.

Holes 13, 14 and 15 lined by orange trees and sumptuous fairways all test the mid handicapper but once again it’s the 125 yard Par 3‎ where a Mediterranean sea backdrop stays in the memory.

The 17th and 18th also fail to disappoint. The penultimate,  a 400 yard Par 4, framed by roughly terrained hilltop shadowing the green.

The last, a 430 yard Par 4 that suggests a low fade but don’t cut it or you’ll be in the deep blue. The course finishes back at the rusty orange fort like clubhouse with a wide a sloping green that is asking to be birdied.

A comfortable and relaxed four hour round, a beautiful sunset, followed by some excellent local pasta. Bellissimo!

The West course – 6750 yards – Par 72…

Here you start your round by heading away from the shore inland.

The 1st hole is a 495 yard Par 5 that slowly bears left for your approach shot.

The green has a gentle incline moving from front to back meaning you can’t leave it short or you’ll be making bogey.

The stand out holes on this course are evenly spread but the 4th hole (also a Par 5) is a delight.

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortFairway bunkers to the right suggest staying on the left is the sensible option and a well placed second shot (again left) should leave you with a simple putt up the apron of the green to an immense green.

However, if you’re at the front, and the pin is at the back, you could find yourself with a 40ft putt, this course clearly needs some strategy.

Quickly followed by the 5th, a very challenging Par 4 with a 30ft drop in the middle of the fairway and up again, to the raised green.

‎As you head back south, the superb 424 yard Par 4 8th will invite you take on the green but be prepared to lay up and putt your way up to the elevated green the accept the bogey, as a wayward shot will leave you in the left side bunker with 8ft face to overcome.

Go long and you could find yourself on the beach earlier in the day than you’d planned.

As the heat of the day builds and given this course can be attacked by some strong winds (it is a links course after all) it’s important to keep abreast with speed of the greens.

They can vary in pace greatly‎.

As you pass the turn‎ hole 11 offers you a chance to open your shoulders and crack your best drive down a 511 yard fairway downhill.

The right side is a wall of reeds for the first 250 yards so stay left.

Two good shots are then needed as the green stand guarded by mogul like mounds. If you make Par, you’ve done well.

As you reach the end of your round, you are then met by arguably three of the best placed finishing holes in Europe.

15, 16, 17 and 18, are all flanked by the rocky coastline, you are challenged by a two shortest Par 3’s and two longish Par 4’s – the last finishing right underneath the clubhouse terrace where many enjoying a chilled beer or more likely a cocktail will clap you in.

Verdura Resort – Other things in the area‎

golfing-in-sicily-verdura-resortGolfing in Sicily is not the only pastime and on any golfing holiday, it’s important to go beyond the fairways and in this instance there is plenty to see and do locally.

Whether it’s visiting the ancient caves (Greek Temples dating back to 12,000 BC) in Syracuse or the regional wineries, which is a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon, tasting and appreciating the local vine culture.

We visited the much awarded Planeta winery in nearby Menfi, less than an hour from Verdura.

Golfing in Sicily – The Verdict…

This is truly fantastic place to visit and perfect for golfers of all levels.

If you are considering golfing in Sicily, this is a superb destination for those seeking Autumn and Winter golf (it would be wise to avoid the hot summer months as it can reach as high as 45C in July) as this is a place I would happily return to, and not just for the golf…

If someone offers to take you to the  golfing in Sicily at the Verdura Resort, to paraphrase Mr.Pacino and Mr.Brando …. it’s an offer you can’t refuse!!!!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5


By Ian Mullins