Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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.

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.

 

The-ShireBest 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…

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 tranquillity 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

Saint-Omer Golf Club 2015 Offers …

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

From time to time we here at TSG HQ come across some good golf clubs offers to share with you and today is no exception….

The Saint-Omer Golf Club in the Pas-de-Calais region of France is offering a great value Golf & Gastronomy package to tempt golfers with a fondness for French cuisine from across the Channel throughout 2015.

From just over £100 per person in the low season and £120 in high season, the Golf & Gastronomy offer includes 18 holes of golf over Saint-Omer’s Le Val championship course, a four-course gastronomic dinner in Le Lodge Restaurant and a B&B overnight stay in a Deluxe room at the on-site Najeti Hotel du Golf.

For those wishing to travel in July and August, these two months are considered low season so ensure exceptional value during the summer months which elsewhere are usually considered peak season.

Saint Omer Golf Club

Where is Saint-Omer Golf Club?

Just 30 minutes from the French EuroTunnel terminal and port of Calais, the 6,800-yard Le Val course with a par of 73 is regarded as one of the top tracks in northern France. A typical parkland layout, Saint-Omer is fairly demanding given the hilly terrain, a number of blind tee shots and its characteristic large and fast greens. Thanks to its location along the Aa Valley, the course offers stunning views over the lush French countryside from almost every hole.

As a result of hosting a number of competitions including the Saint-Omer Open and French PGA Championship on two occasions, the course is always in immaculate condition and is regularly and widely praised for its excellent course conditioning. This will be maintained in 2015 as Le Val has been confirmed as the host of the Najeti Open (formerly the Saint-Omer Open) on the European Challenge Tour this coming June.

Staying at Saint-Omer Golf Club …

Overlooking the golf course, the Najeti Hotel du Golf which was opened in 2008 is a modern and well-equipped property with 54 stylish, contemporary bedrooms, a bar with a terrace that overlooks the 18th green and a relaxation centre equipped with a jacuzzi and sauna.

Le Lodge Restaurant offers regional French cuisine of a high culinary standard using local, seasonal produce to create a menu of gastronomic delights that combine traditional French recipes with the hotel chef’s unique inventiveness.

And there’s more golf …

If you fancy a little more golf before you head for home, the 9-hole Academy Course, La Haute Drève, is the ideal layout on which to hone your skills from just £17 in low season and £20 in the high season.

There are also a number of other golf courses in the area around Saint-Omer that are highly regarded such as Hardelot, Wimereux, Le Touquet and Arras that can be added on to your itinerary if you would prefer a longer stay.

If it’s just golf and an overnight stay that you are looking for, Saint-Omer Golf Club also offers a Golf Escape package that comprises a night in a Charme room, a buffet breakfast and 18 holes over Le Val for just £77/99€/person in low season (including July and August) or £98/125€ in high season.

With its proximity to the French Eurotunnel and Calais ferry port, Saint-Omer is among the most accessible of Northern France’s golfing delights, making in an ideal destination for a short golf break in France.

Details of the 2015 Saint-Omer Golf Club Packages are:

  • Golf & Gastronomy*: 1 night in Deluxe room, 1 buffet breakfast, 1 18-hole green fee, 1 gastronomic, 4-course dinner in Le Lodge Restaurant

£100/130€/person in low season (including July & August), £120/155€ in high season

  • Golf Escape*: 1 night in Charme room, 1 buffet breakfast, 1 18-hole green fee

£77/99€/person in low season (including July & August), £98/125€ in high season

*Based on sharing a double room and subject to availability, single supplement £31/40per night, offer valid from now until December 31, 2015

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To book a Saint-Omer Golf Club packages, call +321 38 59 90, email golf@najeti.fr  or visit www.golfsaintomer.fr.

By Helen Heady

Golf in The Algarve …

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Golf in The Algarve

Golf in The Algarve

When one dreams of golf in the Algarve, one thinks warm climate, sun-kissed fairways, immaculate greens and a break from the old routine.

On my recent trip to The Algarve, that’s exactly what I got… four days, sixteen guys, four rounds of golf and two designated drivers, what could possibly go wrong!

Golf in the Algarve – The Tour

This trip we ventured west of Faro having booked through Your Golf Travel (although no sign of Darren!), playing at Villa Sol, Vale da Pinta and twice at Gramacho.

We had a very early start on an EasyJet dawn breaker, we picked up the people carriers at the airport and headed straight for our first stop Vila Sol, the home of the Portuguese Open in 1992 and 1993 before heading to Vale da Pinta/Gramacho where we would be based for the next few days.

Having never played golf in Portugal, I was very excited about pitting my wits against some of the more well-known courses in The Algarve and enjoying some winter sun.

And whilst it was only just December, the warm sunshine was balanced well with a cool breeze coming from the north.

The Courses…

Obviously any golf course review is often biased by the way you play on the day, but I have tried to be objective in my observations and put my own playing ability to one side when writing these reviews….

Golf in the Algarve – Day 1 – Vila Sol

Vila Sol

Vila Sol

This course is well known to me purely because another TSG member has been a member here for a number of years and spoke highly of it, so I was keen to see it for myself.

The clubhouse on first sight is welcoming although quite difficult to find your way round at first.

The course itself is quite tight but not to the point of distraction or frustration and is set out in two loops of nine returning to the clubhouse.

All the fairways are lined with a combination of pine, almond and fig trees, plants, flowers, lakes and streams – and it makes for a good and pleasant stroll.

However, this course, despite its history is very scruffy in places with unfinished housing, terrible fairway weeds creeping across many of the holes suggesting that it has seen better days.

There is poor signage between holes (very important to the visitor).

The course layout is good and the greens are fair and true but I would be lying if I said it was anything special.

Of course, there are some great holes, most notably the Par threes stood out for me but I am not sure I would describe the place as PGA Tour standard.

In addition, the food served pre round was pretty poor, unless you think a deep fried soggy chicken sandwich is standard Portuguese fare.

All the staff were friendly but I am not sure I will be rushing back anytime soon.

Golf in The Algarve – Day 2 – Vale da Pinta

Vale de Pinta

Vale de Pinta

Day two and following a big first night on the local wine, we headed to our second course of the trip.

Now THIS is more like it. What a great course this is!!

And in contrast to the flagship course of the Pestana Group (Vila Sol) this more than lived up to expectation.

This IS why I came to play golf in The Algarve.

Designed by Ronald Fream, Vale da Pinta is considered one of the best layouts in Europe and you can see why.

Vale da Pinta is a parkland course built into the natural contours of the terrain.

After a fairly easy start the course then starts to test you with undulating fairways, plateau greens, stunning views, playing off fairways like carpets. Millionaire golf!

The course has played host to the Seniors Tour in recent years and we were there the day before the regions PGA championship was taking place.

There are two big lakes on the course, which invites you to challenge yourself but I would save my praise for the Par 3 -7th (165 years plateau to plateau) and the stunning approach to the Par 5 – 12th.

Most greens on the course are beautifully guarded with multiple bunkers, but don’t be put off – they are full of soft, fluffy sand.

There are also works under-way around some of the course but all very subtle and it does not detract from the course in any way.

I can honestly say it’s one of the best courses I have had the pleasure of playing (and I have played over 120 in total to date).

The clubhouse is cool and airy and the Pro shop staff welcoming and helpful.

The views from the patio allow you to watch the golfers tee off and play the entire uphill first hole.

However, I have one criticism…. why build a course, so that the last two holes you are playing directly into the sunset?

And why put the 18th green 500m away from the clubhouse leaving a steep walk back, right at the end of your round?!

This is of course nit-picking as most will visit here and take buggies and I would jump at the chance to play here again!

Golf in The Algarve – Day 3 & 4 – Gramacho

Gramacho

Gramacho

We saved this for the final two days as it was our home and the location for our apartments, meaning it was a short walk to the first tee from here on in.

Gramacho is again a great course again designed by Ronald Fream but with the help of former world no.1 and Open Champion- Nick Price.

The layout is forgiving, open and attractive on the eye.

The fairways are wide (mostly) and rewards the big hitter, as many green are drivable if you take the right line. But don’t be discouraged if you aren’t, good placement will also be rewarded.

After a simple start you are then tested by some undulating holes with neatly placed stone walls and palm-lined fairways.

The course loops away from the clubhouse and only returns back at the 18th.

Again you are met with two main water features with fountains and palm shade but don’t stop to admire the course too much. ou will need to concentrate

You will need to concentrate, to tackle the many sloping greens where a three-putt is common and four putts are not unheard of.

I really liked this course. All the tee boxes were in good condition and despite the finishing holes being in the sunset line (Why?!) I would love to play this again.

If there was one point to note for the greenkeepers – I heard one of our party mention that ever Par 3 was the same distance 150m and they all required playing the same club –  a fair comment, I myself used an eight iron on every one. So perhaps something to consider when laying out the course in future.

So perhaps something to consider when laying out the course in future.

That aside, all the staff were friendly and couldn’t look after you enough and very polite. We were even greeted by owner on 1st tee!

After the golf – The Accommodation…

Pestana have built a great complex at Gramacho and all the apartments were roomy, clean with English TV (if that’s your thing) and come with a good size kitchen and patio.

We also had a full cooked breakfast every day made by our in-house chef, although this is not available to everyone, as he was in our party but he had all he needed to spoil us!

Eating Out

Once we had returned to the room and refreshed ourselves, we headed out to three separate eateries each night:

  • Casa De Bife (Carvoeiro) – Stone cooked steak restaurant – very good
  • Rui Marisquiera Restaurante (Silves) – Seafood farye – I am told good, I went for the steak again
  • Joao’s – Casa de Tapas (Ferragudo) – Superb atmosphere and great Tapas, served by the lovely Catarina

The final verdict on golfing in The Algarve….

What a fantastic trip. Great golf, great company and great food. I’ll be back soon.

Obrigardo!

By Ian Mullins

Golfing Break in Spain – Casa Kimmi Villa …

Friday, November 21st, 2014

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Thinking of taking a golfing break in Spain? Look no further than Casa Kimmi Villa!

Golfing break in SpainThe villa is semi-detached with its own private pool. 

The villa has 6 bedrooms (sleeps 14), 3 bathrooms, 3 American style kitchens, a spacious lounge, patios off each of the upstairs bedrooms. Ceiling fans in all rooms, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi (internet), large patio area off lounge with garden furniture.

There is a barbecue, large table with chairs, sun loungers and parasol around the pool. Only 20 minute drive from Murcia Airport and 40 minutes from Alicante Airport.

Ideal for those wanting a Golfing Break in Spain.

Of course, the main attraction is golf….

There are 32 golf courses in this area (five Championship courses), four of the five are within a ten-minute drive and La Finca is about twenty.

Let us know which golf courses you wish to play and we will arrange discounted green fees, book your preferred tee times (courses get booked up well in advance) and organise transport to and from the courses.

Golfing Break in Spain – The Courses….

Villamartin

A par 72 course, next to Villamartin Plaza, the course is not easy but not as hard as some of the others, some interesting holes very suited to all handicaps, the prices are quite reasonable as well.

It gets very busy from October through to November with a lot of Scandinavians coming to play, this applies to all the courses.

Las Ramblas

This course is by far the hardest of all four courses, with water and ditches about 10 metres deep and about 15 metres across, at Las Ramblas you have to play the course and select clubs very carefully, but again it is a course for all handicaps.

La Finca

This course is about 20 minutes away from the Villa and is flat and even, but again with ditches and water which makes it interesting, it is a pleasure to play here but book early as La Finca is always very busy.

Campoamor

A very nice even course, nothing too difficult, but again you have to play the course. At Campoamor you can’t just send a long drive then hope to get on the green as with trees and very coarse rough you have to pick your shots very carefully.

Las Colinas

This is by far the best course although the price reflects this; Barcelona, Real Madrid and even Liverpool have sent their players here for a bit of fun. However, Las Colinas can again get very busy and is costly.

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Golfing Break in Spain –  what else is there to do?

The area is surrounded by all types of restaurants, bars and children’s adventure playgrounds.

The old cliché about golden sands is true as the beaches are Blue Flag and beautiful, again with many restaurants and bars and only a 10 minute drive away.

Also, we have adult and children’s Go-Carting, which if you get a group of you can be a lot of fun, Jet-skiing, water-skiing and Para-Gliding are also some of the main attractions and all within an 8km radius of the villa.

Golfing Break in SpainFor those not golfing there is the famous La Zenia Boulevard Shopping Centre, which they can spend days browsing around.

It is the biggest shopping centre of the province of Alicante, and has about 150 shops, with great free entertainment most weekends and daily during holiday season.

It is the biggest shopping centre of the province of Alicante, and has about 150 shops, with great free entertainment most weekends and daily during holiday season.

All in all, it’s a fantastic place to visit either for weekends, Christmas break, or for golf and family holidays, and of course due to the weather the courses are playable all year round.

Golfing Break in Spain – What is the cost?

Prices per week (minimum 7 nights -flexible):

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Main House Only (Four bedrooms – sleeps 8)

September to June = 560€

July & August = 840€

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Downstairs (Two bedrooms – sleeps 4 / 6)

September to June  =  420€

July & August = 630€

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Golfing Break in Spain – So how do I go about booking?

Please see their website for further details – Golfing Break in Spain – Our Villa