Archive for the ‘Golf Travel’ Category

Join The Social Golfer at Celtic Manor in Sept 2020…

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Celtic Manor - celebrate 10 years of thesocialgolfer.com v3As we look back at TEN years of The Social Golfer, we felt it only right that we should find some way of celebrating this achievement!

Back in 2010, we were a fledgling website with only a few users and with a couple of games a week being organised.

Fast forward to 2020 and the site now sees over 1000 events posted on our game page every year, more than 14,000 monthly visitors to the site and over 100,000 page views a month.

In addition, we have more than 11,000 registered members in 60+ countries worldwide.

So, how did we think we could thank you all for your support and, in these uncertain times, STILL honour this landmark?

 


THE SOCIAL GOLFER 10th Birthday at CELTIC MANOR!

Celtic Manor - celebrate 10 years of thesocialgolfer.com nd Mike Jones - Disabled golfer and Ambassador

Over the period of our existence, we have made many friends along the way.

We have been lucky enough to attend many Pro-am golf events and have interviewed European tour Golfers, including Andrew ‘BEEF’ Johnson.

We have been retweeted by Sir Nick Faldo, met Bryson DeChambeau, attended the PGA show in Florida.

We exhibited at the London Golf Show, been to many product launches, and even played Le Golf National before the 2018 Ryder Cup team!

However, our biggest achievement has been the charities we have supported, including disability golf. We’ve raised over £10,000 in donations.

We have sponsored disabled golfers Paul Houghton and Roger Hurcombe at their EDGA events and Par 3 Championships.

Later, we supported B.I.G charity (British Inclusive Golf) and last year, Community Golf (Helping autism & Dementia).

It was at a B.I.G. event that we met Mike Jones – See Mike’s history below.

Mike is now an Ambassador for Celtic Manor in Newport, South Wales – the Home of the 2010 Ryder Cup victory for Europe.

He is a Friend of Ottobock Associate, a Motek C-Mill Ambassador, ICC Wales Ambassador and Wales Golf inclusive Ambassador. Quite an achievement in such a short time!

The Celtic Manor Resort also has a special reason to celebrate as 2020 also marks their 10th anniversary since the only Ryder Cup ever staged in Wales.

So with this in mind, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get together with Mike and Celtic Manor to host a special TENTH-anniversary TSG members event.

Celtic Manor - Twenety Ten courrse - Ryder Cup - Thesocialgolfer.com

 


THE SOCIAL GOLFER 10th Birthday at CELTIC MANOR on the TWENTY-TEN…

WIN one of only TEN free rounds of golf with the TSG team and Mike Jones (worth £130pp)

Our special Golf Day is on Wednesday 16th September 2020, almost 10 years to the day of the Ryder cup and only a few days after our official TSG birthday (10/8/20).

Therefore, we have x10 rounds booked, for TEN lucky TSGers to find out what it is like to play on this historic golf course AND walk on the same hallowed ground as Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and many others.

Celtic Manor - Twenety Ten courrse - Ryder Cup - Thesocialgolfer.com.png - food & Restuarants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In addition, for those that join us the night before, you will have the chance to make more of your visit to Celtic Manor as Mike Jones will host a dinner in one of the EIGHT exclusive resort restaurants, including…

  • Steak on Six
  • The Rafters
  • The Grill
  • Sawyers Bar & Grill
  • PAD (Passionate Asian Dishes)
  • Newbridge on USK
  • The Rib smoke House & Grill
  • Orange Grill & Garden Room

Furthermore, those wishing to go down the night before and stay in the hotel will benefit from Mike’s preferential rates:

1-night stay – £90pp incl. breakfast (Prices to be confirmed POST-COVID)

2-nights’ stay – £180pp incl. breakfast (Prices to be confirmed POST-COVID)

Celtic Manor - celebrate 10 years of thesocialgolfer.com v2.png - Ryder cup - 10 years on TWENTY TEN

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HOW to ENTER

In July 2020, TSG launched its NEW Cool fibre Polo Shirt, which will soon be available to buy on the website.

Buy a TSG Polo shirt BEFORE 10th August 2020 for only £TWENTY (normally £25) and your name will be entered into a draw to WIN one of those TEN places on the TWENTY TEN.

TSG Polo Shirt is available in both Men’s & Ladies sizes.

  • Permanent wicking yarn technology
  • Regular fit with 2 button placket
  • 1×1 ribbed collar

Fabric Weight: 180gsm

Fabric Description: Micro-fine Pique in TSG Green or Black

Sizes: XXS – 3XL (green but up to 5XL in Black) – Ladies, S, M, L

 

Celtic Manor 2010 competition - TheSocialGolfer.com Merchandise 2020

*On Monday 10th August will mak the draw and immediately contact the winners.

 


For those that do wish to enter, please check you are able to attend the tee times reserved for TSG below:

September 16th 2020 Four-balls Times:

9.30 am – TSG Winners

9.40 am – TSG Winners

9.50 am – TSG Winners (+ Mike Jones & TSG Team)

Note – These tee times are normally only reserved for Celtic Manor members!

I WANT TO be at Celtic Manor in September, BUY a TSG polo Shirt for £20 and you could win…

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Celtic Manor - Twenety Ten courrse - Ryder Cup - Thesocialgolfer.com.png - TWENTY TEN - ENTER COMPETITION

Note: We will contact you regards sizing, once competition draw has been concluded.

 


About Celtic Manor and the Twenty Ten course…

Celtic Manor - Twenety Ten courrse - Ryder Cup - Thesocialgolfer.com.png - The Resort

Built to stage the 2010 Ryder Cup, it was the first course to be built specifically for golf’s greatest team tournament.

The Twenty Ten measures a robust 7,493 yards off the back tees and has a par of 71.

With water hazards on half of its holes, the course has six signature holes and presents many more memorable tests and risk-and-reward dilemmas.

One of the features of the spectacular course is its variety.

Many of the earlier holes having a links-like feel, with long rough and greenside swales, before the middle section reveals the full extent of the lake-lined challenge.

A tough finishing stretch culminates in a real sting in the tail at the 18th.

Celtic Manor Course Details:

  • 7,493 yards off the back tees
  • Built to stage the 2010 Ryder Cup
  • Par of 71

The Twenty Ten Clubhouse was purpose-built for the 2010 Ryder Cup and is a fitting venue to host the world’s top golfers.

As well as state of the art facilities, the clubhouse is situated to take full advantage of its prominent position overlooking the 18th green – a signature hole of The Twenty Ten course.

Members and visitors are treated to the most exhilarating and spectacular panorama of the course and an enviable view of the final hole from a private balcony which wraps around the building.

As luxurious as it is dramatic, this is surely a place to make an impression.


Celtic Manor - celebrate 10 years of thesocialgolfer.com nd Mike Jones - Disabled golfer and Ambassador v2

Mike Jones – Disabled Golfer

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WATCH MOVIE

In October 2015, proud Welshman Mike Jones, an electrical engineer, and single figure golfer, climbed astride his Yamaha MT09 Sports Tourer motorbike for the trip across the Severn Bridge from Cwmbran into England for a shift in Bristol.

With a toot of his horn, he said goodbye to wife Beth without a care in the world.

Four days later he would wake up in hospital in Swansea in severe pain and confusion.

Mike has been told he nearly died at the scene of the accident and lost a lot of blood.

A leg was badly crushed and his thighbone was rammed through his pelvis by the crash.

These bones could be rebuilt in complicated operations but his lower left leg had to be amputated three days after the accident.

This was the start of a long road, that would include 22 hours on the surgeon’s table, six months of regular out-patient visits and a hip replacement as recently as last November.

And even then, it could have been far worse.

His biker’s protective clothing may have saved his life.

Such was the injury that more exposure to the wound could easily have led to a fatal infection… READ MORE about Mike’s Journey to recovery!

 


By Ian Mullins

Golf the West Coast of Scotland…

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Golf the West Coast of Scotland…

There’s no doubt about it, some of the best links golf courses in the world can be found on the West Coast of Scotland!

And if you’re interested in following in the footsteps of some of the greatest golfers of all time, you can’t go far wrong booking a Golf Experience tour on the coast of Ayrshire.

Trump Turnberry, Royal Troon and Old Prestwick, all within a stone’s throw of one another, not to mention Glasgow Gailes, Dundonald Links, Kilmarnock Barassie to name but a few. PLUS some of the most challenging courses you will ever play, among the many Hidden Jewels you can unearth on your heady trip around the iconic Scottish coast.

Then there’s the whole flavour of Scotland to be experienced both on and off the course.  

Whether it is battling the sea breeze, undulating heather-clad fairways and greens flanked by strategically-placed bunkers typical of many of the links courses, or deciding which Scotch whisky to savour next from your well-stocked hotel bar, Scotland has as much atmosphere as you can handle and more besides.

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer
Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Trump Turnberry Hotel & Resort

Golf the West Coast of Scotland – Unique Hosted Golf Experiences in the Home of Golf

Of course, there are many other places to visit in the UK and abroad.

In addition, with so many golf tour companies out there offering multiple travel options, it’s easy to feel bombarded, which can make it difficult to choose between them.

However, golfing the West Coast of Scotland is a bit different as Friya at www.westcoastgolf.co.uk explains …

“We understand that going on a Golf Tour isn’t just about taking a holiday, it’s about the experience of a lifetime. Playing the game you love on iconic courses, taking in the same spectacular views as the golfing stars of yesteryear have, breathing the same fresh sea air, walking the same fairways, negotiating the same tricky lies as your heroes!”

So literally, ‘following in the footsteps of greatness’.

She went on to say “We also understand that arriving in a strange place with nobody to meet you, trying to find your hotel, wondering if you will be able to get a taxi to the course in the morning and where to go to get something decent to eat in the local area can make your trip of a lifetime seem daunting and, frankly, a bit of an anticlimax.”

“Plus there’s the worry of whether the package you’ve booked ‘does what it says on the tin’. Especially if you’re the one responsible for booking for a group and everyone’s relying on you to get them value for their money. At West Coast Golf we know what your holiday means to you. That’s why we want to get it right”.

Having spoken at length with Friya, it’s clear that their level of expertise could be invaluable to the nomadic golfer. 

They are not a big impersonal company with customer service staff, who are more interested in their sales commission than whether you, the customer, has a memorable and enjoyable time. 

On the contary, they are a family-run organisation that is large enough to handle your booking but small enough to care. 

That’s why all their Golf Experiences are Hosted.

And why they provide ‘extras’ such as competitions, trophies and a presentation meal as standard, as well as optional add-ons such as whisky tasting and golf lessons with their ‘resident’ professional Golf Coach.

 

Royal Troon - The Clubhouse - Scottish golf- The Social Golfer

Royal Troon

Visit the west coast of scotland- The Social Golfer - Trump Turnberry

Trump Turnberry Hotel & Resort

Golf The West Coast of Scotland – Unique Hosted Golf Experiences

When you arrive in Ayrshire, Scotland you will be met by a dedicated coach company and taken to your accommodation. 

Fresh from a good night’s sleep, you will be greeted by your Host the following morning.

You will be given all the information you need for your first day’s golfing.

PLUS information on eating out, local attractions and anything else you will need to make the start of your break go smoothly.

You’ll also be given details of fun golf competitions to take part in, including the opportunity to ‘Beat the Host’ on the practice ground.

Your Host will ‘touch base’ with you every day of your trip to make sure your holiday is running smoothly. 

On the last day of your holiday your Host, who is also an award-winning Compère, will be there at your Presentation Meal; 

– Presenting you with your prizes

– Challenging you to a Golf Quiz 

and generally making sure everyone in your group enjoys the craic.

As well as enjoying the delicious food and drink at the South Beach Hotel

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Whisky tasting at The Jar, Troon

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Your Host Award-Winning Compere, Graham Walker

Golf The West Coast of Scotland – Smaller Groups and Lone Golfers

West Coast Golf specialise in Golf Experiences for smaller groups of 2-8 golfers and also golfers who are going on holiday alone. 

They feel smaller groups and individuals are not always considered by larger tour operators.

Furthermore, they recognise that Golf ‘clubs’ within Clubs are often made up of a small number of golfers.

In addition, even if your golf society is larger, not everyone wants to go on holiday together.

Sometimes you may want to go golfing on your own and Scotland is the ideal place to go to escape from it all.

For Lone Golfers they offer just the same Hosted Golf Experiences as for groups, but tailored to you.

If you wish, your Host can come out on the course with you, or accompany you as your caddy.

You will receive just as much care and attention as a group of golfers would, with just as much opportunity to experience some of the best links courses Scotland has to offer.

10% OFF YOUR HOLIDAY FOR TSG MEMBERS…

To find out more about the ‘mouth-watering’ West Coast Links courses, or to see the kind of unforgettable Golf Experience tours Friya and her team can offer, such as the Open Glory Experience or the Precious Links package, simply visit www.westcoastgolf.co.uk 

Details of Hotel accommodation, whisky tasting, coaching sessions and the Presentation Meal can all be found on their website, as well as an introduction to their Host, and more.

Simply complete an online enquiry form if you want to know a little bit more about West Coast Golf and what they offer, or email them direct at info.westcoastgolf@gmail.com

Don’t forget to let them know you’re a TSG member to claim a 10% discount on your unique Golf Experience break. (Terms & Conditions apply)

 

Golf the West Coast of Scotland- The Social Golfer

Golfing in Vilamoura – Part Two…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, PortugalIn the first of our two articles on ‘Golfing in Vilamoura’, we talked about our visits to The Laguna and The Millennium.

In this second of our two ‘Golfing in Vilamoura’ articles, now read about our visit to the world-renowned Vale do Lobo’s The Royal and The Ocean courses...

 


Golfing in Vilamoura – Vale Do Lobo – The Clubhouse…

You know on your way into the resort that you are approaching one of Europe’s premier golf destinations.
On arrival at The Clubhouse, pleasant and friendly staff immediately showed us to the Golf reception – an area that gives you an indication of your experience for the day.

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, PortugalThat is where we met Daniel who has worked at the resort for 12 years.

Something not unusual among the staff here, as we find out.
In fact, many of the staff have been here for over 10 years which suggests it’s a well-run place.
On sharing a coffee in the Players lounge, Dan explains to us that the whole resort, including the two-courses, is roughly the size of Monaco.
Having worked in marketing for some 25+ years, I conclude (given the audience they wish to attract) this is a superb way to promote themselves. Especially if you want to appeal to the European golfers with a high disposable income.
Looking out from the lounge, we have a beautiful view of both the Putting Green and the Grandstand, which gives the place a very grand feel.
However, this theme continues as we take a tour of the facilities.

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

They have it all covered here including a Private lounge for members, a Spa, an 8-bay driving bay (which is due for a refurb), a gym, snooker area and a yoga studio.
All surrounded by beautiful shady areas, cobbled paths, an outside bar area, scenic views across the sea – somewhere we return to after our round.
The changing room is large, trendy and immaculately clean, as you would expect from a high-end resort.
Dan goes on to tell me that whilst the membership is not cheap at 5,000 euros a year, there are a good 200+ members.
Both the corporate members and tourist day-trippers keep the place very busy.
If you’re going to visit Vale do Lobo, make sure you make a full day of it, enjoy the surroundings, the ambience and the friendly staff.
Give your self plenty of time to enjoy the views – and I haven’t even mentioned the golf yet…

Golfing in Vilamoura – Vale Do Lobo –  The Courses –  The Royal Course…

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

So, I guess all golfers with a number of years of playing under their belt have a ‘bucket list’ of courses they want to play.

Having heard about the famous 16th, Par 3, from many friends, ‘The Royal’ was one golf course I’ve wanted to play for a while.

However, to focus solely on this hole would do the rest of the course a disservice.
The course starts with some very straight but pretty holes, enclosed by whitewashed villas and I immediately felt at home and encouraged by what was to come.
The fairways are clean, soft and well maintained as you would expect and it’s a pleasure to be playing on firm fairways again (we really do have to put up with a lot back in ‘Blightly’ with its wet, damp and cold conditions) and I feel I will save a few shots today because of it! (I didn’t!)
The course is very walkable, despite some big inclines and declines, but there’s always a shady area close by under which to cool down.
The stand out hole on the front nine is definitely the 7th hole – 140 yards, 130 yards carry over water (see below) to a slightly sloping green.
Despite a pretty ropey scorecard up to this point, I just make it over and scramble a par, so I am happy!
This is quickly followed by another carry over water on the 150 yards, Par 3, ninth hole. Alas, here I was not so lucky. Splosh!
Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, PortugalSo, on to the back nine. More picturesque and with a more varied hole layout, the course now gets more interesting.
I won’t talk about each hole but I will say it’s beautiful, pretty tree-lined fairways and immaculate greens all run quickly.
And as we approach the sea and the Par 3, 16th signature hole, you really do feel you’re playing Millionaire’s golf!
At this point I must commend the club, as they run a ten-minute tee system, meaning we saw hardly any other golfers until the 17th hole.
If I had any criticism with the course at all, I would say some of the tee boxes could be flatter in places… but now I am picking ‘holes’.
This is both a well managed and beautifully presented golf resort, and they couldn’t have been more courteous to us.
I will definitely return here.

18 holes – Cost = Approx 100 euros


Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

Golfing in Vilamoura – The Courses – Vale Do Lobo – Ocean Course…

Now sadly, this is when I turn to my fellow TSGers for their feedback on the second (and less well-known) course, The Ocean, as I had to head for the airport.

The Ocean Course is composed of the two original 9-hole golf courses designed by Sir Henry Cotton.

The Course features undulating fairways which run alongside a nature reserve, before leading gently down to the shores of the Atlantic.

Its stand out holes are two very testing and spectacular Par 4s – the 11th and the 14th, as well as the Par 3 15th which runs alongside the beach.

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, PortugalBeing much newer, this course is more of a challenge, as everyone we spoke to told us… it is a very ‘technical’ course to play.
I took this to mean longer, more bunkers, more wind and faster greens and they were right.
However, both the team reported back having enjoyed another sunny day on the fairways and in the bar (see picture) and having enjoyed the course hugely.
The good news is, I know I will be returning to the area again soon, so I will make the effort to revisit this Mecca of golf.

18 holes – Cost = Approx. 100 euros


 

By Ian Mullins

Missed Part 1 of our article on ‘Golfing in Vilamoura’ – see below

Golfing in Vilamoura – Part One…

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

In the first of two articles under the heading of ‘Golfing in Vilamoura’, we visited the renowned Algarve region of Portugal for four days.

We visited four golf courses including the world-famous, Vale de Lobo and two other local courses, The Laguna and The Millenium.


Golfing in Vilamoura – Getting There:

As with all golf In The Algarve, you will probably be flying using either one of the low-cost airlines or via BA or a Portuguese airline.

My travel partners flew with EasyJet without any hassle, while I was charged £55 by Ryanair for not printing my boarding pass and not checking-in more than two hours prior to my flight. Seriously!

However, my mood quickly lifted when I arrived at Faro airport.

As I was golfing in Vilamoura for the first time, I decided to try Uber rather than a traditional transfer service. 

Having been quoted 36 euros for a pick-up and drive to Vilamoura, I was very impressed to only pay 21 Euros and Jose was so helpful and polite.

For the four day trip, we never paid more than 4 euros to get anywhere in the area.

 


Golfing in Vilamoura – Accommodation/Room:

Laguna Resort apartments are walking distance from The Dom Pedro courses Including The Laguna, The Millennium and The Victoria (which was host to the Portuguese Masters in Autumn of 2019.)

Often on a golf trip, your priority is to pay as little as possible for your accommodation in order to afford more golf.

However, we couldn’t have been more impressed with our apartment chosen by golf specialist and TSG travel partner – Golf Escapes.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the layout and decor, twin balcony and two bathrooms, made this as good an apartment as I’ve had the pleasure of staying in, anywhere.

On a golf course or not….including Rocco Forte 5star golf complex in Sicily!

 


Golfing in Vilamoura – Laguna Clubhouse:

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

Having caught the early flight from Stansted, not wanting to waste any time, we headed for the Laguna resort which is home to the above mentioned, Millennium and Laguna courses.

The clubhouse and shop are large and clean and the changing rooms, while not as stunning as Vale De Lobo (see next month’s March newsletter for review), is still a step up from your average UK Clubhouse.

There is a large patio area overlooking four holes and they offer both reasonably priced and very tasty sandwiches as well as a full a la Carte menu.

As you know, with any club in Spain or Portugal, there is always a senior golf pro on hand to chat to, who can tell you the history of the place.

And it was here I met ‘Joaquin’, who was quick to ask where we were from and how long we were staying. He shared his stories of playing in the UK in his early years.

He was also keen to show me some of his vintage golf magazine from the ’80s.

I think Senhor Catarina would have happily talked all day but alas, I was due on the tee in 3 mins.

As much as I wanted to chat more, I really wanted to play.

However, I didn’t miss the opportunity to tell him about The Social Golfer Family but I fear the concept did not translate well.

The younger (much younger) staff member listening to our conversation, got it immediately “ah, so it’s like Tinder for golfers”, “not quite” I quickly retorted…but he had a point!!

 


Golfing in Vilamoura – The Courses – Millennium:

We opted to play the newest course, The Millennium, on our first day.

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, PortugalWe had been advised it was flat and a good way to break yourself into a four-day tour.

Wow! I loved this course. With gentle undulation, playable fairways and although narrow for many courses in the Algarve, it was more forgiving than most of England’s courses.

This is the newer of the two courses – it was immaculate.

Dry fairways, fine grass, a plethora of shady areas and not a single pitch mark to be found on any green until the 17th hole.

The greenkeepers should be warmly applauded for preparing this course so well.

Note, the greens here are ‘lightning-fast’, so be prepared to three-putt a lot until you’ve been here a few days.

My only criticism would be that some of the tee boxes are not entirely flat, so place your tee peg wisely.

That said, each hole is very different and you would have to play this track many times before you got bored.

We teed off at 2pm (walking) and were finished by 6pm (sunset in February).

I will definitely return here.

18 holes – Cost = 71 euros


Golfing in Vilamoura – The Courses – Laguna:

On returning to The Clubhouse on day two, we choose to play late morning at 11am on Laguna.

The temperature was 19c, there was a cool breeze, but the strong sunshine still meant the need for sunscreen.

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

Yet by 3.30pm I was pulling on a light jumper e.g perfect golf weather.

This course, despite being less distance on the card than the Millennium and with shorter distances between holes, it’s less forgiving, so took 40 minutes more to play.

One thing I do like here is the club’s insistence on how long you should take to go round. Something many clubs in the UK should adopt.

I know this a constant bone of contention all around the world but IMHO, it’s just considerate and good manners to keep up the pace of play.

If you’re holding up the groups behind, let them through.

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, Portugal

 

But back to the golf…

The Laguna (as the name suggests) is the ‘water’ course. I think it comes into play on at least seven holes, maybe more.

Beautiful open fairways, well-maintained greens (again, very few ‘pitch marks’ to be found here).

Whilst I didn’t find the greens quite as quick as the previous day, they were true.

Six one-putts on the front nine suggested I was getting the pace of the greens after a good night’s sleep.

18 holes – Cost = 85 euros

 


Food:

Golfing in Vilamoura, Laguna Resort, The Algarve, PortugalYou are never going to be short of choice for beautifully prepared, fresh and fragrant food in Portugal with seafood and steak in abundance.

One of the favourite places we visited was the Akvavit at Vilamoura Marina, run by a lovely Swedish lady.

Joining in with the theme, I was convinced to try the Rydberg steak, the dish is made up of cubed fillet steak, sautéed potato, in a bay leaf and onions sauce, with a raw egg yolk in the middle, yum.

Complimented with a light and sofa red wine from the Duora region.

However, the TSG best chef award goes to ‘O Jacatino’

This is a Portuguese family restaurant we frequented on our last evening, where you can sample home-cooked traditional Portuguese favourite, Cataplana (seafood stew).

While my travel partners enjoy this, I had the softest steak I’d tasted in ten years.

 


Six one-putts on the front nine suggested I was getting the pace of the greens after a good night’s sleep.

The Locals:

Having played golf in more than 12 countries now…

As such, I would probably say the Portuguese are up there with the best when it comes to making golfers feel welcome. 

They have both a gentle but passionate manner and are good-humoured.

They really do know how to do customer service too and we were made very welcome by everyone.

Especially the staff at The Laguna resort, who couldn’t do enough to help us enjoy our stay.

 


And Finally:

Is the Algarve still one of the most popular and tranquil places to play golf? Oh yes!

Is it expensive? Absolutely!

Will I be back for more, of course… I’m already thinking about where to play next year!

TSG VERDICT = 4.5 stars

 


By Ian Mullins

Look out for part 2 of our ‘Golfing in Vilamoura’ series in the TSG March Newsletter, including a review of both courses at Vale De Lobo…

NOW READ ABOUT THE BEST GOLF COURSES IN SPAIN>>

 

Best Golf Courses in Spain…

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Best golf courses in Spain - Real Club Valderrama v1When it comes to knowing the best golf courses in Spain, there’s no better destination to ‘swat up’ on, than the most visited golf region in Europe…

Lush, rolling fairways, picturesque courses, an enjoyable climate and great cuisine combine to make the ultimate golf destination – and all of this only a few hours from London.

But with such a great selection of golf holidays in Spain, how do you choose a destination?

To make selecting your next golf break in Spain a breeze, here’s our pick of the eight best golf courses based on quality, value, and of course, player reviews.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Spain’s best golf courses…

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #1 Real Club Valderrama, Torreguadiaro

One of the most famed golf courses in Spain, Valderrama famously played host to the 1997 Ryder Cup and is consistently voted among the best courses in Europe.

Thanks to the well-considered layout, conditions at Valderrama are perfect year-round.

Valderrama isn’t a course for the faint of heart, with plenty of doglegs to test your planning skills, and tree-lined fairways ready to claim any wayward drives.

As of 2019, the course has undergone extensive arborist work, removing many of the low-hanging branches that players had to contend with previously.

So if you haven’t visited recently, it’s well worth a return trip.

  • Year Built    1974
  • Par        71
  • Difficulty    Hard
  • Designer    Robert Trent Jones
  • Walkable?    Yes
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    6390 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Hilly in parts
  • Location    Cadiz, Andalucia
  • Facilities    Driving range, putting green, golf lessons, pro-shop, clubhouse, parking, bar and restaurant, changing rooms.

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #2 Real Club de Golf Sotogrande, Torreguadiaro

The first of Robert Trent Jones’ courses, Sotogrande is an undulating course that provides plenty in the way of challenges for the seasoned golfer.

With a number of elevated greens and a generous helping of hazards, Sotogrande is a course that will keep you on your toes.

Being a decade older than Jones’ Valderrama course, it isn’t as flawless and shows its age in places.

However,  Sotogrande is a course not to be missed for the golfer who enjoys the thrill of the game.

  • Year Built    1964
  • Par        72
  • Difficulty    Medium
  • Designer    Robert Trent Jones
  • Walkable?    Yes
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    6224 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Hilly
  • Location    Malaga, Andalucia
  • Facilities    Driving range, putting green, golf lessons, pro-shop, clubhouse, parking, bar and restaurant, changing rooms.

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #3 Torrequebrada Golf, Malaga

Taking the top spot for our best value golf course in Malaga, Torrequabrada Golf is truly a hidden gem.

Once host to the 1977 Spanish Open, this often overlooked course represents great value and is comparable to some of the Costa del Sol’s top golf courses.

The third hole is only 90 metres long end-to-end but provides a good challenge and sets the scene for the remaining course.

An equally enjoyable course for keen amateurs and seasoned professionals, the (admittedly ageing) course of Torrequebrada is a diamond in the rough.

  • Year Built    1976
  • Par        72
  • Difficulty    Medium
  • Designer    Pepe Cancedo
  • Walkable?    Yes though buggy advised
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    5,852 Metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Flat
  • Location    Benalmádena, Malaga
  • Facilities    Driving range, putting green, golf academy, group lessons, pro-shop, bar and restaurant, changing rooms.

 


Best golf courses in Spain - PGA Catalunya v1Best Golf Courses in Spain – #4 PGA de Catalunya (Stadium), Girona

Only 45 minutes drive from Barcelona, a visit to PGA de Catalunya is a must when visiting the region.

This championship course has played host to a number of Opens but is one which will be enjoyed by the amateur golfer too.

This dramatic course features a number of tight holes and plenty of variety.

Construction has many underway on and off over the past few years to upgrade areas of the course, but this means it’s likely to be even better each time you visit.

  • Year Built    1998
  • Par        72
  • Difficulty    Medium
  • Designer    Neil Coles, Angel Gallardo
  • Walkable?    Yes
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    6226 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Flat
  • Location    Girona, Costa Brava
  • Facilities    Driving range, putting green, golf academy, group lessons, pro-shop, bar and restaurant, changing rooms, massage, gym, pool, sauna.

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #5 Santana Golf, Mijas

As well as being one of the newer golf courses in the area, Santana is widely considered to be one of the best golf courses in the Costa del Sol, particularly when factoring in its low price-point.

Santana Golf isn’t a championship course, but that is part of what makes it so enjoyable to a wide range of golfers. The generously wide fairways make for a forgiving course, while the hospitality adds to the laidback experience.

  • Year Built    2003
  • Par        72
  • Difficulty    Difficult
  • Designer    Cabell B. Robinson
  • Walkable?    Yes
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    6,207 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Flat
  • Location    Malaga, Costa del Sol
  • Facilities    Clubhouse, golf school, pro-shop, putting green, chipping green, pitching green, practice bunker.

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #6 Santa Maria, Marbella

One of the best things about a golf holiday in Spain is the weather, the second best are the views.

You’ll have your fair share of both with the Santa Maria golf course which looks out over the Meditteranean sea and the oak-covered mountains.

With a flat terrain and fairly short length of only 5,325 metres, it’s a great day out for golfers of all levels.

  • Year Built    1991
  • Par        70
  • Difficulty    Medium
  • Designer    Antonio García Garrido
  • Walkable?    Yes
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    5,325 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Flat
  • Location    Marbella, Costa del Sol
  • Facilities    Clubhouse, practice area, tennis, bar, snack bar, pro-shop, beverage cart.

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #7 Parador de El Saler, València

Set in the El Saler Nature Reserve, the Parador de El Saler course (also known as Campo de Golf El Saler) has a thoughtful layout, encompassing both links-like and forested areas.

El Saler is a challenging and lengthy course; if you’re teeing off the white tee box you’ll be covering a total distance of 6355 metres.

With all that space, it’s not surprising that the greens are extremely generous, averaging a length of 40 metres.

It’s not all open fairways and sprawling greens though, with over 100 bunkers spread across the course.

For a quality architectural layout, look no further than Parador de El Saler.

  • Year Built    1968
  • Par        72
  • Difficulty    Medium
  • Designer    Javier Arana
  • Walkable?    Yes
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    6042 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Flat
  • Location    Valencia, Costa Blanca
  • Facilities    Driving range, putting green, golf academy, group lessons, pro-shop, bar and restaurant, changing rooms.

 


Best Golf Courses in Spain – #8 Finca Cortesin, Marbella

If you’re looking for a golfing break in the Costa del Sol that offers tremendous value for money, you’re in for a treat with Finca Cortesin.

With the Costa del Sol is one of Spain’s best-golfing destinations, any newer course has to offer something truly special to compete with the likes of Torrequebrada.

Finca Cortesin does just that. Designed by award-winning golf architect Cabell Robinson, it sets itself apart with attention to detail.

One of the longest courses in Europe, Finca Cortesin gives you plenty of golf for your green fee. Each hole has been designed to be of standalone championship quality, and boy does it deliver.

One not to miss on your next holiday in Spain’s sunshine coast.

  • Year Built    2007
  • Par        72
  • Difficulty    Medium
  • Designer    Cabell Robinson
  • Walkable?    Yes though buggy advised
  • Clubhouse    Yes
  • Length    6808 metres
  • Flat or Hilly    Hilly
  • Location    Malaga, Costa del Sol
  • Facilities    Driving range, putting green, golf academy, group lessons, pro-shop, bar and restaurant, changing rooms, massage, gym, pool, sauna.

There we have it, our list of the eight best golf courses to play in Spain.

How many have you crossed off your list?

 


By Sarah Todhunter

NOW READ ABOUT GOLF IN AUSTRALIA >>

Golf in Australia…

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Golf in Austrailia - Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort - The Social Golfer v2For the last couple of years or so of being a member of The Social Golfer and writing about all the beautiful & interesting golf clubs and golf courses around the world, I thought I would tell you a little more about Golf in Australia…

More specifically my own club here in New South Wales!


My wife Judy and I recently relocated from Melbourne to Yarrawonga in Victoria because the warmer climate suits us both, and since Judy has relatives and family living here, it made settling in that much easier.

I knew that for me the best way to make new friends would be to get involved with some sort of sport whether it be football, cricket, fishing or golf and I decided on playing golf…

Unlike a lot of Scotsman, I don’t drink whiskey and I never touched a golf club until I was 55 years old.

I played golf with a social golf club on the North East Coast of New South Wales for 10 years, however, it was only a very small golf course with a par 31.

But, on reaching our new home, I decided it was time for me to ‘take’ the game more seriously, so I joined the Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort, which is just over the border in neighbouring New South Wales.

Golf In Australia – The Region…

Since 1886 the Yarrawonga golfers had graduated from a 3-hole course in the centre of town, to a 9 hole course laid out around the local racecourse.

Latterly, it was relocated to the site of an old dairy farm in Mulwala.

Here it has been now for the last 90 years, and just like cream rising to the top, so has this beautiful golf resort.

The two nearby towns are separated by the Mighty Murray river which is approx 2500 Kilometres long.

It is the 3rd longest navigatable river on the planet with only the Amazon & Nile ahead of it.

The river starts in the Southern Alps of New South Wales and Victoria, it flows in a westerly direction before reaching its outlet near the town of Goolwa on the South Australian coast.

The Mighty Murray river (also the state border between N.S.W & Victoria) is approx 1880 Km long and there are approx 37 golf clubs lining the historic banks of this river.

The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort - The Social GolferGolf In Australia – The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf ‘club’…

The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort has grown to be the largest public access golf resort in Australia, boasting 45 holes.

It consists of 3 golf courses, the 9-hole Executive Course, the 18-hole Lakes course and the mighty 18-hole Murray Course.

They hold 9-hole & 18-hole competitions which are played on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

The Classic Golfers play on Fridays, The Morning Glory Golfers also play a 9-hole comp, and there is separate Competition for the ladies.

The Golf Resort also has a driving range, extra putting greens to practice on, bunkers to master getting out of.

In addition, the resort also caters to other sports with its own Tennis Courts, Croquet,  movie theatre, restaurants, bars and much much more.

I would like to mention a very special group of golfers Bill Brear, Jack Elliot, Des Miller & Jack Corboy, who all used to play golf regularly on a Friday Chicken Run Comp.

However, in their wisdom, they decided to abandon this and try and expand their group to include more golfing members.

Which they did, and the group of golfers grew very rapidly under their supervision to now include over 50 members and still growing

The group became officially known as “The Friday Classic Golfers”, however, I believe that there was another name that was bandied about for a short time being called “The Dun Rootin Golfers” which is not used much now.

I also heard a rumour that quite a few of the golfers were keen gardeners, who used to tease the roots of Rose Bushes before they were dun planting them, hence the name!

I am very fortunate to be a member of this illustrious group of senior golfers.

They play golf by the rules whilst at the same time laughing & joking with plenty of friendly banter between one another.

And most of all having a very enjoyable game of golf.

At 75 years of age, I am one of the younger members of the group and must say far behind them in their golfing skills.

The Classic Golfers are a very social group where we have B.B.Q’s every so often weather permitting.

Golf in Austrailia - Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Resort - The Social Golfer v3

At Christmas, we have the Christmas presentation as well as The Annual Awards night.

One of the awards which I think is very interesting was formally known as “The Order of the Skirt” and is now known as “The Belle of the Fairway”.

Winning this prestigious award entails the ”lucky or unlucky” golfer who, when teeing off must hit his golf ball PAST the ladies tee.

If he fails to do this he could & would be a contender for the title of ‘Belle of the Ball’ Award.

Unfortunately  I am in the running for this award” (I might go away for my Christmas vacation.)

Every one of The Classic Golfers including the staff of the Yarrawonga- Mulwala Golf Resort has made me more than welcome to their golf club.

This is due to two gentlemen Captain Travis of the Paradise Queen pleasure boat, who was kind enough to tell me about the Classic Golfers playing golf on Fridays.

On being introduced, Jock Healy nominated me to become a member of the Classic Golfers which was happily granted.

Golf In Australia – The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Courses…

At this point, I will explain more about the course using the clubs own words…

– LAKE COURSE (18 holes)

With spectacular views across beautiful Lake Mulwala, the Lake Course has strategically placed lakes, undulating greens, 56 bunkers and is designed to test the keenest player, requiring precision around the greens to make par. 18 Holes / Par 72 / ACR 71 – 5957m – Par 72 / AWCR 73 / 5158m

MURRAY COURSE (18 holes)

The finest in Murray river golf courses and packages – Favouring the straight hitter, the popular Murray Course sits adjacent to the Murray River and meanders through towering river gums and sandy river flats where numerous lakes and lagoons are ready to swallow an errant shot. One of the most popular golf courses in all our packages. 18 Holes / Par 72 / ACR 72 -6095m – Par 72 / AWCR 73 / 5197m

EXECUTIVE COURSE (9 Holes)

yarrwonga golf resort - the social golferThe shorter and picturesque Executive Course is kinder to the beginner whilst providing a worthy and enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels in a natural parkland setting. 9 Holes / Par 33 / ACR 32 – 2248m – Par 33 / 1940m

Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Club caters to golfers of all abilities, from beginners and social golfers to professionals”

“Our courses have something for everyone and in order to really experience all that we have to offer, we have several packages available that allow you to have the golf resort holiday of your dreams.”

“Located alongside the Murray River, Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort is the largest of the public access golf resorts in Australia”

“Less than 3 hours drive from Melbourne, it is also an elegant alternative to Victorian golf resorts providing a luxury vacation close to home!”

I hope to play many happy rounds of golf with my new found friends at The Yarrawonga -Mulwala Golf Resort.

“Til next time “Scottish Bob” Davies

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Enjoyed this article – Now read Golf in Africa…

Great golf courses of the world…

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Great Golf Courses, Portugal, Arizona, Ireland - thesocialgolfer.com v1One of the very best aspects of golf is that you can plan a trip around the sport and visit some of the great golf courses of the world…

You can pinpoint a course that you want to play on and then travel there and enjoy the beautiful surroundings while topping up your tan and improving your game.

However, where should you look to go for your next golfing holiday?

Here we look at just three of the most popular golfing destinations you may have heard of…


Great Golf courses of The World – The Algarve…

Located in the beautiful country of Portugal you will find the scenic Algarve.

This relatively small European country (population 10m) has some of the Great Golf courses of The World located here.

It has always been among the favourites for European players because of the beautiful local towns, climate and of course, stunning golf resorts.

Whenever people are looking to go away for a weekend or week of playing golf, this is almost always the place where they end up.

The most notable of which is Vilamoura.

The harbour town has been transformed into a golfing complex and houses some of the best courses in the country such as Victoria, Oceanico Old and Laguna.

This is also the perfect place to unwind after a day on the course with a variety of different bars and restaurant options available.

Great Golf courses of The World – Arizona…

The scenery of the Sonoran Desert may not have seemed like the best place to build a golf course.

But over the last few years, we have seen a rise in the high-quality courses that are being made here.

The mountains and landscapes have created the perfect backdrop and canvas for these courses, and it is the ideal location to perfect your game.

It also offers a unique travel experience with many of the courses located in Scottsdale.

The locals around here rely on the influx of visitors brought by the golf resorts.

So it should come as little surprise that you’re treated like royalty for the duration of your stay.

If you come here, then you should check out the TPC Scottsdale and Dove Mountain.

Great Golf courses of The World – Ireland…

It remains no question that Scotland is the rightful home of the best links courses.

However, Ireland is quickly catching up with the Scots as they boast an array of wonderful courses.

Some of them maybe the best outside of the home of golf.

The south-west area of Ireland is the best place to be for these courses.

This part of Ireland is fast becoming the perfect location for golf in the country.

Aside from playing host to some of the best links courses, you will also find some of the most beautifully scenic spots imaginable.

Well known for its scenery and friendly locals, you can enjoy a Guinness in the local pub, have flutter on the races (or even the golf!).

Using today’s modern technologically, you can even place a bet on your favourite sport without even leaving the pub.

However, if you’re looking for the best links courses, then you should head to County Claire and County Kerry.

Here you will find the world-famous Ballybunion, as well as the Doonbeg and Lahinch.

Also, you should be sure to check out some of the lesser-known courses such as Waterville and Tralee.

Either way, playing golf at any of these great golf courses, will undoubtedly make sure that your trip to Ireland is a memorable one.


By Ian Mullins

MORE GOLF TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD >>

Golfing in South Africa – The Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland)…

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Golf in south Africa - Eswatini Kingdon - The Social GolferWhile searching the countries around the world that play golf, TSG regular columnist Scottish Bob took at another look at Golfing in South Africa and came across a country called The Kingdom of Eswatini!


As TSGers who read my golf articles know, I am always on the hunt for rare and exclusive places to play golf.

Now I have to admit I had not heard of this country under that name, so I decided to look a little bit deeper into its origin…

Golfing in South Africa – The Kingdom of Eswatini…

Up until April the 19th 2018 the country was formally known as Swaziland, however, King Mswati III decided that he would change the name of his country to The Kingdom of Eswatini.

In fact, unlike a lot of other countries around the world that completely changed their name, he named Eswatini in their spoken native name for “Swaziland.”

Of course, I then recognised the country in question.

Eswantini has a population of just under 1.5 million people as of 2019, it is approximately  17,364 sq kilometres and no larger than 200km from North to East & 130 across from East to West.

It is the smallest country in Africa as well as the Southern Hemisphere, I believe that it is also the last monarchy in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, while being a small country it has a very diverse and wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the border with Mozambique to the Savannah’s of the North East and the rain forest to the North West.

The Capital of Eswatini is Mbabane.

It is the largest city in the country with a population of just under 95,000 people in 2010.

Golf was first played in Mbabane in about 1923, the golf course had no prepared fairways, the veld grass was kept short and the greens were made of stamped earth as were the golfing tees.

The course still existed into the early thirties until the outbreak of the 2nd world war.

Interest in golf was revived in Mbabane following the 1939/45 war and the re-opening of the main club in 1947, to which the United Kingdom Government donated 3000.00 rand.

A subcommittee was formed to construct a golf course of which Bob Rankin (R.I.P.) and many other members contributed their time and passion for the love of golf.

The golf course took 18 months to finish with many members of the community helping out in many ways.

The 9 hole golf course was opened in 1949 which, I believe, is the oldest golf club in The Kingdom of Eswantini.

Meanwhile, several rivers also run through this beautiful country including the Great Usutu River and there are quite a few wildlife reserves & big game parks.

these have a wide variety of flora, fauna and of course, there are the Lions, Elephants, Hippos and the endangered Black-faced Rhino.

Golfing in south Africa - Eswatini Kingdon - The Social Golfer

It is also known that there are 507 bird species in the country of Eswatini.

Needless to say, I think we might be more interested in the golfing birdies.

And there is always someone wanting to “hog the greens”

Golfing in South Africa – The Kingdom of Eswatini – The Golf Clubs…

I knew a little bit about the varying options of Golfing in South Africa and I had heard of the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel Golf Club, founded in 1965.

This epic 18 hole par 72 sprawls out onto the dramatic slopes of the Lebombo Range.

An 800 kilometre stretch of narrow mountainous highland, before curving gracefully down into the lush valley where the Swazi Sun Hotels are set in the Ezulwini Valley (Valley of Heaven).

The first 9 holes of this spectacular golf course are comparatively level, however, the back 9 holes take full advantage of the imposing mountainous terrain.

There are many challenging features on this course including glossy lakes, rustic gullies and wickedly sited bunkers dot the landscape.

One of which is so deep that they had to incorporate railway sleeper steps.

Nkonyeni Lodge & Golf Estate is another one of those spectacular golfing experiences you can only dream about, set in 1200 hectares of the African bush and overlooking the Great Usutu river and surrounded by mountains.

The 18 hole championship course, with the spectacular Golden Eagle Links Course and the Bush-veld Course, are in absolutely pristine condition.

Thus making your round of golf an absolute pleasure with their very own game reserve right at your doorstep.

Golfing in south Africa - Eswatini Kingdon - The Social Golfer

There are many more fantastic golf courses in this wonderful & very diverse country including The Big Bend Golf Club, The Simunye Country Club, The Mananga Golf Club, The Manzini Golf Club, The Usutu Forest Golf Club, The Ubombo Country Club… and I could go on.

I never realised when starting this small article just how many beautiful & exciting golf courses there were and this also applies to the wildlife game reserves.

I had always thought of Kenya, South Africa & Tanzania as the haven for those, however, I can now add The Kingdom of Eswatini to that list.

I would like especially to thank Dorrie & Martin Litschka and their many friends from other Golf Clubs in Eswatini for supplying me with information on the area.

In addition, there’s a special mention to the personnel of the Mbabane Golf Club & The Nkonyeni Lodge & Golf Estate.

These clubs were very kind in helping me with a lot of local knowledge, which helped me in many ways to find out more about the country and its surrounds but a lot about this new fledgeling country itself.

Ngiyabonga & Salani Kahle (Thank you & Goodbye!).

Til next time from Scottish Bob

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


More From Bob…

Unique Golf Courses of the World – Kilimanjaro Golf…

Mongolian Golf (you couldn’t make it up!)…

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Mongolian Golf v3 - The Social GolferThis story is not only about our great game of golf and golf courses around the world and more specifically, Mongolian Golf!

However, it’s also about the two young men, Anthony Millet (English) and Patrick Colquhoun (Scottish) who both wanted to do something different.

As such, they set about trying to help others less fortunate and make a difference to lives on the other side of the world…


Mongolian Golf – You want to do what?

Anthony & Patrick decided to form a team and enter the 2015 Mongol Rally.

This rally first started in 2004 with just 6 teams, & by 2015 the rally had grown to 250 teams with between 2-4 people in each team.

The Rally starts in London and ends in Mongolia, and covering over 11,000 miles over mountains, desserts, & the Steppes of Europe & Asia.

The car that the two young men were driving in the rally was a 1986 Porsche 944, which they bought from a scrap yard for just $7000.

They proceeded to ensure that the car would meet the rigorous obstacles and very rough terrain, not to mention the difficulties they would have to overcome through the numerous border crossings.

Note: There is no backup system if you happen to break down you have to use your own initiative to rectify any problems that occur.

The whole idea of entering the rally was to raise money for their chosen charity which was The St Georges School in Ethiopia.

This had a huge impact on changing the lives of the local children at St Georges School for the better.

Anthony & Patrick had decided before they left that they would both have a bit of fun on the way by playing a round of golf in every one of the 17 countries on their route.

Mongolian Golf – Turkmeni-where?

Mongolian Golf v2 - The Social Golfer

However, after arriving in Turkmenistan and already knowing that there was no golf course there, the two men set about finding a good location to build a 9 hole course.

They found a very suitable spot called Derweze, which is also home to the infamous “Door to Hell” Gas crater and it is about 69 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep and it has been burning for over 40 years.

This live gas crater came about in 1971 when this natural gas field collapsed into a very large cavern which was venting a large amount of gas, the geologists decided to set the gas alight to try and stop the spread of the methane gas, and they thought that it would burn out in a couple of weeks.

However, it has been burning ever since and the locals gave it the name “Doors to Hell”.

Anthony & Patrick set about building their 9 hole golf course, making sure that four of the holes skirted near the dangerous gas crater.

The ground as you could imagine was very hard & rough and eventually after making their “Brown” greens and the holes they put in the flags that they had brought from home.

They used the roof of their car which was named “Shirley” to tee-off, four of the holes had to clear the gas-crater and they never tried to retrieve their lost balls which might have been “Hot Dots” and if there weren’t, they certainly are now.

Anthony and Patrick have left their hand-built 9-hole golf course intact so that any of the many visitors to the location can play a round of golf in what must be an amazing & unique experience.

Shortly after their game of golf their car (called “Shirley”) caught fire and was totally destroyed.

Mongolian Golf v1 - The Social Golfer

They both lost a lot of their personal equipment and belongings including their beloved golf clubs, it was a sad effort to their epic adventure as they could not continue to the finish.

However, to their credit, the two men raised over £26k pounds for their chosen charity.  “Well Done Lads!”

Ok, so it’s not really an article on Mongolian Golf but I would like to take the time to thank both Anthony & Patrick for their help and co-operation in helping me to write about this unique golfing experience.

Anthony designed their own golf club scorecards and he was kind enough to send me one of them which has taken a special place in my collection.

As a footnote, Anthony and his wife have now moved to Australia and live in Sydney.

Til next time TSGers…

 

‘Scottish Bob Davies’

 

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

 

 

 

 


Read other stories by Scottish Bob including the March 2019 article on golf in Singapore

Golf in The City: Golf Singapore…

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Golf in the city - Golf Singapore - The Social Golfer v3

In a new series of articles, this month sees Scottish Bob turns his attention to explore golf in the city with the first focus on the south-east Asian in ‘Golf Singapore!’

Over to Bob…


Golf Singapore – The City…

So in a change to the usual focus on just one golf club per feature, I am starting this collection with the beautiful country (and city) of Singapore.

Singapore  is made up of a number of islands with the city being the largest island in the country as well as being the capital

There are a few of the smaller islands including Sentosa, Palau, Ubin, Palua Semakau, Sisters island plus few more.

All these islands can all be reached from the mainland by boat or ferry.

Golf has had a big influence in Singapore for over one hundred years starting with the founding of the Singapore Golf Club on the 17th of June 1891, and many clubs were formed shortly after.

However, while researching this article, I came across some interesting facts and figures which made me think…

Singapore Island is approx. 721sq kilometres and whilst land is at a premium.

The City now has 19 golf courses, including some of the most beautiful and interesting courses you could wish to play.

Most of these golf courses are approx. just around half an hour’s drive from one another.

The changing face of golf in Singapore could affect other golf clubs in towns & cities around the world too.

With a population of just under six and a half million people, there are approx only 36k golfers in the country which is less than 1% of the population.

Golf in the city - Golf Singapore - RafflesThis beautiful city of Singapore is a bustling & exciting city to live in.

Golf Singapore – The Clubs…

Unfortunately the Jurong Country Club which was founded in the early 70s was the first to close its doors on 31st of December 2016.

Alas, with over 40 years of history and fond memories, this beautiful Country Club was renowned for its hospitality and friendliness to all who came to play golf there.

The Raffles Country Club which only opened in 1988 and was one of Singapore’s oldest clubs, closed on 31 July 2018 soon due to the new High-Speed rail link project between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

This project has seen the acquisition of the entire Raffles Country Club.

However, I am glad to say that the Famous Raffles Hotel which was established in 1887 by Armenian Hoteliers, the Sarkies Brothers, and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles the founder of Singapore is still operating.

New refurbished, the hotel will reopen sometime in 2019 after major renovations, needless to say, you will still be able to enjoy the famous Singapore Sling which is widely regarded as the national drink of the country.

The drink was created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915, and I must admit I had the pleasure of indulging myself with one in 2011 and most enjoyable it was.

Rumours have it that by 2021 The Keppel Golf club with over 100 years of golfing history may also be gone.

But with other golf clubs like The Beautiful Tanah Merah Country Club and The Singapore Golf & Country Club also due to lose some of their prime lands, its a tough time for golf in Singapore.

Golf in The City –  The Future…

It is sad to say that both time and people’s attitudes are changing.

Some of the people are no longer in favour of the sport being played by an exclusive group, using so much land.

And sadly, while I am sorry to see the closure of these wonderful golf courses, I fully understand the reason why it had to happen.

There are still quite a good number of beautiful & prestigious golf courses open for business in Singapore though.

These include Sentosa Islands Serapong Course, which was ranked at 79th among the World’s greatest golf courses by Golf Digest 2018.

There is also The Singapore Island golf clubs “New Course”, The Laguna Nationals “Masters” & “Championships” courses.

The golf course – I was going to feature in this article –  The Changi Golf Course with plenty of its own history is only 5 kilometres from the infamous Changi Prison.

The institution still remains open today and would be well known to many allied soldiers, but that will require a whole new article!

that is a story for another day.

I hate to say it but Its “Bye Bye Birdie” from me and sorry to say from many of these golf courses.


Til Next Time…

Scottish Bob - TheSocialGolfer.com

Scottish Bob
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