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Quite a year A marked increase in the confidence of not only buyers but sellers hinted at a welcome recovery in the golf memorabilia market in 2010. Here, Gi’s auction-room expert Kevin McGimpsey casts his eye back on the high quality items that caught his attention Ryder Cup years always tend to spark added interest in golfing memorabilia and this was certainly tru in 2010, where early signs of the recovery came at the Tennants Sporting auction at their Leyburn salesrooms in North Yorkshire in April. The illustration you see to the right is of a rare and highly collectible 2nd Ryder Cup ‘Complimentary Dinner’ menu dated 27 April 1929. As far as I am aware this is only the second such menu to come to auction within the last 5 years. Bonhams sold one in 2008 for £3,200, and while theirs was in better condition, it hadn’t been autographed by any of the players. The Tennants menu had been signed by both teams as well as the event’s sponsor, Samuel Ryder. It was pitched at £5,000 but few were surprised at the interest and it eventually sold for £8,500.


Across the pond, Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas sold ‘The Mark Emerson Collection of Rare Golf Autographs’ (23 April 2010). Emerson the consignor is a much respected collector of ephemera and is a leading authority on golfing autographs and signatures. The depth and breadth of what was on offer at Heritage was breathtaking with super clean signatures of great golfers from the past to include Walter Hagen, Willie Park Jr., Francis Ouimet, Arnaud Massy, Ben Hogan as well as present ones such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart and Tiger Woods. In all there were 250 lots, with a number of fascinating highlights: Lot 82444: For a Bobby Jones collector, it doesn’t get much better than this original 8 x 10 photograph that has been boldly signed by Robert T. Jones Junior. Sold for $10,157.50. Lot 82454: A Tom Morris signed Royal Bank of Scotland St. Andrews Branch £800 cheque, dated 31 October 1898. Sold for $17,925. Lot 82462: This Andrew Strath handwritten 2 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM JULY 2010

(Top): Signed by both teams and the event’s sponsor, Samuel Ryder, little wonder this 1927 Ryder Cup dinner menu sailed past its estimate; (above): this Tom Morris signed banknote from 1898 went for $17,925; (right): the rare autograph of the unmistakable Bobby Jones; (below): 1865 wage slip signed by Andrew Strath

MEMORABILIA and signed wage receipt was dated 18 September 1865 at Ayr. Described by the Texas auction house as being ‘quite possibly the only Strath signature in existence...’Sold for $7,767.00 Inevitably there was a great bargain at this auction. Lot 82615 – described as being a ‘10/10 Samuel Ryder fountain pen signature’ – only sold for half its normal price at $388.00. What a steal! Perhaps not surprisingly, given Tiger’s near-domination of the tabloid press for his antics off the golf course, 2010 was the year in which Tiger Woods memorabilia started to lose its appeal. Lot 82474, a super clean 1998 Tiger Woods signed colour photograph failed to get past its $250 starting bid!


A little closer to home, The Bonhams Summer Golf Sale took place in June and again was well supported, with total sales hitting the £100,000 mark. There were several highlights. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (Muirfield G.C.) entered six books that had been compiled and published by one of their august members, Charles B. Clapcott, O.B.E., (1867 1955). He was a much respected researcher and author on the subject of golf history and he spent a considerable amount of time at the Honourable Company’s Clubhouse examining all its available records. The end product was the production of what is thought to be only a few copies of each book. Bonhams offered the six books as single lots and they attracted international interest selling for a total of £10,000. Bonhams had a great selection of antique golf balls that had come from two private collections. Several of them were just as the market likes them – wrapped and in mint or in un-played with condition. Six Cochrane ‘Paragon 27½’ gutta-percha golf balls circa 1899, un-played with condition, all retaining parts of their original paper wrappers complete with its original cardboard 12 box. Sold for £3,100 Six ‘Silver Town 27½ No.4’ moulded mesh gutta-percha golf balls circa 1878 These are the earliest known examples of the Silvertown gutta golf ball and are believed to be the first to come to auction. Sold for £2,900 The Sayers family consigned to Bonhams their Ben Sayers Senior and Ben Sayers Junior collection of memorabilia. Ben Sayers (18571924) known as ‘Wee Ben’ was an outstanding golfer who played in every Open Championship between 1880 and 1923. Although he won 24 tournaments in his long career he never won the Open. His son Ben (1884-1961) joined his father in the golf club making business in 1913 and went onto establish Ben Sayers Ltd. The lots varied from superb black and white photographs of Ben Sayers and contemporary professional players, to samples of clubs made in the North Berwick shop to a silver prototype of a miniature iron that was made in 1923 for the Queen Mary’s Doll House. Lot 52, Old Ben Sayers’ set of golf clubs and

golf bag that sold for £2,500. Another exception highlight was Lot 80, Willie Park Junior’s original bent neck putter (a gift to Sayers), with an estimate of £600-1,000 that sold for just under £4,000 The last three lots of The Bonham Sale (230, 231 and 232) were three important Charles Lees R.S.A. (1800-1880) mid-19th Century preliminary oils on paper portraits of The Earl of Eglinton, John Campbell of Glensaddell and Viscount Valentia (see overleaf for the artwork). Each portrait measured only 5 x 3½ inches. Lees painted them prior to them appearing in his ‘The Golfers – A Grand Match Played on St. Andrews Links 1841’ painting. This magnificent painting was finally completed in 1851. It measured 7 feet long by 4 feet 3 inches high. In 2002, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh bought it for a sum in excess of £2.2 million. The R. & A. were keen to buy the Eglington because he was an early Captain and they didn’t have a portrait of him. The other two portraits went to private collectors.


In July Mullocks held their summer golf sale during the week before the Open and they were very pleased as they passed the £100,000 mark for golf for the first time. Original golfing artwork did well this summer and an interesting section at Mullocks was ‘The Ken Reed

(Top): Serious collectors love nothing more than to find lots of antique golf balls in the sort of condition these Paragon and Silvertown balls turned up at Bonhams – wrapped or barely played with and in their original box. (Left): A collection of six very rare books by golf historian Charles B Clapcott fetched £10,000. (Right & below): Memorabilia linked to the legendary Ben Sayers was prominant at Bonhams, with items including Willie Park’s original bent neck putter (a gift to Sayers) fetching just under £4,000. A set of clubs and a canvas bag belonging to Sayers went for £2,500

(Above): The magnificent 7’ x 4’ Grand Match’ painting by Charless Lees – can you identify the three personalities in the painting? Also sold at Bonhams, Lot 230, The Earl of Eglington (right) sold for £11,000; Lot 232, John Campbell of Glensaddell sold for £12,000 and Lot 231, Viscount Valentia fetched £8,50

FRSA Art Collection’ that comprised 11 of his original paintings and poster artwork. Programmes also to hold their own and Mullocks had a strong representation starting with one of the earliest recorded a 1921 St Andrews Open Golf Championship Qualifying programme that fetched £2,600 and a 1925 Open Golf Championship programme when the Open was played at Prestwick for final (£2800); a 1929 Open Golf Championship programme (£1,000) and a 1946 Open Golf Championship programme £1,300. Vintage golfing medals remained strong in 2010 and Mullocks had two ‘feather ball’ era medals. Lot 541, an extremely rare 1832 Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society Medal and won by R.G.Cairns, sold for £4,000. Bundles of wooden shafted woods and irons remain the stable diet of the auction houses. More often they are being bought, not by club collectors, but by dealers and enthusiasts who spend time and or money having them re-furbished back to their original state. They are not used as decorative items but as clubs to play with in hickory golf events. Lot 204 could be regarded as being the Holy Grail for such enthusiastic golfers who play their game of golf with pre-1935 clubs – a rare set of 6 matching Spalding Kro-Flite ‘Robert T. Jones Jr.’ signature irons complete with its red Spalding retail box circa 1930 sold for £800. One of the year’s quirkiest lots must have been lot 577, a stuffed bird and an old golf ball. Mullocks described lot 577 as being a rare Victorian Pratt & Son of Brighton cased Linnet and Eureka 27 gutta-percha golf ball. An attached plaque described the event of how the bird was killed by the golf ball on 15 July 1890 at Mitcham Golf Club in Surrey… ‘playing in an exciting foursome, all square at the 17th hole at which I drove a good ball; only went 40 yards hit the Linnet and cut the head off; the bird and ball fell into a bush. Lost the hole and the match and a full sovereign…’ Sold for £580.


Bonhams held their third golf auction in mid 4 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM JAN/FEB 2011

October and its star turn brings us neatly back to the 2nd Ryder Cup in 1929. Lot 200 was a ‘Bon Voyage Dinner’ programme for the 1929 American Ryder Cup team at the New York Athletic Club. Its American owner had found it in a chest of drawers underneath a newspaper. The programme measured 9½ x 6½ inches and comprised dark blue coloured card covers, the front of which was decorated in red with jazz and big band graphics. There were 6 double sided pages inside, five of which had profile photographs of the American team; J. Farrell, L. Diegel, G. Sarazen, J. Turnesa, H. Smith, A, Watrous, E. Espinosa and team Captain W. Hagen; these are all autographed. Walter Hagen’s prowess as a match play competitor made him a fearsome opponent and he only lost the one match in 1929 at Moortown. Hagen deliberately arranged to play George Duncan and with his usual self confidence, told his team that they already had ‘one point in the bag’. However Duncan played superbly and beat Hagen 10 and 8. Other highlights at this October auction included a rare programme for the 1930 Amateur Golf Championship played at St. Andrews that sold for £1,900. The reason why it sold so well

(Below) A rare 1837 Bruntsfield Golf Medal – ‘gained’ or won in 1837, sold for £3,200; (bottom) Lot 86, a Ken Reed original of the 2000 Open Championship at St Andrews poster artwork was knocked down for £5,000


(Below) A dream for any collector of wooden shafted golf clubs, this set of six matching Spalding Kro-Flite Robert T. Jones Jr. signature irons in their original case; (right) one of the quirkiest lots of the summer appeared at Mullocks, this cased Linnet and the Eureka ball that did for the luckless bird

was because that Championship was the first of the Bobby Jones ‘Impregnable Quadrilateral’ or ‘Grand Slam’ wins. Jones summed up his feelings towards his Amateur Championship victory in his autobiography, ‘I have soberly considered that this is the most important tournament of my life.’ And what of 2011? Will there be some major golf collections coming to auction? I haven’t anything specific to announce here, but please continue to watch these pages. Certainly with the Open being played at Royal

St. George’s where the great Harry Vardon won his 5th of six Opens in 1911 there could be interesting Vardon sub-sections within the golf auctions. Bonhams already have 5 beautiful golf related travel and railway posters each with strong graphics and bold colours dating to the 1920s and 1930s (below). They will be auctioned in June 2011 and they are expected to fetch at least £1,000 each. Three of the posters that each measure over 4 feet high to be offered by Bonhams in June 2011£250 and £300.

(Above left): Lot 200 at Bonhams autumn sale featured this 1929 Ryder Cup programme / menu – featuring the autgraphs of all the American players including captain Walter Hagen – which sold for £2,300. (Above right): Rare 1930 Amateur Championship programme

Please send your letters and best photographs to Kevin McGimpsey at this address: PO BOX 120, Deeside, Flintshire, N. Wales or email with jpegs:



Objects of desire In the first of a new section for lady golfers Carly Cummins chooses her favourite new golf products, accessories and ‘must-have’ fashions for you to step out in style in 2011

Callaway Diablo Octane Black Driver

This brings a whole new dimension to the concept of power dressing: Callawayʼs new Diablo Octane Black driver is the product of a collaboration with the technical team at Lamborghini who have helped develop a revolutionary new Forged Composite driver material thatʼs light and strong and designed to transfer more power to the ball to help you hit longer drives. The striking black finish of the Diablo Octane certainly puts the va-va-voom into your drives! Guide: £249; Lofts: 10.5, 11.5, 13HT

Cleveland CG16 wedge

When it comes to speciality wedges ladies often lose out and are forced to make do with a wedge that is too heavy and cumbersome. Cleveland Golf has answered that dilemma by including a ladies option in their new line of CG16 wedges. It has a lightweight graphite shaft, the perfect weight balance in the head and a soft Winn grip that offers plenty of feedback and feel on those all-important touch shots. Guide: £105, Options: 52°, 56°, 60°

Bonjoc Crystal Ball Marker

Put some sparkle into your game while supporting a great cause by clipping one of these dazzling magnetic ball markers to your hat. This eye-catching accessory is designed and handmade from 100% genuine Swarovski crystals by Bonjoc artisans. Proceeds from each Pink Ribbon ball marker will be donated to Birdies for Breast Cancer, a charity founded by LPGA Tour player Cristie Kerr. Guide: £24.95 •

Nicole Miller Desert Argyle Visor

US ladies clothing designer Nicole Miller offers a touch of catwalk fashion for the fairways with her line of stylish visors. Designed with an oversized peak to give you plenty of shade and an adjustable coil back to ensure a headache free fit, the visor can be hand washed to keep it clean and fresh. Guide: £16.95 •

Luco Sport Headcover Set

Luco Sportʼs vibrant headcovers are some of the fanciest club covers on the market. There are 20 fashion6 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM JAN/FEB 2011

able designs making it easy to find a set to match your bag and add some class to your clubs. Theyʼre made from a stretchy durable material designed to accommodate any wood from the largest driver to the smallest fairway wood and have a clever LucoLeash tying them together to stop you ever losing one again. The material is machine washable and you can also buy matching hybrid covers to complement your set. Guide: £44.95 •

Tag Heuer F1 Lady

The Tag Heuer Formula 1 Diamonds is a glamorous version of the popular menʼs watch, designed by tennis superstar Maria Sharapova for the sporty lady wanting to wear a comfortable yet chic timepiece. Thereʼs no need to worry about knocks as the


sapphire crystal face is scratch resistant and water resistant, so you will be fine come rain or shine. The most spectacular feature is the bezel, fully set with 60 dazzling diamonds. Guide: £1250 •

Nike Air Embellish Shoes

It is rare to find a golf glove that is both functional and fashionable but GloveIt has bucked the trend with their unique line of gloves that put a touch of glamour into the game. This high fashion, high performance glove is made from a combination of soft cabretta leather on the palm and a spandex back for the perfect fit. It comes with a matching valuables pouch and can be hand washed so that it lasts longer. Guide: £19.95 •

The Moda Collection by Stewart Golf

GloveIt Hounds Tooth Glove

Druh Belts & Buckles

From the flamboyant Christina Kim to the glamorous Carin Koch the one thing that all the top lady Tour professionals will be accessorising their golf outfit with this season is a Druh golf belt. These stylish belts are handmade from leather or snakeskin and feature diamante buckles that will put some

sparkle into your game. Guide: £130 (snakeskin), £65 leather

Thereʼs nothing more stylish than a golfer who co-ordinates their outfit with their golf shoes, but few of us have the luxury of owning more than one pair at a time. Nike has answered our fashion dilemmas by developing a pair of golf shoes with four interchangeable colour saddle pieces, allowing you to customise your look perfectly. The shoes are comfortable, waterproof and designed to offer total support during the swing. Guide: £80 • If you are a lady that likes to co-ordinate then the Stewart Golfʼs Moda Collection is definitely for you. A stylish yet highly practical golf bag is complemented by a matching valuables bag, sports bag and garment cover. With three distinctive colour designs it doesnʼt matter whether you opt for the shimmering pink, baby blue or sophisticated cream and black youʼll definitely turn heads on your ladies day. Guide: £249 •


ECCO Biom Golf Performance Shoes

Eccoʼs innovative Biom shoes really do fit like a glove. Theyʼre cleverly designed to follow the footʼs natural motion, helping your feet to absorb impact during the swing. The vibrant neon soles arenʼt just for show, either; theyʼre designed to bring your feet closer to the ground improving traction, stability, feel and swing power. Guide: £160 •

Odyssey Divine Putter

If youʼve bought a standard length putter ʻoff the shelfʼ and are struggling then it would be well worth investing in one of Odysseyʼs new Divine putters. Made specifically for ladies, these great-looking putters have a shorter shaft and matching head-weight for optimum balance, while a new soft insert offers plenty of feedback and feel. There are four different models to choose from, including a new 2-Ball with adjustable weighting so that you can fine-tune feel. Guide: £99 •

Feeltec Hawaiian Series putter grip

Feeltec are new to the market for 2011 but with flamboyant styling and a superb soft feel they are set to make a big impression. The grips are unique because they are seamless, allowing your hands to really connect with the putter, giving amazing feel and responsiveness. The clever design also absorbs moisture enabling top performance in all-weather conditions. Sergio Garcia is among the worldʼs top Tour professionals whoʼve converted to Feeltec. Guide: £10 •

FootJoy Boot

Whoʼd have thought a pair of boots could make such great golf shoes? Remarkably these FootJoy boots do. Despite their cumbersome appearance theyʼre actually really comfy with a warm fleece lining that stops your feet from freezing. The boots are waterproof and designed for traction so that your feet donʼt slip when you swing, even in muddy winter conditions. Guide: £67.50 Sizes: 4-8 •

Cobra Baffler Rail Hybrid

The hybrid has revolutionised golf and made the game a lot more fun and forgiving. Gone are the days of struggling to get those hard-to-hit long irons airborne, these invaluable clubs are the must-have weapons in your bag. The Cobra Baffler is particularly good from tricky lies as the four-way rail sole helps the club travel through tough turf effortlessly, while the powerful highstrength steel face propels the ball a long way. You can also buy the complementing fairway woods to match. Guide: £129 •

Under Armour ColdGear Subzero Mock

When you first peal yourself into an UA ColdGear Mock you feel as though you are putting on a straight jacket, yet once worn it becomes like a second skin and is totally invaluable during the winter months. There is nothing as effective at keeping you warm and comfortable, without restricting your swing, while clever moisture-wicking technology keeps you feeling and smelling fresh for the full 18 holes. Guide: £35 • 8 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM JAN/FEB 2011


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Time to turn those dreams into reality?

Peter Swain plays estate agent with a look at a changing market and a personal Top-10 of developments to have caught his eye... ith the deluge of new resorts arriving before the crash now reduced to a trickle, it’s been a tricky year for golf developments abroad. Several new and existing projects are seeing only stuttering sales, and a number of future high-end schemes have been either postponed or shelved altogether. In the first half of the year, the weak pound hurt Brits lusting after pads in Euroland, while the Celtic Tiger turned into a pussycat. The Irish, big buyers over the last 10 years, have almost entirely disappeared from the scene leaving stacks of empty property behind, not to mention a few distressed banks needing major bailouts. All of which is bad news for developers but not necessarily for buyers. Price falls in Spain, Portugal and Florida mean there is better value for money in those markets than at any time in the last 10 years. Turkey’s emergence has created even more downward pressure at the budget end, so there are some good deals out there. New golfing destinations like Morocco and Egypt are adding spice to life, and the Caribbean continues to be the ultimate dream location, with Mauritius close behind. Altogether, if you’ve got some spare cash, there’s never been so much choice combined with such good value. Different buyers have different


priorities, so within typical golfing property criteria, here are my favourites from the year. Best new kid on the block


With so many brash developments in the more popular parts of Spain still struggling with negative publicity and all sorts of licensing issues it’s refreshing to report on a success story. The new Cabell Robinson designed 6,973-yard course at Las Colinas, half an hour’s drive south of Alicante in the relative peace and quiet of the Costa Blanca, opened just a few months ago and has

the makings of a real gem. Managed by the ever-dependable Troon Golf, the superbly manicured layout meanders through orange and lemon groves, with a number of sweeping elevation changes adding to the attraction of what is a challenging par 71 course for players of all levels. You can just catch a glimpse of the sea from the higher points of the course – for a closer look, owners and guests can head for the Las Colinas Beach Club, a fantastic facility just a 20-minute drive away. With building complete, 70% of the 124 modern units are already sold, but there are still twobedroom apartments available for £200,000, semi-detached villas from £290,000 and plush four and five-bedroom detached villas starting at £590,000, all with gardens and easy access to the

PROPERTY communal pools. If you’re interested in taking a look a number of the units are available to rent making this a terrific destination for a few days’ golf away from the British winter.

(Facing page): Owners and visitors to the brand new resort of Las Colinas in the Costa Blanca enjoy not only a fine Cabell Robinson-designed golf course but 5 star beach club 15 minutes’ drive away; (Left): With its economy in the rough, Ireland is currently open to offers – fractional ownership at the K Club providing the opportunity to play the 2006 Ryder Cup course (Below): Set high above the harbour town of Funchal, Palheiro also boasts a Cabell Robinson designed golf course, while pastel-hued villas decorate the terraces

Best Ryder Cup venue


Before Celtic Manor came along most would agree that the 2006 Ryder Cup produced some of the greatest scenes in the biennial contest. The 7,350-yard Palmer Course certainly provided a glorious backdrop to a memorable European triumph, the classic parkland set-up making the most of its setting along the fabled River Liffey near Dublin. In superb condition, with big greens and even bigger bunkers, water is in play on no less than 13 holes. The second 18, the Smurfit, has a wilder, linksy feel to it. The Ladycastle residential estate is on the edge of the course, a short stroll from the clubhouse. House prices have been pounded by Ireland’s current economic woes, so fractional ownership is the way to go: for six weeks usage a year, two-bed apartments start at £114,000, three-bed houses from £158,000. Best for short-haul winter breaks


Another Cabell Robinson gem, snaking through the 200-year-old Blandy Estate high up above the harbour town of Funchal, this is a splendidly old-school 6,656 yards of sheer golfing fun, favouring players who can draw the ball around the many left-to-right, heavily wooded doglegs. Santo do Serra is the other island course a snaking 20-minute drive away, while adventurers should also make for Seve’s Porto Santo layout a shortish ferry ride away. On the vertigo-inducing hillside looking over the Bay of Funchal, 79 pastel-hued villas and apartments are being built, well away from the course, with prices ranging from £282,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to £1 million for a three-bedroom villa with a private swimming pool. Best for all-round sporting facilities


Founded 40 years ago, the three championship

18-hole courses have hosted Spanish Opens, numerous tour events, and thousands of golfing holidays. With 28 tennis courts, this is also a Davis Cup location. Eight football pitches, cricket, rugby and even Gaelic Football facilities all make this Murcian resort a sporting mecca. The latest property phase to launch is La Reserva del Coto, a combination of apartments and luxury golf villas overlooking the 12th hole on the South Course. With prices as much as 20% down on 2008, a two-bedroom apartment costs £305,000. A palatial frontline Golf Villa with swimming pool and tennis court is yours for £863,000. Best in the Caribbean


The Robert Trent Jones Jnr. 7,045-yard, palm tree-lined, Caribbean links features unnerving

(Above): Royal Westmoreland is a magnet for the rich and famous; (below) closer to home, La Manga remains one of Europe’s premier playgrounds with a wide-ranging property portfolio


jungle-filled gorges, sublime ocean views and some of the best par-3s in the world, according to Ian Woosnam. Holiday home-owners Michael Vaughan, Joe Calzaghe, Gary Lineker and Wayne Rooney, all frequent the colonial-style clubhouse, the perfect end even for an imperfect round. Owner John Morphet is keen to broaden the resort’s appeal, so he’s building 250 new homes on 250 acres next to the original site, with apartments starting at a modest £293,000 and fourbedroom townhouses on the exclusive new Sugar Cane Ridge development selling from £811,000. On the same island, the new Apes Hill set-up is making waves. In a historic sugar plantation on the island's crest 1,000 feet above the favoured west coast beaches, the immaculate 7,049-yard Landmark course challenges scratch players but is quite user-friendly from the forward tees. There are six other world-class courses on Barbados. With Barbadian international pop star Rihanna the headline act, plots of land on the 470-acre development are being sold from £250,000 right up to £1.5 million for the best fairway sites with sea views. Fully furnished three-bedroom Bajanthemed Polo Villas are going for £550,000. Best for golf widows


Golf in Cyprus is on a roll. Aphrodite Hills recently hosted a PGA EuroPro tournament, and a second course is planned. Next door, Secret Valley are also talking about another 18 holes, while over towards Pafos, the brand new Nick Faldo Eléa course is an absolute cracker. The spa, local opera and marina at Limassol are all good diversions for non-golfers. Aphrodite Hills itself is just launching Alexander Heights, a bijou mix of 21 detached frontline villas, 16 junior villas one row back, and 32 apartments, priced from £573,000. £260,000 two-bedroom apartments are still available in the development’s well-established Theseus Village.


(Above & right): The quality of the golf in the sunshine at Aphrodite Hills is matched by the recent launch of Alexandra Heights, a mix of villas and apartments (Below): Just an hour from Barcelona, PGA Catalunya has earned numerous plaudits for the championship golf course and now offers building plots from around £330,000

PROPERTY Best all-round location


Uniquely well-placed, PGA Catalunya is an hour from culture in Barcelona and skiing in the Pyrenees, close to the beaches of the Costa Brava, and only 15 minutes from Girona airport with good Ryan Air connections. The 6,594-yard Stadium Course has twice hosted the Spanish Open, and is consistently rated up there with Valderrama in the rankings. The Tour Course is wider off the tees and more inviting. Elevated building plots, set back in the trees well away from the fairways, start at £330,000 for a 1,000 sq metre lot. With the roads, infrastructure and mains services already in place, sleek, modern three-bedroom townhouses are priced from £542,000. Best for je ne sais quoi


An hour and a half south of Paris, this is a 450acre forested estate in the Loire Valley with a 19th century château at its heart, and an 18hole parkland course which is already good but, with a little investment, could be even better. The legendary Les Bordes is nearby but at €1 million for membership, ridiculously more expensive. Ninety-one terraced cottages and 168 villas, plus a spa and a 99-suite hotel are to be built in the local half-timbered style. The one- and twobedroom cottages, which start at £155,000, and the larger detached villas going for £243,000 and

up, are scheduled for completion in 2012. Best fractional offering


Greg Norman’s track has been ‘softened’ since it opened in 2002 and is now merely challenging down from almost impossible. Looping along the Atlantic cliff-top, through mountainous dunes, the classic links next May hosts ‘The Great Irish Links Challenge’, together with nearby Ballybunion and Lahinch. Twenty of the 28 Links Cottages have now been sold, with re-sales priced from £390,000 for smaller suites up to £1.3 million for bigger

houses. The eight cottages left are in a fractional scheme in association with Timbers Resorts: £170,000 gets you a 1/10 share, and five weeks annual usage of a four-bedroom, 3,000 sq ft luxuriously decorated house. Best if you win the Lottery!


The championship Le Chateau course, running across a hillside with spectacular, uninterrupted Indian Ocean views is only one of nine worldclass tracks in Mauritius. Designed for both low handicappers and occasional players, it features elevation changes, water hazards, and large, fast (Above): A 19th century chateau lies at the heart of Golf de Sologne, a 450-acre development 90 minutes’ south of Paris, where cottages and villas will be available in 2012 (Left & below) A view down the par-five 1st hole at Doonbeg – a storming Greg Norman design that will leave you breathless. The spa is similarly 5 star.


concentration of high quality, good value golf anywhere around the Mediterranean. The National, Montgomerie, Faldo, Gloria New Course, Sultan and Carya are all outstanding, and cost on average £65 a round. There are no ‘integrated’ developments yet, i.e. homes built right on a course, but with great weather, good value property and inexpensive golf right on the doorstep, who cares? Opposite the National course, two-bed apartments start at £109,000, while luxury modern villas with private pools go for £335,000.

greens. The clubhouse restaurant is an old plantation house with excellent French Mauritian fusion cuisine. In a truly enchanting location, 288 Mauritian plantation style villas are being built overlooking both the course and the ocean. There are four villa designs each with an infinity pool, large verandas, air-conditioning and state-of-the-art communications, priced from £772,500. With other such wonderful golf as can be found at the original Belle Mare Plague resort and the once-in-a-lifetime-adventure that is the boat ride to experience Bernhard Langer’s stunning designed at Le Touessrok, you begin to understand why Mauritius is fast becoming one of the world’s most talked about golfing destinations. Luxury golf – and living – doesn’t get much better. Best for...great golf on a budget


Arguably, the 14 Belek courses, end-to-end along the coast south of Antalya, represent the biggest


(Above): For the height of luxury, look no further than Villas Valriche in Mauritius (Below): The Montgomerie at Belek in Turkey is just one of 14 terrific golf courses on the coast south of Antalya. The area is enjoying something of a boom – not surprising given that 2-bedroom apartments are available from as little as £109,000

Coming up in 2011... There should be progress on the dramatic Tom Fazio course at Christophe Harbour on St Kitts in 2011... the new Pinheirinho Hyatt Golf & Beach Resort on the stunning and undeveloped Alentejo coast in Portugal looks interesting...with a new Olazábal course, Belek Golf Club will become the first integrated golf and residential community on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast....


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This Jag merits the badge In the not inconsiderable shape of the new XJ V6 Turbodiesel Jaguar has delivered a lithe and engagingly pacey saloon – a car with the credentials to be considered ‘the ultimate driving machine’, writes Gi’s motoring correspondent, Anthony Ffrench-Constant


ronic, isn’t it, that as cars become increasingly reliable and are designed to survive ever longer, the showroom lifespan of each new model has become increasingly short. Memory possibly clouded by the cataracts of time, I could swear that when I first weaved timidly onto the tarmac with Osibisa (‘criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness’) thumping through the eight-track, any new model had to trundle around for at least a decade before we were treated to even the impending gleam of a replacement. In these More Bigger Snacks Now times, however, cars built to last until hell is at least looking a little frosty round the edges are written off by manufacturers in half that time, notwithstanding the inevitable biannual facelift to keep us all interested. And this poses two questions: Firstly, does the public get what it wants, or want what it gets? In other words, has the car buyer’s attention span really shrunk to that of a newt, or is it the manufacturers themselves who have decided that we must treat our astonishingly expensive cars like white


goods and simply discard them every other year in the manner of a ninety quid microwave oven? And secondly, how on earth are car makers managing to catapult new models at us with such increasingly short lead times? Surely, sacrificial short-cuts must be made somewhere in that mysterious mire of research, development and manufacture… Interestingly, a recent week in which I found myself behind the wheel of both Jaguar’s new XJ and the latest iteration of BMW’s arch-rival 5 Series has left me convinced that not even the manufacturers themselves have come up with a straight answer to either question. I drove the 5 Series on BMW’s home turf, in Munich, and the company spent an inordinate amount of time during launch proceedings show-

ing off their latest R & D technology. Alongside more wind tunnels than you could shake a stick at, in which new models are subjected to every conceivable (and, indeed, hitherto inconceivable) test, BMW has spent a large fortune installing legion, 360o driving simulators merely to demonstrate to itself that customers can safely operate their oft maligned iDrive multimedia control system without simultaneously hurtling into the shrubbery. The fact that the nice lady in charge herself cantered into kerbs, cones and innocent wheelie-bin bystanders more than once during a short, knobwielding demonstration did little to reassure me that many of these all-in-one, audio/phone/sat’ nav’ control systems do not, in fact, represent far more of an on-board driving hazard than that


While the rear view may appear at first to be gently out of proportion, viewed as a whole the XJ is a sleek machine with bulges in all the right places. The three litre V6 Turbodiesel is good for 271 bhp, with more than enough grunt to entertain, while the speed sensitive power steering keeps the driver fully in touch with the road

quick, verboten chat on the mobile phone… But what really rang the alarm bells was the curt, one word response to the question; ‘Have you driven the new 5 Series on our dreadful British roads yet?’ Answer; ‘No’. Welcome, then, to an age wherein new cars under development appear to spend far too much time as laboratory rats, and far too little as actual road runners. In the case of said BMW, the proof of that particular pudding being a new, electric steering system about as inert and uninvolving as a pre-snog Snow White. Not entirely the level of responsiveness one equates with ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’, and kindling the suspicion that, en route to the launch pad, the 5 Series may not actually have been driven on any real roads at all. All of which brings us to the £64,400, 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel version of Jaguar’s new XJ. This is a very different kettle of fish indeed, and what it lacks in terms of the sheer crushing efficiency we’ve come to equate with a 5 Series, it more than makes up for in elegance, charm, a whiff of quirkiness and great dollops of driver involvement. Admittedly, in the manner of Jennifer Lopez, the rear view might at first appear gently out of proportion (not unpleasant, just, well, a tad larger than expected), and the creak-and-reek full-leather interior may still be a little chrome heavy and replete with the occasional clunky detail such as that dreadful, high street chain jeweller-quality clock, but the whole is largely rather delicious and the XJ has tremendous road presence. Besides, 100 yards down the road, you’ll forgive it anything. Used to effortless performance from any big Jaguar and with every other engine in the range boasting some 5.0 litres, I was initially concerned that a humble 3.0 litre V6 might not be able to shift a tin of this not inconsiderable size with the requisite alacrity. But a relatively modest 271bhp is only half the story, and a handsome 442lb ft of torque rapidly allays any such concerns, the XJ thumping to 60mph in just 6.0 seconds, and on to a governed top speed of 155mph. Establishing the high speed loafing, lounge lizard credentials you’d expect of a Jaguar is one thing, but what really stands out here is just how engaging this big car is to throw around. Most significantly, the good old fashioned hydraulic, speed sensitive power steering is everything BMW’s offering is not. A mine of detailed road surface information, it’s perfectly weighted, un-

Establishing the highspeed loafing, lounge lizard credentials you’d expect of a Jaguar is one thing, but what really stands out here is just how engaging this big car is to throw around... nervingly accurate and sweetly responsive. Allied to appropriately tenacious undercarriage, it makes for such effortless, scything progress that you’ll invariably find yourself travelling somewhat more rapidly than your nicely cosseted senses would have you believe. However, where Jaguar must be applauded for clearly having driven the XJ the length and breadth of Britain to elicit such an involving drive, a small Bronx cheer might be more appropriate for one or two rather more dubious decisions taken during the development process. Firstly, inevitably sub-contracted out to save money, one supposes, the front seats just aren’t good enough. They’re too flat, unwelcoming and lacking in lateral support. There’s little point in having electrical hugging adjustment to the seat side bolsters if all they do when activated is merely push you forward out of the seat in the manner of an orange pip squeezed between fin-

gertips. I know Jaguar is eager to shed the gentleman’s club image of yore, but a comfy chair is just a comfy chair, wherever you find it. Evidence of cost-cutting also surfaces on first contact with the 8” centre console touch screen. I must confess to far preferring touch screen systems to the distracting, knob-operated alternative which the German manufacturers have now all aped BMW in adopting. But not if the reality is a screen so inelegant and insensitive to the touch that serious digit bruising is the outcome of loading in a particularly lengthy destination address. But the most unfortunate new-age addition, and that from which there’s no escape, is the replacement of analogue dials in the driver’s instrument binnacle with, er, virtual analogue dials. Sorry, Jag’, they may allow you to force-feed the driver all manner of ancillary information but, lacking the visual crispness and quality of the real thing, they just don’t cut the ocular mustard. Yet another automotive solution to a problem which doesn’t exist, I can only assume this tone-lowering device must somehow constitute either a time or cost saving somewhere along the line… A pity, because these niggles aside (and the fact that you’ll have to plump for a long wheelbase version to gain overmuch rear legroom on the sibling XF), the new XJ is something of a character in this increasingly anodyne class. It has immense appeal and, compared to the does-exactly-what-itsays-on-the-tin 5 Series, is a far more engaging, entertaining drive. Given the choice, I’d opt for the Jaguar every time. Which makes it all the more baffling to just know the majority wont. JAN/FEB 2011 GOLFINTERNATIONALMAG.COM 17

Golf International Lifestyle - Issue 99  

Golf International Magazine, LifeStyle, Jan/Feb 2011 featuring: Golf Property, Golf Women's Luxury, Golf Fashion, Golf Motoring, Golf Memora...

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