Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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

 

Friends of The Social Golfer…

Monday, May 19th, 2014

TheSocialGolfer.comWelcome to our The Social Golfer page where we let you know about great companies and websites that can benefit your golfing life. We call them ‘Friends of The Social Golfer’ or as those that know us well, ‘Friends of TSG’ …

We call them ‘Friends of The Social Golfer’ or as those that know us well, ‘Friends of TSG’

Friends of The Social Golfer – Travel…

Click2Mojacar – Golfing breaks and holidays to Almeria and Murcia Spain, Discount green fees and tee-off time booking – www.click2mojacar.co.uk

bogor golf toursBogor Golf Tours – Specialist Indonesia Golf Tour Operator – Play golf on six of the top Indonesia International standard golf courses, all within a one hour drive from your hotel – www.bogorgolftours.com

Golf Escapes – Official Partners of The Social Golfer – Experts in golf travel  – www.golf-escapes.com

 

Friends of The Social Golfer – Events, Tours  & Trophies…

Trophies & Medals.com – Trophies, medals, neck ribbons, shields, plaques and glass & crystal awards and free delivery on orders over £100- www.trophiesandmedals.com

Golf Empire – Search over 10,000 amateur open golf competitions at more than 1,500 golf clubs… all on one website – www.GolfEmpire.co.uk

 

Friends of The Social Golfer – Equipment & Clothing…

Portable Golf Solutions – Own a proven portable golf business, now expanding worldwide – www.portablegolfsolutions.com

Gorgeous Golfer – A vibrant selection of stylish ladies and gents golf wear and accessories –  www.gorgeousgolfer.co.uk

SPRINT6GOLF – is the new quick golf format that allows golfers to play in just an hour – www.sprint6golf.com

 

Friends of The Social Golfer – Tuition…

Golf Putting Lines Ebook – Breaking putts made easy – www.puttinglines.com

Golf Lessons & Tuition – The James Andrews School with 10 PGA pros – www.jamesandrewsgolfschool.co.uk

Residential Golf School – James Andrews School of Golf was voted the UK’s leading residential golf school by Today’s Golfer – www.golfschool.co.uk

Golf Guide for Beginners –  Helpful guide for beginners to get started in golf and for intermediate golfers to improve their game  www.golfguideforbeginners.com

 

Friends of The Social Golfer – Golf News…

YourCaddy Magazine – Your Game, Your Golf, Your Caddy – www.yourcaddy.co.uk

Golf Blogger – Golf blog and golf news – www.golfblogger.co.uk

Golf Assessor – Providing independent golf equipment reviews & comparisons. www.golfassessor.com

LadsGolf.comLadsgolf.com – We bring you all the top news, reviews and banter from the world of golf as well as our own branded golf gear. The ‘Lads Golf‘ brand is aimed at the everyday golfer who enjoys the social side of this wonderful game – www.ladsgolf.com

Women & Golf Magazine – News, Fashion, Equipment, Travel & Lifestyle Magazine – www.womenandgolf.com

 

Friends of The Social Golfer – Other Golf Media…

Photvalet.com – Beautiful Golf Images in the USA – www.photovalet.com

2-fore!-1 – 2 for 1 golf discount vouchers – save 50% on 700 golf courses in the UK with 2fore!1 – www.2fore1.co.uk

Golf Deals Group – Save up to 80% of Green Fees & Much More – www.golfdealsgroup.co.uk

Golf Market – New & Pre Owned Equipment at the best prices – www.golfmarket.co.uk/estore

 

Friends of The Social Golfer – Golf’s Governing Bodies/Associations…

European Disabled Golf Associationwww.edgagolf.com

Disabled Golf Association – PAN disability organisation – www.disabledgolf.org.uk

British-Inclusive-Golf logo

 

British Inclusive Golf – The Drive behind Disability Golf – www.britishinclusivegolf.org

 

World Golf AwardsWorld Golf Awards™ – serves to celebrate and reward excellence in golf tourism through our annual awards programme –  www.worldgolfawards.com

 

 

More Friends of The Social Golfer…

Media/Marketing

Glenn Watts – Experienced .Net Developer and all-round good egg – iWantaDeveloper.co.uk

AD Driver – Golf Advertising Network reaching over 200k golfers a month – www.addriver.co.uk

 

Personal

Roger Hurcombe – Disabled Golfer and all round good egg – www.rogerhurcombegolf.weebly.com

Ian Halliwell – Stroke Victim, Charity Fundraiser and all round Golf Nut – www.thesocialgolfer.net

Ian Halliwell – My Golfing Travel Journal from Wigan to the World and back – www.thesocialgolfer.blogspot.com

AmateurGolfNet – An amateur golfer’s personal narrative of his golfing experiences. – www.amateurgolfnet.co.uk

The Kirstie Charity – TSG member Gary Wilson fund raising for Cancer Research – www.kirstiecharity.com

 

 

Happy Golfing!

 

Ian & The Social Golfer Team

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Golf Holidays in France; A Golfer’s Guidebook …

Monday, April 14th, 2014

France is one of the most popular golfing destinations there are amongst UK golfers, and it’s not hard to see why; home to some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, France also boasts fascinating culture, incredible cuisine, absorbing history and spectacular and varied scenery.

With over 550 golf courses to choose from, all with differing landscape, attractions and degrees of difficulty, a French golf holiday really will leave you spoilt for choice.

From golfing in the majestic and romantic surroundings of Paris to teeing off against the beautiful blue backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea in the South, you will find your perfect golf location here.

Golf Holidays in France…

A French golfing trip offers you the chance to combine your game with a city break or beach holiday – or for more adventurous types, you can mix golf with skiing in Biarritz, wine tasting in Bordeaux, or even mountain climbing in the French Alps.

Accessible from the UK by plane, car, ferry or train in just an hour or two, France is the obvious choice for the ultimate golfing holiday!

Golf Holidays in France

Golf National, France

Image courtesy of Golf National

Whichever golfing resort you decide upon, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time in France. With its laid-back attitude, stunning golf courses and more cheese and wine than you could enjoy in a lifetime, France makes the ultimate indulgent golf break! Have a look at our favourites below:

Golf National, Golf De Cannes Mougins, Golf Club De Lyon

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Golf Holidays in France – Le Golf National, Paris

Le Golf National’s two 18-hole, par-72 championship courses and short academy layout made it the clear choice to be the permanent host of the French Open – and now Le Golf National will play host to the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Thought by many to be the best golf course in France, Golf National was also voted the fifth best course on the whole continent by Golf World magazine in 2011.

Golf Holidays in France

Le Golf National, Paris

French Golf Image courtesy of Golf National

The natural park course stretches over 7,300 yards from the back tees and is decked with small lakes, sweeps of long  grasses, gorse bushes and dune-like landscaping, all of which come together to make Golf National arguably one of the most challenging courses in France, as well as one of the best!

A must for all golf enthusiasts whatever their level, visitors can play at Golf National for a green fee of € 90 on weekdays and € 130 on the weekends.

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Golf Holidays in France – Golf Club de Lyon, Lyon

Founded in 1921 and set in a magnificent 500 acre estate, Golf Club de Lyon hosted the French Open in 2001 and is considered one of France’s most beautiful courses.

Stretching an impressive 6,700 metres in total, the course is bordered by the River Rhone on one side and dense woodland on the other, ensuring you breath-taking views whichever direction you’re teeing off in!

Golf Holidays in France

Le Golf National, Paris

Image courtesy of Golf Club de Lyon

Designed by French architect Hugues Lambert, Golf Club de Lyon has two full 18-hole, par-72 golf courses – ‘Les Brocards’ (young Roe deer) and ‘Le Sangliers’ (wild boar).

Visitors can play at Golf Club de Lyon for a green fee of €65 on weekdays and €80 on weekends, and anyone not especially interested in golf will enjoy having the vibrant city of Lyon right on their doorstep: known as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon offers you more restaurants and cafes than you can imagine!

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Golf Holidays in France – Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougin, Mougin

Just a few miles away from the famous seafront at Cannes lies the fabulous Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougin, an 18-hole Championship golf course which ranks alongside some of the best courses in the country.

The 6,312 metre long course is also considered one of the most attractive.

Gilf holidays in France

Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougin, Mougin

Image courtesy of Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougin

You will be able to enjoy spell-binding views of the Southern Alps mountain range as you tee off here, as well as a unique sense of tranquillity from this tree-lined course.

The layout of this course is perfect to test your overall golfing skills, and there are plenty of attractive, expertly crafted and tricky holes to play.

Visitors can play at Cannes-Mougin for a green fee of € 120, which gives them access to the full course, driving range, putting green, pitching green, and chipping green.

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Golf Holidays in France – Climate

Due to being so closely located to the UK, the northern parts of France share a very similar climate, with commonly cool winters and mild summers.

However, the South of France is much warmer and usually experiences mild winters and hot summers.

In general, the best months to golf in France are from June to September, although if you are playing in the South of France then October is usually still fine.

You are advised to avoid taking your golf holiday during the wetter, colder months (from October/November to April).

Golf Holidays in France – Getting there …

Travelling from the UK to France is straightforward, quick and inexpensive, and there are four popular modes of travel – plane, Channel Tunnel, ferry and train.

If you are travelling with a car, or with a group of people, then the Eurostar or ferry is recommended.

Golf Holidays in France – The Eurostar:

From Kings Cross St Pancras in London you can get the Eurostar to Paris, which takes about two hours and 15 minutes.

Prices depend on the time of day but generally start from £44.50.

Golf Holidays in France – By Plane:

From London airports to Paris, the flight time is about an hour.

The cost depends on when you are going but averages out at about £60. October is the most expensive month to travel.

Golf Holidays in France – By Car/Channel Tunnel:

You can get to France from Folkestone, Kent via the Channel Tunnel, which will take you to Calais. Prices start from £46 for one car and four passengers.

Golf Holidays in France – By Ferry:

You can choose to get the ferry from Dover to Calais; prices start from £10 for two people with a car, but are generally about £30.

The journey takes just over two hours.

Golf Holidays in France

Dover to Calais ferry, golf, france

Dover to Calais ferry image courtesy of Flor!an via Flickr

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By Ella Jameson