GOLF ESCAPES 2017 2018
IDEAS AND INSPIRATION FOR UNFORGETTABLE GOLF HOLIDAYS
INS IDE FRO M K A
EN N FAVOGUS... OT TO GOL URITE UR F BR UK EAK S Paradis, Mauritius
DISCOVER... THE BAHAMAS > MAURITIUS > SOUTH AFRICA > ABU DHABI > MOROCCO > CZECH REPUBLIC > FRANCE > ITALY > CYPRUS > SPAIN > PORTUGAL PLUS: THE BEST UNDISCOVERED DESTINATIONS IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE
Murcia · Spain If there is one thing that defines La Manga Club, it is our unparalleled sports facilities. Covering an area of around 1,400 acres, the resort’s award-winning facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre, eight FIFA-approved football pitches and modern cricket amenities. If that wasn’t enough, La Manga Club boasts an array of four and five-star accommodation, a luxury spa and more than 15 bars and restaurants – plus one of the best climates in Europe. THE END RESULT, A TRULY UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE.
Tel. +34 968 17 5577 firstname.lastname@example.org lamangaclub.com
Machrihanish Dunes is one of our appealing GB&I destinations.
If you weren’t thinking of taking a golf holiday this year, I can’t believe you won’t be at the very least considering changing your mind within the first 20 pages of this travel guide. I’m not sure we’ve ever made quite such an explosive start to the supplement, with mouth-watering destination after mouth-watering destination incorporated into what is a seriously high-powered ‘Worldwide’ section at the front of the magazine. All of us – even the most discerning connoisseur – surely enjoy absorbing the ‘where is that?’ kind of pictures that decorate the early pages. Often those spectacular images show more than a course and while it’s unquestionably true many of the resorts we feature have many, many more attractions than just golf, be assured that the offering from every one of them is based around the game we all love. Indeed, in most instances, golf is the No.1 attraction and nowhere in this supplement do we showcase a destination or resort that isn’t packed full of quality courses and isn’t golfer friendly. I hope you agree the intrigue and excitement after this glittering, globe-trotting start is maintained throughout. OK, the water isn’t always as flawlessly aquamarine and the sand as sparklingly white, but in the GB&I section and a very, very strong European collection, there is genuinely something for everyone. Young or older, with family or with a group of friends, on a budget or where money is no object, whether you want sun or soul, I think there’s a good chance you will find your 2017 golfing utopia in the next 80 pages.
Chris Bertram Editor, Golf Escapes
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Golf Escapes is published by Bauer Media in England. Tel: 00 44 1733 468000 www.bauermedia.co.uk PUBLISHER/TRAVEL DIRECTOR Ken Gill Tel: 00 44 7810 377146 email@example.com EDITOR Chris Bertram DESIGNER Paul Ridley PRINTERS PCP Printers, Telford, Shropshire
GOLF WORLD IS EUROPE’S PREMIER GOLF MAGAZINE 225,000 READERS (NRS 2015)
GOLF ESCAPES COVER IMAGE: Beachcomber Paradis resort, Mauritius.
ENJOY GOLF WORLD DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR EVERY 4 WEEKS!
Call 01858 438884 or visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk/GW for our latest subscription offers
SOME OF THE DESTINATIONS WE TAKE YOU TO...
10 THE BAHAMAS’ LINKS FUN 14 PARADISE IN MAURITIUS 18 SOUTH AFRICA’S NO.1 20 MOROCCO’S WIDE APPEAL 30 10 OF THE BEST UK TRIPS 38 TRUMP INTERNATIONAL
40 CONTINENTAL SECRETS 44 CZECH REPUBLIC FOCUS 50 YOUR GUIDE TO FRANCE 66 YEAR-ROUND CYPRUS 68 PORTUGAL’S FIVE JEWELS 76 ALLURE OF THE CANARIES
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 3
Sand Valley, America Many have tried to create the ‘next Bandon Dunes’. All have failed. It’s hardly a disgrace, because to build something as incredible as the multi-course venue Oregon is hardly easy. Sand Valley, situated on over 1,700 acres of tumbling sand dunes in central Wisconsin, has got a better chance than most. It is located in the heart of America, but offers a hint of the same playing experience enjoyed by the coast, mixing wind-blown bunkers, exposed sand dunes and fescue turf. The first course, by Coore & Crenshaw, is poised to open and a second by David McLay Kidd – routed through a sand ridge formed by a pre-historic glacier lake – will follow soon after. “The sand here is perfect for the creation of naturallooking, interesting features for golf,” says Bill Coore. Various accommodation options overlook the two courses. More: sandvalleygolfresort.com
4 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Wish You Were There?
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 5
Praia D’El Rey, Portugal Praia D’El Rey was No.14 in Golf World’s benchmark Top 100 resorts in Continental Europe last year... but will be even higher when the ranking is refreshed in 2018. How can we be so sure? Because in June this year the resort – located on the ‘Silver Coast’, 45 minutes north of Lisbon – will add a second course to its attractions. It’s not going to be an after-thought either. We’ve seen the site and we’ve seen the grow-in pictures, and West Cliffs, as it will be known, promises to be very special. It is not impossible that it becomes the No.1 course here, surpassing the existing one that Golf World rank 29th on the continent. Both offer a sandy, dune-lined experience (the original starts and ends among pines) and Praia D’El Rey – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – is set to become one of the stellar venues in Europe given it has a terrific Marriott hotel and well-appointed villas to rent too. More: praia-del-rey.com
Wish You Were There?
West Cliffs, which is poised to open in June.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Wish You Were There?
GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND
Arran, Scotland Of all the spots in GB&I, we’ve chosen Arran as the ‘Wish You Were There?’ that is closest to home. We can’t ever be accused of simply trotting out the same old destinations... We are confident anyone taking our advice and visiting this small island off Scotland’s west coast will understand why we selected it. This is just one nice view of the many enjoyed during a round at Whiting Bay, which is just one of the seven achingly scenic courses on the island. Shiskine, a 12-holer, is the most famous but its beauty is matched by picture-postcard Corrie, while Brodick, Machrie, Lochranza and Lamlash also have their breathtaking moments. They are also cheap, uncrowded and the island’s food is superb. More: visitarran.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 9
Worldwide: The Bahamas
Links golf drama in The Bahamas Web.com Tour players do battle on The Abaco Club’s tropical links.
he pot bunkers were all neatly raked. The sloping fairways immaculately groomed. The roly-poly greens were set to run at 10 on the Stimpmeter – as fast as anyone would ever want them. And the wind was up – gusting to 40 knots. At first glance, it may have looked to Golf Channel viewers around the world like the 2017 Scottish Open was being contested but for a few things. The January date, for one. The warm sunshine, for another. And then there were the palm trees...
Along with golf, The Abaco Club offers an extraordinary beach, water sports, spa, tennis, and some of the best saltwater fishing in the world. Simply put, it’s paradise.
H P L AYOW TO A B AC You can s O times a tay at this priv s a
But no, this wasn’t the Scottish Open – it was the inaugural Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, a new Web.com Tour event, which played out in thrilling fashion on the Scottish-style “tropical links” course at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay. Over 150 of the game’s top players teed it up here, all looking to enhance their resumes and move them one step closer to playing on the PGA Tour. But first, they’d have to tackle the Donald Steel-Tom Mackenziedesigned course at The Abaco Club. The week began with a festive players’ party on the beach in which the players hit from the strand toward a rowboat (actually the club’s floating bar), which had been stationed 85 yards offshore in the pristine, aquamarine waters of Winding Bay. 12 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Membe a visitor. After te club up to th rs membe hip has a join that, Internatio ree rs get 2 n 0% off fee of $10,000 al recipro acco . All propert cal privileges mmodation a at So nd ies in Marsh H cluding Mach uthworth arbour Dunes. (MHH) Fly to Miami, Orlan via Atlanta, many m do and ore.
Later there would be a barbecue featuring southern-style ribs, live music, and a Junkanoo performance by a troupe of Bahamian locals. Note: people in The Bahamas know how to party, and if you’re not on their level when you arrive, you will be by the time you leave. Strong winds were evident throughout the first three days (with a brief tropical rainy spell thrown in for good measure) – so the 7,011-yard course gave the players all they
could handle. Only a few broke par on Day 1, but by the time the final round kicked off, several players were double-digits under-par and the wind had abated. The course could be had by these sharpshooters then – and it was. One player who proved that he knows a thing or two about scoring in such conditions was Jimmy Gunn, the 36-yearold journeyman pro from Dingwall, Scotland who finished second at 13-under. “It was designed by a Scotsman, so I could see the similarities to links courses in Scotland,” he said. “I loved the links-style bunkering and the links feel of the course. “It’s a great test of golf in a beautiful setting by the ocean.” Gunn’s massive drives made mincemeat
Worldwide: The Bahamas
out of The Abaco Club’s dog-leg holes and par 5s, and it took a feat of magic to beat him. That magic was provided by Andrew Landry. Remember him? The young Texan came into the 2016 US Open ranked 624th in the world, but on the final day teed off in the last pairing with Shane Lowry. Neither player prevailed that Sunday at Oakmont, but Landry’s stretch run at The Abaco Club was the stuff of legend. He proceeded to go seven-under for his last 11 holes (including two eagles) and outshot Gunn by three. Naturally, Landry had nice things to say about the course, too. “The Abaco Club is a great mixture of holes from short to long,” he said. “Precision is key on the approach shots, and you have to put yourself on the right shelf. It’s a straight
beauty of a course.” Whether Landry will be back to defend his title next year remains to be seen. He’s hoping he’ll earn his way onto the PGA Tour in 2018. But if he does come back, it won’t just be the course he looks forward to. “It’s a fantastic place to come with family or friends to enjoy golf, and there were plenty of activities on one of the greatest secluded beaches I’ve ever seen. “I’d like to have a home here.” Fifth-place finisher Jack Maguire echoed Landry’s sentiments: “The whole Abaco Club is awesome,” Maguire said. “From the great layout to the condition of the course, it’s as good as it gets in the Caribbean. I could have used an extra week there to get everything done off the course that I wanted
to, but we got to do a lot of snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, spearfishing, and off-shore fishing. It was very cool...” If you’re looking for a golf destination that offers a bit of Scottish flavour, along with the very best of everything tropical, you’d do well to visit The Abaco Club, too. With a course like this, a beach like this, plus the freshest seafood on the planet and tropical drinks galore, you’ll feel right at home. Even if you don’t hail from The Bahamas. n
Want to find out more? t: (242) 367 0077 e: info@TheAbacoClub.com w: theabacoclub.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 13
INSIDER’S GUIDE TO
Sun, sea, sand… and an awful lot of golfing pedigree, as it happens.
ould you be surprised to learn that golf was first played on the island of Mauritius 173 years ago? This paradise destination in the Indian Ocean conjures up visions of sprawling luxury resorts, still sparkling from being built little more than two decades ago. And that is of course largely true. But golf was first introduced to the island – just over 1,000 miles from the east coast of Africa – by the Royal Navy in 1844, when golf-mad officers laid out a nine-hole course that is now known as the Gymkhana Club. It is the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere and the fourth oldest in the world. The Gymkhana Club still exists and you can play there for around £35, a worthwhile
14 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
dash of golfing history to go with your highoctane excitement that Mauritius is more widely known for. Within the resorts on the island, there are seven 18-holers and these courses, allied to the magnificent non-golf attractions (and surely also the year-round splendid weather) helped to make the tiny island of Mauritius
Travel essentials The climate Their winter is our summer and thus vice versa – and although you can get rain in December and January, it is likely to be sharp but heavy showers. Usually breezy. When to go We like September; hot enough to be in the pool but the driest month. Getting there Air Mauritius fly direct from Heathrow four times a week. Time GMT +4
– whose 1.3m population speak English as well as French, Creole and Indian – the ‘Golf Destination of the Year in Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf States’ in the IAGTO awards of 2008. This heavenly scene is an 11-hour direct flight from Britain and its most famous destination is Le Touessrok, owing to its location on an island just off the mainland. The journey to Île aux Cerfs – which translates as Deer Island – is an experience in itself, crossing the impossibly clear water on a small boat from a jetty next to the eponymous hotel to get to your tee time. Yet the course, designed by Bernhard Langer, is actually very demanding! A lot of work has been done recently to make it a little more forgiving for the visiting holidaymaker and accentuate the real
superb views from its lofty spots. It’s routinely in good condition too, with notably slick, sloping greens. Tamarina is further up the west coast and is a new Wright design with a classic par 3 at 13, the River Rempart to the left of a green which sits well below the tee. Part of the Four Seasons group, the Ernie Els-designed Anahita is the most recent addition to Mauritius’ portfolio. Opened in 2008, it has six stunning ocean-side holes culminating in a spectacular closer. The rest of the course weaves through tropical landscape. The nine-hole Gary Player design at the One & Only Saint-Geran complex completes the picture on a small island that is impressively stacked with courses. attractions here; not Carnoustie-like difficulty but views of the glistening ocean and white-sand beach. A short walk along the beach from Le Touessrok’s sister hotel Long Beach is the Belle Mare Plage resort. It has two 18-hole courses, the Links and the Legend. Since December 2009 the two courses have hosted one of the tournaments on the European Seniors Tour – the MCB Tour Championship, which has lured former Open champion Tom Lehman from America to compete on Mauritius. The Legend, by long-time South African tour pro Hugh Baiocchi, is laid out along one of the most picturesque beaches on the island, while The Links, opened in November 2002 and laid out by Rodney Wright and Peter Alliss, is a more gentle test.
Beachcomber Paradis was one of the first of the new wave of courses when it opened in 1990 but remains one of the best on the island. It sits on the Le Morne peninsula in the south west of the island, squeezed between iconic Morne Mountain and the lagoon of the Morne Peninsula. Laid out by tour pro turned commentator Tony Johnstone, it is a stunning course and, being part of the renowned Beachcomber group, is one of Mauritius’ finest resorts. We offer more about Beachcomber Paradis’ myriad attractions on and off the course in more detail over the page. Elsewhere, Golf du Chateau is attached to the Heritage Resort in the heart of the picturesque Domaine de Bel Ombre, also on the south-west coast. This Peter Matkovich design climbs and falls successfully, offering
Mauritius is not all about golf... n De-stress in one of the many fabulous spas on the island or chill out on a whitesand beach. For something slightly more active, take a stroll through one of the stunning nature reserves. n In the blue water and under blue skies, kite-surf, deep-sea fish or charter a boat. For an adrenaline rush, take a spectacular tandem 3,000m sky-dive. n Mauritius’ cosmopolitan populations give it a varied cuisine, incorporating Indian, Chinese, Creole and European influences. All the resorts boast top-drawer chefs. n On the north and west coast there are plenty of nightclubs, pubs and restaurants – or head to a casino such as the Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis. n GOLF ESCAPES 2017 15
HEAVEN ON EARTH
Paradise at Paradis
Enjoy the trip of a lifetime at the truly sensational Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa.
auritius is the verdant isle that is often described as the inspiration for heaven – and the appropriately named Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa is one of its premier resorts. Even by the standards of this most beautiful of island nations, it enjoys a fortunate location. Jutting out into the Indian Ocean from an imposing 1,700ft rock – one of Mauritius’ most famous landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Le Morne is an idyllic peninsula,
READ E OFFE RS’ Book at R least
30 days a sup in Seven n erb 20% on ac advance and co ights at s Room o Paradis mmodation co ave n H s Econom a bed and- bre otel sharing a ts. D y a private Class flights kfast basis in eluxe with Air cluding hotel tr a M nsfers fr sharing om £ auritius and (J betwee une Price). In 1,512 per pers additio n 24 Ap on 2017 an ril and Septe n, travel mber 3 d you w 0, ill green fe enjoy free es.
16 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
fringed with three miles of sandy beaches. The waters of the surrounding lagoon are calm and inviting, and the resort’s position on the south-west coast delivers spectacular sunsets. Couples looking for an exclusive golf escape and families seeking luxury are equally well catered for thanks to an array of activities and accommodation. Deluxe Rooms and Tropical Suites are set in lovely beachfront gardens. Two-bedroom Family Suites are generously proportioned and feature smart touches such as child
locks, bed guards and even a teddy bear for the little ones. For the ultimate getaway, choose a plush Paradis Villa – opulent, selfcontained houses with private gardens where the palm trees meet the white sands. The hotel has four excellent restaurants: the Blue Marlin, specialising in ultra-fresh seafood; the relaxed, Italian-themed La Palma; La Ravanne for a sophisticated take on Mauritian cuisine; and the international Le Brabant, at the poolside. Guests can also dine at a further four restaurants along the
beach at sister hotel Dinarobin Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa. Whether you’re seeking an activity break, total relaxation or a mix of the two, Paradis makes the perfect retreat. Water sports include windsurfing, kayaking and waterskiing, plus scuba diving and snorkelling for those who want to see the lagoon’s rich, colourful wildlife close-up. On land there’s free flood-lit tennis courts, a full-equipped gym and super relaxing spa. The golf, however, remains one of the resort’s main draws. Just a 30m stroll from reception lies the Paradis clubhouse and its 18-hole championship course, which stretches out amid the lush greenery of the stunning Le Morne Peninsula. The course is set up with holiday golf in mind, a test for strong players but just as enjoyable for higher handicappers. Five holes include at least one shot over the Indian Ocean. The green fees for hotel residents are
just £20; in the quieter May to September period they are free (and hotel rates at their best so it’s a terrific time to stay). The courses’ signature is the par-5 16th, with the ocean forming a dog-leg on the right that asks how brave you want to be off the tee. Your second, or in most cases your third, is to a green at the very tip of the ocean-lapped peninsula. Hotel guests also enjoy VIP access and reduced green fees at a further three local courses (all within 30 minutes), Heritage, Tamarina and Avalon.
Want to find out more? To book your holiday, call leading Mauritius specialist, Beachcomber Tours, on 01483 445618 or log on to beachcombertours.uk
Getting to Mauritius
Direct flights with Air Mauritius depart from London Heathrow four times a week
New Beachcomber golf option in 2017
In addition to the superb Paradis golf course, Beachcomber will soon also be able to offer guests staying at Trou Aux Biches Resort, in the north west of the island, a further golf option at Mont Choisy, an exciting new Peter Matkovich design that is due to open in November 2017. n
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 17
FANCOURT GOLF ESTATE
South Africa’s No.1
With 54 holes and a luxury hotel on site, it’s hardly surprising this resort is renowned globally.
ancourt is located in George, part of the captivating Garden Route region in the Western Cape of South Africa. It stretches for 400km along large expanses of panoramic Indian Ocean beaches, with beautiful mountain ranges and natural forests. Fancourt has become a global landmark for golfing and leisure travel, but its gradual expansion can be traced back to the establishment of the Manor House by its first custodian, Henry Fancourt White in the late 1880s. The estate was transformed into a hotel and golfing destination in 1989. Today, Fancourt is owned by Dr and Mrs Plattner, with award-winning courses and unparalleled service, against the backdrop of the ever-present Outeniqua mountain range. Golf takes pride of place at Fancourt, and deservedly so. Designed by a team led by Gary Player, all three of the estate’s 18-hole
18 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
courses – Montagu, Outeniqua and The Links – have garnered praise from the international golfing community and their fairways attract players from all corners of the world. Montagu and Outeniqua, both sprawling parklands, are ranked No.6 and 16 in South Africa respectively, while The Links, inspired by Scottish courses, is at No.1. Voted among the World’s Ten Best Golf Resorts on CNNGo, Fancourt has supplemented its courses with its own Golf Academy, practice facilities and every modern convenience, allowing golfers to immerse themselves in a five-star experience. It should be every avid golfer’s desire to play in this famed leisure and lifestyle destination, and to stay at The Manor House boutique hotel, the jewel of the estate. Representing the epitome of romance, The Manor House offers a true feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from
everyday life. Exquisitely furnished and decorated with sensual metallic finishes, the Manor House offers accommodation of uncompromising quality. It incorporates ecofriendly design features and provides a refreshing outlook on modern golf travel. Golfers can also stay at the Fancourt hotel, recently announced as the global winner of Luxury Golf Resorts, as well as Country winner Luxury Garden Resort at the 10th World Luxury Hotel Awards. With a luxury spa, four restaurants, and two five-star hotels, Fancourt delivers an extraordinary leisure experience. It is the perfect place to rest before and after your rounds. Sculpted into what Player has described as his ‘greatest feat as a course designer’, The Links is the golfing hallmark of the Fancourt Estate. Featuring an undulating, windswept terrain and dune-style landscape, The Links holds top spot in South Africa by
Worldwide: South Africa
Golf Digest SA, and is No.43 in Golf Digest US’s list of the world’s 100 greatest courses. A slice of environmental and golfing heritage, The Links is considered a masterpiece, and has hosted a range of golf legends including John Bland, Justin Rose, Retief Goosen, Branden Grace and Ernie Els. Apart from its distinctive design, The Links – which incorporates significant rises and falls – has been lauded for its vital role in environmental sustainability and designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperation Sanctuary. This certification necessitated a degree of ecological value that includes wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and other environmental factors. The Links is a private club, but limited tee times are available for guests staying at Fancourt Hotel or The Manor House. Beyond The Links is the Montagu, which has developed into one of the finest 18-hole parklands, earning it sixth position on Golf Digest SA’s list of top courses in South Africa. Exquisitely conditioned to provide a riveting golf experience, this tree-lined course covers large tracts of varying terrain on rolling land. A warm-up area – a full-length range and a chipping and bunker practice
The forgiving, scenic Outeniqua course at 54-hole Fancourt.
area – helps you warm up while buggies are available for hire, weather permitting. For a more relaxed game, Fancourt’s Outeniqua presents an 18-hole parkland that is far easier than its counterpart, Montagu, yet still offers its fair share of challenges. Water hazards feature on as many as 11 of the holes. Named after the mountain range that forms its breathtaking backdrop, the course is pristinely conditioned yet still accommodates a large volume of players. As with its sister courses, a detailed stroke saver
guides golfers through the course with distance measurements and images. Aside from its award-winning golf courses, Fancourt houses comprehensive practice facilities for those who want to work on their games. These facilities include a chipping and bunker practice area and a driving range with both open-air and undercover practice bays. Young golfing enthusiasts and aspiring professionals are also welcome to attend Fancourt’s onsite Golf Academy and gain access to expert advice and tuition. n
Want to find out more? t: +27 (0) 44 804 0000 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: fancourt.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 19
Morocco INSIDERâ€™S GUIDE TO
A splendid climate, plenty of intrigue away from the fairways, and a wide variety of courses... and all just four hours from Britain.
The Kyle Phillips-designed Tazegzout course, on the Atlantic coast.
20 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
orocco was our ‘One to Watch’ in last year’s Golf Escapes and developments since then have borne that suggestion out to be a prescient one. It wasn’t exactly a declaration from left field, because Morocco already caters for thousands of travelling golfers every year. However, we think it ticks enough boxes to become even more popular. Underpinning its appeal are two things: the value it offers, as well as something the country is simply fortunate to be blessed with – an astonishingly good climate. Morocco is relatively inexpensive because the dirham isn’t especially strong, so while the luxury, the courses and the weather might suggest otherwise, don’t expect prices
that will stun you. It is more akin to Belek than the Maldives in that respect. Located on the westernmost tip of north Africa, bordering Algeria to the east, Mauritania and the Western Sahara to the southwest and southeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean to the north, Morocco enjoys a fabulous yearround climate. Given the flight time is around four hours – a little shorter coming back – this is patently a huge advantage over other shorthaul destinations. Only really Cyprus and Belek in Europe are blessed with quite as long a season. Morocco squeezes a bit more sunshine out of a year than even the Algarve and the Costa del Sol.
There are two main golf areas and, with a diverse geography that impacts on its climate, it is worth taking that into account for the minor differences that makes. As a general rule, though, it has a tropical climate with temperatures up to 35°C in summer and a very pleasant 20°C in December and January. By the end of April through to the end of October, you can be in the pool. Part of Morocco’s appeal is the fact it boasts a majestic stretch of Atlantic coastline. The resorts overlooking those sandy beaches are cooled by south-west trade winds (and get a little rainfall November to March), whereas two hours’ drive inland is the other key area, Marrakesh, the climate is a little hotter and drier.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 21
LAP LU X UO F Royal P RY alm Ma rra on
kech is a grand opule sca stablem le, rivalling an nce y Beachc ates in the fete of its omber d s tab simply won’t w le. You go hom ant to e...
Gary Player’s Mazagan Beach is an ideal base for a trip to Morocco.
Let’s take a closer look at these two areas in terms of their golf offerings: Area One: Marrakesh
Located in the centre of Morocco, it is already well-established, with golfers travelling here for several decades to enjoy courses laid out by some of the big names in architecture and the Tour. Marrakesh (Marrakech in French) has its golf courses dotted in various parts of the city but let’s start at a resort that is a magnificent base for the whole trip, Royal Palm Marrakech. This Beachcomber resort is located to the south west of the centre and has a quality course designed by American Cabell B Robinson as its stand-out attraction. However that is far from the only appeal of this world-class complex, which offers a luxury stay that won’t be bettered in Morocco. Right next door are the rippling fairways of Samanah by Nicklaus design and which enjoys a desert-style setting. Still on the south-west outskirts of Marrakesh is the relatively new Assoufid. 22 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Laid out by Scotsman Niall Cameron, who is quietly earning a fine reputation for himself, it offers a cerebral test as well as views of the Atlas Mountains. Those landforms are also in view – as they are widely from Marrakesh’s courses – on another key stop, Montgomerie Marrakech. It was designed in 2013 by the European Ryder Cup legend in association with European Golf Design right in the heart of the city. Nine-hole Atlas Golf is nearby too. Completing the picture in the south-west area is Noria golf, and a modern Tony Jacklin design. Further east lies Al Maaden, where American designer Kyle Phillips sited deep bunkers and water hazards to good effect. It again offers terrific views of the often snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Royal Golf is close by and makes for a high-class day out while the legendary Robert Trent Jones Snr created the wellknown Palmeraie in 1992, making this relatively short enough of a challenge through water features and sloping greens. It is north of the city, with Amelkis golf its closest neighbour.
Area Two: The Atlantic Coast
As with Marrakesh, you’ll struggle to play all of these courses on one trip. You might well play no more courses than those at the resort you are based at. But that said, we think a week of resort hopping down this coast would make for an unforgettable golf holiday; a bit of effort, yes, but it would be sensationally rewarding. The courses are less established but they are part of very well-run resorts that are trying very hard to make their mark. In fact, if you did take the resort-hopping option, we’re not going to deny there wouldn’t be times when you’d look at the poolside bar after your round and wish you were slumping there for a few hours rather than hitting the road again! It’s also worth saying these courses, despite being sprinkled up and down the coast, are also within a couple of hours’ drive of Marrakesh, so it’s not impossible you could cherry pick your favourites in both areas if you had the time and inclination. Arguably the outstanding resort on the coast is Mazagan Beach, near El Jadida. It
PRIDE OF MARRAKESH
This modern course in mystical Marrakesh is already feted as one of the finest in Africa.
t has been open for little more than two years, but Assoufid’s course is already widely regarded as one of the best not just in the golfing hotspot of Marrakesh, not just in the ever-expanding golf portfolio in Morocco, but in Africa as a whole. The 18-hole course opened in October 2014 and winds way through naturally undulating terrain in the lee of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains. It is just 20 minutes from the old town (Medina) of the vibrant city of Marrakesh yet playing here is a tranquil experience. Niall Cameron’s design vision is a desertstyle course that blends seamlessly into the natural landscape and takes into consideration its environmental impact through minimal water consumption and the preservation of native plants and trees. Indeed, only 45 per cent of the course’s acreage is planted to minimise water consumption and the result is the lush Bermuda fairways contrasting spectacularly with the natural desert-style landscape. Named ‘Africa’s Best Golf Course 2016’ and ‘Morocco’s Best Golf Course 2016’ at the World Golf Awards, many holes enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Atlas Mountains to the south, with several elevated tees making for spectacular-looking drives. The course’s natural beauty is further enhanced by a dry creek that meanders through the entire length of the course. Ten par 4s, four par 3s and four par 5s are
Assoufid is presented beautifully all year round.
spread equally between the nines of a 7,042yard, par-72 course that has enough bite to test even the strongest players. Open to the general public on a pay-andplay basis. Assoufid also provides a limited number of membership opportunities for individual, couples, junior and corporate members, with exclusive benefits for each. The Clubhouse Restaurant & Bar “La Colline”is managed by Chef Damien Durand. It has a terrace and seats 40 indoors and 70 outdoors. A Private Pavilion adjacent to the clubhouse features a lounge, kitchen, outdoor pool and patio area. A halfway house, practice facilities, pro
shop, club hire, pull trolleys, electric buggies and caddies enhance your visit to Assoufid, which is six miles south-west of Marrakesh’s city centre, off the old Agadir road (Avenue Guemassa). It’s just five miles from Marrakesh Menara airport – yet not close to any flight paths so is entirely peaceful – which you can fly to from several UK cities. n
Want to find out more? t: +212 (0) 525 06 07 70 e: golf.reservations@assouﬁd.com w: assouﬁd.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 23
D E XC EE S I G N LLE N Assoufi d is pro CE of that
can m mod unrema ake a terrific ern architects job rka Niall Ca ble site. Scott on an ish desig meron h as c ner Marrake sh’s fine reated one of st visitor s hould p that every la in the c y when ity.
The cerebral design at Assoufid.
was opened in 2010 with its course designed by Gary Player. With a ‘look’ of a links course, it is a proper test at well over 7,000 yards and with the coastal breezes to contend with, is a serious examination. Towards the end of the front nine the pulse raises as the holes play alongside the coast. It is a tremendous all-round resort too, and you could happily base yourself here for a whole week and be very happy. Nearby El Jadida by the aforementioned American Robinson offers an alternative if you do just that. Further down the coast, near Essaouira, is Mogador, where South African icon Player has also had a hand. He routed the North course through what was once a dense pine forest in 2009. Again, it offers super resort golf that is playable for all and also boasts breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views, especially as they are less hindered by residential properties than others on the coast and especially in Marrakesh. Finally, in the Agadir area there are some excellent options and you could play around here very happily for a week. The newest and 24 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
brightest offering sits 15 minutes north of the city within the Taghazout resort. The Tazegzout course is a predictably astute new design by Phillips, with a magnificent climax with holes routed over ravines or the cliff edge. It sits 80m above sea level and hugs the bluffs for a number of holes while others are cut through indigenous Argan forest. All holes on this environmentally-friendly clifftop course at least offer a glimpse of the coastline. Attractions off the course
Morocco has tremendous pedigree in tourism, with over eight million holidaymakers choosing it as their favoured destination on an annual basis. As well as lots of flights to its numerous convenient airports – low-cost carriers fly into Agadir, Essaouira, Rabat, Casablanca and especially Marrakesh – there are a wealth of hotels to choose from and the nongolf attractions are well showcased to make planning days away from the course easy. Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and film buffs will clearly love it. The Hassan II
Mosque is also a ‘must see’. The cities of Tangier and Ouarzazate, a noted filmmaking location where Gladiator among many others was shot, are also full of attractions while Marrakesh allows you to lap up Morocco’s history and culture, and where haggling in a souk is de rigeur... El Jadida was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. In all the high-end resorts, there are excellent restaurants, leisure facilities, expansive spas, swimming pools, and, by the coast, pristine beaches. n
TRAVEL ESSENTIALS The climate It’s a short-haul flight yet a yearround destination. The coast is a few degrees cooler and will get a little more rain – but in short, it’s fabulous. When to go: Summer time for cooling Atlantic coast winds and May or September for Marrakesh. Getting there: Plenty of flights to Marrakesh especially, plus Agadir and Essaouira. Time: GMT Currency: Moroccan dirham
THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE
United Arab Emirates
What you can really expect from the desert luxury in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman.
he pictures on our television screens, newspapers and smartphones every January give a snapshot of the luxurious golf holidays that await in the United Arab Emirates. Those images of the European Tour events in the Middle East are deeply appealing to northern Europeans shivering in our winters. But is the reality as good as what the sun-kissed pictures suggest? Here’s our verdict on what the UAE can offer...
Isn’t it too hot for golf?
It can be. In the UAE’s summer (same as ours) it will be too hot for many. Make that most. It is blisteringly hot and only really for pool and beach lovers. But in the winter,
26 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
when we are shivering at home, the UAE boasts glorious weather. Genuinely perfect conditions for golf, with warm sunshine and a little breeze, ideal for golf and then a drink by the pool. So during the worst of our weather in December, January and February, you are guaranteed warmth in the UAE. Are the courses any good?
Very. They are also more varied in character than you might think, given the landscape is obviously completely desert to start with. Of course the majority are classic resort golf, with lush green fairways winding between water and sand, but even they vary considerably. The best examples of the expected fayre in Dubai of those at the
Emirates GC – with the Tour-hosting Majlis and its sister course the Faldo – the Earth at Jumeirah Estates, and the predictably scenic Dubai Creek. Trump Dubai opened this month and this Gil Hanse design has the hallmarks of greatness, a cerebral design that can be enjoyed by all levels. Further north, at Al Zorah in Ajman and the duo in Ras Al Khaimah respectively, holes are routed through mangroves for a distinctive experience. In Abu Dhabi, Yas Links is a must play, a World Top 100 course by Kyle Phillips with majestic seaside holes. Isn’t it really expensive though?
Again, it can be. It can be eye-wateringly expensive. And it isn’t really the place to go
The brand-new, outstanding Trump Dubai.
Dubai Creek has a spectacular location.
couple of hours in a comfortable plane, we think it’s a good trade-off. is there anything else to do?
for a budget holiday no matter where you play or stay. However, if you’re sensible, you can make it seem good value. For a start, you’ve got to factor in the weather – what you’re getting in return for your outlay – and work back from there. We think the extra time in the plane and the extra cost is worth it to get the guaranteed weather. But equally you ought to be sensible – because if you’re not, you’ll blow hundreds as quickly as you can make a double bogey from the middle of the fairway. So, if you book your flights way in advance, you can get there for a surprisingly reasonable £300 (especially as it’s not a low-cost airline) and there are lots and lots of three-star hotels that are four-star by our standards. And then just duck and dive for green fee deals – think of it as a
green fee souk... and believe us, you will get some bargains... Finally, just be careful where you eat and drink out. That is where it is easiest to blow your budget. Getting there is a pain though
Well, it is long-haul so it’s not a 40-minute hop to Paris, but the seven hours are spent with excellent airlines offering you as much comfort as they can manage. And once you’re there, there is minimal transfer time when you arrive. Fly to Abu Dhabi and you’re five minutes from Abu Dhabi GC and 20 minutes from Yas Links. Fly to Dubai and you’re 10 minutes from Dubai Creek, 25 minutes from Emirates GC, half an hour from Al Zorah and an hour from the Ras Al Khaimah duo. For the sake of an extra
What isn’t there to do?! There is nothing you can’t do here. There’s even a huge indoor ski slope! The shopping malls are ludicrous and the safaris or 4x4 adventures in the desert renowned. You can take a trip up the world’s tallest building (Burj), go to the horses, play floodlit golf, browse in a modern souk or enjoy a dinner cruise with Bateaux Dubai. Or you can simply laze on the beach, by the pool, or in a water park. There are hundreds of restaurants, bars and clubs. Ask Golf Dubai Plus to arrange an itinerary and they (ex-pat Brits who’ve lived there for 20 years) will get the best prices and suggest the things that will suit you the most. n
Travel essentials The climate: May to September is blisteringly hot and totally dry, the remainder is lovely. When to go: October to April inclusive is the perfect contrast to our temperatures. How to get there: Dubai from Manchester, Heathrow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Glasgow. Etihad fly from Heathrow, Edinburgh and Manchester to Abu Dhabi. Currency: UAE dirham Time: GMT +4
Yas Links is long established as the UAE’s premier course.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 27
Worldwide: Abu Dhabi
INSIDER’S GUIDE TO
Just three courses… but one extremely attractive year-round golf holiday destination.
new course in the United Arab Emirates opened to much publicity and indeed acclaim this month. And when those who’ve played this terrific new course within Dubai’s portfolio were wondering how good it was in UAE terms, there was one regular point of reference: Yas Links. Dubai began the UAE golf adventure, but Abu Dhabi has caught up quickly. Not in terms of numbers, for it has only three courses, but in terms of calibre. And at the top of its high-class list is undoubtedly Yas. This Kyle Phillips design, host last month to the star-studded Abu Dhabi Invitational, is a spectacular gulf-side track where drama is matched by strategy. Even feted designer Gil Hanse, the man who designed the aforementioned new course, Trump Dubai, was impressed when he visited: “We did take some field trips to courses in Dubai, when we were building the Trump course and also did a trip to Yas Links – which I thought was terrific!” The ‘Links’ part of its name is a little misleading because while it looks like one and is next to the sea, it’s not what we’d expect on our coastlines. Nevertheless, it is high class; if it was in Continental Europe, say, it’d be in the top 20 of any ranking. It is located on Yas Island, 30 minutes’
28 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
drive along (almost certainly deserted) motorways from downtown Abu Dhabi. It is visually majestic, whether from views across sparkling water or down rolling terrain lined by rough-edged bunkers. If F1 is your thing, you’ll enjoy playing towards and alongside holes that have the Yas F1 circuit in view. Ferrari World, Waterworld and Yas Mall also remind one of the off-course attractions in this smaller (compared to Dubai) but still lively emirate. Oh, and Yas Links and the nearby Viceroy hotel now offer packages that make a trip here affordable to more pockets. A short drive from Yas along the E12 motorway that links the islands dotted around downtown Abu Dhabi is Saadiyat Beach. It has similar coastal views and was designed by Gary Player; a good second option with a hotel on site, where players often stay during the European Tour’s Abu
Travel essentials The climate: Their winter is our winter… but expect sun and 22˚ rather than snow and ice. When to go: We like February to April. Where to stay: Yas and the Viceroy hotel now offer good-value play-and-stay deals. Getting there: A seven-hour flight. Time: GMT +4 Currency: UAE dirham
Dhabi Championship at Abu Dhabi GC – which is the final course here. Unlike the other two, it is close to the heart of Abu Dhabi, just a short drive from the airport. Rather than sea view, it is more of the sky-high skylines more often seen in Dubai. It’s a strong Peter Harradine design around seven salt water hazards punctuated by palm trees, shrubs, 90 bunkers and drystone retaining walls. n Expect seaside holes at Yas Links.
Stay & Play on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi...
One destination... Endless possibilities
Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Club: www.yaslinks.com | email@example.com | +971 2 810 7710 Yas Viceroy Hotel: www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/abudhabi | firstname.lastname@example.org | +971 2 656 0700
Why go abroad? 10 g
We’d argue Britain has better courses than anywhere in the world. Chris Bertram select East Lothian, Scotland WHAT YOU GET: A wealth of world-class links
stacked up next to each other waiting to be played, in the driest part of Scotland. THE COURSES: They range from über exclusive Renaissance and Archerfield, to plush-but-playable Muirfield, to the incomparable North Berwick. Then add in gems such as Kilspindie and Dunbar. WHERE TO STAY: The lodges at Archerfield are possibly the best golf accommodation in Britain but there are lots of other options to
DN ’T W E DGI E T. . . FO R e of Golf
enal om The H es for a phenom k it a b m a s d e w St Andre ak – it just seem is worth golf bre clude it. What e f Fif to in obvious is that the rest o o noting Crail et al) is als (Leven, tastic. fan
30 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
fit every pocket. Upstairs at The Renaissance Club is sensational – and allows you to play the course too... WHY WE LIKE IT: It is the lower-profile courses that arguably make East Lothian quite so outstanding. If you said Longniddry and Gullane 3 were the eighth and ninth-best courses in the region you’d think they were modest... but in fact they are superb. Cornwall, England WHAT YOU GET: High-class fare whether you
are playing by the coast or further inland. THE COURSES: St Enodoc (the best 12 holes in GB&I?), Perranporth (enormous fun that is at times bonkers), St Mellion (a Jack Nicklaus signature of beauty and beast nature) and Trevose (with a spectacular front nine that is getting even better). WHERE TO STAY: St Mellion for any kind of golf party but it is an especially good base for a family break, and Trevose when you want to be by the coast. WHY WE LIKE IT: The range of courses is
GB&I: Top 10 breaks
great British breaks
ts his favourite areas for a long weekend (and, yes, we are aware there is a links bias...). unsurpassed, with four in Golf World’s English Top 100 that are all totally different in character. Dornoch, Scotland WHAT YOU GET: A five-star golf break in every
sense, and one of golf’s great pilgrimages. THE COURSES: Start your itinerary by
working out when you can play Skibo Castle – it’s not inexpensive and they have only limited times, but secure a time at this heroic, scenic links and take it from there.
Then add in Royal Dornoch, which is about as soulful as golf gets, and let fun Golspie, charming Tain and Braid heaven at Brora balance the books. WHERE TO STAY: The apartments at Brora are ideal – modern, spacious and wellequipped, and within staggering distance of the clubhouse... WHY WE LIKE IT: Something for everyone, and if you can’t enjoy Royal Dornoch we suggest you buy some ludicrous Lycra and try cycling.
Kent, England WHAT YOU GET: Three Open venues stacked up next to each other on an unspoilt section of coastline. THE COURSES: Royal St George’s, thought by some to be the finest course in England, plus the fascinating Royal Cinque Ports, and 27-hole Prince’s, which is a classic, recently-renovated links. WHERE TO STAY: The Lodge at Prince’s is one of our favourite bases for a break anywhere in Europe. Built by golfers for golfers, it sits
St Enodoc has some of the finest holes in the UK.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 31
on the Prince’s-Sandwich border. WHY WE LIKE IT: The high quality of golf and the low hassle once you are there – you never have to drive more than five minutes. Angus, Scotland WHAT YOU GET: Tremendous variety of golf, plus green fees that will scare nobody. THE COURSES: Carnoustie, with three stellar links including the host of The Open, leads the way but in Panmure, Montrose and Monifieth it has super back up. Don’t forget Downfield and Edzell inland either. WHERE TO STAY: Carnoustie hotel overlooks the 18th green but we prefer the Links View Guest House B&B next to the tee – or Brucefields five-star B&B in Arbroath. WHY WE LIKE IT: The value is extraordinarily good. The calibre and variety of links courses is exceptionally high, yet it is doable by more golfers’ budgets than any other similar trip in the UK.
good golf to keep even the most discerning golfer satisfied. THE COURSES: Nefyn is the star attraction and is certainly a course with outstanding scenery; in that respect it has few peers in the UK. Porthmadog is a better golf course with a really special links back nine. Pwllheli is much the same, while Conwy is what we might term a ‘proper’ links. North Wales plus Bull Bay and Holyhead add some depth to a largely undiscovered area. WHERE TO STAY: Abersoch (which has a course that’s well worth playing too) has lots of neat B&Bs and hotels. WHY WE LIKE IT: The value is sensationally good at any time of the year. And you can easily add on an extra day to sneak down the coast to play Royal St David’s and Aberdovey too! Machrihanish, Scotland WHAT YOU GET: Soulful golf that is deserved
reward for an epic trip to get there.
North Wales, Wales
THE COURSES: Just the three, but two are
WHAT YOU GET: Not as many star names as in
GB&I Top 100 tracks – the ancient Machrihanish, with a front nine full of
other areas on this list, but enough really
iconic holes, and Machrihanish Dunes, a modern links that is as authentic as it is brilliant. Clifftop fun at Dunaverty completes the picture. WHERE TO STAY: Easy – the Ugadale Hotel, opposite the 1st tee of Machrihanish Old. Or the cottages alongside it. Unbeatable. WHY WE LIKE IT: The golf is indubitably terrific, but just as enjoyable is the tremendous accommodation next door and the food and refreshment in the Old Clubhouse. Just don’t book early tee times... Norfolk, England WHAT YOU GET: A fine mixture of heathland,
links and clifftop courses that are eminently playable all year round. THE COURSES: Let’s start at Royal West Norfolk, a beguiling, feature-packed links that’s worth the drive on its own. Add in the championship class of next door Hunstanton, the clifftops of Sheringham and Royal Cromer, and the heathlandwoodland of King’s Lynn. WHERE TO STAY: Don’t stay anywhere else but Old Lodge at Hunstanton – walkable from
Royal St George’s is the keystone to a break in Kent.
32 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
GB&I: Top 10 breaks
the course and with superb dining including a terrific breakfast. WHY WE LIKE IT: Uncrowded courses, dry weather (that is not a myth) and, more than anything, Royal West Norfolk’s charm. Aberdeen, Scotland WHAT YOU GET: What is quite simply now one of the best stretches of golfing terrain in Britain and Ireland, with courses to suit all tastes and budgets. THE COURSES: Trump Links International has raised the bar in Aberdeenshire, adding a high-class links to what was already – in stellar Royal Aberdeen, crazy Cruden Bay and earthy Murcar – an alluring offering. There’s even more great golf further afield too, if you have the time. WHERE TO STAY: McLeod House at Trump International for those treating themselves but otherwise lots of options in Aberdeen. WHY WE LIKE IT: Is there a more high-octane trio in the UK so close to each other than here? We don’t think so.
Leeds, England WHAT YOU GET: Two Top 100 heathlands
with another elite course within an hour, plus the myriad attractions of a big city.
The Alwoodley, one of the UK’s finest inland courses.
THE COURSES: The Alwoodley and
look to five-star Oulton Hall.
Moortown are intertwined with the legend of Dr Alister MacKenzie and are exquisite heathlands that are genuinely getting better with age. Plus high-calibre inland links Ganton is a short drive to the east. WHERE TO STAY: It’s the city of Leeds... you’re not short of options! For a play and stay,
WHY WE LIKE IT: We had to have one inland
option, didn’t we, and while Perthshire Nottinghamshire, Birmingham, and the Surrey heathlands would have been equally as good, in The Alwoodley, Moortown and Ganton you get a class of golf as good as almost anything in Surrey or Berkshire. n
Golf Breaks STAY | PLAY | DINE
1 night & 1 round from £129.00pp
Overnight accommodation for 2 people sharing a standard twin or double room. Includes breakfast.
T: 01304 611118 E: email@example.com W: www.princesgolfclub.co.uk
Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9QB
The myths of Machrihanish ... and the truth about this magical Scottish realm.
or years, people have called upon a range of mythical reasons not to undertake the trip to play golf in magical Machrihanish. But thanks to the recent investments made in the area, especially at The Village at Machrihanish Dunes, most of the old arguments are no longer valid. It is surely time to dispel the three most commonly heard myths! “I’ve always wanted to go to Machrihanish, but there’s nowhere to stay or eat”
This is simply no longer true! Visiting golfers have a choice of sumptuous accommodation in the area now, particularly at the two historic and beautifully restored hotels associated with The Village at Machrihanish Dunes-- the lively Royal Hotel overlooking 34 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Campbeltown harbour, and the relaxing Ugadale Hotel and its exquisite neighbouring self-catering cottages in Machrihanish. Between them, there’s an outstanding option to accommodate every preference – in style. And as for the food... with The Royal Hotel’s Harbourview Grille and Black Sheep Pub preparing wonderful menus in the centre of town and the Kintyre Club and the renowned Old Clubhouse Pub catering superbly for guests at The Ugadale, you can eat (and drink) very well indeed! And yes, they do still serve those world-famous haggis nachos! “Machrihanish is great, but there is nowhere else in the area worth playing”
Machrihanish Golf Club really is great.
Famous for its opening tee shot over the beach but worthy of recognition for so much more, it is truly one of Scotland`s most iconic courses. But it has a most worthy neighbour now in the form of Machrihanish Dunes, a golf course that has quickly matured into a must-play venue for the links enthusiast. The undulating fairways there, which were mown down from the existing machair in preference to being bulldozed into shape, have retained their original sward of preferential seaside grasses and are now an absolute joy to play from... and even more so when you can find a flat lie! The greens that were criticised initially for their vexing contours have been cunningly softened in places, resulting in a perfect balance between fun and fairness. The rough that once rendered the course
E XPE OPI N RT “If othe ION r where th courses have ta
there a ey are today, ken 100 years lready Mach to g scenery . It’s not just th rihanish Dune et ; it’s the s e fact tha sea spray and is t Former something to every hole ha the s offer.” Europe a player n No.1 and Ry Ronan d Raffert er Cup y
virtually unplayable on all but the calmest day has now been cut back so that the links appears wide-open in places, inspiring confidence and turning up the fun factor still further. If you haven’t been to Machrihanish Dunes for some time, you really owe it to yourself to go back and see how much more fun and playable the course is now. The two courses at Machrihanish would be reason enough to make the trip to Kintyre, but there is so much else in this part of the world for the golfer to enjoy. Dunaverty GC is a treat, and only 10 miles from Campbeltown. On paper, it seems stupidly short, but in reality it is an absolute gem. Everything there is in perfect scale and it’s a wonderful place to while away three fun-filled hours on a sunny evening.
A short drive up the west road will lead you to Kennacraig and from there to the mythical courses on Islay and Jura. Islay’s Machrie GC has been a favourite of many for years, and has recently undergone a massive re-design. Has its soul been irrevocably removed, or could it be better than ever? And could Ardfin on Jura possibly be as spectacular as the rumours and photos suggest? There is only one way to find out.
“Machrihanish is just so far!”
It is off the beaten path, for sure. But people travel from all over the world to play here and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. From Glasgow it’s one of the most beautiful and inspiring road trips you’ll ever undertake, as you skirt the westerly edge of Loch Lomond, climb up and over
the “Rest and Be Thankful”, and travel along the seashore down Paul McCartney’s “Long and Winding Road”. And when you reach Machrihanish, you enter another world – a world that operates at a more leisurely pace, a world of gorgeous sunsets and stunning shorelines, a world where surprises lurk around every bend, but most of all, a world in which you will be genuinely welcome. So cast aside those excuses and plan your visit. You won’t be disappointed. n
Want to find out more? t: 0800 151 3701 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: machdunes.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 35
St Mellion Resort This Cornish complex has a legendary Jack Nicklaus design and a fabulous four-star hotel on site.
t Mellion International Resort is a unique blend of contemporary style, exceptional facilities, golfing heritage and wonderful Cornish hospitality. The resort boasts a stunning AA four-star 80-bedroom hotel and a Health Club & Spa as well as a variety of dining experiences – from the simple to the elegant in an award-winning restaurant. St Mellion is renowned as one of England’s finest golf venues, being a regular in GB&I Top 100 Course rankings and having hosted 12 European Tour events. The Nicklaus Signature Course celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2013 and was the first European course personally designed by Jack Nicklaus. “I knew it was going to be good, but not this good... it’s everything I hoped for and more,” said the legendary American of the finished course. At 6,300 yards it is not long, but using the amazing Cornish landscape and inspired by Augusta, Nicklaus created a UK version of Amen Corner with holes 10 through to 13 being quite brilliant both to play and look at. But before you get to that now-celebrated back nine, you are also served a treat on the front half with one classic golf hole after another; the 5th, when the sun shines, is one
36 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
of the most beautiful holes in the country. The Signature hole is the remarkable 11th, a par 3 inspired by the 12th and 16th short holes at Augusta. It combines the narrow green of the 12th with the sweeping lake that protects the green from the underclubbed shot. It is regarded as one of the classic short holes in British golf. If you could have a second signature hole, the 12th would be it. It is another visually stunning test that is cut through a forest of conifer trees, a true par 5 that requires three accurate shots to reach the green. Running parallel to the fairway is a stream that then cuts across in front of the green. This hole completes the loop of three holes that is compared to Augusta’s infamous ‘Amen Corner’ – high praise indeed! St Mellion also has a ‘gem’, the Kernow Course. It opened in 2010 and was instantly commended as the perfect complement to the Nicklaus. It offers wide fairways, big greens and great variety. Yet another reason a trip to St Mellion should be on every golfers’ bucket list. n Want to know more? t: 01579 352031; e: stmellion-golfdays@ crown-golf.co.uk; w: st-mellion.co.uk
The hotel is a terrific base.
SEVEN REASONS TO VISIT...
Trump International This is why 2017 should be the year you head to Aberdeen to play the best modern course in GB&I. 1 The spectacular views
We could probably just leave this here, given the main image across these pages. But what is definitely worth explaining is that this is not one of those courses where you have great views from one green, a tee and a third from on top of the dune next to the 4th hole. Fantastic views are almost omnipresent here. If you’re not looking at the sea, it means you’re probably playing between two ridges of enormous dunes that you teed off from (and where you lapped up the views). If you only take the camera out on one hole, make sure it’s from the very top tee on 18. With its huge elevation you’ll have a magnificent backdrop of the impending 18 bunkers plus infamously tall saltire, unspoilt, wild beach stretches for miles to both the north and south, magnificent North Sea and Aberdeen city beyond. Views don’t make a golf course, but you wouldn’t ever say they didn’t help
P L AY S TAY, D I N E A N D includes a one-nightatr
age five-s kfast in erb pack n This sup ll Scottish brea a superior quee fu o stay and ouse & Lodge in also enjoy a tw e ou dH th Y o t . e a L m t c o n a M ble bedro rasserie restaura n – two u o d r o eB ctio twin eal in th est attra course m se and the bigg rd-winning a u o w h a b clu n the rounds o pionship links. cham erson. 95 per p From £2
38 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
you enjoy one just a little bit more. Expect to be exhilarated here, from start to finish. 2 The clever design
Trump International was always going to be spectacular so perhaps thrilling views, elevated tees, awesome driving holes, epic par 3s and intimidating bunkers were all to be expected. You get all that at Trump International, but with the vision of Dr Martin Hawtree, a quiet man trusted by the R&A, you also get nuanced strategy which requires creative shot-making. Hawtree has shaped an astonishingly good piece of land and created something truly special. 3 The tranquillity
OK, it’s in the north-east of Scotland, so it’s hardly Regent Street. But there is a city just 25 minutes away, with an airport, a busy university and world-famous industry off its
coast. But playing at Trump International is an utterly serene experience. There are no roads cutting through the site and no residential development round the outside. This is pure links golf to be enjoyed without compromise. Oh, and the spaced-out tee times means you have the time to fully savour this world-class seaside course. 4 The area’s other jewels
Trump International might be the highlight of Aberdeenshire, but it is not close to being the only attraction... world-class links have sat on the coastline for over 100 years. Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay are also in any Top 100 ranking and Murcar, Peterhead, Newburgh and Fraserburgh offer fabulous support. With the additional benefit of St Andrews being less than two hours to the south, use Trump International as your base for the greatest golf break of your life...
The green on the short 3rd enjoys one of the finest locations in Scotland.
It would be rude not to sample a few of the locallyproduced whiskies...
The stunning cross-site 13th is a short hole of majestic charm and beauty.
5 The Scottish tipple
After 36 holes of exhilarating links golf, you’ll be ready for some sustenance. Be assured you will be well fed and watered in these parts. For those who enjoy a postround tipple, Trump International houses over 50 varieties of Scotland’s most famous export Uisge Beatha (whisky - the water of life) – as well as locally-produced beers, gin and rum. Accompany your 19th hole pint with our personal clubhouse favourites – locally-sourced haggis bon bons and fish and chips straight from the North Sea. 6 The wildlife
Deer, dolphins, seals… even humpback
whales were seen off the shores of the links last year. This is golf in the raw, where even the most timid and rarest wildlife can be spied from the fairways. Just don’t gaze too long out to sea looking for the dolphins or whales when you’re on the beachside 3rd green (pictured above left), which is surely one of the most scenic in Scotland.
off and advised which of the six tee options is best for you. You can lie about your ability, but you’ll have a battle, because it IS a proper championship course. Be honest though, and the multiple tee locations allow you to hit off tees relevant to your ability – which means you don’t always have to be hitting driver down dune-lined fairways. Be sensible and you WILL reap the rewards. n
7 The challenge
You might have heard Trump International is tough. Too tough. Well, it is no pushover. Pros and plus-handicappers go there and shoot over par – but that’s off the back tees. When you arrive at the 1st tee at Trump International you’ll be asked what you play
Want to find out more? t: 01358 743300 e: email@example.com w: trumpgolfscotland.com
The view from the 14th tee – enough to make anyone start planning a trip to Aberdeen.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 39
10 SECRETLY-BRILLIANT TRIPS IN
Continental Europe ...starring Estonia, Belgium, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
e might be divorcing areas have especially good year-round weather mainland Europe politically, in addition to their widespread tourist appeal but the British golfer has never and Top 100-class courses. Tuscany, too, had closer ties with the attracts its fair share of Brits to its golf continent. Whether Brexit is hard or soft and courses, notably the super Argentario Resort whatever shades of red, white and blue it turns that is one of the most stylish in Europe. out to be, the British golfer is not going to Further north, Castelfalfi has just added a new turn their back on the continent. hotel and will likely join Argentario in Why can we be so sure? Because record becoming a Top 100 Resort in time. Ubernumbers have just enjoyed a golf break in the trendy Puglia in the south has, in Acaya and Algarve, Lisbon is one of the boom cities of San Domenico, resorts oozing class. Two Europe, and Spain (and its many golf-packed areas we especially like are the northern islands) is as popular as it has been since powerhouses of Piedmont and its 1980s heyday. France, boosted Lombardy, around the cities of by its Ryder Cup duties, is only Turin and Milan. Royal Park AN D D going to attract even more (with two courses) and Biella FO R G O N ’ T visitors. in Piedmont make for an E T. . . But those three big guns idyllic long weekend, with Icela This nd – plus Belek, not inside the easy flights to Turin. And Everyth is picture-pos tca ing from go we’ve heard rd stuff. EU and having a relatively in Lombardy, base yourself about Ic lfers wh eland o have us wan dip in popularity – are not at Bogogno (two courses) b een ma t to m k looks se ake the trip. It es the only reasons British and also play at nsation good. ally golfers will keep packing their Castelconturbia and especially new blue GB passports when Villa d’Este on Lake Como – if Brexit does eventually mean Brexit. you’re disappointed, let us know There are so many other attractive options (you won’t be). in continental Europe that are only going to become more popular. Not all guarantee 2 Belgium Yes, Belgium. Seriously. If pedigree sunshine – initially the key reason for us heading to Iberia. In fact, several have climates courses are your top priority on a golf trip, there are few countries on the continent that that are only marginally better than our own. can match Belgium. Lots of them are at But they have something different, something unique to their own country – from incredible private clubs (basically like our Troon and value to outstanding courses, to potent beer to Sandwich) so you need to plan and arrange in advance, but there is some tremendous fayre spectacular landscapes. Some have all four. here. It’s more varied than in most countries We’ve selected the top 10 continental too, ranging from the woodland-heathland of European countries that you ought to be at Limburg to the seaside tracks of Royal Zoute least considering a trip to in the coming year and Royal Ostend, the latter with stretches as – even although you might never have given it close to a GB&I links as you’ll find on the a passing thought in the past. continent. Ravenstein is Trust us, there is much to savour... a classic short parkland and Royal Antwerp a Italy delight for architecture buffs. Take the 1 OK, it doesn’t have quite the obscurity overnight P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge of the countries that follow, but we are in no and you’ve got all your gear with you, with the doubt that more golfers should travel to Italy driving all very do-able. from Britain than is currently the case. Sicily, through Verdura and Donnafugata, is 3 Cyprus Not exactly a newcomer to the golf increasingly popular, and so is Sardinia, which scene – more of you will likely have visited has just joined the Italy Golf & More group Cyprus than any of the rest of our selection – that is trying hard to expose more golfers to but the island’s golf offering has improved the appeals of an Italian golf holiday. Both
40 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Parnu Bay, Estonia.
Konopiste, Czech Republic.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 41
Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria.
42 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
markedly in the very recent future, making it an even more appealing option. Underpinning the allure of a golf holiday here is the climate, which is arguably the best in the whole of the continent. October? Glorious – fact. April? Ideal for golf. Aphrodite Hills has been the standard bearer for years and continues to be, but in the revamped Secret Valley and Minthis Hills – in addition to Sir Nick Faldo’s Elea – it is a well-rounded option. The much-improved courses mean Cyprus has a very even golf offering, any month of the year.
Bro Hof Slott, Sweden.
and drive across the bridge to Sweden. If you can add a day or two on, you can venture up the west coast to play Vasatorps plus two Solheim Cup venues; Barseback – a woodland-seaside hybrid, and Halmstad. Further north-east, Bro Hof Slott is the magnet, but don’t forget about Sand.
Like Sweden, to play the best of Denmark requires a bit of patience and determination. If you want a one-base golf break, this isn’t for you. But if you like the adventure of careering round a beautiful Czech Republic country ticking off its best courses, you’ll love 4 The Prague area has been on the radar it. The Scandinavian’s Old and New are easily for a little while actually, but the Czech accessible via Copenhagen (along with Royal Republic as a whole is really stepping Copenhagen) but you’re actually it up now, and offers a delightful better to golf break of beauty, value and fly from Stansted into Billund AN D D excellent golf. We detail much and tackle Esbjerg, FO R G O N ’ T more about it over the page. Holstebro and Lubker E T. . . from there... and for serious Bled Go Slovenia lf is refurbis undergoing Bulgaria hipster credibility, a h m m 5 assiv ent o accomm The Cape Kaliakra Budersand (which is odation f its course an e d . It m most pic turesqu ight have the area is a contender for best actually German) on the e loc the who le of Eu ation in value in Europe, and also island of Sylt. rope... boasts some really hot summer weather too. The three courses 9 Germany More specifically, Munich. there are, as you will have seen, perched on cliffs and offer spectacular views and edge- There are loads of great courses, of various characters, from classic parkland to of-the-seat golf holes. It hasn’t quite cracked mountainous scenes. The golf is really good the UK golf market as Belek has, despite and there is also a chance to explore a fantastic providing much the same offering other than city, from gastronomy and sightseeting to the weather. Don’t let that slower take-up put you off though, because Cape Kaliakra has all going to watch Bayern Munich or attending the beer festival. that’s required to get more of a foothold on the market.
Estonia GC has long been a fixture in Golf World’s Continental Top 100, and now you have double the reason to visit this famously beautiful Baltic country. Parnu Bay opened in 2015 and is a visually sensational woodland-seaside hybrid. It is a strong contender to enter Golf World’s Continental Top 100 later this year, and with the welldocumented attractions of the capital Tallin to consider too, this is a very attractive golf break for non-sun worshippers. To suggest ‘Sweden’ as a whole is a bit of red herring actually, because you’d need a week to play all of the really high-class stuff there. Better to focus on either the central section or the south. The star attraction in the south is Falsterbo, a traditional links that noone ever has a bad word about. Team that with Ljunghusens and the Kyle Phillipsdesigned duo at PGA National. Fly in and out of Copenhagen – while you’re there, you could tick off the duo at The Scandinavian –
Slovakia gets a mention as a result of one resort, because we believe Penati offers the best quality-to-money ratio in Europe. It is not an exaggeration to suggest for the same level of golf and accommodation elsewhere in Europe, you would pay three times more. With one Continental Top 100 course and one in the Next 100, plus on-site villas, it is perfect for a group who want to play 36 a day then pore over the play with a very cheap, potent beer in their hand. n
In our European section: 44 Czech Republic
A relative newcomer that has bags of promise.
Europe’s year-round golf destination.
Why Argentario is a European style icon.
Lisbon area is suddenly a mustvisit destination.
A haven for Top 100 courses of every type of course.
Five must-visit areas and resorts – for different reasons.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 43
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN…
The Czech Republic It has serious golf pedigree, but now has a better offering to the travelling golfer than ever before.
ooking for a different destination for your golf weekend or holiday? The Czech map is overflowing with beautiful cities marked as UNESCO world heritage sites underlining historical landmarks and events which have become renowned getaway destinations and synonymous with charm, character, fun and relaxation. Today, while golf grass seeds have taken root and matured in the leisure spa towns for over 100 years, Prague and all Czech regions are witnessing golf fever and worldclass courses have burgeoned all over the country and amid the touristic hot-spots.
You may be surprised to learn that there is a long tradition of quality golf in the Czech Republic. The first golf courses were opened in West Bohemia region in the spa towns of Karlovy Vary (1904) and Marianske Lazne (1905). A low number of Czech golfers and more than 100 courses around the Czech Republic – many of them tested by international golf events including the European Tour – makes this country a haven for golf tourists. For example in Prague and around you can discover more than 10 different 18-hole courses, most of them within a 30 to 60-minute drive from
the heart of the city. Close to the area of Prague or West Bohemia there are other attractive golf regions around the Czech Republic, for example South or North Moravia. All are waiting to be discovered. With incredible value for money and limitless cultural possibilities, there is no question every visitor is fulfilled by the mix of memorable golf plus sightseeing options and activities offered. The highest-quality services will pamper golfers to a top-level experience in a well-developed tourist infrastructure. Meals, drinks, theatre, opera, shopping, nightlife, brewery and winery tours, outdoors, wellness and spa...
44 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Continental Europe: Czech Republic
you name it, you’ll find it at a high standard – and all within 90 minutes of flying time from the UK. It’s an ideal golfing destination, with great value for money, for a long weekend or even a week-long holiday.
The gateway to great golf
Lying at the centre of the Czech Republic, the delightful capital of Prague is often portrayed with the Vltava River meandering through its heart, running under the remarkable Charles Bridge filled with pedestrians walking from Old Town Square towards the Prague castle perched atop the skyline. Full of historic and cultural highlights, museums and beautiful small cobblestone streets. It is also a great place to relax, go shopping or enjoy many restaurants, bars and excellent nightlife. Stay in the heart of the city and play a few
rounds of golf in the area. With comfortable and accessible golf transfers, this is easy. Discover for example one of the following great golf venues. Panorama Golf Resort
– 45 minutes from the centre of Prague This 27-hole course was opened in 2016 in the beautiful area of Posazavi and offers a very challenging golfing experience. All three nine holes (Forest, Meadows, River) are to be combined at will. Each part has its unique features offering unforgettable moments and variety of playing experiences in only one round of golf. First nine, Forest, is the dominant one of the course and offers interesting and challenging holes. The second nine, Meadows, is quite demanding and undulating too, but both boast panoramic views. The third nine, River, lays near the Sazava River and is
significantly less undulating but more demanding because of many water hazards. A modern clubhouse has a great restaurant that serves culinary specials based on regional products from an ecological farm and modern meeting and accommodation facilities are also available at the resort. Loreta Golf Resort
– 35 minutes from the centre of Prague This 18-hole course, designed by Keith Preston, with par 72 is situated in the beautiful countryside of Posazavi and was opened in June 2013. The architect has managed to make use of the local rugged landscape, preserve many hedgerows, woodland nooks and full-grown trees. So the course as a whole does not give the impression of new and raw. The design was created with regard to building a demanding course from the championship GOLF ESCAPES 2017 45
tees as well as the fair and playable course for intermediate players of yellow and red tees. A practice area, trolley and buggy rental or lessons with a pro are also available here. In the background, guests can enjoy the clubhouse that offers all the comfort of a restaurant, pro shop, locker rooms, caddy room as well as relaxation, meeting and accommodation facilities. Konopiste Golf Resort
– 45 minutes from the centre of Prague This biggest golf resort in the Czech Republic opened the first 18 holes in 2002. Konopiste offers two high standard 18-hole courses – Radecky and d’Este. Players of all levels will enjoy the courses, carved and
Want to find out more? Panorama Golf Resort panoramagolf.cz Loreta Golf Resort loretagolf.cz Konopiste Golf Resort gcko.cz Cihelny Golf Resort golfresortcihelny.cz Falkensteiner Hotel Marienbad falkensteiner.com Czech Golf Festival 2017 czech-golf-festival.com Czech golf holidays: czech-republic-golf.com
shaped sympathetically into the beautiful rolling hillside among forests. They provide a challenging but enchanting mix of woodland and parkland character. The refurbished Manor House offers conference facilities and an excellent hotel with a stunning courtyard terrace. There is also a nine-hole public course, practice facilities, lessons with a pro, two restaurants, golf shop, trolley, golf buggies with GPS and equipment rental. Its large accommodation, relaxation and meeting facilities make it a unique golf and spa complex that is not to be missed in the Prague area.
A golf paradise west of Prague airport
West Bohemia extends west from Prague to the south-west German border. The region is famous for its beautiful countryside, the healing hot springs and famous wellness centre in Karlovy Vary as well as beerbrewing in Plzen, home of Pilsner Urquell. You can also visit historic castles, museums, and enjoy quality restaurants, bars and the exciting nightlife. Wellness and spa treatments are perfect for soothing aching muscles and the region caters for golfers with more than five
striking courses, among them the country’s oldest in Marianske Lazne (also known as Marienbad) and Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). Stay in the heart of spa towns and enjoy great golf around them. If you decide to stay in the spa town of Marianske Lazne and are looking for a nice golfing break, you cannot miss the Falkensteiner Hotel Grand MedSpa Marienbad. This is one of the best hotels in the town, built in authentical Art Nouveau style. You will appreciate spacious and cosy rooms as well as an elegant bar with library and summer terrace for evening relaxation. It has unique relaxation facilities as it has the only outdoor pool in town – plus four more indoor pools as well as a caddy room. It offers half-board supplements both for individual tourist and groups and a special menu for dinner every Saturday. If you travel with family or kids and are looking for non-golf activities this venue will meet all your needs and the hotel concierge will help with local sightseeing or excursions. During your trip to West Bohemia, if you stay in Karlovy Vary you will find many nice hotels including luxury venues. But there is one particularly special, if you prefer to stay in the heart of pure
46 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Continental Europe: Czech Republic
countryside, in the gorgeous valley of the river Tepla yet still 10 minutes by taxi from the spa town centre – Cihelny Golf Resort. Only 90 minutes from Prague airport, this all-embracing resort for activity, relaxation and golf lovers awaits, especially individual travellers or small groups. You will explore 18 holes by Gary Player that offer an exceptional experience. A modern clubhouse has recently-opened 36 air-conditioned rooms in vivid and cosy Scandinavian style along with nice relaxation and spa facilities (indoor swimming pool, whirpool, massages) combine to offer a great holiday experience both for golfers and non-golfers. Combining Prague and West Bohemia, with the region’s spas and the country’s oldest courses has become very popular for short golf breaks or week-long holidays, both for the variety of cityscapes you can enjoy as well as great golf in both areas. If you would like to visit Prague or West Bohemia or another Czech region during your next golfing holiday consider one of the sample golf packages to the right. Or for more information or a tailormade golf holiday, visit czech-republicgolf.com n
Prague or West Bohemia: Three nights and two rounds of golf from £249. Seven nights and five rounds of golf from £599. Play and Stay at golf resorts in Prague or West Bohemia: Two nights and two rounds of golf from £199. Five nights and four rounds of golf from £415. Czech Golf Festival 2017 This is an international golf event for amateur golfers in Prague, held from July 9, 2017. Four to seven nights including breakfast with three to five rounds of golf on the best courses. There is a welcome dinner and a prize presentation dinner plus a private sightseeing tour of Prague with English-
speaking guide. Costs: From £539 per golfer and £409 per non-golfer staying at a four-star hotel. • All packages refer to prices per person based on four golfers sharing twin rooms including breakfast, all airport and golf transfers, meet and greet on arrival, assistance by local English speaking rep during the tour and all local taxes. Group
discounts, tailor-made golf or assistance with booking flights on request. Golf packages and tailormade golf around the Czech Republic available with all good UK golf tour operators. • For more information, to have a tailor-made golf break created for you or for free brochure call 020 8133 4366 or visit czechrepublic-golf.com
ARGENTARIO GOLF RESORT & SPA
Luxury in Tuscany
Enjoy Tuscany’s delights – the weather, food, and scenery – from exquisite Argentario Golf Resort & Spa.
or many decades, Tuscany has been revered as a holiday destination for holidaymakers seeking history, culture, art, and beautiful scenery. In the past few years it has also started to establish itself as a favourite for golfers too – not least due to the fabulous Argentario Golf Resort and Spa in the heart of the Maremma, a beautiful and still unexplored part of Southern Tuscany. This high-calibre Italian complex – one of Golf World’s inaugural Top 100 Resorts in Continental Europe 2016, has 73 design rooms, an increasing selection of golf villas, and an 18-hole championship course. Thanks to the surrounding hills, the
Orbetello Lagoon (a WWF-managed nature reserve) and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Argentario has its own micro-climate – meaning golf is possible all year round. Then there are the vineyards and the pristine beaches – both sandy and rocky – that sit alongside Argentario’s fairways. Oh, and all this is just 90 minutes away from Rome’s Fiumicino airport. What to expect from the course
It was designed by Tour golfer Baldovino Dassù and architect David Mezzacane, then revised by Brian Jorgensen. At the on-site teaching academy you might recognise one of the instructors who works
there. Emanuele Canonica, a past winner of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, teaches here and is available for lessons of the highest calibre. Canonica uses the latest technology and equipment to ensure you leave a better player than when you arrived. There is also a calendar of golf competitions at Argentario Golf Club – and you could be part of unique sports and gastronomy events or the Tuscany Golf Pro-Am with PGAs of Europe. Off the golf course…
Other facilities at the resort include a heated indoor swimming pool, an outdoor pool, a hi-tech gym and areas for outdoor activities,
YO U RF I N D H O M ED R E A M There a HERE re e luxury v xcellent oppo
lagoon illas overlook rtunities to in , via A vest in ing th bespok rgentario Golf e fairways an d e, desig Residen n villa ces. integra ted into s are seamle These s s th ly e land For fu argenta rther details, scape. visit riogolfre sidence s.com
48 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Continental Europe: Italy
Villas on the golf course are available for sale or holiday rental at Argentario Golf Residences.
such as tennis, jogging and football. Dama Dama Restaurant offers delicious Tuscan and Mediterranean cuisine, with many of the ingredients having been grown on-site in the resort’s own organic vegetable garden. During the warmer months, you can enjoy breakfast, meals and cocktails on the panoramic terrace with stunning views of the golf course up to the lagoon and the sea. Arguably the key attraction in addition to the golf is the comprehensive spa. The modern, retro-styled Espace Wellness Centre is a 2,700m2 oasis of tranquillity, leisure, and indulgence. Here you have the opportunity to get a relaxing treatment or simply use one of the range of amenities. Relish a healthy Detox, Italian style in the Espace Wellness Center, which offers specialised programs as a Nutrition Spa. In 2017, Argentario became the ideal Health Resort in Tuscany with Personalised Detox Plans, Yoga Lessons, and Wellness Treatments with Organic Products. Golfers who wish to reach a balanced and healthy physical and mental state can join the
‘Wellbeing Method’, which involves food reeducation and exclusive treatments designed to achieve your desired weight, shape and physical-mental wellness, and to maintain these throughout time. Breathtaking design
Argentario Resort is the only golf resort in the Design Hotel’s group. This allencompassing luxury retreat has design at its heart. Old world glamour is given a contemporary makeover, as state-of-the-art facilities meet the seductive charm of a movie star’s decadent Tuscan retreat. The rooms express their individual personality through a sophisticated and comfortable design, ranging from the minimalist look in a contemporary art-gallery style to a more glamorous, metropolitan spirit with chrome plating and stone tubs. There is also a three-bedroom Locker Cottage, a Tuscan-inspired hideaway built into a hillside, opening onto an outdoor terrace surrounded by a private olive garden. Plus there are opportunities to invest in
luxury villas overlooking the fairways and lagoon, via Argentario Golf Residences. Exploring Tuscany
You can use Argentario as your base for an exploration of Tuscany, which is one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. Most of the main towns and cities are all within easy reach of the resort, so day trips to Florence, Pisa and Siena are very easy. Apart from Argentario Resort (part of Design Hotels), Maremma hides design wineries and artistic gardens, part of the ‘Design Travels in Maremma Tuscany’ adventures. Or discover hidden gems away from mass tourism in the idyllic little towns of Orbetello, Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano and Capalbio. n
Want to find out more? t: +39 0564 810292 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: argentariogolfresortspa.it
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 49
THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO
We help narrow down your array of choices for a golf holiday over the channel.
rance has quality courses in every corner of the country, so which area or which resort is most suited for your golf break in 2017? It’s not an easy choice to make, as the options are extensive and comprehensive. We’ve tried to help you make your mind up by identifying the areas that will work best for different type of golf traveller. There are no shortage of possibilities and some overlap – but we hope this seven-page
50 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
guide helps you identify the region or resort that will appeal and satisfy you the most. Best for the connoisseur The South-West
Tom Doak and Bill Coore – what more do you need to know? These titans of modern golf course architecture both have courses within 45 minutes of each in the Aquitaine region in France’s south-west.
Coore created his two decades ago at Golf du Medoc while Doak added SaintEmilionnais last year. For connoisseurs, golf in Continental Europe simply doesn’t get any better. They have enhanced an unsung area that has as many courses in Golf World’s Continental Europe Top 100 as muchvaunted Sotogrande. Golf du Medoc, which has two courses in Golf World’s Top 100 after the Vignes
Continental Europe: France
course entered the Top 100 too in 2015 at No.52, is the star attraction. Its Chateaux course rose to No.15 in the 2015 ranking, due reward for a wonderful heathland with echoes of Walton Heath that was laid out by Coore before his Coore-Crenshaw fame. A four-star hotel makes for a terrific base too, fully stocked as you’d imagine with velvety Bordeauxs. It is on the northern outskirts of Bordeaux and now further inland to the east is SaintEmilionnais, with which Golf du Medoc now have attractive packages. To the south lie further jewels that make Aquitaine such a well-endowed yet lowerprofile region. There is Moliets, a parklandlinks hybrid – and Seignosse, a tough test among pine trees and around water hazards. Then there is the leafy parkland of Hossegor while another woodland-seaside course at
Chiberta completes what is unquestionably a connoisseur’s delight. Best for a couples weekend: Paris
The reason is obvious – because as well as some of the continent’s very finest golf courses within a 45-minute circumference of the centre, the non-golf attractions are undoubtedly immense. None of us really need to have the offcourse appeal of Paris explained to us, the fact that no matter what you enjoy doing away from the course, you’ll find it here. There is sightseeing – the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysses, L’Arc Triomphe, Montmarte, Notre Dame, the Pompidou Building, the Sacre Couer. There are sports to watch (French Open tennis at Roland Garros, Six Nations and Autumn Test rugby
‘Tom Doak and Bill Coore – what more do you need to know? Aquitaine is unquestionably a connoisseur’s delight’ at Stade de France or football at Paris St Germain). There is Disneyland, there are legendary art galleries and museums and there is simple people watching in a Seineside cafe. You’ll eat like a king or queen too. The golf courses offer a similarly varied menu – but be aware that many are private and require pre-visit arrangement (try Private Golf Key for assistance). Le Golf National will be in everyone’s minds for the next two years as it prepares to
Le Touquet’s La Mer has recently been renovated to great effect.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 51
The tree-lined 7th hole at Evian in the east of France.
host the Ryder Cup. This thrill-a-minute parkland is dominated by water and already offers tremendous ‘experience’ golf. The top two-ranked courses – Morfontaine and Les Bordes – are so private as to be off your radar, but Paris still has tremendous depth in the likes of Chantilly’s two delightful English-feeling courses or the heathland-woodland of Fontainebleau south east of the city. Nearby Crecy, near Disneyland Paris, has two very good parkland courses and a characterful hotel that is a super base for a trip. In the west, Saint Germain, a classic Harry Colt design, and St Nom La Breteche’s Red and Blue offer classical appeal. Paris also does a second tier of courses exceptionally well too, enabling you to balance the books of your trip with some 52 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
EXP O P I NE R T ION “Fonta favouri inebleau nea
r Simpso tes to play in F Paris is one o f my rance. It n cours e w h ic h flies u ’s a great Tom many. W n d it e h r a th program serious e radar tree for me restora and a sympa -clearing tion it c thetic b o u u n ld k e be in th r league es as – archit Morfontaine.” ame ect Fra nk Pon t
lower-priced courses that will still present a perfectly enjoyable day out. Best for competitive groups: Pas de Calais
If you want to start playing world-class golf as soon as possible, this is the trip for you – certainly if you live no further north than
Leeds or Manchester (and if you are further north, you’d still be wise to consider a domestic flight to Gatwick and follow our route from there). Why? Because it is the easiest golf break to go on in Europe. Get yourself to Dover (sounds awkward, but brave a very early alarm call and even if you live in Yorkshire or Lancashire, you can be there for an 8am departure) and the job is done. Roll onto the EuroTunnel train, catch up on 20 minutes of sleep, and within 30 minutes of rolling off it you are in the car park of your first course, Wimereux. It is a no-frills seaside course with as much links character as most in Continental Europe. A great way to start the trip – and if it is breezy, the scoring will be interesting! It’s a terrific warm-up for the main action,
Continental Europe: France
‘The original design of Hardelot was there, it just needed to be reopened’
“We knew we had to renovate our course jewels”
Laurent Boissonnas of Open Golf Club on the group’s superb restorations at Hardelot and Le Touquet. Just like with a hotel where you need on-going refurbishments otherwise you are out of the game, we were facing a similar sort of situation in the golf industry and knew we needed to do some refurbishments on our leading golf courses within the Open Golf Club. Our competition has increased in recent years and so has the level of service that is expected. Word of mouth is important and so we would remain as popular, we had to act. We met with architects to see what they could offer and, four or five years ago, we were very seduced by the Frank Pont-Patrice Boissonnas project. They found aerial pictures and proof of the original design by Harry Colt in Le Touquet and equally so by Tom Simpson in Hardelot. We thought that was an interesting lead to work on, to return the courses to how Colt and
Simpson created them initially in 1931 . We liked the idea and decided to go forward. It led to the creation of four new holes – 13, 14, 15 and 16 – at Le Touquet and the refurbishment on other holes that over time had some alterations in bunkers and green surroundings. In Hardelot the situation was similar. The course was not the same: the sand dunes had become covered by trees, altering some perspective on the tees; the bunkers were not what they were and had been updated over time with different ideas. The original design was still there, it just needed to be reopened so that its DNA of an inland links on sand could come back. There are now different shot opportunities and more fun yet it is challenging for everyone; Hardelot hosts the first round of the qualifying tournament for the European Tour.
It is a fierce competitive enviroment for golf tourism and we needed the conviction to maintain the buzz and positive word of mouth. Les Pins is now as it was when Simpson created it, and La Mer just as Harry Colt did. We had the idea of where we wanted to be. We work in a very competitive environment but we look forward to improving the courses further, as well as their condition and the service our customers receive. With cheaper airline flights, people can travel all over the world to play golf – not just Spain and Portugal, with lots of other new destinations and of course in Britain too – but we still believe we have a great offering here in the north of France. You can bring your car and your clubs and be in Hardelot quickly after leaving Britain. We needed to work to remain on the wish list of British golfers and I hope we have done that.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 53
Continental Europe: France
Terre Blanche was voted the finest resort in Continental Europe last year.
which begins in the lovely picture-postcard seaside town of Hardelot, but where the golf is of a heathland-woodland nature. It has two golf courses. One is called Les Dunes and sits on raunchy terrain that rolls high and low in dramatic fashion, full of elevated drives and uphill approaches. The No.1 course is Les Pins, long a favourite for visiting British golfers, having been laid out by Tom Simpson in the early 1900s. In the past four years it has been transformed by architect Frank Pont and his associate Patrice Boissonnas, with hundreds of trees having been removed and in their place the sandy areas of yore have returned. It rose an historic 71 places to No.27 in Golf World’s 2015 Continental Europe Top 100 ranking. It falls under the Open Club umbrella (see 54 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
‘If you had to devise a golf trip that offered high quality with low hassle, Pas de Calais would be it’ previous page), as does neighbouring Le Touquet – which is having its own makeover. Situated 40 minutes to the south of Hardelot, this is another multi-course venue... and whose No.1 course La Mer is also undergoing Pont-Boissonnas restoration. Laid out by Harry Colt in 1931 it ought to be a sandy, raw, thrilling experience and the refurbishment promises to offer exactly that. It is backed up by La Foret, laid out by Horace Hutchinson in 1904, and set in a pine forest at Le Touquet that is sheltered
from the wind, as well as the par-35 3,000yard Le Manor by Harold Baker. Finally, Belle Dune is a combination of Les Pins and Les Dunes, routed over rolling duneland and lined by pines. It would make for a surprisingly good end to the trip. If you had to devise a golf trip that offered high quality with low hassle, Pas de Calais would be it. Best for a family holiday: The South-East
One of our more obvious selections, because this area of the country is synonymous with quality, style and uncommon class; mere mention of the names ‘Provence’, ‘Cote d’Azur’ and ‘Nice’ explains its selection as France’s top family holiday option. Within this gilded region – which boasts
Continental Europe: France
‘If you can’t find happiness at Terre Blanche, we really worry for your sanity’
weather just that bit better than on any other trip to France, extending the season by as many as two months – are several worldclass golf resorts which are perfect to keep every member of the family entertained for a week or more... Terre Blanche is the obvious stand-out, with two outstanding courses and a luxury hotel encompassing an incredible spa, kid’s club, pool area and exquisite dining. If you can’t find happiness here, we really worry for your sanity! Heaven on earth. Another fabulous option is Saint Endreol. Its course opened in 1992, designed by Michel Gayon, and boasts a sensational par 3 within its classy layout. The 50-room hotel, a five-minute stroll through the forest from the clubhouse, only opened in 2008, and also offers fabulous fresh food that is 56 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
renowned locally as well as predictably excellent wine. In the Rhones-Alpes area further to the north, fabled Evian is a beguiling resort on the edge of Lake Geneva. It is one of Europe’s most enchanting destinations, with a course that hosts a ladies’ major and two luxury hotels. Best for mixed groups: Brittany & Normandy
The neighbouring regions of Normandy and Brittany offer a golf holiday with a rural hue, based in agricultural settings and traditional market towns of bustling squares boasting a cafe, bar, post office and restaurants. Temperate climates warmed by the Gulf Stream are an added attraction but you’ll probably have your own car with you, full of
Travel essentials The climate Not unlike the British climate in the north but the south has an extended summer period of early May to late September. The south west isn’t quite as nice as the south east. When to go May to September for warm weather but the south east can be very nice all year round. Getting there You can fly all over France cheaply and hire a car but we like the EuroTunnel option. Paris is just three hours’ drive from Calais. More information Open Golf Club have some of the leading courses in France in their stable (w: opengolfclub.com) while Private Golf Key offer a personalised service to play the leading venues (w: privategolfkey.com).
COME EXPERIENCE THE
N° 1 GOLF RESORT IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE
GOLF & SPA PACKAGE
• Luxury Suite or Villa, double occupancy • Breakfast for two persons • One green-fee including a golf-cart with GPS • One 60-minute massage at the Spa • Access to the Albatros Golf Performance Center with unlimited driving-range balls • Unlimited access to the spa facilities From
per suite and night.
*Upon availibility and reservation
45 minutes from Nice International Airport, 35 minutes from Cannes. Helicopter access.
Continental Europe: France
Golf National will host Europe’s next Ryder Cup.
St Endreol is one of the leading resorts in the whole of Europe.
all the gear you wish, because you might well have taken the ferry from the south coast of England. The golf? Full of highlights and something for everyone, no matter what your taste, budget or ability. No matter how diverse your group, these regions can cater for all. In Brittany, surrounded on three sides by the sea, you lap up spectacular holes such as the 11th at Pléneuf-Val-André or the 6th at Dinard. Val-André and Dinard Golf are two of the highlights of this region of varied golf, with the common theme of uncrowded tee sheets, inexpensive green fees, and easy access. The parkland of Les Ormes is another, a terrific play-and-stay option, while SaintMalo Hôtel, Golf & Country Club is in the 58 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
‘Golf Barrière de Deauville by Tom Simpson has charmed since 1929’ forest among ancient hunting grounds of Robert Surcouf, and surrounded by the vast Mirloup lake. In Normandy, there are more than 40 courses ranging from seaside tracks to inland beauties to clifftop thrillers. They are located in locations as diverse as the Bay of Mont St Michel to the Alabaster Coast and from Perche to the Seine Valley, from the Cherbourg peninsula to Auge. Etretat has overlooked the sea and the eponymous bay since 1908, Golf Barrière de Deauville by Tom Simpson has charmed
since 1929 while Dieppe-Pourville is a Willie Park design from 1897. Omaha Beach has an emotive name and indeed is just three miles from the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, and many of its 36 holes enjoy splendid views. Halfway between Paris and Deauville, Golf d’Evreux sits beautifully in its natural rolling topography and is noted for its fast, true greens while Golf Barrière de Saint-Julien near Pont-L’Evêque has two courses. France’s possibilities seem endless... n
Want to find out more? UK’s official site for visiting France w: uk.france.fr Private Golf Key w: privategolfkey.com
UTOPIA IN PROVENCE
Saint Endréol Golf & Spa Resort
A retreat whose food, golf and pampering make it impossible not to enjoy yourself.
et between Provence and the Cote d’Azur coast, in stunning, sundappled scenery, Les Domaines de Saint Endréol spans 370 acres of unspoiled landscape that encapsulates the exquisite lifestyle of Provence. Whether your preference is for golf, spa treatments, walking, stretching out on a sun lounger, a quiet break or a lively holiday, Saint Endréol has it all. Located just 45 minutes’ drive from Nice airport, Saint Endréol combines the many
60 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
attractions of one of the most energetic and appealing regions of Europe.
The course Opened in August 1992, it was designed by Michel Gayon, France’s undisputed amateur champion from 1975 to 1985 and now its most high-profile golf architect. It stretches to 6,434 yards with a par of 72 and boasts fairways cut through forest while the hilly terrain makes for a number of blind shots. Stand-out holes include the par-3 8th,
with a carry across the second lake, and the 14th, 15th and 16th, which follow a bend in the river. The long par-4 17th is a worthy stroke index one, taking no prisoners at the start of the home holes. Yet the highlight, in a literal sense if nothing else, is when one stands on the elevated 13th tee at St Endréol. The view is the essence of Provence, with olive groves, stands of pine trees and mellow buildings folded into rich Mediterranean countryside. Look up and you will see the hills of the
Continental Europe: France
G R E L AO LF & X OFF Saint En
dréol h ave a fa 2017 bu accomm that includes lous package o breakfa dation in a p one night’s for st buffe re t, one 18 stige room w pe and acc rson, dinner a -hole green fe ith ess to t the e per from €3 the compreh restaurant ensive s 36 for tw p occupa ncy – ra o persons (in a. It costs d room – te in countrysid ouble low e Visit st- season rate). view endreo l.com
Rouet and the red sandstone of the Rocher de Roquebrune. Look down, way down, and you’ll see a lonely green almost surrounded by the River Endre. This is still one of the most memorable par 3s, up there (if you pardon the pun) with the 14th at Phuket’s Blue Canyon or the 15th at Lemuria in the Seychelles. When it comes to spectacular drops, the 13th at St Endréol is one of the most precipitous.
Where you stay The Domaines de Saint Endréol offers a large range of accommodation facilities. Whether it is for a night, a week or more, you will find Saint Endréol provides the comfort and services you need to make your stay a wholly enjoyable one. The residential hotel is conveniently located only a five-minute stroll through the forest from the clubhouse. It has 50 bright contemporary rooms, each with a tiny kitchenette and a balcony, plus restaurant, pool and spa (see right). Saint Endréol also has individual villas with
private pool, town houses and apartments, blending Provencal tradition with a high standard in comfort. In this guise, you can stay for one week or more.
Gourmet pleasure Saint-Endréol is obviously a top destination for golfers, but it is also a gourmet’s paradise. Serving lunches and dinners in the dining room or out on the terrace, where you can lap up the panoramic views over the golf course, the restaurant serves guests refined seasonal cuisine, topped with the gorgeous setting of an elegant bastide. Michelin honours abound elsewhere too on this elite coast – the regional landmark is Gérald Passédat’s three-star “Le Petit Nice” in Marseille but the towns and villages in the hills around St Endréol have their own only slightly less glittering goodies. David Carré with “Le Carré d’Ange” in Montouroux, Bruno in Lorgues; Hostellerie Les Gorges de Pennafort in Callas with the Chef Da Silva all deserve a mention in the one-star category.
Pamper yourself The spa boasts 2000m2 of amenities including a Turkish bath, saunas, a counter current pool, hot tub solarium and seven treatment cabins with a comprehensive list of treatments using Carita and Comfort Zone products. The spa spoils you with a great choice of luxurious, personalised body and face treatments for men and women using Carita and Comfort Zone products. Explore the area A day swimming and shopping in St Tropez or St Raphaël is always enjoyable: the culturally inclined might combine it with a visit to the Roman amphitheatre and aqueduct in Fréjus. At Saint Endréol, there is something for everyone. n
Want to find out more? t: +33 (0) 4 94 51 89 80 e: email@example.com w: st-endreol.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 61
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS AT
The Evian Resort
Uncovering the evolution of this historic and fabled French resort overlooking Lake Geneva.
n 1904, the Evian mineral water company bought the farm and land belonging to the Berthet family and built a nine-hole golf course with the upcoming opening of the Hôtel Royal at the front of their minds. Located at an altitude of 500m, overlooking Lake Geneva, one of the first golf courses in France was an immediate success with visitors, who were enchanted by its magnificent views and vegetation which was to be immortalised by the writer Lamartine. Set in 148 acres of wooded parkland, since then Evian Resort Golf Club has developed into a challenging course that offers the quality of a renowned championship course combined with the beauty of its exceptional setting.
62 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
The incomparable viewpoints of Lake Geneva and the Alpine summits are unforgettable – and so is the new 18-hole course. A comprehensive renovation by the Cabell B Robinson – a former assistant to Robert Trent Jones – at the end of the 1980s was followed two decades later by another significant and successful upgrade. Stretching to 6,595 yards, the Evian Resort Golf Club tests and charms the leading women players in the world every year when they meet on the banks of Lake Geneva at The Evian Championship, now a legendary global event. One of only two majors outside America, and the only one in Continental Europe, the Evian Championship – the fifth major – will this year take place from September 14 to 17. Competitors this year will seek to
follow in the footsteps of the greats of the game who have won here: Alfredsson, Davies, Sorenstam, Inkster, Webb and Ko. The results of the total renovation in 2013 means it now plays with more flow, is more spectacular and is more strategic… yet while retaining a strong French identity. All the tees have been modified and the fairways reworked. The greens are firmer, requiring well-struck shots to find and ‘hold’ them while also being enlarged to now offer six pin positions. They are defended by an increased number of ambitious obstacles, in particular newly-created or enlarged water features. Many deeper bunkers have also been re-positioned all over the course. The signature hole of the renovated course is the 5th, a par 3 whose difficulty stems from an island green and the need to
Continental Europe: France
negotiate a 100m long water hazard. The ‘Evian Puzzle’ refers to the heart of the course, the crucial final run of holes – 15, 16, 17 and 18 – where everything in the match is to play for. Evian-les-Bains is a spa town built on the mountainside 360 miles from Paris, 118 miles from Lyon and 25 miles from Geneva. Perched at 497m, in the heart of 47-acre grounds, the Evian Resort overlooks Lake Geneva. It dominates the town, looking towards the Alps and faces Swiss city Lausanne on the other side of the lake.
The Evian course has been renovated to great success.
Introducing The Manoir
The Manoir du Golf in Evian is located in the heart of the Evian Resort Golf Club Academy. It offers golf enthusiasts the opportunity to stay there by day and night and to enjoy their passion for the game to the full. The Manoir de Novery, built in 1911, has retained the soul and elegance of homes from bygone times. This authentic feel was retained during refurbishment and the seven guest rooms are imbued with a cosy, totally golf-inspired atmosphere. You
enjoy use of the facilities at Hotel Ermitage. There are seven rooms at the Manoir, room for 180 pupils at the Academy’s Golf School, five qualified instructors and one Club Fitting service and golf club repair. ...and the luxurious hotels
The four-star Ermitage has 80 rooms and was totally renovated in 2010. It offers an intimate, stylish atmosphere, with stylish bars, restaurants, a sumptuous spa and super kid’s
club. The five-star Hôtel Royal is a Leading Hotel of The World and nominated Palace in 2016, guaranteeing a stay of luxury, chic design and fabulous food. n
Want to find out more? t. +33 (0)4 50 26 50 50 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: evianresort-golf-club.com
PE R F PAC K E C T AG E Stay tw o night s at o doub
ne o le ro to avail om (lake view f the hotels in ability) a upgrad wit e fee per person h breakfast, o subject , n u e n Academ green limited acce y, u spa fac nlimited use of ss to the ilities.Fr poo (double om €356pp ls/ occupa ncy).
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 63
EUROPEAN GOLF RESORTS
TOP 100 GOLF DU MEDOC
TOP 100 COURSES & FAMED VINEYARDS
Golf du Medoc Resort S Two Top 100 courses and a four-star hotel among the legendary vineyards of Bordeaux await...
ituated among the vines and many famous Chateaux, this golf resort is an unmissable destination in South West France. Its location near Bordeaux allows visitors to combine golf, gastronomy and wine tasting, yet only 20 minutes from the city’s international airport. It’s the ideal mix for golf lovers seeking to discover the many fine wines and Châteaux of the Medoc. Whether one is an oenophile or a serious golfer – or perhaps a bit of both – Bordeaux and the Medoc will undoubtedly offer a spectacular array of pleasures and memories. Nowhere else can one find such a diverse range of Chateaux and Grands Crus, so skilfully cultivated, for golf and wine. The four-star hotel overlooks the golf courses and offers exceptional views from the
restaurants and the rooms’ private patios. The restaurant, ‘Le Club’ is the place to enjoy the most prestigious Grand Crus Classés wines from Medoc region as well as fine dining on regional produce. You can even go to the rich wine room and pick your favourite bottle. Drink it close to the cosy lounge library and bar or on the terrace facing some holes of Les Châteaux course. On the Medoc Wine Trail, make a stop at Château Mouton Rothschild or Château Pichon-Longueville to enjoy all the secrets from the Medoc know-how. Les Châteaux course, a par 71 of 7,189 yards is the only course designed by Bill Coore in Europe. This championship course is a pure delight, with each hole named after one of Medoc’s top wines. Les Châteaux was in
2015 ranked by Golf World in Continental Europe’s top 15 courses. It’s inspired by links with its fast-running fairways, but has a heathland nature a la Walton Heath. Retief Goosen won the 1999 French Open here. The adjacent ‘Les Vignes’ was designed by Rod Whitman and is perhaps a bit less demanding but offers strategic choices off the tee. It was ranked 52nd by Golf World. The landscape is relatively flat, but winds through pine forests, heathland and around a lake. n
Want to find out more? t: 33(0) 5 56 70 31 31 e: email@example.com w: golfdumedocresort.com
DOAK & COORE
An aerial view of the hotel with the Vignes course behind.
64 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Golf du Medoc’s spa and pool sits within the four-star hotel.
Three nights’ B&B in the on-site 4* hotel, Signature Pass including three rounds on both courses and at Grand Saint-Emilionnais (by Tom Doak), range balls before play, gifts, and access to the Spa. Costs €506 pp (sharing double room). Valid April-Oct, subject to availability. E: contact@ golfdumedocresort.com or w: golfdumedocresort.com
Bill Coore (USA) - 1989
Rod Whitman (CAN) - 1991
w w w . g o l f d u m e d o c r e s o r t . c o m
training center Bernard Pascassio
Situated among the vineyards of the MÈdoc between Bordeaux and the spectacular Atlantic coast beaches, Golf du Medocís 36-hole resort offers access to some of the ˋQHVWJROIDQGZLQHWRXUVLQVRXWK west France. Only 20 minutes from Bordeaux Merignac international airport, the resortís elegant hotel is merely yards from the 1st tee of both highlyregarded courses. For golf, gastronomy and wine tasting, a visit to Golf du Medoc Resort on the wine route is a must.
EUROPEAN GOLF RESORTS
TOP 100 GOLF DU MEDOC
Chemin de Courmateau - 33290 Le Pian MÈdoc T. 33 (0)5 56 70 31 31 - F. 33(0)5 56 70 78 78 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sir Nick Faldo-designed Elea
EUROPE’S ALL-YEAR GOLF PARADISE
Focus on Cyprus Seeking winter sun without a long-haul flight? Head for the four courses on the island of Cyprus.
yprus is the short-haul golf destination with long-haul attractions. Blessed with one of the most consistently good climates in the world – with a long summer season extending into late October – this is patently a year-round destination. Even in the winter months, temperatures are mild with an average of six hours of sunshine a day. It has four superb golf courses too, located close to each other so it is easy to plan a trip where you play more than one of them. Factor in excellent hotels, great gastronomy, abundant culture – indeed, Pafos is European Capital of Culture 2017 – diverse natural attractions including famous archaeology and authentic hospitality and it is one of Europe’s
most appealing destinations. There is varied nightlife in the cities and towns of Larnaca, Paphos and Limassol as well as resorts such as Ayia Napa. It’s just over four hours away too, with direct flights from London and regional airports. The courses, too, are first class...
Eléa Aphrodite Hills
Cyprus’ best-known course was designed by Cabell Robinson on 578 acres on two plateaux, divided by a ravine that overlooks the spot ‘Aphrodite’ is said to have emerged from the sea. Its topography allows for spectacular views and drives – not least on the iconic short 7th. Just 10 minutes from Paphos airport, its 290-room hotel is a great base. Minthis Hills
The first course in Cyprus has undergone a name change and a renovation. Known as Tsada when it was laid out by Donald Steel in 1994, it has recently undergone a significant overhaul by the Mackenzie & Ebert firm. Located in the grounds of a 12th Century monastery in a valley surrounded by vineyards and orchards. There’s also a chic clubhouse. Clockwise from top left: Eléa; Aphrodite Hills; Minthis Hills; Secret Valley. Above: Sunset at Petra tou Romiou, Paphos.
66 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
in a scenic valley adjacent to the Paphos coast. Routed among mature trees and natural rock formation, its six sets of tees mean it is playable for all standards of golfer. It has a superb Golf Academy too.
Tony Jacklin’s design opened in 2013 and sits
A 2010 Sir Nick Faldo design on rolling hillside topography above the Med. Laid out around weathered outcrops of limestone as well as mature carob and olive trees. It is backed up by a lavish clubhouse with a fine restaurant, five terraces, wine-tasting lounge, and an exclusive private terrace. n Want to find out more? t: 00 357 22 691100 w: visitcyprus.com
Travel essentials THE CLIMATE Cyprus is a year-round destination so ideal for winter sun. WHEN TO GO November to March, quiet but atmospheric, perfect for golf. GETTING THERE Fly to Larnaca or, even better, Paphos, from a choice of UK airports. CURRENCY Euros TIME GMT+2
From a winning game to winning her heart
in no time.
Cyprus is the crossroads linking three continents, and from its turquoise waters emerged Aphrodite, goddess of beauty. It’s no wonder that it affords such tranquil private moments for those who are looking for a quality vacation destination. Enjoy Cyprus, from the intensity that a good game of golf can rouse to complete rest and relaxation at luxury hotels or exotic spas. From the famed Commandaria wine to the country’s shopping, renowned for its variety, exotic goods and jewelry. Follow your heart to experience the island’s breathtaking beauty and you’ll find that everything in Cyprus is a mere heartbeat away.
THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO
In three areas on the mainland and in its islands in the Atlantic, Portugal has something for everyone.
ortugal is not a huge country, yet has as many as five different areas to consider for a golf break. They vary in style, cost and accessibility but there are several themes that connects them all. These three themes help to make Portugal such a highly-appealing option. They all offer a terrific variety of golf courses, a scenario helped by the fact all five areas have access to a coastline of some description. The outstanding service you
68 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
receive at the golf clubs and resorts is another common link; while service standards are high across the continent now, we find Portugal’s to be consistently the highest. And the weather is another welcome and familiar theme; it’s true that Portugal’s islands in the Atlantic Ocean benefit from slightly better winter weather than the mainland, but as a whole, these five key golf areas boasts sensationally good climates. The areas do, clearly, differ in many
respects though, and this is what you can expect to discover in each of them. Lisbon’s three areas
There is so much golf on offer in and around the capital that it has to be divided into three different areas – the Blue Coast (south of the city), Estoril (west of the city) and the Silver Coast (north of the city). For a long time the ‘third’ of Lisbon’s areas, the western coastline is poised to
Continental Europe: Portugal
become extremely powerful. Praia D’El Rey had long been the standard bearer in this area, near the medieval town of Obidos 45 minutes north of Lisbon. The arrival of Royal Obidos resort four years ago gave it added ballast, and in June this year it will gain a further significant attraction. That’s when PDR unveils its second course, West Cliffs, designed by Cynthia Dye and with all the hallmarks of a classic in the making. When added to the existing Cabell B Robinson track – a mix of seaside and pinelined holes that is a fixture in the top 50 on the continent – it is going to make this Marriott resort one of Europe’s very finest. Royal Obidos boasts a Seve Ballesterosdesigned 18-hole course that sits seamlessly in its rolling terrain of low-lying woodland and water features while Bom Successo by
Donald Steel – where the back nine is the pick – is just a few minutes away. With these four courses, Obidos suddenly has highcalibre strength in depth. Steel also designed Dolce Campo Real, en route to Lisbon, which is a super family resort. The south of Lisbon has often been similarly overshadowed but is now emerging as a strong contender in its own right – especially for those seeking value for money. It is doubtful if anywhere surpasses the Blue Coast in a quality-to-euro sense. Leading the way is European Top 100 track Troia, a Robert Trent Jones Snr track on a remote peninsula – but don’t let that put you off, because this is a fabulous test among pines and on sandy seaside terrain. Quinta do Peru has long been a Top 100 venue too, another design by the underrated Rocky Roquemore. It is vintage woodland-
parkland resort golf and is part of the Orizonte group that also owns two 18-hole courses within a forest of cork oak trees at Ribagolfe, as well as another 36-hole complex Aroeira – a Top 100 resort whose No.1 course has echoes of Woburn and entered Golf World’s Top 100 in 2015. The Estoril region is easily the most well known, boasting stellar names such as Oitavos Dunes, a seaside course among dunes, and fabled Penha Longa, a top-10 resort in continental Europe that boasts the feared Atlantico course by Robert Trent Jones Jnr/Kyle Phillips and a fabulous hotel. One of our resort favourites is Quinta da Marinha, with its Trent Jones Snr course from 1984 and even more importantly its peerless accommodation: the expansive original hotel and the exquisite new chic one. The Estoril club itself hails back to the
Praia D’El Rey north of Lisbon is poised to become even more outstanding.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 69
1930s by Mackenzie Ross, and Belas, Belavista, Paco do Lumiar, Quinta de Beloura and Lisbon Sports Club are other presentable options for the traveller. The Algarve
As the most popular destination for British golfers over the 50 years it has been welcoming us to its miles of golden coastline, it’s a fair bet that most of us have been there at least once. It’s never been more popular in fact. So it might feel as if you know everything there is to know about it. And in every facet of life, we love trying something new more than ever – from food to cars and music to drinks, making the safe, well-worn choice is no longer what it used to be. We want adventure, surprise and intrigue... and why not? It might make the Algarve seem a little drab as the destination for your next golf holiday. We know what it is all about. There are no surprises there; going again would just be like that time in 201X or 200X when we went. And that is where, with the greatest respect, you’d be totally wrong. Yes, the courses and towns of the Algarve are well known to British golfers, but even those of us who travel there regularly discover something new every time. Take a golf holiday to the Algarve in 2017, and it will be different from the last one. If it isn’t it’ll be your fault, because after you liked it so much the previous time you booked the same hotel
Vidago Palace, Porto.
and courses again! The ‘boring’ constant themes on the Algarve are wholly positive ones: the fabulous climate that makes it a year-round golf destination; the warm welcome you’ll receive no matter if you stay in a five-star hotel or a three-star guesthouse; the flawless conditioning of whatever course you play; the convenience of flying to Faro [from all corners of Britain] and then to your hotel. There are Top 100 attractions from Palmares in the west to Monte Rei in the east and San Lorenzo plus the Oceanico Old and Faldo courses in between. There are heavenly play-and-stays wherever you look, led by family-friendly Pine Cliffs and lowerprofile but high-appeal Robinson Quinta da Ria. The Dona Filipa-San Lorenzo axis, the
former a majestic newly-refurbished hotel, the latter arguably the Algarve’s finest course offers an alluring package. And then there is Penina, where it all began with Henry Cotton’s design starting the Algarve golf revolution, an area that still sets the standard as far as golf breaks are concerned. Porto’s twin attractions
Two venues make Portugal’s capital a clever option for those seeking something different, something classy from their golf trip in 2017. They are very different, but taken together offer a break of style and substance. Vidago Palace offers century-old character... but with the advantage of a recent thorough makeover in 2010, 100 years after opening. Located an hour from Porto and
OF B E S TU G A L? s e P O R Tlude... Most scePnraiciacoDu’Ersl Rey.
d o inc unes an ico Fald ourites Our fav zo, Oitavos D te Rei, Ocean a Ria, d n n o re ta M o in L u es -Q San mily st cours ourses Toughe ia. Most fun c golfe 1. Best fa nd a a ro y ib T e R d , an ia D’El R ura Old Vilamo - Penina, Pra r groups resorts Cliffs. Best fo Longha. nha Pine and Pe Aroeira Batalha, Azores.
70 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Continental Europe: Portugal
15 minutes from Chaves, it retains its peerless pedigree in its 70 rooms, six restaurants and bars. The course was originally built by Mackenzie Ross as a nine-holer in 1936 and was sympathetically extended by Cameron Powell. The closing trio offer breathtaking views from their lofty positions but otherwise Vidago is characterised by clever holes over undulating terrain. Estela is totally different, a sandy seaside experience over firm turf where the strength of the wind will determine your score. With an excursion to the legendary Douro wine region, this is a connoisseur’s delight. Madeira Islands
Just three courses on this Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean but they all have much merit – not least in the breathtaking coastal views common to all. Possibly the greatest advantage Madeira has is in its amazingly consistent weather that sees the sun shine strongly every month without ever being blisteringly hot, and where the temperature is routinely within a few degrees of 20˚C. And that is available with little more than a mere four-hour flight. A popular destination for non-golfers – who visit for the gastronomy, famous wines, nature trails, world-class fishing, bustling markets and water sports – Madeira is as well set-up to charm golfing travellers as anywhere on the mainland, no matter whether you are travelling in a single-sex group, in a couple, or within a family. Santo da Serra, Palheiro and Porto Santo are the three courses in the archipelago, and
‘Just three courses on Madeira but they all have much merit – not least in the breathtaking coastal views common to all’ all have featured in Golf World’s Continental European Top 200. Palheiro is a wonderful play-and-stay option, perched high above the capital of Funchal and offering a boutique hotel serving terrific food and a course boasting ocean views as well as inland holes of such colour that it has been likened to Augusta. It celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Santo da Serra is a regular European Tour stop and is full of brave carries over gorges, cliff-edge greens and elevated drives. Porto Santo is a Seve Ballesteros design on the eponymous nearby island to Madeira and is predictably exciting, always offering the golfer a route to nerve-wracking glory. The Azores
Like Madeira, this archipelago is not extensively stocked with courses but all three are appealing, as are the off-course attractions of a mild-climate year round and the kind of backdrops and culture that demand you relax and unwind. Two of the courses are on the island of São Miguel, whose airport of Ponta Delgada is the gateway to the Azores via SATA Air Azores, Ryanair or TAP Air Portugal. Furnas is the original course here, situated 500m above sea level and whose original
nine holes from 1936 were designed by Turnberry’s creator Mackenzie Ross. Perched above the attractive spa town, that loop was extended in the early 1990s. Batalha is the more recent but equally appealing of Sao Miguel’s courses. There are three loops of nine, many with views across the verdant landscape down to the sea. Designed by Powell in the 1980s and opened to the public in 1993, it has hosted the Azores Ladies Open. On Ilha Terceira, another of the nine volcanic islands that make up the Portuguese archipelago, sits the final course Terceira. Established in 1954 by American golf enthusiasts at Lajes Air Force Base, it is characterised by pine trees and small lakes and was renovated in 2006. n
Travel essentials The climate: If Lisbon loses anything in comparison with the Algarve it is actually on weather as opposed to courses. The Algarve’s location further south extends its better weather by a good couple of months. When to go: If you want to be in the pool as well as on the course in Porto and Lisbon, stick to June to August inclusive. The Algarve can be visited May to September for swimming and sunbathing. Equally though, if sunbathing isn’t essential, Portugal is open for golf all year round as it is never chilly. Getting there: Faro is served so well by UK airports, and Lisbon is similarly well serviced. The roads are perfectly pleasant to drive a hire car on once there. Time GMT +1 Currency Euro
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 71
Continental Europe: Portugal
Vidago Palace This historic venue is one of the outstanding golf resorts in Europe.
t is not often a golf resort oozes centuries of history and tradition, but that is indubitably the case at Portugal’s highlyimpressive Vidago Palace. This is one of Portugal’s grandest hotels, one which has been refurbished in great detail and with sympathy to its decades of tradition and old-world luxury. Its course has similar pedigree, and remains a delightful retreat; not overly punishing while remaining a test. Situated an hour and 10 minutes from Porto airport, Vidago’s course complements the relaxed but stylish nature of the hotel. Even the most discerning golfer will treasure this hidden palace in the woods, which has more than a hint of Scotland’s famous Gleneagles hotel and golf courses...
A course with a wealth of charm
The course was redesigned by the Cameron & Powell firm from an original by the respected British architect Mackenzie Ross from 1936. It has been transformed into a par-72 course of 6,938 yards, making it a potential venue for international championships, including for example the Portugal Senior Open 2014, the European Senior Tour, as well as the Patsy Hankins and Bonallack Trophies 2016 played between Europe and Asia/Pacific teams. The extension of the golf course from nine to 18 holes retained the integrity of the original design and faithfully reflected the aesthetics, playability, spirit and character of the site. The first nine holes are played in a relatively flat area in the Vidago valley while the last four holes are breathtaking, built on sloping land with fantastic views of Vidago Palace’s natural surroundings as well as the distant villages. The main features of the course are the elevated tees and greens – with the tee boxes buttressed with stone walls – as well as strategic bunker positioning and greens that demand a sharp eye to read the slopes. The Vidago Palace golf course offers a variety of services to enhance and complement the playing experience. These include a driving range for 30 players, a putting green, chipping area and practice bunker, pro shop, restaurant and bar. The resort also offers private lessons as well as buggies, trolleys and clubs to hire. Golfers
visiting Vidago Palace will lack for no amenity or service during their stay. And then there is the five-star Vidago hotel, which provides an ambience of elegance and an exceptional thermal spa... A Palace with centuries of tradition
The magnificent spaces of the Vidago Palace Hotel afford an ambience of art worship and an atmosphere worthy of kings. Designed last century, during the reign of King Carlos I, the Vidago Palace Hotel was opened for the first time in 1910. Oozing distinction, as one of the Leading Hotels of the World, the 100-year-old Palace now provides a luxury service of excellence and comfort. Inside the hotel, you are invited to enjoy one of the 70 magnificent rooms and suites, to savour the gastronomy of the majestic Grand Ballroom and to relax in the modern Thermal Spa, where the mineral water of Vidago – recognised for its exceptional therapeutic qualities – reigns supreme. In addition to the 18-hole golf course, there are other activities to enjoy. You can take a trip through this enchanted universe with a visit to the traditional springs or a bicycle ride along the many trails that provide a fantastic opportunity to observe the local wildlife. A spa to soothe body and mind
The natural mineral water of Vidago, recognised for its curative properties, is used in treatments and health programmes developed under the guidance of a highly specialised medical team. Wellness treatments of the Vidago Palace Spa are effective and tailored to you so that you can spend a half-day or full day rejuvenating in an inspiring contemporary environment. n
Want to find out more? t: +351 276990920 e: Reservations@vidagopalace.com w: vidagopalace.com
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 73
Continental Europe: Portugal
WORLD-CLASS GOLF RESORTS
Best of the Algarve T
The JJW group have two of Algarve’s finest golf hotels – which will you choose for your 2017 break?
he JJW Hotels & Resorts offers a range of five-star hotels, spas and Michelin star restaurants around the world. Over in Portugal, their awardwinning resorts have been delivering pictureperfect golf getaways for over half a century...
Dona Filipa Hotel – New refurbishment to unveil two new restaurants and a stunning swimming pool
Located on the beachfront of luxurious Vale do Lobo, Dona Filipa is one of the Algarve’s leading five-star hotels… and perfect for family holidays, glorious golf breaks and relaxing beach getaways. Surrounded by lush courses, pinewoods and the Atlantic, you also have the chance to play its two award-winning courses, San Lorenzo and Pinheiros Altos. Dona Filipa is set to complete the second
Dona Filipa offers elegant style and classic luxury.
74 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
phase of a multi-million pound renovation that will keep it as one of the finest luxury destinations in the Algarve. The latest work has focused on revitalising all public areas, as well as many exceptional rooms and suites, in order to deliver stylish modern luxury, with a classic Portuguese feel. The final stages will unveil two new gourmet restaurants and a spectacular swimming pool... that will add the crowning touch to this renowned gem.
Penina Hotel & Golf Resort – Leading the way in Algarve golf and luxury breaks for over 50 years
Set within 360 acres of natural beauty, this is the original home of golf in Portugal. With three courses, including the Algarve’s first 18hole championship course – the Sir Henry Cotton – this luxury five-star hotel leads the
Pinheiros Altos: one of the Algarve’s finest courses.
way in high-class service, Portuguese charm and exceptional golf. Perfect for golf breaks, relaxing family holidays and weekend retreats, it offers six restaurants and bars, tennis courts, the largest outdoor pool in the Algarve, fullsize football pitch, sauna, 24-hour fitness centre and a private bar on nearby Dunas Beach. The Sir Henry Cotton course is as unforgiving as it is beautiful; flanked by streams, ditches and water hazards, it delivers some of Europe’s most satisfying golf. n
Want to find out more? Dona Filipa t:+351 289 357 200 w: donafilipahotel.com Penina Resort t: 351 282 420 200 w: penina.com
Dine in style at Penina, a fabulous base for all the family.
Enjoy Five-Star Algarve Breaks Golf World Exclusive: Award Winning Golf & Luxury Spa Days
Dona Filipa Hotel
Penina Hotel & Golf Resort
3 Night Golf & Spa Break in Vale do Lobo
3 Night Golf Break in Portimao
Join us for a luxury 3 night escape that begins with an exclusive VIP welcome and includes 2 complimentary dinners, daily buffet breakfasts, and a range of luxury amenities. You’ll also receive two days of pampering at the renowned Vale do Lobo Royal Spa… or two rounds of golf on either of our award winning Championship courses: San Lorenzo and Pinheiros Altos.
Start your holiday with a VIP welcome experience and indulge in a 3 night golfing getaway that includes 2 complimentary dinners, daily breakfasts and a host of luxury amenities. There are also three exceptional golf courses to play – including the ten time host of the Portuguese Open – the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course, along with putting greens, practice areas and a driving range.
Experience an Algarve getaway to treasure.
Join us for a three day getaway to savour.
To Book Your 3 Night Golf Break Call: +351 289 357 200 PROMO CODE: GW OFFER
To Book Your 3 Night Golf Break Call: +351 282 420 200 PROMO CODE: GW OFFER
From Just 278 €
From Just 267 €
in a Twin room per night
in a Twin room per night
OUR VERDICT ON THE BEST OF...
How do you sum up the myriad options of such a large, diverse country so steeped in golf? You decide eight categories and award prizes accordingly.
La Manga Club gets our vote as the top resort for families.
76 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
Continental Europe: Spain
Gran Canaria This is our favourite of the Canaries or Balearics for a golf break. Majorca and Tenerife have their merits but Gran Canaria quite comfortably tops them in our view. Enjoy 20˚C and sunshine every month of the year plus a wide choice of hotels (and budgets) given it is such a popular general tourist destination. The golf is excellent too, led by two Arizona-style courses at Salobre (see later). Near neighbour Anfi Tauro offers a similarly jaw-dropping landscape while the island’s Royal club is a classy parkland on the edge of a volcano. El Cortijo is an exciting course that’s hosted the Tour while there are clifftop views from Meloneras and a touch of easy-to-enjoy, easy-walking enjoyment at Maspalomas, by Turnberry’s creator Mackenzie Ross. TOP 100 CLASSICS
Sotogrande Lots of good options in Spain for this
accolade but to be honest, only ever going to be one winner. Valderrama is a good starting point, simply one of the must-plays in world golf. And the good news is you can actually play it. It’s exclusive, hardly inexpensive, but they will welcome you warmly. Save up, and just do it. Next door is Real Sotogrande, the original course in the area and which has just been renovated to high standard. La Reserva de Sotogrande is a undulating rollercoaster with superb views while San Roque’s duo are guaranteed to challenge even the strongest players. Finca Cortesin is just 15 minutes away, a modern classic set among the hills. Stay at Almenara to make things very easy.
‘super resort’ and it remains one of the very best in Europe, with only the best in Belek and Terre Blanche in France offering as much to the travelling golfer. That was borne out with its position in the top 10 of Golf World’s inaugural Top 100 Resorts in Continental Europe. La Manga can cater for any kind of holiday; groups that want 36 a day (given it has 54 holes on site); couples who want to golf, dine and spa (given it has a five-star hotel, new spa and numerous restaurants on site) or families who want to tire themselves out every single day (given it has, in addition to the golf, tennis, football, horse riding, pools and cricket [and much more] on site).
GOLF & GASTRONOMY
La Manga Club The most impressive aspect of La Manga? That it’s managed to stay the most comprehensive resort out there, despite this kind of development being increasingly popular these days. It was the original
PGA Catalunya This is a resort that could have won a couple of other awards in this article, it’s that good. Definitely the family one, given the sparkling new Camiral hotel has just opened (and is instantly world class). The
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 77
villas to hire are also chic and ideal for families or groups. Plus, given Barcelona is just 45 minutes away, a big city break is entirely possible while staying here. It has Golf World’s top-ranked course in Spain too, plus one in the Next 100 that is pushing for the main list. Yet despite these attractions, the USP of PGA Catalunya is the region’s expertise in food. It has an abundance of Michelin stars, and when that is the case you also know there are literally hundreds of aspiring restaurants just below Michelin standard that are basically just as good. Oh, and you can also head a little
TRAVEL ESSENTIALS THE CLIMATE Mainland Spain has a distinct difference between the north and south – in Santander in the north, expect the sun for six hours from April to the middle of September. The further south, the warmer and drier, culminating in Almeria’s desert climate. The Canaries get yearround sunshine.
78 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
WHEN TO GO Canaries are great in winter but not uncomfortably hot in summer, when the courses are quieter. Spring is ideal for Sotogrande; stick to largely the summer months for Bilbao. GETTING THERE As most courses are located in or near large tourist areas, Spain’s courses are very accessible. TIME GMT +1 CURRENCY Euro
further north to the Peralada Resort for a wine spa too... Yes, that really is a thing. SEASIDE EXPERIENCE
El Saler As regular Golf Escapes readers will know, we don’t think links really exist on continental Europe. Certainly not like the links that sit on our coastlines. El Saler is the closest you’ll find in Spain (even if a course is called ‘Links’, trust us, it’s not). It might not even be by the coast! El Saler is, albeit it is not a fescue-dominated hard-pan experience. It is sandy, lined with dunes and
blustery... and notably well designed, by the doyen of Spanish architecture, Javier Arana. There is a hotel on site while Las Colinas provides a second top course fairly nearby. ALL-INCLUSIVE EASE
Salobre Resort The best resort on well-endowed Gran Canaria, Salobre is the kind of place you struggle to extricate yourself from after a week... and not just because you have hammered the buffet every night (and at breakfast). Everything just works nicely here; the hotel is the right size and with the
Continental Europe: Spain
right amenities, the golf is right on the doorstep, there’s lots to do away from the course and, as intimated earlier, the weather is superb. Oh yes, and that buffet... it is immense; if you can limit yourself to three courses, you are an absolute hero. BIG CITY ENTERTAINMENT
Madrid OK, hardly an inspired choice to select the capital, but what may well surprise you is how much high-calibre golf there is in Madrid. So as well as the shops, football, restaurants, sights and bars, you also have
three courses within our Continental European Top 100 to choose from. The top-ranked course here is Santander and as well as Puerto de Hierro (Arriba) and Villa de Madrid there is terrific depth just outside the list in the likes of the La Moraleja complex. You could play here for a week and play nothing but good courses. OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Bilbao We love this trip idea; drive to Portsmouth and take the ferry to Bilbao. It’s not a short sailing, but just like when you go to
Belgium with P&O or to France on the EuroTunnel, you roll off the other side with your clubs in your car, and you’re away. And you’ve disembarked somewhere none of your mates (or even many golf writers) have ever been to. The locals will welcome you warmly because you’re the first golf tourists they’ve seen since 2003 when that load of Scandinavians arrived, thinking Valderrama was just round the corner. And the courses are top-class; Neguri is the key attraction but there’s also the chance to play at Pedrena, home in every sense to Seve. Yep, thought you’d like that... n
Anfi Tauro is typical of Gran Canaria’s scenic courses.
GOLF ESCAPES 2017 79
7rules to ensure the perfect golf holiday Amazing golf breaks don’t just happen – you need a bit of research and nous. This is how to do it. What do you really want?
Not all golf holidays are the same – you might go with different groups of friends, or with a partner or with the family. Don’t be blase that what worked for one of those parties will work for the other. Families require significantly different facilities than a group of lads – so your starting point is working out what you actually want. Do you need a hotel?
Question your accommodation – is a hotel really the best option? If you’re travelling with seven friends, a villa is a tremendous pick, because it keeps everyone together (at least it should!) so it’s easier for everyone to make the early tee time. A hotel breakfast isn’t always fully capitalised, and you’ve got a big fridge for beers. Similarly, it’s good for families who like to cater for themselves until the evening – and might like their own pool. It’s a very economical way to do it. Do you need the sun?
We’d all probably prefer to have the sun on our backs, but will it make or break your trip if cloudless skies don’t appear on a daily basis? If getting in the pool is crucial, fly an extra hour to make sure that is the case rather than hope it’ll be OK. Similarly, if you’re not bothered about the pool or a tan, why bother leaving the UK at all? Or head to northern Europe if you want a change of culture and experience something new. Does it need to be all about golf?
out to eat at night. There are lots of great options throughout Europe – such as PGA Catalunya and Donnafugata – where you have to get in the car if you want to eat outside the resort. Would that annoy you? And if your next-nearest golf is 45 minutes away, how do you feel about that? It’s not very ‘digital age’, but print out a map of your area, plot where the other courses are and work out how far you’ll need to travel... if it looks like it’ll annoy you, reconsider.
OK, many of us would like to play 36 a day for five days out of a week-long holiday, but it’s not for everyone – and that brings in the possibility to combine a holiday with something else cool to do. Whether it’s football in Munich, Disneyland in Paris, beer in Belgium, sightseeing in Rome or lazing by the pool in Mauritius, it’s very easy to plan a golf holiday with any type of group (see above) and combine things you want to do (in short, great golf) with things they want to do away from the course.
Do you really need to hire a car?
Do you want to travel between rounds?
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating, because we know from bitter
And not just between rounds, but also to go 82 GOLF ESCAPES 2017
The point above brings us neatly to this quandary – is a hire car essential, or just something you think you need to do? If you will only use the car to get from the airport to your resort and back again, get a taxi... because by the time you factor in the fuel, the tolls, the rental itself and the hassle (never mind the potential parking/speeding fines), it is not worth it even if the two taxis are a bit more of an outlay. Will you really get round in three hours?
experience that being silly about how long a round will take can ruin a day. Yes, we’d all like to get round in 3hr 15, but let’s be honest, it’s just not happening unless you and your mate are up at 0700 and are first out. Even then, unless he stops hitting his driver into the cabbage (which means he stops hitting his driver), it’s still a struggle. If you walk off the 18th at 3hr 45, your schedule is in tatters. So don’t plan your itinerary relying on 3hr 15 rounds, because you will ruin your enjoyment from the subsequent chasing around it entails, and the likely missed lunch. Why wouldn’t you play in the evening?
We just can’t work out why playing in the late afternoon and early evening is not more popular. What’s not to like? It might well be cheaper, the course will be deserted (unless everyone heeds our advice!) and if you’re somewhere hot, the weather will be absolutely idyllic. It is millionaire’s golf, for the price of a twilight round. And then it’s straight to the bar for a beer. If you’re playing 36, a late morning time avoids the early traffic and permits a leisurely lunch. Do you see anything there you don’t like? n