Archive for the ‘Golf Travel’ Category

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



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



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!



Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review …

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

It’s 2018 and that means The Ryder Cup year! As some of you may have read on the TSG Facebook newsfeed, we recently took up the invite to visit Le Golf National – the host venue in Paris. Here’s our special report from Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review…

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – The Club…

Although only built in 1990, Le Golf National is a much more established than its age suggests.  Designed by architects Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge.

It is located in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, southwest of central Paris, just 10k from the world-renowned Palace of Versailles, and only 4 hours drive from Calais.

However, Le Golf National differs from any other Ryder Cup venue in that it is a Public course. This means that there is no ‘club’ as such, and no ‘members’, only Pay & Players. The course is also unique in the sense that it is owned by the French Golf Federation (FFG).

In September 1985 the President – Claude Roger Cartier – with his committee approved the creation and development of a “National Golf” venue and it was quickly completed and opened by the French Minister for Sports by R. Bambuck in October 1990.

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – The Team …

The management team is small but effective and is headed up by Englishman Paul Armitage (who has been at the club since 2014).

Paul, who along with his very dedicated team has – over the last four years – put ‘LOVE’ at the heart of everything they do onsite, and its clear this strategy is paying off as everyone you meet including shop personnel bar staff are full of enthusiasm for the club (not always the case in the UK!)

This means it now rates among the best in the world. In addition, the course boasts an incredibly committed team of greenkeepers and advisors from the European Tour (preparing the track for Sept) but high praise was given to Spanish born Head Greenkeeper Alejandro Reyes, who at only 33 years old is the youngest person to ever prepare a Ryder Cup course.

The grounds, which cover 139 hectares, were originally flat and bare having been used as agricultural land since Louis XIV and the Château de Versailles when it was one of the areas where wheat was farmed.

Constructed to give a ‘stadium like’ feel to events and in time for the 1991 Open de France, The Albatros course has been their near-permanent home for the past 25 years.

In the wind and rain of the first day of the aforementioned first Open de France played on The Albatros, Nick Faldo deemed his score of 71 “Tough but fair”.

The Open de France had found its home. Other players from the European Tour also voiced their approval, mentioning The Albatros as one of their favourite courses.

In addition, to the flagship championship course, there is also The Aigle which was opened in September 1991, preceded by the 9 hole, Birdie Academy Course a few months before.

The venue has recently undergone a €7 million renovation programme to transform this national golf centre. The Championship Albatros course is now a globally recognised course with slick greens and vast undulating fairways dotted with large and small water hazards and innumerable links-style bunkers.

The course is consistently ranked in the World’s Top 100 Courses and Europe’s Top 10 by Golf World (UK) magazine.

We spent a long time chatting with GM – Paul Armitage – while in Paris and he shared much of his vision for the club.

This included an insight into the future of French Golf and while all eyes are focused on The Ryder Cup in 2018, it’s worth noting that Paul and his team have been successful at bidding to be the host venue for the Paris Olympics too.

Meaning, not only is there a legacy planned for the course but Le Golf National is also now home to the next generation of French golfers – with many young players to see as you make your way around the campus. More from Paul in the TSG February newsletter.

 Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – L’ Albatros…

An unforgettable experience…m

As you walk to the 1st Tee, you can sense, you can feel, you can hear the crowd: you realise that The Albatros is the perfect battlefield for one of the greatest duels in Sport.

The spectacular landscape has been created 30 years ago and recently remodelled. You cannot believe that it was constructed on old farmland.

It took more than 1k+ truckloads of rubble from Paris, tons of sand has been laid on the fairways and clever use of rainwater to create majestic lakes, ponds & streams.

Only the best sand has been used for this top European course, home of the French Open since 1991 and a favourite of the European players.

There is a lot of wildlife, from birds of prey to fish, frogs & butterflies, rabbits and many other wild creatures. The Albatros is a public course, so anyone with a minimum 28 handicap may venture and face the challenges ahead.  The experience will be with you for the rest of your life.

Every hole is well conceived, extremely aesthetically presented. At this time of the year, the landscape is bare, so the scenery feels delicate, imagine a very “dainty” ink/pen drawing. Obviously the Spring, Summer & Autumn will be a lot greener. A super space for the avid photographer with a suitable lens & eye for beauty.

We played the course on the 10th of January 2018, after 42 consecutive days of rain, the condition of the course is absolutely immaculate, from Tee boxes (choice of 5 colours), to the large & sweeping & undulating fairways, carpet-like feel, to the slick & well-shaped greens.

All with the very subtle slopes towards the water hazards, to the softest and driest sand I have ever played from and were always nicely raked.

However, don’t venture off the fairways, as the rough will punish you! Many other golf courses in the Paris region were closed due to the wetness but The Albatros stood stoically.

All the paths are tarmac, the signage is good, lovely course planner endorsed by the Greenkeeper at each hole, a ball washer & towel, and bin.

Le Golf National - Ryder Cup Course ReviewThe walk is not too strenuous but there are elevations as we are playing a Links type course.  We did not have much wind on the day but any wind will alter your thinking.

The pins position can be tricky, I believe the 1st hole will have nine pin positions, while the green is sloping towards a large lake, that will come into play on the 2nd hole as well.

There is a toilet at the end of the 6th hole which also serves the golfers need when coming down the 13th,  a water fountain is also located at this point.

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – Stand Out Holes…

It is very hard to pick my favourite holes as they all have a special attraction & challenge, the last 4 holes provide the most beautiful layout, water everywhere & bunkers! But here are our selected four holes:

HOLE 1 – Par 4, I was so excited to be at Le Golf National’s Albatros Course, that the 1st hole stole the show & set the tone of what to come, I got a good score too: a dogleg right, slightly downhill, wide fairway narrowing to the green with large expanse of water on the left.  The pin position can be tricky as the green slopes towards the water.

HOLE 7 – Par 4, This was Ian’s favourite hole. The 2nd hardest hole on the course, it begins with an uphill drive to a plateau, leaving a long iron shot over ‘moguls’ to a very well protected and sloping green – this hole could be a real a card-wrecker!

HOLE 13 – Par 4,  A downhill dogleg right, leftish to the green, with a fairly long carry to the fairway sloping to a water hazard on the right, a lake preceding the green.  Must be very pretty in the Springtime with all the foliage on the trees surrounding the approach.

HOLE 16 – Par 3, One of the 4 stunning final holes, short but water on the right and three large bunkers guarding the approach to the green. The day we played I had to shout Fore! as my lovely shot went towards one of the bunkers, lovingly attended by one of the greenkeepers, who kindly allowed me to take a free drop… I was very apologetic, who wants to injure such a great team!

The final four holes provide the most beautiful layout, creating an incredible finish: The 15th & 18th greens are islands.

I had the privilege to accompany Monsieur Mullins on this two-day tour of this extraordinary scene at the Golf National.

There is a nice atmosphere in this very well managed golf venue (there are 2 other courses, The Aigle 18 holes, and The Oiselet, a 9 Academy course), a very large open-air driving range, putting greens, a Clubhouse modernly furnished with bar for drinks & food.

A dedicated team, who understand what a golf course & surroundings need to be like, how to create an image, how to treat its visiting golfers, one can feel it is managed with “LOVE” (see above).

Extremely warm, friendly & relaxed welcome in the chic Pro shop/Reception (it tops Wentworth’s), gorgeous & technical golf clothing with all the other goodies one needs for a good round, lots of the 2018 Ryder Cup memorabilia, a very artistic photo book by Claude Rodriguez that got my eye.

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – The Verdict …

5 Out of 5!

My recommendation is to go, and go now!

You will have a very enjoyable experience on one of the Top 10 European golf courses, L’ Albatros will make history in the 2018 golfing world as its only the second time ever the event has been held outside of Great Britain.

For me, it was a proud moment to be on my home ground, I felt spoilt, I hope from the bottom of my heart that many “Social Golfers” will embrace the opportunity to play The Albatros course before end of August (or from October) and remember, if you need a native speaker, think of me….

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review by Brigitte Lockwood

Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – How To Get There with Golf Escapes…

Le Golf National Golf PackagesTSG official travel partner Golf Escapes can provide not only the accommodation and tee times at Le Golf National but all the help you will need in booking your Eurotunnel shuttle.

We used these experts to make our booking and it couldn’t have been easier.  Whether you want to play the course OR attend the event itself, Golf escapes can help.

Here are a few tips to remember when traveling to Le Golf National…

1. Le Shuttle Folkestone – arrive 45 minutes before departure to ensure a smooth experience.

2. Don’t forget the one hour time difference if you are planning to play golf on your arrival day.

3. Once you are in France, remember to drive on the right (this may sound obvious but…)

4. Know your obligations when driving in France e.g. warning triangles & high visibility jackets are a legal requirement. As are headlights reflectors, roadside recovery, a spare headlight bulb, your logbook and a copy of your insurance.

Finally, note, the course itself only closes just under a month before the big occasion.

For further details email us at , Click Here or CALL a member of the team on 01342 811 777

 Le Golf National – Ryder Cup Course Review – Find more TSG reviews here…

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. is a fantastic tool to help you do this, as is

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).

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 (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, or

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….


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

Modify your subscription to the email newsletter


Gourmet Golf Classic – Open Event…

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Gourmet Golf Classic


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*.





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 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


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