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ultratravel GOLF SPECIAL

RORY McILROY

The king of swing

PLUS GOLF IN THE GULF KIAWAH OR BUST: A CAROLINA ROAD TRIP MONTY’S MASTERCLASS THE FAIRWAY FASHIONISTAS

APRIL 2012

The Daily Telegraph


To win the game, you need the spirit of a champion.

Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto, Rome

Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah, Istanbul

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts salutes Rory’s sportsmanship and winning spirit. We are proud to have him as our Global Brand Ambassador and one of our many inspiring guests. For more about Rory and his tournaments or to learn more about Jumeirah, please visit jumeirah.com/Rory

ABU DHABI / DUBAI / FRANKFURT / ISTANBUL / LONDON / MALDIVES / NEW YORK / ROME / SHANGHAI OPENING SOON: AZERBAIJAN / KUWAIT / MALLORCA


Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, Shanghai

Jumeirah Vittaveli, Maldives


CONTENTS Features

16 Holywood to Hollywood At Royal Portrush, Nick Trend follows in the footsteps of the Northern Irish prodigy Rory McIlroy; plus the champion selects six of his favourite local courses 22 Gulf of golf The Sky Sports presenter Sarah Stirk packs her clubs and heads for the lush courses dotting the desert emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi; on page 26, the Gulf’s best places to play 28 Deep South, deep bunkers On a Carolina road trip, Adam Ruck plays the Ocean Course at Kiawah – host of this year’s PGA championship – and others where the hazards include sand in your shoes, snakes in the grass and alligators on the green 34 The Full Monty At Turnberry, Charles Starmer-Smith sees his game improve after a masterclass with Colin Montgomerie, whose story began at the Ayrshire course at the age of 24

Regulars 11 The season From major championships to charity play-offs, we list the must-see golfing events of the year 13 Ultratravel accessories Fairway fashionistas: what the world’s top women golfers are wearing; plus gadgets, sunglasses, shoes and clubs that will considerably raise your game 41 Ultra intelligence Golf cruises; unlikely golfers; the simulator used by the professionals; apps for fanatics; and the rise and rise of Morocco as a golf destination 42 Travelling life When he’s not on the course, the Scottish actor Dougray Scott is scouring the web for retro golf shoes

Surf and turf The Hidden Cypress Golf Course, South Carolina (page 28)

13

Cover Rory McIlroy playing

a sand shot from the Burj Al Arab helipad, Dubai

Nick Trend Handicap: 13. Ever patriotic, the Telegraph writer says his favourite courses are all in Britain: his home club, Hunstanton; plus Royal Birkdale and Turnberry – “the greatest Open courses”. His worst golfing moment? “Being beaten by my wife.”

Dougray Scott Handicap: six. The Scottish actor and keen amateur takes his clubs wherever he travels, occasionally to raise funds for the charity Starlight Children’s Foundation. “If you can bring light into the lives of very sick children, you should.”

Sarah Stirk Handicap: seven. When not covering the PGA and European tours, the Sky Sports presenter is playing golf herself. Her favourite layout? “The Earth course in Dubai.” Personal highlight? A duel in Abu Dhabi with Gary Player.

16 COVER PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY; REX FEATURES; MARK STAFF; CHIP HENDERSON

CONTRIBUTORS

Adam Ruck Handicap: 15. “Teeing off in front of the clubhouse is always a nightmare,” the self-effacing writer says. “On one occasion, the ball ended up 60 yards behind me, next to some tea drinkers who declined to move for my second shot.”

ultratravel

Editor Charles Starmer-Smith Creative director Johnny Morris Managing editor Andrew Purvis Deputy editor Lisa Grainger Sub-editor Yolanda Carslaw Photography editor Joe Plimmer Contributing editor Adriaane Pielou Executive publisher for Ultratravel Limited Nick Perry Publisher Toby Moore Advertising inquiries 07768 106322 (Nick Perry) 020 7931 3239 (Fran Burns) Ultratravel, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT © Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. Published by TELEGRAPH MEDIA GROUP, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT, and printed by Polestar UK Limited. Colour reproduction by wearefmg.com. Not to be sold separately from The Daily Telegraph. Ultratravel is a registered trademark licensed to The Daily Telegraph by PGP Media Limited

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GETTY

The Open Championship July 19-22 Royal Lytham & St Annes, Lancashire Three of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top golfers and the reigning Open champion, Darren Clarke, are all from Britain and Northern Ireland, so the chances of another home victory this year are probably as high as they have been for many years. A British win would be the first at Royal Lytham since Tony Jacklinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in 1969, but the course hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been kind to home-grown golfers;

Seeing stars Patriotic Ryder Cup supporters (left). Below: snow golf, St Moritz

although the Open has been held at Lytham 10 times, Jacklin remains the only British player to have triumphed there. Bobby Jones, Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros are among the champions from overseas. Lytham is a relatively compact course, so it is advisable to arrive early to get a good viewing point (and to find parking). Tickets to the Open at Royal Lytham

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& St Annes (01253 724206, royallytham. org/open_2012) cost from ÂŁ60 a day for access to the course to ÂŁ660 for

and a unique atmosphere stirred by

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clinch the unique feat of topping both

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team has lost only three times when

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com) offers five nightsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; b&b in a Palm

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its one-point defeat at Celtic Manor in

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price includes return direct flight from

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Donald fended off Rory McIlroy to

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Model players

The big hitters on the womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s circuit play the fashion game as deftly as they do golf WORDS BY ADRIAANE PIELOU

GETTY

6

Relaxed Paula Creamer

The 5ft 9in, 26-year-old winner of the 2010 US Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Open grew up in California, first picked up a golf club at the age of 10 (possibly succumbing to the subliminal influence of living next to a golf course) and at 18 became the youngest player to earn $1 million on the LPGA circuit. Nicknamed the Pink Panther, on account of her fondness for outfits in that hue â&#x2C6;&#x2019; and golf balls to match â&#x2C6;&#x2019; Creamer is the poster-girl for the classic, all-American preppy look. ClimaCool top, ÂŁ34.99; ClimaCool shorts, ÂŁ39.99, Signature Paula 2.0 shoes, ÂŁ89.99, all by Adidas (as before)

Heading here

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Retro Anna Rawson

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NORTHERN IRELAND

RORY MCILROY MY IRISH LINKS

The wild coastal courses of the north are where the current US Open champion cut his teeth. Nick Trend plays at Royal Portrush, where the Holywood to Hollywood story began, and asks the 22-year-old about his golfing roots

MAIN PORTRAIT: KEVIN ABOSCH

L

aid out behind a ridge of high dunes along a wide sandy bay on the rugged north coast, Royal Portrush is one of the great Irish links courses. In the misty distance to the east are the weirdly segmented basalt columns of the Giantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Causeway, while just out to sea is a clutch of rocky islands, the Skerries, forming a surf-lined reef across the bay. Take a pair of binoculars, and you may spot dolphins and seals sporting in the waves. For golfers, though, Portrush is best remembered for its series of challenging holes on the championship Dunluce Links that twist and turn around the sand hills on the slopes running down towards the beach. The names of those holes, dating from 1929, conjure up the spirit of the time as well as the perils of the course: Giantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grave, Himalayas, Purgatory, Calamity Corner. This last is the notorious 210-yard 14th, requiring a long carry over a 100ft drop, often into the wind. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an approach that has unnerved golfers of the highest class. When the British Open was played here in 1951 (for the first and only time outside the mainland), the prospect intimidated the reigning champion Bobby Locke so much that he aimed left each time he played the hole, relying on chipping from the side of the green to get down in par each round. By the time I reached the same tee, six decades later, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Playing any course for the first time off my 13 handicap, my aim is always to break 90. On that benign sunny day, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d had a good start, with pars at several holes, including the fifth, a long dogleg that plays downhill through a gap in the dunes to the edge of the beach. Standing on the 14th, I was well on course for an 87 or 88, so I took a leaf out of Lockeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book and steered the ball left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; further left than I had intended, but safe enough to scramble a four. I stumbled on the last two holes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a long par-five and a very testing 469-yard 18th, but I still felt pleased to finish with an 89. Until, that is, I got back to the clubhouse and noticed a score card in a glass display case. It was for

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Boy wonder McIlroy after his round of 61 at Royal Portrush in 2005 (top). Above: his score card. Opposite: the prodigy now

the course record on the Dunluce, so I stopped to take a look. At first sight, the number at the bottom wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t that unusual â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a seven under par 65. Then I noticed that the golfer concerned had been playing off a handicap of plus four. This was the card of Rory McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extraordinary round of 61 in the North of Ireland Amateur Open championship in July 2005. At the time, he was just 16. Looking down the column, I saw that he had started fairly modestly, going out in three under. It was the back nine where the young golfer caught fire, shooting 28 after opening with an eagle on the 10th and finishing with five straight birdies. That run began with a two at the testing 14th, where Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d struggled for a four. Overall, he had beaten my score by 28 shots, and only on the fifth had I matched him. I have never felt so humbled on a golf course. The Dunluce has recently been extended by 300 yards and now clocks in at 7,143 yards, vying with the hugely challenging and much hillier east coast links of Royal County Down for the title of most difficult course in the region. Even on the layout that Rory and I played, his score was an amazing achievement â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but one that the 16-year-old McIlroy clearly took in his stride. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To be honest, I was too young to realise what was going on,â&#x20AC;? he said, in typical laid-back style, when I asked him what had been going through his mind during that extraordinary round. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m an aggressive player, I always have been, and that day I was just enjoying myself.â&#x20AC;? It helped, of course, that he knew Royal Portrush so intimately. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve a personal love for the place,â&#x20AC;? he told me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As a toddler, I watched my dad play there in the North of Ireland Amateur Open championship.â&#x20AC;? A few years later, at the age of just 12, McIlroy had broken par at his home course of Holywood and was playing off plus four â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so perhaps his round of 61 was to be expected. However, his propulsion to world number one last month has put the young golferâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s achievement in a different light. It turned out to be only the first flash of his world-beating potential and his ability to play with real focus and determination. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since Portrush,â&#x20AC;? McIlroy said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had many low rounds like it, where everything is clicking and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m


â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;There was always a competition on somewhere â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I just played and played and playedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; LCKI8KI8M<C 


We were planning to spend a few hours on the beach this week.

Right now, I just canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remember why.

I like the beach. We all do. And when we were planning this golf trip, we all talked about spending some time hanging out at the beach. After all, South Carolina has some of the nicest beaches in the world. But then we got here and started playing. Now the only sand Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m interested in is the kind I try to avoid. And the beaches, nice as they may be, are going to have to wait.

Wild Dunes Resort Links Course #18, Isle of Palms

SouthCarolinaGolf.co.uk


Beside the seaside The 13th hole at Royal Portrush, with the Skerries in the distance. Inset: the beach, as depicted in a 1952 British Railways poster

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Links courses ask a lot more questions about your gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; enjoying every minute of it. When Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m in that zone, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not really thinking about much or analysing what is happening. I just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want it to stop â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a bit like my final round at Quail Hollow, where everything was going right for me. It was one of those unforgettable days.â&#x20AC;? Quail Hollow, of course, is the resort in North Carolina where, in May 2010, McIlroy became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods. He shot 62, on what is regarded as one of the most difficult courses on the tour, finishing four shots ahead of Phil Mickelson. The American was stunned: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rory played some incredible golf; heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an amazing talent. To win at the age of 20 is incredible.â&#x20AC;? It was one of the youngsterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest wins so far â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and he put the funds to novel use. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With 21 coming up, the birthday and everything, the money is great,â&#x20AC;? he told Telegraph Sport at the time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Obviously, it can go a long way. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m building a [driving] range at the minute, at home, so that will pay for the trees. Trees are pretty expensive.â&#x20AC;? Home, of course, is Northern Ireland â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and in particular the undulating parkland course of Holywood, a modest 6,000-yard layout overlooking Belfast Lough. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I grew up playing there,â&#x20AC;? said McIlroy, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and I still have a very close relationship with the club.â&#x20AC;? Just seven miles from Belfast city centre, it offers views to the Antrim coast on a clear day and is set in the peaceful Holywood Hills â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not to be confused with the Hollywood Hills, with which McIlroy seems to have more affinity these days. Like his glamorous girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a Danish professional tennis player and a former world number one herself â&#x20AC;&#x201C; McIlroy has lived the jetsetter life from California (famous for its its Pebble Beach course) to Florida (where he won the Honda Classic at West Palm Beach last month) and North Carolina (the Quail Hollow connection). However, he considers Dubai his second home, largely as a result of his sponsorship deal with Jumeirah, the luxury hotel group that is based there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since turning

Something in the water? Rory McIlroy (top) returns to Holywood with the US Open trophy in 2011; his compatriot Graeme McDowell (right) after his US Open victory in 2010; and Darren Clarke with the British Open trophy last year, after returning to Portrush where he lives

professional in 2007, I have really grown to love the place,â&#x20AC;? McIlroy said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Aside from playing some of the seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest tournaments there, I like to spend a few â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;off-seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; weeks practising in Dubai, particularly during the Irish winter. Summer time in Dubai is best avoided.â&#x20AC;? While he relishes travelling the world and playing the best courses, the privilege comes with â&#x20AC;&#x153;a little sacrificeâ&#x20AC;?, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m away, the thing I definitely miss most is friends and family â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but my mum and dad sometimes travel to the bigger tournaments, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nice to see them.â&#x20AC;? The other downside is that he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get home to Northern Ireland as much as he would like. When he does, the level-headed McIlroy tries to live like any other 22-year-old. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I just like to chill out with my mates,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;or head to an Ulster rugby match if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one on. I always try to get up to Holywood, too, even if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just for a quick round with friends or to drop into the clubhouse.â&#x20AC;? If heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not at Holywood, he is likely to be at one of the other great parkland courses close to Belfast: Belvoir Park and Malone (see Roryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s half dozen, page 20). Designed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; like Royal Portrush â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by Harry Colt, Belvoir Park meanders through 136 acres of mature woodland just two miles from the city centre. Malone, about five miles out of Belfast, has a trout lake as its centrepiece and is notorious for its diabolical 15th (over water all the way) and its challenging 18th (flanked on the right by water). These are the courses on which Rory McIlroy cut his teeth, but he is not the only world-class golfer to have done so in Northern Ireland. Since McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own victory at Quail Hollow, one of his compatriots, Graeme McDowell â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a native of Portrush â&#x20AC;&#x201C; has triumphed in the US Open at Pebble Beach; McIlroy himself nearly won the Masters and went on to take the US Open; and Darren Clarke, from Dungannon in County Tyrone, strode around Royal St Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to take the Open Championship there. So what exactly is it about Northern Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s courses that produces so many golfing greats? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Most of the bigger amateur events I grew up competing in are played over

LCKI8KI8M<C 


â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;It will be a boost to Northern Ireland to host the Irish Openâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; he said, with undisguised pride. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As for the British Open, or the Open Championship as they call it nowadays, having it come to Ireland would obviously be a dream. To have a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;majorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; played here would be phenomenal.â&#x20AC;? As to the venue, he is more circumspect. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To pick one course is difficult,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;as there are too many fantastic courses [in Northern Ireland] to single out the one best suited for a major. Royal Portrush and Royal County Down would certainly be forerunners â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and it will be interesting to see how Portrush handles the Irish Open from a hosting perspective. There is going to be a great buzz around the town that week, and hopefully the tournament will be as big a success as we expect it to be.â&#x20AC;? Many amateur golfers will be tempted to make the trip. They may not see another 61 like Rory McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, but they will see three of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest golfers playing on their home territory. My advice would be to combine a visit to the tournament with playing some of the courses (listed, right) that have produced such prodigious talent over the past few years. In my view, Northern Ireland has long been one of the most underrated of all golfing destinations â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but, like McIlroy himself, it looks as though it has suddenly come of age.

HARRY MARCUS; FLYNETPICTURES.COM; GETTY; REUTERS; ALAMY

links courses,â&#x20AC;? McIlroy explained â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the same would have been true of the others. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These courses ask a lot more questions about your game than a typical parkland course would, so I guess you could say I was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;learning the hard wayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; from an early age. That must have held with me over the years.â&#x20AC;? The other big bonus is the sheer popularity of the sport in Ireland, and the superb way it is organised. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of praise has to be given to the Golfing Union of Ireland and the youth structures they have in place,â&#x20AC;? McIlroy stressed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was given ample opportunity to play competitive golf from a very young age. There was always a competition on somewhere, and I just played and played and played â&#x20AC;&#x201C; usually on a tough, top-quality course. Getting those opportunities was invaluable. So, too, was the the support of my parents and the people who coached me as a kid. If it werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t for them, I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be the player I am today.â&#x20AC;? In particular, it was Michael Bannon, the former club professional at Holywood, who made the difference. He remains McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only coach â&#x20AC;&#x201C; another example of the continuity and links with home that have enabled him to overcome setbacks such as his implosion in the last round of the 2011 Masters, from which he managed to bounce straight back for his first major victory. Given that the Irish Open is coming to Royal Portrush this summer, I asked McIlroy if this is also the time for the British Open to return to Ireland. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It will be a great boost for Northern Ireland to host the Irish Open in 2012,â&#x20AC;?

A full set of clubs Royal County Down (top) and Malone (below) are just two of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top courses

RORYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HALF DOZEN

The golfing prodigy picks six of the best courses in Northern Ireland From wild links to parklands in

castle accommodation,

and Castle Hume Lough. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Where to stay The five-star

the Belfast suburbs, the local

chauffeur-driven transport and

a really tough challenge around

Culloden Estate and Spa (028

boy has played them all.

customised golf packages.

the Lough, and the resort as

9047 1066, hastingshotels.com)

a whole has some of the best

is set in 12 acres of secluded

Courses should be booked in advance (allow several weeks,

ROYAL COUNTY DOWN

facilities around. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great

gardens in the Holywood Hills.

or months in the case of Royal

Newcastle, County Down

place to spend a weekend.â&#x20AC;?

Originally built as a palace for

County Down) and there may

Length 7,186 yards, par 71.

Green fees from ÂŁ70 per

the Bishops of Down, it has 105

be handicap restrictions.

McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s verdict â&#x20AC;&#x153;Another

round (028 6632 3230,

rooms and suites, and an ESPA

Contact individual clubs for full

gem of a links course. Known

lougherneresort.com).

spa with a decent swimming

details. Green fees given are for

around the world, it regularly

Where to stay The five-star

pool. Doubles from ÂŁ140, b&b.

summer weekdays and

stands high in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;top 100 coursesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Lough Erne Resort itself (details

weekends. Cheaper evening

guides, and rightly so. I played

above) has 120 rooms and

BELVOIR PARK & MALONE

and off-season rates are

my only Walker Cup there, and

suites, an award-winning

Belfast, County Antrim/Down

usually available.

although we lost as a team,

restaurant â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Catalina â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and

Length 6,685 yards, par 71

I thoroughly enjoyed the

a Thai spa with a thermal suite

(Belvoir Park); 6,706 yards,

ROYAL PORTRUSH

experience. When Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m home,

and an infinity pool. Packages

par 71 (Malone).

Portrush, County Antrim

I play the odd round with my

start at ÂŁ130 per person for

McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s verdict â&#x20AC;&#x153;These are

Length 7,143 yards, par 72.

mates at RCD, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love

a one-night stay, based on two

two of the other great parkland

McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s verdict â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is

to play a professional

sharing, including breakfast

courses in Northern Ireland.

among my favourite places to

tournament there one day.â&#x20AC;?

and a round of golf on the

Both are really close to Belfast

play in Northern Ireland, one of

Green fees ÂŁ150-ÂŁ165; ÂŁ180

Faldo Championship course.

city centre, so they are ideally

the truly great links courses.

Sunday afternoons (028 4372

As a 16-year-old, I played in the

3314, royalcountydown.org).

HOLYWOOD GOLF CLUB

a round in the morning with

North of Ireland Amateur

Where to stay Slieve Donard

Holywood, County Down

mates, then chill out and have

Open championship there,

Resort and Spa (028 9047 1066,

Length 6,118 yards, par 69.

a bit of lunch afterwards. Set in

shooting that 61 course record.

hastingshotels.com) is next

McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s verdict â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well,

well-matured parkland, these

I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to compete in the

door to Royal County Down,

I obviously have to mention my

two are definitely worth a visit.â&#x20AC;?

Irish Open there in June.

overlooking Newcastleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long

home club, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t I? I have so

Green fees Belvoir Park ÂŁ65;

Beating 61 will be a big ask, but

beach and set against the

many great memories from

ÂŁ75 (028 9049 1693,

I think I know the course well

backdrop of the Mourne

Holywood, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have

belvoirparkgolfclub.com);

enough to give it a good shot.â&#x20AC;?

mountains. A former railway

many more over the years.

Malone ÂŁ75; ÂŁ85 (028 9061

Green fees ÂŁ140; ÂŁ160 (028

hotel, the 115-year-old building

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a really nice parkland

2758, malonegolfclub.co.uk).

7082 2311, royalportrush

retains an air of grandeur.

course overlooking the Belfast

Where to stay Again, the

golfclub.com). For details and

Facilities include six luxury

lakes and the countryside.â&#x20AC;?

Culloden Estate and Spa

ticketing arrangements for the

suites and an ESPA spa spread

Green fees ÂŁ25; ÂŁ29 (028 9042

(details above) is within

Irish Open (June 28-July 1, 2012)

across two floors. Doubles

3135, holywoodgolfclub.co.uk).

easy reach of both courses.

see europeantour.com.

from ÂŁ100 per night, b&b.

Where to stay Most hotels in

 LCKI8KI8M<C

and around Portrush are

LOUGH ERNE

already fully booked during the

Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

Irish Open. North and West

Length 7,167 yards, par 72.

Coast Links Golf (00 353 91

McIlroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s verdict â&#x20AC;&#x153;I became

868642, northandwestcoast

officially attached to this great

links.com) can arrange

course as its touring

accommodation in the Portrush

professional, a position I hold

area, or, if unavailable, within

now. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t beat the setting,

a reasonable drive. It also

on a private 600-acre peninsula

organises helicopter golf,

between Lower Lough Erne

located. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll go there and play


FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF RORY, DARREN AND GRAEME. VIA THE ODD BUNKER OR TWO.


 LCKI8KI8M<C


Arab swing Clockwise, from main picture: Alvaro Quiros driving from the eighth tee at Emirates Golf Club, Dubai; Yas Island; the Yas Links clubhouse; Luke Donald playing among 250ft dunes in the Liwa Desert; detail of Abu Dhabi Golf Club; the Burj Tower, Dubai; and Tiger Woods after winning the 2008 Dubai Desert Classic

CRAZY GULF

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are constantly aspiring â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and their quest to become one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier golf destinations is nearly complete. The Sky Sports presenter Sarah Stirk plays four top courses and feels the energy of the emirates

LCKI8KI8M<C 


A birdie at the 18th The clubhouse at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, shaped like a falcon

Rolls-Royce golf carts are among the luxuries that make a difference

I

remember being in Dubai in 2004, when magazine covers the world over splashed that iconic shot of a young Tiger Woods teeing off from the top of the Burj Al Arab. The image was unforgettable: a symbol of the emirateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fierce ambition â&#x20AC;&#x201C; although, in reality, there was little to show for it beyond futuristic blueprints and multi-million-pound plans. Fast forward eight years, and much has changed. Golf and Gulf have become synonymous. Some of the biggest names in course design â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Pete Dye, Kyle Phillips, Gary Player and Colin Montgomerie, to name but a few â&#x20AC;&#x201C; have created challenging layouts in the Middle East, luring the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top golfers to compete for breathtaking prize money in some of the biggest tournaments outside the four majors. With its award-winning resorts (the Burj, the Emirates Palace, Etihad Towers, the One&Only Royal Mirage), the region is fast becoming the winter sun destination for golfing tourists, too. Economic woes may have slowed the rate of construction in Dubai â&#x2C6;&#x2019; the 18-hole Tiger Woods course that was supposed to open in 2009 has been put on hold â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but Abu Dhabi has picked up the baton. And while Tigerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s star has waned, on and off the course, golf has found a new star in Rory McIlroy, who has re-enacted his predecessorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pose on the Burj helipad (the cover shot for this issue). Indeed, it was Bill Walshe â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the jovial Irishman behind that 2004 stunt â&#x20AC;&#x201C; who partnered me around Greg Normanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Earth course, where the recent Omega Dubai Desert Classic took place. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Only in Dubai, with its can-do spirit, could a project of this scale have been possible,â&#x20AC;? he said, as we took aim over the water at the signature 17th, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and only here could it have happened so quickly. Come on, they even have a ski slope in the desert!â&#x20AC;? Certainly, the UAE has been quick to position itself at the heart of the golfing world. Its calendar is now jam-packed with world-class golf events, the first being the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the end of January, followed in February by the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in Doha and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. While nothing much happens outdoors in the months from June to September, when temperatures can reach 48C, the tempo changes in November. Just as golf bags are being mothballed in Britain, the European Tour returns to the region for the grand finale, the Race to Dubai, where a winner is crowned (taking the lionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share of the $8 million purse) after a season of 46 tournaments in 25 countries. The attitude here has always been to strive for the best. If the Emerati

havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t got it, they buy it or build it. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why you will find, alongside the Gulfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lavish hotels, award-winning restaurants by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White. For fine art lovers, the Gehry-designed Guggenheim and the Louvre in Abu Dhabi are soon to come. Add to the mix shopping malls, well-tended beaches and a portfolio of top sporting events (from Formula 1 and the Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cup to international cricket, football, tennis, rugby sevens and the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s richest horse race), and the rise of the region as a premier destination looks unstoppable. How long will it be before the winter Olympics arrive here? As a Sky Sports presenter, I have developed a feel for which tournaments golfers look forward to, and which seem part of the daily grind. Events held in the UAE are among the former. Professionals enjoy playing in this part of the world for the meticulous service, the proximity to Europe and, of course, the sunshine. Frank Gehry-designed clubhouses, pools, spas and tennis courts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and, at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Rolls-Royce golf carts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are among the luxuries that make the experience different from elsewhere. For many players, the Gulf has become a home from home â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not least for Rory McIlroy, who won his first professional title at the Dubai Desert Classic and, soon afterwards, landed a sponsorship deal with the Jumeirah hotel group. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the perfect winter training base, thanks to superb facilities and some fine instructors, including Pete Cowan (Lee Westwoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s swing coach) and Graeme McDowell (who has an academy at the Emirates Golf Club). As a keen golfer who loves to travel, I find the Gulf hard to beat as a destination â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even if parts of it are still being built. When I visited Jumeirah Golf Estates, two of the four courses named after the elements â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Earth and Fire â&#x20AC;&#x201C; were open but, alongside them, mechanical diggers were building villas that will, it is claimed, comprise an area of accommodation nine times the size of Hyde Park. The noise was inescapable, but if you can ignore it, you will quickly be consumed by the challenge of the testing layouts, designed with the help of Greg Norman and featuring natural undulations, fiercely-sloping greens and immaculate fairways. There is less distraction at the longer-established Emirates Golf Club, which has a finished feel. The construction cranes are still there in the hazy distance, but I challenge any serious golfer not to feel a thrill when shooting at pins against the backdrop of the ever-changing Dubai skyline. While the Emirates Golf Club is the best-known venue in the Middle East, Yas Links in neighbouring Abu Dhabi is quickly catching up. Kyle Phillips, the man behind Kingsbarns, Dundonald and The Grove, has produced a masterpiece in the form of a links course â&#x20AC;&#x201C; surreal in the Arabian desert, but a true test for even the most professional golferâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s game.

LCKI8KI8M<C 


The same can be said of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, which I played just after it opened a couple of years ago, with the golfing legend Gary Player. Beautifully laid-out near the beach, the course cuts into the contours of the natural landscape, with dramatic dunes and coastal views. When all the development is complete on Yas and Saadiyat, they will be exceptional destinations with exceptional courses on which to play. Until then, they will be great courses in surroundings that remain an ambitious work in progress. In a way, that is part of the appeal of Abu Dhabi and its neighbour Dubai. They are constantly growing and evolving, and nothing stays the same. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as if the words â&#x20AC;&#x153;inertiaâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;impossibleâ&#x20AC;? are not in the Emiratisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lexicon. Nobody can say the Gulf states donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go for it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and, boy, when it comes off, the results are spectacular.

SAND, SEA, EARTH AND FIRE Some Middle East courses challenge golfers with all the elements, others are just named after them. Here is Ultratravelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pick of the most testing terrains Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Overview The Arabian Gulfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first ocean course, designed by Gary Player (and pictured below), harnesses the natural beauty of Saadiyatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s white sand beaches. The clubhouse, designed by Frank Gehry and due for completion next

Sarah Stirk flew to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways (020 8735 6781,

year, will be spectacular.

etihadairways.com); return flight from ÂŁ428. She stayed at Jumeirah

Designer Gary Player.

at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi and One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai

Length From 5,290 yards to

(see below). Transport was provided by Rhino Car Hire (0845 508

7,806 for the pros, par 72.

9845, rhinocarhire.com). Your Golf Travel (0800 043 6644, yourgolf

Signature hole The 11th,

travel.com) can arrange luxury packages. Five nights at One&Only

known as Playerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Alley, on Ready, aim, Fire The Fire course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, notorious for its deep bunkers

Royal Mirage, in a Palace twin room, costs from ÂŁ1,375 per person, based on two sharing. The price includes return flight from London (with free golf club carriage), transfers, and a round of golf at each

which the designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s handprints and signature are cast in a concrete plaque. Tip Plot carefully and be

of Emirates Majlis, Dubai Creek, Els Club and the Earth course.

accurate with your iron shots.

plays uphill so requires a long

ABU DHABI Yas Links

Overview With two courses,

and accurate second shot to

Overview This world-class

ways, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a definite advantage.

Earth and Fire, this estate

make the green, where

links course in the middle of

Green fee AED 600

offers 36 holes of brilliant

a three putt is a possibility.

the desert has views of the Yas

(ÂŁ103), sbgolfclub.ae

WHERE TO STAY

championship golf. (Earth will

Tip The Majlis favours a draw

F1 circuit. Kyle Phillips shaped

One&Only Royal Mirage (00 971 4399 9999, oneandonly

host the Dubai World

and you need to get it close

nearly two miles of coastline

resorts.com) has three styles of accommodation (The Palace,

Championship later this year.)

with your approaches, as

to create the firm, fast terrain,

Arabian Court, and Residence & Spa) and is right on the

There is no shortage of

some of the greens are huge.

a challenge for golf purists. The

beach; doubles from ÂŁ450. Burj Al Arab (00 971 4301 7777,

bunkers, so golfers get plenty

Green fee Majlis â&#x20AC;&#x201C; AED 995

clubhouse â&#x20AC;&#x201C; surrounded by

jumeirah.com/burjalarab), on a man-made island off Jumeirah

of use from their sand wedges;

(ÂŁ170); Faldo â&#x20AC;&#x201C; AED 595

land rich with birds and

Beach, bills itself as the first seven-star hotel; doubles from

there are stepladders in some

(ÂŁ100), dubaigolf.com

plantlife â&#x2C6;&#x2019; was designed with

ÂŁ1,000. Raffles Dubai (00 971 4324 8888, raffles.com/dubai)

of the traps to save tired legs.

is a dramatic feature on the Dubai skyline â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a giant pyramid

Designer Greg Norman.

The Montgomerie

extremely relaxing.

Al Ghazal Golf Club

with a garden depicting the four elements; doubles from ÂŁ172.

Length Earth â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7,675 yards,

Overview The course (below)

Designer Kyle Phillips.

Overview Al Ghazal provides

par 72; Fire â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7,433 yards, 72.

has become the focal point for

Length 7,450 yards

a novel Abu Dhabi experience:

WHERE TO EAT

Signature hole The 18th on

one of Dubaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most exclusive

from the tips, par 72.

sand golf. The club has hosted

For dinner, Legends at the Dubai Creek Golf Club (00 971

the Earth, a beast of a par-five

residential communities,

Signature hole The par-three

leading European Tour

4295 6000, dubaigolf.com) serves up the best steaks in the

at 651 yards off the back tees,

17th: tee shots must carry the

professionals in the World

city; Al Muntaha, on the 27th floor of Burj al Arab (00 971

with water splitting the fairway.

water and avoid the dune

Sand Golf Championships.

4301 7777, burj-al-arab.com), is the place to go for freshly

Alvaro Quiros eagled it to

bunkers. Coastal breezes

Large, sloping browns (not

caught seafood and sensational views; and Splendido, at the

win the European Tour event

make club selection vital.

greens) made of sand and oil

Ritz-Carlton (00 971 4399 4000, ritzcarlton.com/dubai), whisks

held here last November.

Tip Slick greens make two

roll as straight, fast and true

up top-notch Italian fare, such as black risotto with mussels,

Tip Most of the greens are

putts difficult. Take plenty of

as any surface on a grass

sea urchins and â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a nice little Dubai touch â&#x20AC;&#x201C; gold leaf.

elevated, so take at least an

balls for the back nine; the

course â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but they do take a bit

extra club for approaches into

water claims a few. Holes 16,

of getting used to. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s golf not

DUBAI

ABU DHABI

course. At a full 434 yards, it

If you can work the ball both

an Arabian theme, and is

them; the slope of the greens

Emirates Hills. It has undulating

17 and 18 create one of the

as we know it, but great fun.

WHERE TO STAY

makes them hard to hold.

fairways and generous landing

best finishing stretches in golf.

Designer Unknown.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (00 971 2811 5555, jumeirah.

Green fee Earth â&#x20AC;&#x201C; AED 595

areas, but the finishing hole is

Green fee AED 850

Length 6,724 yards, par 71.

com) is housed in one of five new gleaming glass towers on

(about ÂŁ100); Fire â&#x20AC;&#x201C; AED 495

a brute. The practice facilities

(ÂŁ148), yaslinks.com

Signature hole The par-five

the beachfront, with city views from all 66 floors; doubles

(about ÂŁ85), info@

are world-class, including a

from ÂŁ205. The sumptuous St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

jumeirahgolfestates.com

state-of-the-art swing analysis

Abu Dhabi Golf Club

site to the right of the fairway,

studio, a nine-hole, par-three

Overview Home to the

golfers can end up rummaging

(00 971 2498 8888, stregissaadiyatisland.com) is on the island

fifth. With an archaeological

where Jean Nouvelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Louvre, Norman Fosterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Zayed National

Emirates Golf Club

academy course, a short-game

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf

for their ball among 5,000-

Museum and Frank Gehryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guggenheim are being built;

Overview Host to the Omega

area, practice putting greens

Championship, the national

year-old pottery shards.

doubles from ÂŁ242. Rocco Forte Abu Dhabi (00 917 2617

Dubai Desert Classic and the

and a driving range, all floodlit.

course is impressive.

Tip Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget the small

0000, roccofortehotelabudhabi.com) is set in one of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Omega Dubai Ladies Masters,

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of the best members-

Designer Peter Harradine

artificial grass mat that you

most architecturally innovative buildings â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all waves of blue

this was the first all-grass

only golf courses in Dubai.

Length 7,334 yards, par 72.

carry around with you, for

and green glass, with a bar suspended at sixth-floor level

championship golf course in

Designer The 2010 Ryder Cup

Signature hole The par-three

shots from the marked-out

inside its central atrium; doubles from ÂŁ160.

the Middle East when it

captain Colin Montgomerie.

12th; Sergio Garcia aced it

fairways (unless you want to

opened in 1988. The Faldo, one

Length 7,307 yards, par 72.

during a recent championship.

work on your bunker play).

WHERE TO EAT

of two options at the club, is

Signature hole The par-three

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the most photographed

Green fee AED 140

Rhodes 44 at the St Regis Abu Dhabi (00 971 2658 1288,

currently the only 18-hole

13th, where the large green is

and aesthetically pleasing hole,

(ÂŁ24), alghazalgolf.ae

stregisabudhabi.com) is due to open this summer, the

course in the region to offer

in the shape of the UAE.

with a lake protecting the front

latest Middle East venture from Michelin-starred chef Gary

â&#x20AC;&#x153;nightclubbingâ&#x20AC;? (floodlit golf).

Tip Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be shy with the

of the green and an imposing

Rhodes; the new 18° at the Hyatt Capital Gate (00 971 2596

Designer Majlis â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Karl Litten;

driver; the course features

rock wall as the backdrop.

1234, hyatt.com) specialises in Eastern Mediterranean

Faldo â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Sir Nick Faldo.

wide, open fairways with

Tip There are 90 bunkers; keep

dishes; and at the waterfront BBQ al Qasr at Emirates

Length Majlis â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7,301 yards,

limited risk, so enjoy

to the fairways. The rough is

Palace (00 971 2690 9000, emiratespalace.ae) guests dine in

par 72; Faldo â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7,348 yards, 73.

ripping it off the tee.

penal and tough to play out of.

Arabian-style beach gazebos with views out to sea.

Signature hole The par-four

Green fee AED 825 (ÂŁ142),

Green fee AED 600

dogleg eighth on the Majlis

themontgomerie.com

(ÂŁ103), adgolfclub.com

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GETTY; PIERS GOLDEN

THE APRES-GOLF GULF

DUBAI Jumeirah Golf Estates


SPECIAL OFFER AVAILABLE FROM NOBLE CALEDONIA - BOOK BEFORE 31 APRIL 2012 AND SAVE £500 PER PERSON

Timeless Japan

FAVOURIT MALL CRUISEELS INE NOB LE CALED ONIA

A voyage of cultural discovery around Japan including South Korea aboard the MS Caledonian Sky 24th April to 6th May 2013* & 3rd to 15th May 2013

Niigata

SEA OF JAPAN SOUTH KOREA

Kanazawa

JAPAN

Matsue

Pusan Hagi

Hiroshima Nagasaki

Tokyo

Miyajima

Kobe Okayama

Uwajima PACIFIC OCEAN

Japan is a fascinating balance of unique heritage and culture contrasting with the sprawling metropolises of the world’s most advanced technological civilisation. Made up of 6,852 islands, the perfect way to explore the Land of the Rising Sun is by sea. On our journey we will voyage around the stunning coastline and offshore islands of the archipelago, and discover ancient castles, serenely beautiful gardens and opulent temples and shrines. Although we will visit the aweinspiring contemporary landscape of Tokyo, what makes our itinerary truly unique is our visits to parts of Japan where tourists rarely set foot.

Also available with Noble Caledonia

Yakushima

O

ur vessel, the 114 passenger MS Caledonian Sky, allows us to visit out of the way destinations and remote stretches of coast that would not be practical on a land tour. In addition to our circumnavigation of Japan, our course takes us past the south eastern tip of Korea, where we will spend a day in Kyongju, the ‘Museum Without Walls’. Here, history comes vividly to life among the tombs, temples, shrines and pleasure gardens. Join us on this voyage of discovery and venture along the historic shores and off the well beaten tourist paths. May is the ideal time to see the countryside at its most verdant and whilst temperatures are still pleasant.

MS Caledonian Sky The MS Caledonian Sky, formerly known as Hebridean Spirit is one of the finest small ships in the world. She accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. All suites have outside views and many have private balconies, walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book as is the Club Lounge on the Panorama Deck. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade and on the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service.

The Itinerary Day 1 - London to Tokyo. Fly by scheduled indirect flight. Day 2 - Tokyo. Arrive this morning and transfer to the New Otani Hotel for an overnight stay. Day 3 - Tokyo to Niigata. Enjoy a city tour including Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple and the Imperial Palace Plaza. Transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and sail this afternoon. Day 4 - Kanazawa. Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquer ware, outstanding collectible pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship, and delicate hand-painting of silk for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The famed Kenroku-en Gardens is ranked among the country’s top gardens. Day 5 - Matsue. Matsue, called the ‘town of water,’ nestles between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. We will visit the cultural attractions of the town including Matsue Castle. This afternoon join an optional excursion to the Adachi Museum. Day 6 - Hagi. Japan’s revolution began in Jokamachi’s old samurai residential quarter and here we will tour a samurai’s home. Also visit Daisho Temple, the resting place of the two first Mori daimyo and all the even-numbered daimyo. We will also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple. Day 7 - Pusan for Kyongju. Today embark on a full-day excursion to

magnificent Kyongju, a World Heritage Site which is often described as the world’s finest open-air museum. At lunch, sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance of traditional dance. Day 8 - Nagasaki & Dejima. Arrive this morning in Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. We will tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Glover Garden. Continue to Dejima Island. Day 9 - Yakushima. This morning we arrive on the island of Yakushima which became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. Its natural wonders will astound you as Yakushima has a particularly diverse flora.

From the Coral Sea to the Spice Islands 12th to 30th March 2013 A unique voyage from North Queensland to New Guinea and Indonesia’s Coral Triangle SPECIAL OFFER PRICES FROM £5995

Day 10 - Uwajima. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre. Learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. Day 11 - Hiroshima & Miyajima. Arrive in Hiroshima to visit the compelling Peace Memorial Park. Continue to Miyajima. Considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, Miyajima provides a picture-postcard vista of the scarlet Torii gate, the giant camphor wood gates at the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. Day 12 - Okayama & Kurashiki. This morning we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en. This 17th-century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees, and a classic teahouse where we will experience a traditional tea ceremony. Day 13 - Kobe to London. Disembark this morning and transfer to Osaka Kansai Airport for the return scheduled indirect flight to London. Arrive this evening.

Prices & Inclusions Special offer prices per person based on double occupancy start from £5495 for a Standard Forward Suite to £8695 for an Owner’s Suite. Suites for sole use start from £6495. Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, overnight hotel accommodation in Tokyo on breakfast only basis, 10 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky on full board basis with house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, cruise director, guest lecturer, shore excursions, gratuities to crew and whilst on excursions, transfers, port taxes, airport taxes. NB: Ports subject to change. All special offers are subject to availability. Travel insurance is not included in the price. * Please note that the 24th April departure operates from Kobe to Tokyo.

Call us today on 020 7752 0000 for your copy of our brochure. Alternatively view or request online at www.noble-caledonia.co.uk

A Circumnavigation of Borneo 28th March to 14th April 2013 An expedition cruise in the Wake of Joseph Conrad and James Brooke encompassing Kalimantan, Sarawak, Sabah and the Sultanate of Brunei SPECIAL OFFER PRICES FROM £6495

-

A Circumnavigation of Sumatra 6th to 23rd October 2013 A voyage around the ‘Isle of Gold’ SPECIAL OFFER PRICES FROM £6195

For details pertaining to all these remarkable voyages, please telephone 020 7752 0000 to request a copy of our new brochure or visit www.noble-caledonia.co.uk


SOUTH CAROLINA

EASY DRIVING RANGE Myrtle Beach has 103 courses, Hilton Head 20 and Kiawah Island half a dozen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all within a four-hour drive of each other. On a South Carolina road trip, Adam Ruck plays plenty of golf but is equally charmed by the noble houses of Charleston, fishing trips, grits for breakfastâ&#x20AC;Ś and alligators on the greens

nce they get the serious business at Augusta out of the way, the tour professionals can kick back and head for the beach. Some of them can, anyway. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We only invite the more entertaining ones,â&#x20AC;? said Danna Lilly of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, over a shrimp and grits breakfast in the Sea Captainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s House, a rare wooden beach cabin among the high-rise hotels that mark the mid-point of South Carolinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 60-mile-long coastal resort. John Daly is an automatic pick for Myrtleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Monday After The Mastersâ&#x20AC;? pro-am, and always a popular figure on stage â&#x20AC;&#x201C; beer, burger, cigarette and microphone in hand â&#x20AC;&#x201C; at the après-golf party, which takes place outside Greg Normanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Australian Grille and a rusty corrugated tobacco barn known as the House of Blues. Daly the party animal is as unpredictable as the golfer. Last year he was sober, and not nearly so much fun as usual. In the good old days, his crowd might have moved on from the House of Blues to Thee Dollhouse, Myrtle Beachâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s standout adult nightclub, and an all-night shagging session in one of North Myrtle Beachâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many shag bars. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not what you think,â&#x20AC;? said Danna, smiling patiently for the zillionth time at the British holiday golfer who chokes on a shrimp at this example of two nations divided by a common language. Shagging is the Carolinasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; version of swing dancing, a perfectly respectable cultural component of Myrtle Beachâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s varied family holiday appeal. From Myrtle Beach, the pros will take their hangovers 150 miles down the swampy South Carolina coast for a PGA tour event among the holiday homes and tall sea pines of Hilton Head Island, perhaps having broken their journey at Charleston for a crafty practice round beside the ocean at Kiawah, which will host this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s US PGA Championship in the sticky heat of the low-country August. Having followed the same itinerary a few weeks ago, I can vouch for it as the perfect non-intensive touring holiday, mixing top-quality golf with the pleasures of an American road trip, a little heritage and considerable Southern comfort. It would be a pity to let golf take

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CHIP HENDERSON

O


Southern discomfort The mounded fairway of the Barefoot course, designed by Pete Dye, at Myrtle Beach

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over the entire trip, as it easily might, with 103 courses in Myrtle Beach alone, more than 20 on Hilton Head and half a dozen on little Kiawah Island. Among so many courses – all promising a fine test for every club in the bag, all inviting and challenging, and all rewarding accuracy above power – how to choose? My starting point was Martin’s Golf & Tennis Superstore, to stock up with ammo. After that, you can make your selection on price – $50 to $200 a round at Myrtle Beach – or go for the trophy courses, or select the works of your favourite course architect. Using a combination of the last two, I found myself on a Pete Dye tour. Dye designed the course used for the Monday After the Masters event, on an upscale estate called Barefoot Resort & Golf, with a marina on the Intracoastal Waterway which runs parallel to the beach a mile back and separates Myrtle from most of its golf. For the 1991 “War on the Shore” Ryder Cup – when feelings ran high in the wake of the Gulf War, and the atmosphere was electric – the same architect made Kiawah’s Ocean Course. There, every golfer including me wants to rescue a half from dormie four down, as Monty did; and hole the putt poor Bernhard Langer missed at the death. Pete Dye also built Harbour Town, where Hilton Head stages its Heritage championship beneath the holiday island’s signature stripy lighthouse. The man is a famous sadist, notorious for his upturned soup-dish fairways, raised greens, sleepered bunkers and other forms of torture; and he is cheerfully unapologetic. “It’s not my courses that are difficult,” Dye once told a group of sports writers, “but you golfers who are no good.” Hit it straight, and you won’t have too much trouble. Besides, he argues, resorts are measured by their tough championship courses – witness Kiawah, where property prices have rocketed since he built the “toughest course in America”. High-handicappers cross the globe to pay $350 plus the cost of a caddy to play it. “Dye tries to intimidate you,” said the pro at Barefoot, as I unwrapped the first of many new balls; “just loosen your grip and let it go. There’s always more space than he shows you from the tee.” Results were mixed, but it was fun trying. A Dye course is never dull, but the landscape at Barefoot lacked a Southern something. There were palms, or more likely palmettos, but no secretive low canopy of tangled “live oaks” with their diaphanous drapery of Spanish moss. Nor did we see any alligators. When I asked around for a Myrtle Beach course with a Southern plantation atmosphere, one name kept coming up: Caledonia, at Pawleys Island. On the way to Pawleys is Murrells Inlet, a low-rise residential community with a more relaxing mood than the fun-filled frenzy of Myrtle. In one of its small hotels such as the Inlet Sports Lodge, the golfer could enjoy a quiet stay, strolling the boardwalk at dusk with pelicans for company, fishing from a boat with a local guide, cooking up the catch for supper and playing the odd golf game at Caledonia and its equally good neighbour, True Blue, an old indigo plantation. The Litchfield diner, between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys, serves a good breakfast, too. “Which came first: the fried chicken or the fried egg?” was the arresting roadside advertisement that made me hit the brakes and pull in. Most of my fellow breakfasters took the view that chicken and egg should come simultaneously, with lashings of grits on the side. These are a local speciality, and if you want to make a friend of a Carolinian breakfast waitress, say yes when she offers to refresh your

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grits. As a devotee of coarse oatmeal porridge, I had no difficulty with this. Caledonia looked like a real golfing treat, and a fairly challenging one, with a profusion of ancient oaks and a fine collection of egrets, turtles and alligators sunbathing contentedly at the back of the 14th green. The greenkeeper had had the sense to choose a pin position at the front, but the golfers still looked twitchy as they played up short, conceded long putts and moved on. It was tempting to play Caledonia, but Charleston beckoned. After checking in beneath the chandeliers and

piazzas (covered balconies) are so beautiful I could easily have spent all day walking the streets admiring them. That is what I did for an hour, though mainly to walk off the best dinner I have ever consumed in America (at the Charleston Grill). On Sunday morning, shiny-cheeked fathers and fragrant mothers were dragging their beribboned and besuited little Lord and Lady Fauntleroys to church. I followed them into St Philip’s to see Charleston society at worship, and came face to face with yet another monument to William Moultrie, scourge of our nation, who in June 1776 won the first complete American victory over the “boasted navy of England”, saving Charleston from capture and “proving the superiority of patriotic valor over the sheltered discipline of despots”. Two-and-a-half centuries on, I think we can take all this patriotic stuff in good spirit without feeling personally slighted. Whether American patriotism oversteps the line when the Ryder Cup comes to Illinois in September remains to be seen. At Kiawah in 1991, it did. A local radio DJ set the tone by inciting listeners to join a “wake the enemy” campaign of telephone calls in the middle of the night. Charleston’s rock station, Chuck FM, was in a more supportive mood as I approached Kiawah’s Ocean Course with 10 minutes to go before my 8am tee time, having been delayed by the breakfast buffet and butterfly garden in Kiawah’s well-named hotel, The Sanctuary. “Hit me with your best shot – fire away!” screamed Pat Benatar, and I vowed to do just that. Perhaps they play this song every morning at 10 to eight, to encourage the early golfer. The rule at the Ocean Course is no carts before noon, and no trolleys. You can carry but, considering the green fee, $65 for a caddy is a modest supplement. My playmate Ike and I gave our bags to Joe. “Slow down and take your time,” said Joe. “There’s no one behind us.” So I took my time, and hit the practice range with my best shots, firing away with massive explosions of sandy earth and minimal blade-to-ball contact. This inglorious display proved an excellent strategy, because Joe saw it and marched me to the forward tee with strict instructions

Pete Dye is a famous sadist, notorious for his soup-dish fairways and raised greens sweeping grand staircase of its flagship hotel, Charleston Place, I managed to subdue mulish “I prefer to look around on my own” instincts, and signed up for a town tour in a horse and carriage. “Chahl’ston,” said our driver and guide, who introduced himself rather wittily as Bones, and his horse as Steve, “occupies a narrow peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper rivers, and we like to say they form the Atlantic Ocean.” Charles II put Lord Ashley (Cooper) in charge of the area in sixteen sixty-something. Bones had some fun when he found out that he had an Englishman on board. “Last time you all came over, it didn’t turn out too good,” he declared to great hilarity, and it was not the Ryder Cup he had in mind, but William Moultrie’s successful defence of Charleston in 1776, which set America on course for independence. But Bones did not harp on about this, and his guided tour was a model of charm and bottomless knowledge on matters historical, architectural, botanical, seismological and much besides. He deserved a generous tip, but we English have a reputation to maintain, and it would not have been fair to confuse Bones in this regard. Charleston’s noble houses with their vast pillared


Dye-cast Left to right: The championship Harbour Town Links at Hilton Head Island and, inset below, an aerial view of the Ocean Course at Kiawah; houses in downtown Charleston; and Adam Ruck after a round at Hilton Head

than one topped ball nose-dive into the water a few yards in front of the tee. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let Pete Dye intimidate you,â&#x20AC;? the pro had said. But I am afraid he did. I remembered Harbour Townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tight fairways and tiny greens from a previous visit, and telephoned the reception. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve played Harbour Town before,â&#x20AC;? I said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Could I try somewhere else?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sure, how about Heron Point? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just down the road, and everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talking about it.â&#x20AC;? Fifteen minutes later I was on the tee, confronting water, sand, alligators â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all the usual horrors, discreetly framed by luxury housing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a Pete Dye course,â&#x20AC;? said the starter, â&#x20AC;&#x153;so I guess you know what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in for. People say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s too difficult, but I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find it so. See what you think.â&#x20AC;?

What I think is, Heron Point is an enjoyable walk and if you hit the ball straight, you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find it too difficult at all. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, Pete Dyeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waste bunkers, lakes and other traps will swallow you up, and the beer drinkers in the rocking chairs on the porches overlooking the course will reap a rich harvest of your golf balls, as they did mine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Relax, concentrate and be confident,â&#x20AC;? said a poster in the gents somewhere on the home stretch. I girded my spirits for a brave drive at the last, and for once the ball flew obligingly over a bend in the lake to split the fairway in easy pitching range of the flag. If the rest of the hole did not quite live up to the drive, at least I had a good shot to remember, when the beer and the rocking chair on the porch had my name on them.

HOW TO DO THE CHARLESTON (WITH A LITTLE BIT OF GOLF, TOO) GETTING THERE

$120) at the Charleston Grill. The

50 miles

Destination Golf (020 7223 8726,

Sanctuary (001 843 768 6000,

destinationgolf.co.uk) has a one-week tailored holiday from ÂŁ1,295 per person, based on two people sharing. The price includes outward flight from Gatwick to Myrtle Beach (via Charlotte) and return from Savannah with US Airways, seven daysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; compact car rental, plus three

Pawleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Island

SOUTH CAROLINA Kiawah Island Hilton Head Island

Myrtle Beach

kiawahresort.com); from $354 per person per night, with golf (supplement payable for the Ocean Course). EATING AND DRINKING Dinner: Charleston Grill (001 843 577

Charleston

4522, charlestongrill.com), Charleston US

nights at the Inlet Sports Lodge, one

Place precinct; $55, without wine. Ocean Room at The Sanctuary (001 843 768

night at Charleston Place, one at The

6253, kiawahresort.com); $70.

Sanctuary, and two at The Inn at Harbour

Town Links ÂŁ139 (seapines.com);

Breakfast: Litchfield Restaurant

Town. Upgrading to business class

Heron Point ÂŁ69 (seapines.com).

(litchfieldrestaurant.com), 12223 Ocean

costs ÂŁ2,995 extra.

STAYING THERE

Highway, between Murrells Inlet and

PLAYING THERE

Inlet Sports Lodge (001 843 357 6106,

Pawleys Island. Open from 6.30am daily;

Fees (pre-booked through Destination

inletsportslodge.com); $500 (about ÂŁ320)

no reservations. Sea Captainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s House

Golf) include the use of a buggy, but

per person for two nights plus two green

(001 843 448 8082, seacaptains.com),

precaddies, caddies and tips cost extra.

fees at Caledonia/True Blue. The Inn at

3002 North Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle

Dye at Barefoot ÂŁ129 (barefootgolf.

Harbour Town (seapines.com); rooms

Beach. Reservation advised.

com); Caledonia ÂŁ122 (fishclub.com);

from about $200. Charleston Place

CHARLESTON TOUR

True Blue ÂŁ122 (fishclub.com);

(001 843 722 4900, charlestonplace.com);

From Big Red Barn, Rainbow Market,

Ocean Course at Kiawah ÂŁ195

from $350 per night for two, including

Guignard Street (001 843 723 8145,

(kiawahresort.com); Harbour

parking, breakfast and dinner (up to

palmettocarriage.com); one hour, $22.

LCKI8KI8M<C 

PINKSPLASH.COM; REX FEATURES; CHIP HENDERSON; MARK STAFF

not even to think about playing from any further back. As a result, I scored well by my modest standards. Ike (handicap five) played an iron off most tees and came in delighted with his 78. There may be a lesson there. This is not to say the Ocean Course lacks teeth. When the wind blows, it must be a beast â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as it was last August when they invited all comers to play it at full length (7,600 yards), with a handsome prize offered for the low score of the week. The winner, a plus three handicap, shot 83. Viewed from the front tee position on a still morning, however, the fairway seemed altogether generous. An osprey flew over us with a fish in its talons, and from a foot bridge over the swamp behind the first green, Joe pointed out a pair of blinking eyes in the mud just beneath our feet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be fetching your ball from the swamp,â&#x20AC;? he said. Nor would he go kicking around in the heavier clumps of rough (poisonous moccasin snake habitat) or sit down to watch a golf tournament for that matter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jurassic Park out there,â&#x20AC;? said Joe. Ike and I found a few greens, holed a few putts and walked back to marvel at the huge distances the pros have to hit a ball from the back tee. We listened to the oceanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s murmur, loved the absence of trees and thought there was nowhere in the world we would rather be than there and then. It was all looking good for Joeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tip until a weak approach putt at the last brought my ball to Bernhard Langer territory. Bernhard was under a little more pressure than I was â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the 1991 Ryder Cup was at stake â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but my ball still managed to slide past the hole. Joe affected a fine display of disappointment. If Myrtle Beach is in your face, Hilton Head is all seclusion: gated golf clubs, housing estates and shopping malls set back from the road and hidden by a screen of dense foliage. The Inn at Harbour Town is the golferâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural home, the clubhouse at Pete Dyeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s championship links its dining room. From my bedroom balcony I watched the early golfers make their first swings of the morning. In half an hour, I saw 12 players tee it up, heard the sound of ball on tree eight times (followed by an angry swish and an expletive from the tee) and saw more


SCOTLAND

MONTY’S MASTER CLASS

When Colin Montgomerie shares his tips with you, it pays to listen. At Turnberry, Charles Starmer-Smith (inset, with tutor) finds his game improved by a mantra remembered from the maestro’s golf academy

S

woosh. With languid strokes and his unmistakable high finish, Colin Montgomerie ran through his full gamut of shots – draws, fades, punches, lobs, chips and putts – as he talked the small group of amateur enthusiasts through the rudiments of links golf. Ball after ball seemed to obey his every whim despite the buffeting winds that swept across Turnberry, on the south-west coast of Scotland. It is one thing to marvel at the professionals from the comfort of your armchair, quite another to do so from just three yards away. The timing and purity of the ball-striking was something to behold. During this hour of tuition from one of Europe’s greatest golfers, the vistas across the Firth of Clyde barely got a look in. “Now I know exactly what you are all going to do,” said the amiable Scot as we headed over to play the Arran course, just one highlight of a weekend at his golfing academy. “You’ll say Monty doesn’t know what he is talking about, then grab your driver and try and hit it from here to Hadrian’s Wall,” he added with a hearty guffaw. We shook our heads at his lack of faith in his students. Fifteen minutes later, as we gathered on the first tee, the master sent his shot arrowing down the centre of the fairway. Now for the first student. I placed the ball precariously on the tee and looked around: the green seemed to shrink, the fairway narrowed and I was suddenly acutely aware of the proximity of one of Britain’s most successful golfers – eight times Order of Merit champion, 34 times European Tour victor, Ryder Cup-winning captain, one of the greatest match-player players of all time… Oh, just hit it already. Up, back, down, whack – in a blur of movement, the club rotated like a Catherine wheel. I’d given it the full Monty and the ball arced high, left, further left, and left

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some more – into the thigh-deep rough we’d been told to avoid at all costs. I tried not to make eye contact with Monty, as a deepening hue spread across my face. Sheepishly I pulled out a rescue club, took a deep breath, loosened my stranglehold on the grip, and repeated Monty’s mantra about rhythm and positivity. Sure enough, the ball bounced neatly down the fairway, coming to a halt level with his ball. Monty smiled. He knows what he is talking about, particularly at Turnberry. The great man leaves an indelible impression on visiting golfers – almost as much as the whitewashed walls of the grand hotel that defines Turnberry Resort, the 1,200ft-high granite dome of Ailsa Craig, which provided generations of curlers with their stones, and the towering lighthouse that has dominated the coastline since 1873. Monty’s attachment to Turnberry goes beyond the links golf academy he set up in 2000, his contesting of two Opens there, his mother’s membership, and the fact that he was born in Ayrshire. This was also the place where, as a nervous 24-year-old amateur with Garfunkel-esque curls, he drove his mother’s Honda Prelude to the 10th tee of the Ailsa course in 1987 to meet executives of the sports management firm IMG and be interviewed for a (junior) job. Just 29 staggering strokes later, he was shaking hands on the 18th green – not with his potential employers, but with his new employees. IMG wanted to work for him. “I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing because I was too busy watching my Ps and Qs and trying to impress them,” he explained, modestly. Having earned a cool £23 million in prize money, and designed a raft of top golf courses in the quarter-century since he turned professional, it is perhaps no wonder that Monty has a soft spot for Turnberry, the place where it all began. Such ties make a weekend at his golf school even more special. He is not a celebrity golfer adding a sprinkle of stardust to the proceedings, but part of the furniture.


ILLUSTRATION BY MICK BROWNFIELD

Fiercely competitive, Monty was castigated by the press earlier in his career for petulant behaviour when things didn’t go his way. Martin Johnson, the sports writer, wrote in 2002 that such were Monty’s mood swings, few would wish to be reincarnated as his cat: “You’d spend half your life purring in front of the fire, licking double cream off your whiskers, and the other half cowering under the stairs, keeping an anxious eye out for a flying Footjoy.” This image seemed hard to reconcile with the charming man walking the course – whether it was the generous insights he shared with each and every one of us, or the self-deprecating humour (even he would admit that the 49-year-old Monty is a bit fuller of figure than in years gone by). Nor is he the only one to have undergone a transformation. In 2009, a £40-million refurbishment turned the traditional hotel at Turnberry into a top resort, with a state-of-the-art golfing academy installed, multiple dining options, spa, gym and spacious suites with every mod con (the four finest are named after the Turnberry Open champions). However, it has not forgotten its heritage, from the affable chauffeur who picked me up from Prestwick Airport, regaling me with historical references and golfing folklore, to the bagpipes that welcome guests to pre-dinner drinks in the Ailsa bar. Despite all the manicuring of the fairways and the new facilities, the landscape has lost none of its rugged beauty. America may have Augusta and Pebble Beach, but here you can tee off beneath the ruins where Robert the Bruce is believed to have been born, hit irons among the rolling hills where Rabbie Burns waxed lyrical, and stroll across fields that served as air-force bases in two world wars. Despite Monty’s departure early next morning, the battle with our own golfing flaws had only just begun. Each member of our 12-strong group was assigned a PGA coach, under the auspices of Michael Sweenie, the head of the academy, to work on the weakest areas of our game.

LCKI8KI8M<C 


What followed was a series of drills on the sleek driving ranges, putting greens and bunkers of Turnberry, together with swing analysis sessions on the indoor video simulators (where any delusions of smooth McIlroy-esque motions were quickly shattered). No stone was left unturned to prove that Woodrow Wilson was wrong when he said golf was a sport where “one endeavours to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose”. That afternoon, we headed out on to the Kintyre championship course to put what we had learnt into practice. It was here that I first grasped the true beauty of Turnberry. From the brow of Bain Hill on the seventh hole, a panorama opened up before us: gentle hills gave way to sand dunes, craggy cliffs and that famous lighthouse; oystercatchers swooped over the cliffs and gannets dived into the swirling waters below. My mood was lifted further by another kind of birdie, a fortuitous one-under-par at the signature eighth. From an elevated tee, we took aim towards the sea. My miscued drive ended up perched on the tee-box of the adjoining hole, from where a perfectly executed lob wedge (more luck than judgement) saw my ball end up just a few feet from the hole. The putt was duly holed and duly dined out on that evening – over wild sea bass and lobster medallions in the 1906 restaurant, followed (again) by a few choice single malts in the Ailsa bar. But the Kintyre was just the golfing hors d’oeuvre. Before joining the polo-shirt convention at breakfast the next morning, I cast an eager eye towards the first tee of the Ailsa course. Even the most well-travelled of golfers cannot help but feel a frisson of excitement as they walk on to the hallowed turf where four Open Championships have been held: where Nicklaus was edged out by Watson in the sweltering summer of 1977 (in what became known as the “Duel in the Sun”); where Norman conquered in 1986; where Price banked a win in 1994; and where Watson, aged 59, was cruelly denied a fairytale second victory in 2009, when he was sunk by Cink in a play-off. Were the first few holes underwhelming? Or was it the nerves that were overwhelming? Either way, Turnberry’s signature course really bears its fruits from the fourth. Punitive rough and bunkers protect the course, but with the wind blowing a hoolie it was in little need of more armour. Good shots were rewarded (on the 18th, I managed to hole from the same distance that Watson missed from in 2009) and bad ones were severely punished (my ball met a watery grave at the 16th,

 LCKI8KI8M<C

GETTY

Greater Scot A piper plays outside the whitewashed hotel at Turnberry, transormed by a £40-million refurbishment in 2009. Right: an aerial view of the dramatic 454-yard ninth hole, a par four

At the seventh, a panorama opened up. Gentle hills gave way to dunes, craggy cliffs and that famous lighthouse MONTY’S TOP TIPS 1 Be positive with your putts. Believe you are going to hole it, pick a spot six inches past the hole and repeat to yourself “I’ve done this a thousands times”, then knock it in. 2 Take one club more than you think. How often does your ball finish past the flag? How often do you hit the ideal shot? Accept that you won’t strike it perfectly and watch your scores tumble. 3 When the wind is up, forget over-complicated punch shots, stance changes and closing the club face. Just hit it slower and lower, and let the ball do the rest. 4 Practise on the range as if you are playing the real thing. Don’t just hit ball after ball without thinking. Go through your routine – remember, it is about quality not quantity. 5 The biggest mistake amateurs make is gripping the club too tightly. Relax your grip and keep the hands light when addressing the ball. It will help your ball-striking.

How to book and learn Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy has yet to announce this year’s programme. For details, see turnberryresort.co. uk/events or call Turnberry reservations on 01655 333991.

misleadingly named the “Wee Burn”). Consistency was still an issue in my game, but even after three days’ tuition, the changes to my swing and tempo (simply slowing everything down) were bedding in and my ball-striking had improved immeasurably. Like Monty, for me it is the ninth, 10th and 11th holes – hugging the coastline – that will live longest in the golfing memory. “There is no more beautiful sight than the stretch of holes around the turn,” he said. “This is our Pebble Beach, our Monterey Peninsula.” Set on a stony outpost, the ninth is the highlight. With the Ailsa Craig looming large behind, and the lighthouse casting a shadow over the waves breaking on the craggy rocks ahead, you drive across the corner of the bay, biting off as much as you dare chew. Naturally, I reached for the driver, ready for my shot at glory. Then suddenly I remembered Monty’s words about course management. This was not a day for heroes. Instead I pulled out my trusty rescue club – and the ball found terra firma. A decent second into the green and two putts later, I holed out for a steady par. The penny had finally dropped. Which is why I would say that, if you have the good fortune to play at Turnberry, go for the full Monty package and you will learn that less is often more.


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Swing into action: enter now for the Don’t miss out: register today for this unique amateur tournament The Ladies Golf Cup is an amateur golf tournament exclusively for women. It was launched in Spain and Portugal in 1998 and is now the largest women’s amateur golf event in both of those countries. In 2010, the Ladies Golf Cup was staged for the first time in the UK. Qualifying events are designed and delivered in a quintessentially English garden party style, giving each lady golfer an opportunity to enjoy a memorable day out at a prestigious venue. The events are also great fun and offer the opportunity to interact with a number of high-end brands. The winner of each qualifying event is invited to join Team England and compete against other participating countries in the Ladies Golf Cup World Final at the end of the year. Previous finals have taken place in

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2012 qualifying events There are four qualifying events in 2012 at three prestigious championship courses in the south of England:

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Format and prizes The golf format is full handicap individual Stableford competition. Please note that this is not a qualifier for handicap purposes. There are two categories available in which to play: 0-18 handicap and the 19-30 handicap. Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place in both categories.

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Title sponsor

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Register now to avoid disappointment Luxurious venues: from left, Moor Park Golf Club; Burhill Golf Club; Brocket Hall Golf Club

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RDIIDIBAJMHPG< The 2011 Ladies Golf Cup World Final was hosted at La Manga Club, the award-winning sports and leisure resort in Murcia, Spain. World-class facilities, including a fabulous spa and top-quality cuisine, made this Mediterranean resort the perfect host for an event of this stature. Competitors enjoyed a taste of luxury, staying in the five-star Hotel La Manga Club Príncipe Felipe, next to two of the resort’s

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THE TREND

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players to hire clubs at the

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ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TEE TIME, CRUISERS

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olf clubs arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the first accessory one might consider

handsome sail-powered yacht Le Ponant will follow an

taking to sea. But cruise lines, ever adept at spotting a

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sights as well as courses such as Cannes-Mougins

at the end of their holiday. Products range from

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MD Golf Seve Junior

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TaylorMade Rocket

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put together. Scotland has the most courses

Ballz clubs, for ÂŁ45.

Silverseaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Silver Spirit now offers passengers access to such courses as Golf Park Mallorca and Sainte-Maxime in St Tropez,

at landmarks such as Mount Etna, as well as courses

as well as leading Caribbean clubs (silversea.com). Azamara Club

designed by Gary Player and Kyle Phillips (kalosgolf.

Cruises has created itineraries that stop at top European golfing

com). An equally ace decision by the cruise companies:

destinations, including, in July 2013, Scotland and Northern

on golfing days, alternative excursions are offered, too, from

Ireland during the British Open (azamaraclubcruises.com). The

wine tastings and cookery classes to historical tours.

company can arrange

in 1984; by 2009 there were

600

car hire, with the equipment waiting in the boot at the airport.

THE GIZMO

DO THEY REALLY PLAY BALL?

THE REAL DEAL

It may have been invented

GC2 golf simulator,

in Scotland more than 500

launched in 2010,

years ago, but today the

is now one of

gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appeal has spread

only two that are

beyond the male in

accepted for professionals to practise

scratchy tweed. Fans of the

on at PGA Tour events.

The Foresight Sports

The 4lb, 10-inch tool fits into

gentlemanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s game include

They look like trainers and are as comfortable as trainers, but they have rubber rather than metal spikes on their soles, making them ideal for the 19th hole. Tenny shoe, ÂŁ80, kikkor.com

An added bonus: the

per capita. The first course in China opened

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THE SHOE

for ÂŁ20 a week, to

(clockwise, from top left,

the pocket of an average golf bag, and

including handicaps): Alice

includes a stereoscopic camera and

Cooper (seven), Justin

software that accurately analyses the

Timberlake (six), Samuel

impact, speed and characteristics of the

L Jackson (five), Cameron

ball, then displays them on an outdoor-

Diaz (34), Meatloaf (18);

readable LCD monitor. From $6,495

and Jodie Kidd (18).

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LCKI8KI8M<C 


I prefer old-fashioned styles, like J Lindeberg, and I collect old golf shoes; I have about 20 pairs

T

he Scottish actor Dougray Scott, 46,

has homes in London and Los Angeles. Between jobs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in films such as Enigma (opposite Kate Winslet), Desperate Housewives and, more recently, My Week With Marilyn â&#x20AC;&#x201C; he can be found playing golf. Unusually, he is actively encouraged to do so by his wife, the actress Claire Forlani. How often do you take a holiday? Not often enough; my last was two years ago. What do you do to relax? Play golf, incessantly. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been doing so since I was a boy. My father played, my brother played, my brother-in-lawâ&#x20AC;Ś everyone does in Scotland. I was also born in St Andrews, the birthplace of golf. I play a few times a week, sometimes once every four weeks. For me, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s therapeutic and meditative: exercise for the body and brain. Favourite courses? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disloyal to Scotland, but Cypress Point Club, in California, is one of them. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s divided into three sections: the first six holes are inland, the next six in the woods, the final six by the sea. It is gorgeous, and the 16th has to be the most GETTY

spectacular par-three in the world â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you have to

TRAVELLING LIFE Dougray Scott

The actor and keen golfer (handicap six) on Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top courses, Paris hotels and the call of the wild in Zimbabwe

hit the ball right over a big ravine and the sea. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Where do you want to go on holiday next?

Top city for a weekend away?

that, even the simple hotel room at the bottom

by my favourite designer, Alister MacKenzie, who

Skye, the Hebrides or the Mull of Kintyre. I love

Paris; if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like it, there must be something

seemed like the most comfortable in the world.

based his designs on camouflage from the First

Scotland. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a place for five-star hotels, but it

wrong with you. We stayed at the HĂ´tel de Crillon

Most precious souvenirs?

World War. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve played several of his courses:

has beautiful scenery â&#x20AC;&#x201C; particularly just outside

the last time we were there, so we could walk

Bits of turquoise I bought in Thailand and India

Augusta National Golf Club, New South Wales in

Glasgow, on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rest and Be Thankfulâ&#x20AC;? [the A83

pretty much everywhere. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing better

when I was younger; a black onyx cross from

Australia, the Jockey Club in Buenos Aires.

road to Argyll]. Driving along there, then eating at

than walking in Paris at night. I love walking in

America; and a carved wooden statue of Christ

Top course in Britain?

the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, makes me very happy.

London, too, on a summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evening, through

from a market in the Dordogne.

The Old Course at St Andrews, because of its

Do you prefer big or small hotels?

Soho into Green Park, then on to Chelsea.

Most memorable trip?

history and how that makes you feel at the first

Small places, like Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand,

The most opulent places youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve stayed?

The train journey from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls

tee. It is a one-off, with the town wrapped around

which has bungalows on the beach, and a great

The Ritz in Paris, in a room with its own steam

in Zimbabwe. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not often that you hear an

the first and 18th, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where golf started.

chef. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an intense spirituality about New

room and sauna. And the art-deco Sunset

elephant from the train, or wake up to the

How many courses have you played?

Zealand. I loved the people in Auckland, Dunedin,

Tower Hotel in LA, which had a sweeping

most incredible sound â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and realise itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Falls

Hundreds. I take my clubs wherever I go. Currently,

even Oamaru, which is a bit like Southend-on-Sea,

staircase and double-height ceilings.

themselves. I will never forget walking up to

Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a six handicap â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so, not bad.

but more rustic and not far from the Antarctic.

Great place to relax?

them; the whole experience was spectacular.

What golf gear do you wear?

Best hotel for romance?

Carlisle Bay in Antigua, which is on a beautiful

The best airline?

I prefer old-fashioned styles, like J Lindeberg, and

Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius, where they do

beach â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but it has no golfâ&#x20AC;Ś

Singapore Airlines; these days, I think the First

I collect old golf shoes; I have about 20 pairs.

sweet things like put petals on your bed every day

Favourite restaurant?

Class suites even have double beds. But I like

I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like modern ones with rubber soles; they

and leave odd little messages like: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hope you like

The Wolseley in London, where I would eat

Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and BA, too. I

have to be leather, with proper studs, so I feel

the swan I have made from your bath towelâ&#x20AC;?.

breakfast, lunch and dinner every day if I could.

usually travel First Class if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work. And further

connected to the ground. The best are the Footjoy

Your favourite hotel in Britain?

The veal schnitzel is very good, the sea bass

back, using air miles, if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not.

classics, which they stopped making in 2006, so

The gothic Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa in Climping,

always fresh and the treacle tart the best in the

Do you worry about your carbon footprint?

I shop for them on eBay. Nebuloni are good too,

West Sussex, which is a medieval building filled

world. The kids love the afternoon tea because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Yes, I actually pay to offset it when I travel. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m

from Italy. You can buy great shoes in London, but

with lovely old furnishings, and fireplaces in every

perfectly served. In another life, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to come

not saying I do it every time, but...

Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not spending thousands of pounds on them.

room. Babington House is fantastic, too â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

back as an English toff. I like golf, the Wolseley,

Dougray Scott is an ambassador for Starlight

When not playing golf, where do you relax?

especially the garden rooms with outdoor baths.

high tea; I would fit right in.

Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Foundation (starlight.org.uk), which

The South of France, about 40 minutes from Nice,

What luggage do you recommend?

Toughest travels?

grants wishes for seriously and terminally ill

where a friend has a house. Everything is

We used to have Samsonite, but my wife just

Filming up Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia was pretty

children and provides entertainment in hospitals

gorgeous: the weather, food from the market, the

bought us Bricâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, which look good and are tough.

tough; we stayed in a climbersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; cabin for three

and hospices around Britain.

air, the little boat we take out, the swimming.

My clubs are packed into a padded Bag Boy.

nights, which was basic to say the least. After

Interview by Lisa Grainger

 LCKI8KI8M<C


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Profile for Johnny Morris

Ultratravel Golf 2012  

special golf edition of The Daily Telegraph's luxury travel magazine Ultratravel

Ultratravel Golf 2012  

special golf edition of The Daily Telegraph's luxury travel magazine Ultratravel