Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Italian Golf leads the way as Play & Stay destination…

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Italian golf - Marco Simone Golf & Country Club Buca

NEW EUROPEAN GOLF RANKINGS REINFORCE ITALY AS LEADING PLAY-AND-STAY DESTINATION 

The reputation of Italian Golf courses as some of Europe’s key golf tourism destinations has risen to new heights after 10 of its leading golf venues were included in an eagerly-awaited new list of the continent’s premier places to play and stay.

Of the 49 countries eligible, only 18 were represented in Golf World magazine’s inaugural ‘Top 100 Resorts in Continental Europe 2017’ rankings, with Italy providing an impressive ten per cent of the venues selected.

Italian Golf – On the up…

Boosted by the launch this spring of the new Italy Golf & More project and being selected to host the 2022 Ryder Cup, Italian golf has enjoyed a record rise in overseas bookings this year, and its growing status in the European golf travel market is reflected in the latest rankings.

The magazine’s judging panel of seven international experts marked each resort in five different categories – golf courses, accommodation, amenities, practice facilities and accessibility.

Verdura Resort in Sicily was rated highest of the Italian entries, claiming fourth place in the influential industry list, with resorts from no fewer than six different regions – Piedmont, Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia – all featuring.

And key figures in Italian golf tourism have high hopes that the country will enjoy an even bigger presence when the rankings are published again in two years’ time, with four of the 10 resorts that the magazine highlighted as just missing out on the Top 100 list also being in Italian.

Italian Golf – What they said…

Bruno Bertero, project co-ordinator for Italy Golf & More, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many of our top resorts included in the new list, and this is a further indication of the high regard that Italy is held in across Europe.

“The worldwide profile of Italian golf is bigger that it has ever been before and rankings such as this can only be positive in helping to attract more and more golfers to our shores to enjoy the many delights we have to offer.”

Featuring no fewer than 141 18-hole courses, Italy is the ideal place to combine a golfing break with the chance to experience many of its other historic, cultural and gastronomic delights.

Helped by the creation of Italy Golf & More and the Ryder Cup announcement, the number of international golfers visiting has increased by record amounts in 2016 – with a further period of growth forecast in the coming years.

Italian Golf – There’s more…

Italy Golf & More is a collaboration between 11 private sector partner regions, the Italian Golf Federation and the Ministry of Tourism (MIBACT), who have come together to embark on a seven-figure investment to increase awareness, and future golf tourism traffic, from key European markets to Italy.

The partner regions consist of Friuli Venezia Giulia – the leading partner region of the project – Lombardy, Piedmont, Lazio, Veneto, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Sicily, Marche and Umbria – who together boast 115 of Italy’s golf courses – with seven further regions falling under the investment of the Italian Golf Federation.

With 20 airports in the UK now operating regular flights to all over Italy, the country has never been so accessible, while its warm climate and mixture of mouth-watering cuisine, fine wines, spas, history, culture and beaches make it the perfect location for a golf break.

For further information on Italian golf courses, please email info@italygolfandmore.com or download a brochure at www.italygolfandmore.com


By Peter Simm

 

 

 

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics…

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Golf returns to the 2016 OlympicsIs it really 1461 days ago since the great British public were all sitting on our sofa’s preparing for the greatest show on earth to descend upon London?

Good as it was, there was always one thing missing for the London 2012 Olympic games?

But what? Fast forward four years and we have the answer – golf returns to the 2016 Olympics!

Forget the Zika virus, forget those players not travelling to Rio, forget  the problems that have plagued the course forget the debates about whether the format should be individual or team based…

…GOLF is back on terrestrial TV and that can only be a good thing for the game!

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – The Dates…

It’s been over 100 years since golf last appeared in the Olympics and it was St. Louis, USA, that hosted the event that year.

This year the tournament will take place at the ‘The Rio’ course purpose built for the event in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood in western Rio.

The Men’s quest for gold will begin on Thu 11th and run through to the Sun 14th, much the same as all PGA/European tournaments. The Ladies quest will begin on Wed 17th and finish on Sat 20th – check TV listings for more details.

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – The Venue… 

Olympic golf course, Reserva de Marapendi, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The new Olympic golf course was built by Hanse Golf Course Design, who was chosen from eight contenders to build the course.

The President of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016 Carlos Arthur Nuzman said: “As the 2016 Games marks the return of golf to the Olympic Games after over a century of absence, this course represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sport.”

He went on to say…“It will enable Rio to host important events in the international calendar and it will be an example of sustainability and preservation of an environmentally protected area.

“This course will be an excellent facility for the practice and development of golf and will inspire millions of youth across Brazil and the globe. We look forward to welcoming the athletes and spectators to the course in 2016.”

After the games, the course will become a public facility and will be used to enhance golf’s profile within Brazil and, according to the organising committee, this would represent “one of the most important Olympic Games legacies for sport development in the country.”

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – Qualification…

Qualification to Rio is based on world ranking as of 11 July 2016, with a total of 60 players qualifying in each of the men’s and women’s events.

The top 15 players of each event (Men’s and Ladies) will qualify, with a maximum of four golfers allowed to enter.

Once all countries have selected their players any remaining spots will go the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified.

Furthermore, at least one golfer from the host nation and each geographical region (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania) will play.

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – The favourites…

Unfortunately, many of the world’s best golfers are sitting out the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio due to the threat of the Zika virus, there will be a limited field for those who like a flutter  when the games get underway.

As always we have visited a number of betting sites to gauge the market, this time we have taken our lead from 888sport

Among the biggest names competing for the gold medal in men’s golf for the first time in the Olympics since 1904 is favourite Henrik Stenson of Sweden.

Stenson won the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland last month, it was his first major victory of his career, and he now hopes to repeat the feat at the new Olympic Golf Course in Barra da Tijuca.

Stenson placed seventh at the PGA Championship last weekend and is expected to battle Sergio Garcia of Spain for the gold. Garcia is the second choice on the Rio Olympics odds and missed the cut at the PGA Championship following fifth-place in each of the previous events: the British Open and U.S. Open.

The other contenders for gold include Justin Rose of England, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar of the United States, along with Martin Kaymer of Germany.

Of those golfers, Rose, Watson and Kaymer have won majors while Reed, Fowler and Kuchar have all yet to prove themselves on major events, although maybe the Olympics will change that.

To be considered as well, reigning Masters winner Danny Willett of England.

The Olympic format will be a 72-hole individual stroke play tournament in accordance with PGA rules. A three-hole playoff will then take place if there are any ties for the first three places in order to award gold, silver and bronze medals.

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics – TSG Prediction…

OK, we may be a tad bias, but  as golf returns to the 2016 Olympics, we think it’s going to be Justin Rose’s year – remember where you heard it first!

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By Ian Mullins

 

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50…

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golfing in the Algarve turns 50 – The stats…

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

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

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

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

Golf in Portugals' Algarve turns 50

Golf in the Algarve turns 50 – what they said…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Moor Golf Club – Augusta of the North…

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

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

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

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

South Moor Golf Club – The Architect…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Moor Golf Club – The Club…

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

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

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

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

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

South Moor Golf Club – The Course…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Moor Golf Club

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

However, could there be a better finishing hole?

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

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

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

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

Which tells you, just how much they do!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club – Where to stay…

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

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

South Moor Golf Club – And finally…

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

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

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

By Ian Mullins

Golfing in Spain…

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

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

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

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

Golfing in Spain – The Stats…

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

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

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

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

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

 

Golfing in Spain – Mar Menor Golf Resort…

Mar Menor Golf Resort intercontinental-murcia

Mar Menor Golf Resort intercontinental-murcia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golfing in Spain – The Courses…

 

Alhama

Cost: Public = 80 Euros / Residents = 52 Euros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSG verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

 

El Valle

Cost: Public = 80 Euros / Residents = 52 Euros

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSG verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Mar Menor

Cost: Public = 80 Euros / Residents = 52 Euros

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

The staff were all very friendly and the service excellent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSG verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Golfing in Spain – The Accommodation…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golfing in Spain – The Costs…

Mar Menor Villa 2

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

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

 

2 bed (sleeps up to four)

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

Mar Menor Villa 3

7 Nights + 5 rounds of golf = Euros 303

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2 bed (sleeps up to four)

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

7 Nights + 5 rounds of golf = Euros 348

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*rates shown are purely illustrative and will vary.

Mar Menor Villa 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.intercontinental.com/hotels

http://theresidences.marmenorresort.com

Golfing in Spain – Other costs…

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

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

For information regarding the golf you can visit:

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

Or contact Chris Ahern direct on cahern@irmgolfexperience.com

Golfing in Spain – The final say…

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

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

Alhama Golf Club 2

By Ian Mullins

Golf Tourism England – South Devon Golf Tour….

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Golf Tourism England Logo

Golf Tourism England Logo

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

South Devon Golf Tour – The Group…

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

South Devon Golf Tour – The Courses…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teignmouth Golf Club - South Devon Golf Tour

Teignmouth Golf Club – South Devon Golf Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

East Devon Golf Club

East Devon Golf Club

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

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

South Devon Golf Tour – What they said…

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

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

Golf Tourism England – How to visit…

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

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

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

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

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

Golf Tourism England…

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

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

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

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

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

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Best golf courses in London…

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Although living the UK’s capital can have many benefits, it’s always a good feeling to get out on the fairways and refresh the mind with a good game of golf. However, as space in this global city is always at a premium, finding a great golf course requires some know how…

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best golf courses in London for you to check out.

best golf courses in London - The Grove

The Grove

Best golf courses in London – The Grove…

Tucked just inside the M25 north of Watford is the luxurious golf course, The Grove.

This 7,152-yard championship golf course offers all of the premium golfing opportunities that you could wish for, but what makes it all the more inviting is the fact that it doesn’t have a restrictive membership system, so anyone can play whenever they choose.

Set in the 300-acre grounds of an 18th-century mansion, it’s definitely one of the best-looking golf courses in the London area. And with a string of tournaments being held throughout the year, it’s definitely one of the most highly recommended courses out there.

What differentiates The Grove from other courses, is that there is no membership and it is only open to ‘Pay and Play’ and corporate golfer.

And The Grove has recently been named as the host of the 2016 British Masters.

Now whilst its way too early to start thinking about the potential winners of this event, there are plenty of places to find the latest golfing odds. Betway is just one of the sites where you can get all of the latest news, tips, and sporting information including the current Turkish Airline Open.

 

best golf courses in London - The Shire

The Shire

Best golf courses in London – The Shire…

Located just outside of Barnet, the Shire golf course offers another great treat to all golf enthusiasts who are looking for something a little extra.

At the turn of the Millennium the Menai-Davis family invited Severiano Ballesteros to visit England to look at a large piece of land north of London, on which they planned to create a spectacular golf course.

In 2001, just 72 hours after Seve’s first visit, a deal was agreed. Shortly afterwards, the Spanish maestro and his Trajectory team set about creating what would become The Shire London.

Several key principles of golf course design, honed by the Spaniard at over 20 previous locations around the world, were applied: Seve’s insistence that there should be an even mix of par threes, fours and fives, and that no two consecutive holes should play to the same par, being but two examples.

As such, the course is unique in the sense that it has 6 x Par 3’s, 6x Par 5’s and 6 x Par 4’s.

The course has a fantastic layout with many water features that can cause the occasional upset for the amateur, and the separation between the fairways means that it never feels too crowded.

As the course was the only course developed by golfing legend Seve Ballesteros in the UK, it provides the perfect opportunity to try and play like a pro.

The clubhouse itself is also very fresh and modern and the food is very reasonably priced and to a great standard.

 

Best golf courses in London – Walton Heath…

best golf courses in London - Walton Heath Golf Club

Walton Heath Golf Club

If you’re looking to play on one of London’s most iconic courses, then take a trip to the Walton Heath which is located just within the southern edge of the M25.

Walton Heath is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious clubs.

The members are delighted to share the outstanding facilities with visitors from all over the world.

Established in 1903, the two courses at Walton Health provide some interesting playing options with the rough heather features making play particularly stimulating.

The course was opened in May 1904, with an exhibition match between the legendary Triumvirate of Harry Vardon, J.H.Taylor and James Braid.

The course was laid out by W. Herbert Fowler, a leading amateur golfer. It was his first golf course venture and he went on to become one of the leading golf course architects of his era, both in the U.K. and America.

It is a tribute to his genius that he created one of the finest examples of heathland golf, which so closely resembles the traditional seaside links courses, out of a jungle of heather, gorse and bracken.

Likewise, it is a testament of his creativity that, what became known as, the Old course is still, today, ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world.

Although the entry fee might be a little extravagant, the sheer peace and tranquility offered on the golfing greens more than makes up for the cost.

Known for its wild heather and tricky greens, this venue has hosted some great competitions including The Walker Cup.

And with the historic clubhouse offering unparalleled levels of luxurious hospitality, Walton Heath provides the perfect way to play and relax like a professional and truly is one of the best course in London.

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By Ian Mullins

London Golf Show 2015…

Thursday, October 29th, 2015
London Golf Show 2015

London Golf Show 2015

Oh yes! The London Golf Show 2015 is back from the 13th-15th November at Glow, Bluewater (Jct 2 on the M25), and we’ll be there look for the latest gadgets and coaching tips to share with you in the TSG November Newsletter.

London Golf Show 2015 – What’s On?

The London Golf Show is designed to provide a truly interactive experience for golfers of all ages, with informed technical advice.

Plus, PGA tuition and education, guest interviews, a huge indoor driving range, custom fitting, club testing, golf simulators and the latest golf gadgets.

Golfing entertainment is set, as once again World Trick Shot Champion, Geoff Swain and partner Kevin Carpenter as The Golf Trick Shot Boys.

And the Dean Davis Trick Shot Show, will wow the crowds with an amazing array of feats, skills and will be showcasing his latest tricks.

Gary Smith England Golf Coach for the last fourteen years will be one of a number of Top 25 Golf Coaches imparting their wisdom to visitors to the show from their dedicated coaching areas and on the stage.

Gary will be joined by European Tour accredited putting coach Andy Gorman whose specialist input has helped Charley Hull reach the top of the European rankings.

The London Golf Show will bring together the leading golf brands, think Titleist, Ping, Cobra, Cleveland, Wilson etc, to create one of the largest indoor demo days ever seen.

London Golf Show 2015 – The Offers

There will be plenty of prizes to be won on the some of the interactive show’s favourite features, such as the Longest Drive, Nearest the Pin and Long Putt.

Every ticket comes with FIVE FREE rounds of golf courtesy of the Pentland golf Group when visitors register at the show. Parking is also FREE and under 16’s go FREE with a paying adult!

Advance tickets £10 + WOMEN & KIDS GO FREE!*

*Book your ticket before 31st Oct 2015.

Visit: londongolfshow.com

FREE Ping Scottsdale Putter on Crown Golf….

Monday, June 8th, 2015

We thought we would let all you TSGers know about a great new Golf Society Package offer from Crown Golf, who have an unbeatable offer this June for all golf society day bookings. For the whole month they are giving away one of the best putters on the market, absolutely free. Yep, you and your mates can have a free Ping Scottsdale Putter on Crown Golf….

Crown Golf Venues

How to get your Free Ping Scottsdale Putter?

All you have to do is book your golf day at one of their twenty four fantastic locations before 30th June 2015 and you will receive this superbly designed putter.  Whether you decide to keep it for yourself, use it as a Nearest the Pin prize or use it as a gift, this offer really is one to stop and consider…

Who are Crown Golf?

Crown Golf operate a variety of golf clubs across nine counties in the UK, displaying some of the best clubhouses, facilities and driving ranges not to mention over thirty two golf courses!

Packed with diversity, the Crown Golf Group boast seven pay and play clubs, sixteen membership clubs and one of the finest golf courses in the country, St Mellion International Resort in Cornwall.

Why Crown Golf?

Ping Scottsdale Putter - Pine Ridge Golf Club

Pine Ridge Golf Club, Surrey – Crown Golf

With twenty four golf clubs with over thirty two courses, they can offer bespoke packages to suit your budget and all your golf requests thoroughly.

Their range of courses allow golfers of every ability and age to be challenged with the selection of long versus short, wet versus dry and hilly versus flat tracks.

Their ‘Golf Day’ teams are fully committed to providing the best possible service, personalising all of your requests from initial enquiry through to you evening meal. The teams are well trained on how to help you get the most from your Society Golfing.

With just one phone call or quick email, you will be assigned a personal Account Manager, who will take all of the usual stresses away from your event, leaving you to concentrate on your own golf game and who knows, possibly win your new Ping Scottsdale Putter on the nearest the pin!

If you are in need of private bars, driving ranges, practice facilities and freshly cooked food, then look no further than a Crown Golf venue.

Don’t forget…

Book a society day at any of the Crown Golf venues before the end of June and you’ll receive your free Ping Scottsdale Putter (worth £130) on the day.

Free Ping Scottsdale Putter with Crown Golf

 

 

 

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By Ian Mullins

 

St Enodoc Golf Club celebrates 125th anniversary …

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
St-Enodoc-Golf-Club


St-Enodoc-Golf-Club

One of England’s oldest and most beguiling courses, St Enodoc Golf Club in north Cornwall is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the club will stage a Festival of Golf Week, comprising various tournaments and social functions, from June 28th to July 5th.

The highlight of the week promises to be a ‘Hickory Shaft Tournament’ with competitors carrying a set of fully-restored hickory clubs in replica leather and canvas bags over a composite course of club’s Church and Holywell courses.

The History of St Enodoc Golf Club….

First laid out in 1890 by acclaimed golf course designer James Braid, St Enodoc’s Golf Club – Church Course, is considered one of the premier championship links in England that has a golfing heritage to match.

Legend has it, that golf was first played on a part of the present course by a party of undergraduates in 1888 though their efforts were confined to the area round St Enodoc Church and the nearby Daymer Bay. A year later a number of local gentlemen laid out a few holes amongst the massive dunes at Rock and as their enthusiasm increased they officially formed St. Enodoc Golf Club in 1890.

From the minutes of the General Meeting, held in the open air in March 1892, there were about 20 members paying an annual subscription of 5/- to pay the rent of £6 per annum for the land.

St-Enodoc-Golf-Club

James Braid at St Enodoc

Early records mention competitions held over 27 holes, 18 out and 9 home, though no definitive plans exist to indicate precisely the holes then played. It is known however that the first tee was situated on the high ground about 300 yards to the east of the present clubhouse and that there was one hole on the Northern side of Daymer Bay.

Around 1900, Dr Theophilus Hoskin purchased some 300 acres of land comprising the whole of the land then in use plus the adjoining Trenain Farm and Brea Cottage. In 1905, Dr. Hoskin granted a lease to the Club of “Coles Sandy Common” for £30 a year and two years later entered into an agreement to allow play on that part of Trenain Farm, which now hosts the 13th and 14th holes.

In 1907 James Braid laid out a full 18-hole course which was first altered in about 1922, notably by the construction of the present short 8th and a diversion of the original 11th, 12th and 13th holes. In 1937 the present clubhouse with new access road from Rock was opened in time for the English Ladies’ Close Championship. As a result Braid constructed the existing 17th and 18th holes, necessitated by the relocation of the clubhouse.

The tenancy granted by Dr. Hoskin in 1905 continued until 1949 when his widow decided to sell the property. The club arranged to purchase it but while negotiations were proceeding, the Duchy of Cornwall agreed to take over the whole of the land together with the clubhouse and to accept the Club as tenants under a lease.

The shorter nine-hole course, closed in 1939 due to wartime labour shortages, re-opened in 1967, using some of the holes originally designed by James Braid in 1928 and was extended to 18 holes in 1982.

To add to its golfing narrative, St Enodoc Golf Club has over the decades lured a host of legendary Open Champions to its fairways including not only James Braid, but also Henry Cotton, Jim Barnes and Tom Watson which has further added to the prestige of this outstanding course.    

Prince of Wales at St Enodoc - 1927

Prince of Wales at St Enodoc – 1927

Indeed the course was immortalized forever thanks to the Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman whose experience of playing St Enodoc was encapsulated in his poem, ‘Seaside Golf’. Fittingly Betjeman, who lived in nearby Trebetherick towards the end of his life, was buried in graveyard of the Norman Church alongside the 10th green of his favourite course.

St Enodoc boasts a second course, the Holywell, which is set to the north side of the present clubhouse. Since golf was first played here, there have been holes located there with some of these original holes also of Braid’s design. At times, some of them even formed part of today’s Church course.

Testament to its enduring quality, the Church has hosted numerous amateur golf events in its 125-year history, including the English Ladies Amateur Championship in 1993 and 2002, the English Counties Championship in 1989 and 2005. Just last year, it was chosen by England Golf to stage the English Women’s Amateur Championship.

But what’s going on at St Enodoc Golf Club today?

The most important change in the club’s recent history occurred in 1987 with the purchase of the freehold from the Duchy of Cornwall. Since then the Clubhouse has been considerably enlarged and improved. Then in 1998, due to much greater pressure of play on the course and the effect of a spate of dry summers on the fairways, a modern computer-controlled watering system was installed, supplied from a six million-gallon reservoir constructed on land between the first and the second holes of the Church Course.

The club prides itself on the encouragement it gives to junior golfers and operates a Junior Academy for the club’s junior members that has become so popular that there is now a waiting list. In addition to coaching and skills sessions, competitions are run for the juniors to encourage progress and hone their competitive edge.

In recent years several have gone on to represent the county at both junior and senior level. In 1998, Scott Godfrey won the Carris Trophy and became, as far as records show, the first St. Enodoc golfer to win a national championship of any sort. Since then he has achieved even greater success, winning the English Amateur Championship in 2001 and gaining full international honours in the England team.

As a club today, St Enodoc offers excellent practice facilities complete with driving range, two putting greens and two PGA coaching professionals. It recently invested heavily in a new short game practice area, a new target green on the range and a new covered bay facility. The clubhouse, refurbished last year in time for its anniversary celebrations, provides the full range of usual amenities plus an elegant terrace for al fresco dining in the summer.

St-Enodoc-Golf-Club

St-Enodoc-Golf-Club

The Church Course…

This alluring 6,547 yard-course, characterized by undulating fairways, firm greens and a number of blind shots, may not be long by today’s standards yet the course record stands at 65, just 4 under par, indicating just how challenging the course remains to this day.

The Holywell Course…

This is more manageable in length and carries than the Church and so ideal for beginners, juniors and seniors as well as for experienced golfers looking for a quick round. Though just 4,082 yards, the Holywell still boasts some demanding holes with small, testing target greens making it a challenge for golfers of all skill levels.

How much does it cost to play at St Enodoc Golf Club?

Visiting golfers are able to play the Church Course for £75 – or just £45 in winter – which represents excellent value for a course of this quality, history and tradition. Meanwhile a round over the Holywell Course is just £25 all year round.

St Enodoc is part of the Atlantic Links, a trail of ancient links set along the north coast of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall comprising Burnham & Berrow, Saunton, Royal North Devon and Trevose.

The Prince of Wales teeing off in front of the old clubhouse in 1927

Where is St Enodoc Golf Club?

Its location on the high sand dunes of the north Cornwall coast overlooking the Camel Estuary, with Padstow to the west and the Atlantic ocean to the north, makes for ideal links golf and for some of the greatest sea and estuary views of any course in the world!

For more on the 125th anniversary celebrations of St Enodoc, please go to www.st-enodoc.co.uk

Or follow them @stenodocgolf

You can also read what your fellow TSGers say about the course here: St Enodoc Golf Club/Review

By Helen Heady