11. July 2015 01:08
As invitations go, this was one of the best. And easiest to respond to. Would I like to join Tom Watson and MasterCard at St Andrews a matter of weeks before the Open Championship? Does a bear… well you get the idea.
One of the perks of working in an amazing industry like ours is the occasional opportunity to enjoy a real money-can’t-buy experience. Tom Watson – the five-times Open Champion, about to play his last Open – and the legendary Old Course certainly fits into that camp. Joy and terror in equal measure were, for the preceding days, the overwhelming emotions.
With the stands up at the Old Course ready for Jordan Spieth and the 155 other hopefuls, we were one of the last few to play the course ahead of the Championship. Most golfers will have played a few links over the years so you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s a very different game from the one we usually play, with wind, huge greens, deep bunkers and sorts of subtle challenges lying in wait.More...
30. June 2015 18:35
As someone who has never played links golf before, a trip to Prince’s Golf Club was an eagerly anticipated spectacle. We had an afternoon tee time but decided to head down to Sandwich, Kent, early doors to avoid any M25 traffic which was likely to come our way. Upon entering Sandwich Bay I was overwhelmed with the outstanding beauty of the area. The journey down Prince’s Drive was beyond anything I had expected, with the undulating sand dunes of Royal St George’s to our left and the beautiful coastline to our right. There isn’t much else that puts you in the mood for golf than the sight of a 14 time Open Championship venue, albeit one which is very high up on my bucket list.
We arrived at the intimate venue in good time for some much needed practice. The conditions were perfect and we were excited to get started. Prince’s is split out into three loops of 9 – the Himalayas, Dunes and Shore – of which the Himalayas was our first conquest More...
21. May 2015 00:14
Having already played the Brabazon Course at the other famous Ryder Cup venue, The Belfry, my expectations were high for a long awaited round on the Twenty Ten Course. The whole day began in style as we were chauffeured from the 5* resort to the Twenty Ten clubhouse, which sits on lower ground in the Usk Valley.
The service was fantastic and gave us the impression that we really were at a Ryder Cup venue. As friendly and helpful as always, the staff cleaned our clubs and directed us to the locker rooms where the real nostalgia began. Celtic Manor display player names on the lockers used in the 2010 Ryder Cup, I was gutted to receive Ross Fisher I must confess, however a selfie occurred nonetheless! More...
21. January 2015 23:35
Wide-eyed, overwhelmed and, admittedly, a bit smug. That sums up how we felt for the first few hours, on our first ever trip to Las Vegas. I’d like to say that we didn’t let the stereotypical notions of Vegas cloud our judgement upon arriving in Sin City, but our entrance at the Vdara Hotel was pretty much scripted by Todd Phillips himself: pull up in our Chevy Suburban, chuck the keys to the valet, high five an Alexander Hamilton for his troubles and stroll in to the tune of Kanye West’s ‘Can’t tell me nothing’ for the first cold ones of the trip.
Surprisingly, there is more to do in Vegas than the adult-orientated night time activities that first come to mind, but I’ll get to that in a bit, as the first few hours were somewhat textbook. First thing on the list, enthusiastically play and lose it all. My travelling companions and I had been playing for money on every golf round of our West Coast trip up until this point, and the deal was that the unanimous winner had to put all winnings on red or black upon arrival More...
5. December 2014 20:52
It’s not often you find yourself surrounded by crystal clear blue seas and white sandy beaches encroaching onto the green carpet fairways, but in Mauritius this is becomes the norm. If you’re not surrounded by beautiful and idyllic ocean scenery then you will be sure to find a dramatic mountainous landscape.
I was lucky enough to recently find myself ditching the thermals and seeking the sun on this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean. With a direct flight from London, I was soon checking in at my hotel - the 5* Anahita Resort, welcomed with a refreshing cocktail and ice cold flannel. It was still early in the day (thanks to a great overnight flight), so it was straight onto the course for me – that’s the beauty of the resorts in Mauritius, complimentary daily green fees come as standard in most hotel packages; it would have been rude not to really! More...
15. October 2014 00:42
Amazing Golf: Well over 30 golf courses in close proximity of which six are in Continental Europe’s Top 100 rankings. The six in question are Monte Rei, Palmares, San Lorenzo, Quinta do Lago (South),Faldo and The Old Course with the North Course at Quinta do Lago having recently undergone a complete make-over and soon rumoured to be the 7th.
Massive Villas: Most courses feature stunning villas lined along the fairways and you can’t but be blown away by the size and scale of them….#dreamhouse!.
Vilamoura Marina: The hub and epicentre of nightlife, restaurants and bars. English style pubs showing live sports, large restaurants with sun-drenched decks…a great place to relax and watch the world go by…or admire the yachts we’ll never afford!
Easy Access: So easy to get to, under two and a half hours on a flight and you’ve arrived in Faro airport with a maximum 30 minute drive to get to Vilamoura centre (Transfers are easy and cheap to arrange).More...
19. September 2014 18:50
Walking to the 18th tee in another sodden monthly medal I felt the familiar pang of desperation to book my next golfing getaway. It’s the topic of many a post-round chat, and trips to the likes of La Manga or Vilamoura are impressive enough, but golfing in the USA has a whole other ring to it.
In December 2013, two colleagues and I embarked on what can only be described as a marathon east coast USA golf tour. After flying in to Charlotte, NC we gradually made our way down the coast, stopping off at various 5* resorts (it would have been rude not to play a round or two - when in Rome and all that…). The weather hadn’t been too pleasant in the Carolinas, but upon entering the sunshine state of Florida low and behold the sun was beaming down on us. We were due to spend three days exploring the North East Coast and we couldn’t wait to get going: Home of the World Golf Hall of Fame, THE PLAYERS, and some of the world’s finest golf courses, Florida’s ‘First Coast of Golf’ ticks all the boxes.
First stop was Omni Amelia Island Plantation, located right at the North East tip of the state. This part of the overall tour was definitely one of our favourites. The spiel: Striking live oak trees with cascading Spanish moss dominate the inland scenery, whilst beautiful white sand beaches lay but a stone’s throw away. There are plenty of restaurant options, swimming pools and activities to keep you occupied on non-golfing days (is there such a thing?). Fernandina Beach is the local town, which has a few great bars if you’re looking to unwind in the evenings. Now back to the important stuff, there are two courses within the resort – Oak Marsh and Ocean Links. Each course offers a unique challenge – Oak Marsh is a parkland course weaving in and out of the marshland while Ocean Links is a tighter course played right next to the beach which requires a bit more strategy. Both courses are only open to residents of the hotel ensuring they will always be in superb condition.More...