Rio Real Golf Hotel Review – June Newsletter
Rio Real Golf Hotel on the Costa del Sol, only a couple of kilometres from Marbella town is such a resort. Many of you will have played at Rio Real Golf Club without realising the clubhouse also has a 30 room boutique 4 star hotel on site. The hotel has a Andalusian hacienda type feel to it and is a low level property with most of the facilities on the top floor. We visit many hotels every year, and you soon find that one hotel room looks remarkably like the next so its very refreshing when you visit somewhere that still has some wonderful old school charm whilst still having all the mod con’s you come to expect in a quality resort.
All rooms have great views of the 11th hole from the large balconies, the superior rooms are very well appointed and decorated in a unique style inviting rest and relaxation in the most demanding of guests. The bathroom is a combination of ceramics, wood and marble, offering his and hers sinks and a spacious ergonomic bathtub. Each room offers TV, minibar, free WIFI and a safe, as well as beds that inspire rest and relaxation.
For a special occasion or for those people who like a bit more space to relax, both the “birdie” and “eagle” suites will not disappoint in the slightest. The “Albertros” suite is the rarest of the golfing birds and it is the perfect choice for a luxurious get-away. Featuring more than 100 sq. m of space and views out over the golf course from its spectacular terrace. This bedroom is all about comfort, with a living room for catching up on and enjoying the day’s activities, a fireplace and a Jacuzzi bath that have been specially designed to allow a relaxing soak after your round of golf.
The hall ways leading to the rooms are lined with photo’s (some with a few very famous faces in) from 50 years ago when Marbella became one of the most hip place to be seen in Europe. The town still has a very chic feel to it and is one of the best places to shop with its tax free shopping zone. The hotel’s restaurant serves a very good a la carte breakfast, (as well as lunch and dinner) so everything comes to you freshly cooked and exactly to your liking. With all of Marbella’s restaurants and bars within a few minutes drive by taxi your evenings will certainly have plenty of options.
To compliment the rooms the hotel has a small spa area where treatments and massages can be arranged by appointment and the hotel also has a very attractive pool area which offers hotel guests the maximum level of privacy. Adjacent you will find a solarium where you can rest and relax, and the pool bar offers drinks and light snacks to enhance your poolside chill time.
The Rio Real Golf Hotel on site course at first view looks relatively flat, but don’t be fooled by this as it slowly winds it way up the valley. One of the features that stands out and sets it apart from many other of the Marbella courses is the maturity of the trees that line the fairways. Although there is little rough on the course and a wayward tee shot is usually quite easily found, the size of the trees make them a hazard in their own right and a low pitch and run back to the fairway is the players only sensible option. Water comes into play on a few holes at Rio Real but it is a major factor of the 12th, one of the course’s signature holes.
Playing a little over 150 yards from the normal tees (175 yards from the back tee) water comes in to play on three sides of this short par 3, it’s an intimidating tee shot and could possibly be the inspiration to many other par three designs around the world.
To summarise Rio Real Golf hotel is a perfect retreat for the golfer who doesn’t want to be in the hustle and bustle of beach life on the Costa del Sol, especially for those who like the finer details which make this such a lovely location to stay and play. We are pleased to give Rio Real Golf Hotel Marbella our recommended hotel status.
Save 15% with Tivoli Hotels – Spring special offer in the Algarve
Stay in Some of the Algarve’s best hotels with this great Tivoli Hotels -spring special offer. Book a break for a minimum of 3 nights during April 2016 and save 15% on selected dates between now and the start of June**. The offer covers Tivoli’s wonderful 4* hotels in Carvoeiro, Lagos and Portimao and their 5* properties in Villamoura, The Victoria and Residences plus the ever popular Marina. Tivoli hotels are great bases for golf holidays or a family beach holiday. We can package your break to include golf, car hire, private transfers and flights from your chosen airport.
Please make sure to quote Tivoli Hotels – Spring Special Offer when enquiring.
** Certain dates are unavailable for this offer dependant on hotel
Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Marina great nightlife and beach
With the famous Marina on one side and its own concessioned beach, Tivoli Marina Vilamoura is a reference for luxury tourism in the Algarve. A stage for large events, important meetings and the launch of new products, the congress centre of this 5-star Vilamoura hotel has a capacity for 3200 people simultaneously. The lively social and nightlife of Vilamoura attracts many local celebrities from different areas who come to enjoy the holidays and weekends of complete relaxation, where there is plenty to do such as shopping, a visit to the casino and golf. In the gardens of this resort in the Algarve, guests can pamper themselves at the Angsana Spa choosing from a vast range of invigorating treatments in the best oriental tradition and enjoy delicious delicacies in the hotel’s restaurants and bars.
Stunning cliff top location with its own private beach
In the picturesque town of Carvoeiro, where the sea has carved endless, intriguing little bays into the cliffs, stands a unique 4 star hotel in the Algarve, ideal for a beach holiday or business meetings. With a privileged location on the cliff top overlooking Vale Covo, the meeting rooms at this resort provide the perfect backdrop for unforgettable congresses and banquets or great family holidays. The excellent cuisine in the great bars and restaurants at the Tivoli Carvoeiro promise to satisfy even the most demanding of palates. If blue is your favourite colour, go on an in-depth exploration of the Algarve sea with our Diving Centre. However, if green is your colour you might want to opt for one of many excellent golf courses.
Tivoli Victoria & The Residences at Victoria
Vilamoura – located at Victoria Golf Club, perfect for the golf addict
To Enquire click on the Tivoli Logo
TIVOLI HOTELS – SPRING SPECIALOFFER BOOKINGS CLOSE ON 30th APRIL 2016
Bordeaux, Aquitaine, Gironde and the Dordogne –
Golf, Gourmet Meals, Sightseeing and Wine Tasting
Too many UK travellers the Bordeaux, Aquitaine, Gironde and Dordogne regions means fine quality wines and wonderful scenery. Indeed the British love for the Dordogne region has resulted in more living there than on the Costa del Sol. What most people don’t realise is these regions have an up and coming reputation for quality golf. Quality Golf Destinations Managing Director Neil Adams spent time re-acquainting himself with the region (and its wine) and also trying out the golf on offer at Chateau des Vigiers. This region is the perfect destination for a vacation taken in between April and October.
To visit the regions of Bordeaux, Aquitaine and the Dordogne you have two main choices. You can drive, using ferry crossings from Portsmouth to St. Malo/ Caen (most direct route downFrance), or you can use the cross channel services and head down from there. The drive from St. Malo/ Caen takes around 6 hours and the Auto routes are very good, (beware of speed traps and tolls). You can also fly into Bordeaux or Bergerac and hire a car from either.
Bordeaux is the sixth largest city in France with a population of over 250,000. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River. Bordeaux is the world’s major wine industry capital. It is home to the world’s main wine fair, Vinexpo, while the wine economy in the metro area moves 14.5 billion Euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the eighth century.
Bordeaux is a truly magnificent city with fantastic architecture and lots of café’s, restaurant and bars along the river side.
Bergerac is a commune and a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne department in south-westernFrance. With a population of around 30,000, Bergerac is most people’s idea of a regional French town. It is the centre of a very distinguished wine region and some of the most famous vineyards in France. These include: Bergerac, Côtes-de-Bergerac, Côtes de Montravel, Haut-Montravel, Saussignac, Monbazillac, Pécharmant and Rosette.
Château des Vigiers
Dating back to 1597, Château des Vigiers is an internationally renowned Hotel, Golf & Country Club situated in the Dordogne, South West France, just 20 minutes west of Bergerac Airport and an hour east of Bordeaux. Set in 450 acres of stunning countryside, in the heart of the wine districts of the Dordogne, Château des Vigiers offers an exceptional place in which to unwind and relax.
Having seen the web-site, www.vigiers.com I was really looking forward to visiting this golf complex set around a French Château. I flew from Birmingham to Bordeaux (really simple transfer of less than 2 hours), picking up my hire car and remembering to drive on the right side of the road! I arrived in Château des Vigiers in little over an hour and its pictures don’t lie. The Château looks stunning and the golf course holes that surround it just add to the splendour.
The Château forms the centrepiece of a spectacular 27 hole golf course designed by Donald Steel who is considered one of the very best “natural” golf course architects. The original 18 hole golf course opened in 1991 and is set amidst plum orchards, oak woods, lakes and vineyards. In 2008 a further 9 hole course was opened. It was also created by Donald Steel and was designed to integrate beautifully into the existing course. The result was three 9 hole loops which now combine to form three different 18 hole combinations. The three courses are the Valley, Lakes and Vines, all about the same length. I played the Valley and the Vines and had a tour of the Lakes course with the Golf Professional, Matthew Storm, who also showed me around the spacious practice facility and equally spacious pro shop.
My round was the usual mixed bag, but I consoled myself with the magnificent views and the prospect of a trip into Saint-Émilion later in the day!! Both courses were sufficiently tough off the back tees to challenge the best golfers but had generous fairways to suit us normal human beings.
The four star accommodation at Château des Vigiers is spread over three unique buildings. The historic Château was restored to its former glory in 1992 and offers 25 individually decorated rooms. “Les Dependances”, created in 1995, uses traditional materials and has a total of 22 rooms and suites. The “Relais des Vigiers”, built to strict “eco friendly” standards, offers 40 spacious rooms which were designed with golfers and families in mind. There are 3 restaurants on-site, plus a wonderful terrace by the club house that overlooks the Château and the closing holes on the Lakes & Vines courses.
I stayed in a room in the Relais and it was very comfortable and provided all the facilities to make my stay very welcoming.
The rooms in the main Château were everything the publicity said about them, really wonderful.
The Wine Experience
Wine was always going to play an important part of this trip. So when offered the opportunity to tour St Émilion I just couldn’t say no. I have no idea how long the journey takes, (probably less than 40 minutes), as I was lost in the beauty of the vineyards, cornfields and something I was surprised to see, the tobacco fields. Apparently tobacco was one of the major crops around this region and although little production remains, the legacy for us all to see is the tall wooden buildings dotted around the landscape. These buildings are of course tobacco drying barns, (most gradually decaying but some preserved and being used for all manner of different things).
Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Médoc, Gravesand Pomerol. With a population of less than 3,000 it is the quintessential French town. Saint-Émilion wine obviously dominates the whole town and it’s the only place I have seen where you can buy Saint-Émilion Gran Cru by the glass! (Well I had to try it as it would be rude not to) I did a tour of the vineyards by train and it was fascinating to see all the famous Château names previously only seen on expensive bottles back home.
The visit was sadly over all too quickly and armed with a couple of named Gran Cru bottles it was back to Château Vigiers for dinner in the restaurant in the Château.
Château Vigiers offers a number of packages that include gourmet dinners, tours of Saint-Émilion and Monbazillac, coupled with golf and accommodation (bed & breakfast). All packages are based on self-drive (car hire & flights can be included in our packages).
For our latest deals at Chateau Vigiers – please click here.
2016 Algarve Trophy
Quality Golf Destinations would like to introduce you to a fantastic trip the 2016 Algarve Trophy which will be taking place next June 5th – 10th 2016
This trip is a competition week and is Fully Escorted, Inclusive of 5 nights 5* Superior rooms, Half Board, 4 Rounds of Golf on 3 championship courses, Transfers & International Flights, Welcome Gift pack & Great prizes.
Our featured Venue – Penina Hotel & Golf Resort
The Home of Luxury Golf in the Algarve
Voted Portugal’s Leading Golf Resort by the World Travel Awards, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is the glittering jewel in the Algarve’s crown. The resort, located in 360 stunning acres of perfect grounds, offers guests the choice of three on-site golf courses and is regarded by many as the spiritual home of golf in the Algarve. The Penina Hotel & Golf Resort boasts a selection of 188 traditionally designed and decorated rooms and suites, all of which enjoy spectacular Wi-Fi coverage, as do all public and common areas. In addition to the three spectacular golf courses at Penina, we are also pleased to offer you the most expansive selection of amenities and entertainment available anywhere in the Algarve. So, whether you are here for a stunning golfing getaway in the Algarve, or simply here to relax in the beautiful Portuguese sunshine with your family… Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is here to meet all your luxury needs. Penina Hotel & Golf Resort prides itself on offering the highest standards of amenities and services to all of our guests. From the moment you check in, until the moment you depart, we want to ensure you have the perfect stay.
The Finest Rooms & Suites in the Algarve
Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is proud to offer the an outstanding selection of rooms and suites, in this stunning Algarve golf resort. Enjoy the golf of your life, sun yourself by the pool, indulge yourself in the spa, dine in the finest restaurants… and then retire for a night of ultimate relaxation in outstanding surroundings.
Classic Rooms – Spread over 4 stunning floors, all Classic Rooms offer spectacular views of the resort and the stunning Monchique countryside. All have been very recently renovated and deliver modern, contemporary design, whilst giving a nod to traditional Portuguese style and luxury.
Superior Pool View Rooms – All Pool View Rooms offer splendid views of the pool and across our golf courses. Benefitting from a stunning recent refurbishment, all of these rooms have been decorated to the highest possible standards of taste and luxury, combining contemporary chic with traditional Portuguese style Our
Positioned in the western Algarve, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is widely renowned as the true home of Portuguese golf. This is the only resort in Portugal to offer three golf courses… one of which, The Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course, is the first 18 hole course to have been constructed in the Algarve – and is legendary for some of the finest and most challenging golf in the world. Set in a stunning 360 acre estate, amidst an impressive array of natural landscape surroundings, the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort has been voted Portugal’s Leading Golf Resort by the World Travel Awards… whilst the marquee Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course has hosted 10 Portuguese Opens and scores of other prestigious tournaments.
Known as one of the most challenging – and satisfying – courses in the whole of Portugal, this marquee course is as unforgiving as it is beautiful. Flanked by streams, ditches and water hazards, the course is maintained to the highest standard… and boasts an extensive array of subtle slopes, elevated greens and breath-taking scenery.
A great combination course that provides 9 holes of solid, but gentle, practice for beginners… as well as 18 holes of challenging golf for the more seasoned player. With 18 well thought out holes, this course follows the principles laid down by the father of Portuguese golf, Sir Henry Cotton: the perfect course for golfers of every level and ability.
Weaving its way through the fairways of the Championship Course, this executive 9-hole course has been specifically designed for the intermediate golfer. Great for all-round holiday golf and a very enjoyable round. With reasonable short greens, accuracy off the tee, along with approach shots, provide all players a chance to practice their short game with aplomb.
The Penina Golf Academy provides a one-stop golf clinic designed to meet your needs. The Academy also boasts a state of the art driving range, considered one of the best in Europe, that caters for up to 70 golfers and includes 12 covered practice bays. Whether you’re a grizzled vet or budding novice… our Academy will improve your game.
the prices for this superb trip are as follows
Golfer Twin Share Single Supp.
Cost per Person £1230 £245
All prices are based on Twin share accommodation and include Half Board at the 5* JJW Penina Hotel & Golf Resort, Single supplements will apply for sole occupation of room. Return group transfers from Airport, and off resort golf courses.
Flights are from London Gatwick Airport and include golf club carriage, checked bag and carry on hand luggage. Flights from other airports are available but may incur a supplement.
Room upgrades and private transfers available at a supplement
Itinerary 5 Nights Algarve Trophy Escorted Golf trip
Sunday Day 1 – AM – Depart London Gatwick Airport : Arrive Faro Airport – Group transfer to JJW Penina Golf & Resort in Portimao approximately 1 hour drive.
optional afternoon practice round at Penina Resort.
Evening welcome drinks and dinner
Evening dinner in a choice of restaurants
Tuesday Day 3 –after breakfast, 2nd rd Algarve trophy at Palmares Golf resort
Evening dinner in a choice of restaurants
Wednesday Day 4 – after breakfast 3rd rd Algarve trophy at San Lorenzo Golf club
Evening dinner in a choice of restaurants
Thursday Day 5 – after breakfast final rd Algarve Trophy at Penina Championship course
Final Evening Prize presentation and dinner in Restaurant
Friday Day 6 – Check out of hotel after a leisurely breakfast, group transfer to Airport for your early afternoon flight home
(Please note, Itinerary is for information only and are subject to change, although hotels and golf courses will remain as shown)
Included in package:
International flights with checked Golf Clubs & Luggage,**
5 nights accommodation on twin share in Superior Pool view rooms,
Dinner in Resort Restaurants (
Return Group Airport and offsite golf transfers
Great daily and weekly prizes
Not included in package:
Buggies or cart hire,
Flight supplements may apply for alternative airport departures and for late bookings **
To Book simply visit the website and complete the booking form and return to;
PO Box 3186
For more information or to download a booking form please click on this link Algarve trophy Booking Form x 2
Quality Golf Destinations specialise in tailor made golf holidays as we believe that every group want’s something different. That’s why on our website you will not see page after page of supposedly cheap golf holidays. Everyone wants to enjoy their golf and a course which a low handicap player might think is a superb test of golf, might be a high handicapper’s worst nightmare. That is why we play or visit all the hotels and golf courses we recommend, so we can give first-hand knowledge to our clients.
We prefer to talk to our clients and offer a custom built holiday which meets their specific criteria. All our quotations are fully inclusive and can include flights, accommodation, all your transport requirements, Practice area and tee time reservations, even in certain locations a recommendation of where to eat! If the clients prefer to use a hire car, in many areas we can give directions from the resort to golf the course.
We are founder members of Golf Tourism England, a new body whose aim is to create a central point for golf tourism in England on a similar basis to that which has been so successful in Ireland, Scotland and Wales over the last few years. We are also members of IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) which gives us access to a huge amount of Golf courses, Resorts, Hotels and other golf related operations around the world.
We have been successfully running Golf Training Academies with PGA Professionals for four years, if you have been thinking about getting some warm winter golf then we are the people to talk too.
We are hosting a number of Golf Training Academies and it’s our goal of helping you play better golf to a whole new level. We have devised the ultimate golf teaching holiday experience exclusively for you that provides you with golf in the sun on some sublime courses – plus the opportunity to improve all areas of your game along the way. We offer PGA Professionals full back up and try to make the experience as easy as possible for you. Once an itinerary has been agreed we provide a custom brochure and posters to give to your members and students
Quality Golf Destinations have hosted Golf Training Academies for some of the UK biggest golf magazines such as Today’s Golfer and National Club Golfer with great success. We also offer a hosted service for bigger groups where one of the Quality Golf Destinations staff will in effect be your tour rep for the duration of the trip, letting you get on with the teaching while we answer the questions and help with those little queries.
If you don’t fancy a traditional holiday but would prefer to lead a group, we can help you.
As well as overseas destinations we also have a wide range of options in the UK from 5 star resorts such as Celtic Manor and the Belfry to excellent club course tours. We also can help with Captain and Presidents away day’s and weekends.
If you refer a group from your club to us and they book then we pay you a referral fee. We have leaflets you can display in your pro-shop if you are interested.
Quality Golf Destinations aim to take the stress from the professional when organising a group. We take all payments directly from your clients and keep you up to date with your groups bookings. For extra piece of mind we are fully bonded with the Travel Trust Association (TTA U7420). All holidays where we provide flights as part of a package are also covered by ATOL.
As well as Golf holidays we also happy to provide general leisure holidays and city breaks, as well as airport car parking, travel insurance and airport lounge passes.
If you would like more information on the services we offer to PGA Professionals please let us know by either ringing 01782 510800 or email email@example.com
Neil, Rob and Rachel, the Quality Golf Destinations team will be happy to discuss with your requirements either over the phone or in person at your club.
The words “hidden gem” is often attributed to a golf course that may not promote itself to the wider domain and prefers to keep what it knows is a great product to its own membership. On this occasion it can well be attributed to a nation that may well have some of the best golf courses in world, in some of the most spectacular settings.
Ask anyone about golf in North America and they will probably roll off a string of courses they would love to play. Most if not all would be in the USA, Pebble Beach, Augusta, Pinehurst No2 are individual courses on a dream list, but if you look at the Carolinas, Florida, Arizona, California and Nevada they all will have you playing on courses played on the PGA tour and market themselves as major golfing destinations in their own right.
What of Golf north of the USA border? (Don’t go reaching for a map we mean Canada)
Well a very good question and the main reason of this newsletter/blog. Quality Golf Destinations were invited to join the first ever Golf Familiarisation (FAM for short) trip organised by six of the regional tourist boards that are part of the huge state of Ontario. With a landmass big enough to fit three of Europe’s top golfing nations, Spain, Portugal and France into it, Ontario also has enough space to be home to over 700 golf courses most of these are in the more populated region within a two hour drive from the main city and our arrival airport of Toronto.
With just seven day to look at what the area had to offer, we only had time to see the proverbial tip of the iceberg but after seven rounds of golf plus a couple of site visits the first impressions were outstanding.
Golf in Ontario Canada can be split in to two camps, private member clubs and public golf courses. Many private member clubs like some of their UK counterparts are there primarily for their member’s. However a limited amount of green fee income at less busy times can be more than welcome in the right circumstances. The public golf courses should not be confused with many of the cheap green fees, pile them high course here in the UK, these are more on the lines of top quality commercial course such as the Grove or London Club but with a price tag of a local UK green fee.
The overwhelming thing that struck me about all the clubs we visited was the superb condition of the courses. This is even more remarkable considering last winter was one of the harshest of recent times in Canada. Golf in Ontario is a summer sport, by mid-November the snows are arriving and the clubs closed for the winter. The season generally starts in May (mid-April if the weather permits) and end in October when the trees are in their full fall splendour. The Canadians do love their golf and one of the nicest things was the pace of play, anything over four and a half hours was frowned upon, our quickest round was a very pleasant 3 ½ hours around the stunning Briars course and the average on the four hour mark, very refreshing.
Away from the golf Ontario is blessed with some of the most draw droopingly beautiful countryside. Woodland and lakes dominate the scenery, picturesque small towns, Tim Hortons (A Canadian coffee tradition) great food and superb hospitality, whether you are visiting one of the many bistro-bars or small bed and breakfasts. The service and welcome is second to none.
The Canadians – There is definitely a different feel to Ontario, it’s not America with a different flag on the pole, although there are many similarities. Being part of the commonwealth they have an affinity with the British isles, so many people have relatives in the UK or emigrated themselves that at times you have to remind yourself you’re not back at home. You can get a passable pint of beer (usually called Red) rather than light larger and in certain micro-breweries or Craft brewery’s there was some stunning beers (Old Flame IPA and Dumb Blonde to name two).
Food in Canada has without doubt an American influence and the BBQ selections from the big brother down south dominates many a menu, however Canada’s other influence, France also makes an impact with a bit of refinement to the more subtle pallet. Whichever way you look at it food is a big part of life and your belt will probably be needed to expand a notch by the end of a trip. Any Canada road trip is not complete without a visit to Tom Horton’s. Canada’s favourite Coffee outlet and can be found literally everywhere. As well as coffee (the dark ground can be recommended) they also have an amazing choice of donuts and pastries to keep you going between meals.
Golf in Ontario
53 of the top 100 public golf courses in Canada are in Ontario
Angus Glen Golf Club
A 36 hole complex featuring North & South courses, Both North and South course have hosted the Canadian Open, as well as the 2015 Pan-American Games and has a definite tournament feel about it. Millions of dollars have been spent over the last two years upgrading the course to a full modern championship facility. A great clubhouse and practice facility compliment the golf courses and all green fees include cart rental including GPS and free use of the range before play. As a public course with easy reach to downtown Toronto this is a very popular course for corporate golf and strangely to a UK golfer is more expensive to play during the week than at the weekend.
GF $175 – $125 North – Par 72 7,403 – 5462 yards 5 tees. South Par 72 7,299 – 5,460 yards 4 tees
The Royal Ashburn Golf Club
18-hole Public club but with a large membership in Durham County which has hosted the qualifying school for the Canadian Tour for over 30 years. The course has been owned and run by the Patterson family since its initial design stage in the early 50’s. The course its self has a rolling parkland feel with a few water hazards to focus the mind. The courses main defence are its greens which have some wicked breaks if you get on the wrong side of the pin.
GF $90 – $65. 7,104 – 4,783 yards par 72 5 sets of tees Black, Blue, White, Gold, Green
Bay of Quinte Golf Club
The signature hole for me would probably be the 262 yard 14th. The hole suckers you in to having a dig for the green but it’s pretty well all carry over water, there is plenty of room right which you can’t see from the tee or it’s a mid-iron short of the water hazard. A classic risk and reward hole.
An interesting mixture of holes you could easily be playing on a parkland club course anywhere in the UK. Although golf buggies are available here, as at all the courses in the region, this is an easy walking course.
The club is currently building a new club house which should be ready for 2016.
GF $ 55 – 30, 6,571 – 5,063 yards par 72 5 sets of tees Black, Gold, Green, Blue, Red
Black Bear Ridge Golf Club
One of my favourite courses we played, a great driving course with lots of raised tee’s which gives you a great view of the hole. Two thirds of the course is played along tree lined fairways, a ball hit into the woods was usually found pretty quickly as like Augusta there was just a pine needle covering under the trees, but normally the only option was a chip out to the pretty generous fairways. Again another perfectly manicured golf course. Out away from the trees a wetland area has to be negotiated including the monster 11th a par 6 from the very back tees at 690 yards. It was still a tough dog leg Par 5 of 550 yards off the whites which was plenty long enough for me.
The Clubhouse and pro shop sit on the highest point of the course with some excellent views of the woodland. Where there any bears? No but watch out for the horseflies and apply insect repellent if you’re in the trees, sunscreen only needed on the fairways.
GF $ 75 – 50, 7,238 – 5,145 yards par 72-74 5 sets of tees Black, Blue, White, Red and Green
The Briars Golf Club
A private members club dating back to 1922 on the shores of Lake Simcoe and adjacent to the Briars Resort where guests can play at this exclusive club. It’s a superb 18-hole tree lined course in exceptional condition with some outstanding par 3’s, both the 5th and 13th are great holes from the back tees. The Briars is one of those courses where you will probably play it better the second time than the first, it’s a course where a bit of local knowledge will help you on a number of holes. But what better reason do you need to spend a couple of days here and enjoy the charming Briars Resort. Not the longest of courses you will play in Ontario but it will probably be one of your favourites.
GF $ Guest at the Briars Resort 6,286 – 5,456 yards par 71, 3 sets of tees Blue, White and Red
Lora Bay Golf Club
A public course set on Lake Huron and close to the popular winter ski resort of Blue Mountain, Collingwood. This course will have you mesmerised as soon as you stand on the first tee. Designed by Tom Lehman it’s a great layout which can be enjoyed by any level of golfer. We played the course from the Cobalt or “dirty” blue tees, still a good challenge of around 6,200 yards but it made for an enjoyable game. There are some challenging tee shots from the very back tee’s especially the Par 5 16th with a very long carry for amateur golfers of modest ability. There is plenty of water and trees on the front 9 but the back is more open until you come to the 15th which plays between 190 – 170 yards from a raised tee 100 yards above the green which looks as though you’re playing to a postage stamp.
GF $ 135 – 75, 7,034 – 5,644 yards par 72, 5 sets of tees Black, Silver, Blue (Cobalt), White, and Red
Wooden Sticks Golf Club
One of the most popular courses in the Toronto area, set again in a mature wooded landscape the difference here is that a number of holes are “inspired” by some of the great holes in golf. They don’t try to make the holes exact replicas but instead try to give you a feel of playing some great golf holes including Amen corner from Augusta, the 17th at Sawgrass and a number of holes from St Andrews a course where the highest foliage is a gorse bush, but trust me it works.
Wooden Sticks prides itself on service and a full day’s experience. All green fees include golf buggy and a meal both prior and after your round.
GF $ 195 – 155, 7,025 – 5,276 yards par 72, 5 sets of tees Black, Green, Blue, White, and Red
Caledon Country Club
Designed in the 1960’s Caledon Country Club is a public course and not long by modern standards, but beware the length of the course is misleading as there are a number of holes where doglegs and the terrain make a long iron or rescue wood a sensible option off the tee. The driveable first hole is always worth a blast and a fun course to play. The 3rd hole was probably my favourite, the Devil’s Corridor 385 yard par 4 dogleg left to right with a really tight drive and water all the way down the left, not one for the faint hearted. Again yet another course in good condition.
GF $ 70 – 35, 6,502 – 5,581 yards par 72, 3 sets of tees Blue, White, and Red
A resort course attached to the Hockley Valley Resort, two things make this course stand out from the norm. Firstly there are no bunkers on the course, great for those of us who are not so great from the traps, instead of bunkers grass mounds are used which for many courses is a much more natural hazard than a bunker. Second slightly unusual aspect is the make-up of the back nine which only features two par 4s. The remaining 7 holes are made up of 4 par threes and 3 par fives. The course has some stunning looking holes as the terrain undulates through the surrounding hills, again many framed by tree lined fairways.
The resort has its own rather good vineyard and during the winter is a Ski resort with a number of its own runs.
GF $ 80 – 50, 6,358 – 4,678 yards par 71, 3 sets of tees Black, Gold, Green and White
* Green fees price guide are shown in Canadian dollars, current exchange rate is approximately $2 Can = £1
Accommodation choices in Ontario
In Toronto and its surrounding area’s there is every level of accommodation, from the high end 5* establishments to local bed and breakfasts the choice is yours.
Canada is blessed with a large selection of very good chain hotels such as Hilton Hampton Inns, Marriott Townplace and Holiday Inn’s, these are probably the equivalent in price brackets to the budget UK hotels. Many are only 3* rated but I would rate most as a 4* against a similar property in the UK (and better than a few so called 5* properties I have stayed in around the world).
There are also some exceedingly good resort hotels that are well worth considering. Many are set for both the winter ski season and the summer holidays.
The Briars Resort & Spa on Lake Simcoe is one example, owned and run by the same family since it was bought from its original owner nearly 140 years ago. It’s a wonderful old school and very non-corporate resort hotel with a number of lake side lodges. Set in its own vast acreage of land along the lake it’s an extremely popular destination out of Toronto. Guests at the Briars may play at the Briars Golf Club adjacent to the resort and reached by a 5 minute stroll through the woods.
The Briars is also well known locally for its food and sources as much produce for its kitchens as possible from the local area. Recipes however come from further afield and I have to admit myself their sticky toffee pudding was legendary and a real treat. Sitting around the log burner outside after dinner is the perfect way to end the day at the Briars, sipping a single malt or bourbon, chatting to new friends and watching the starry skies.
Finally there is one exceptional place worthy of its own newsletter rather than a paragraph in this article. There are many different bed & breakfast accommodation choices in all the area’s we visited and many people enjoy the personal touch and service you receive from this type of accommodation. The Nestleton Waters Inn is probably one of the best bed and breakfast / small hotels I have stayed in and one I would not hesitate to return to tomorrow given half a chance.
Set in the picturesque woods with its own spring fed lake where the brave can swim, it’s an idyllic setting and obvious why it’s a popular wedding venue. Each suite in the property is tastefully themed, many inspired from the host families travels around the world. Breakfast at The Nestleton Waters inn is also splendid and the best we enjoyed in Canada, a coffee on the terrace with a wonderful view over the lake followed by a home cooked breakfast will certainly keep you sustained until lunch time.
Getting there and traveling around
Flights to Toronto are direct from both London and Manchester with Air Canada and Air-transat, a seven hour flight will get you to Toronto (slightly shorter coming home thanks to the Gulf Stream) alternatively fly with any of the main American airlines with a change via the USA. I would recommend flying direct to Toronto to avoid the stringent USA custom procedures, Canada’s are thorough which you would expect in this day and age and very similar to the UK. Tourist Visas for UK passport holders are on granted on arrival on completion of a simple form and valid for up to 180 days which will suit most people’s requirements for a holiday.
Canada is very much a fly drive destination although for groups transfers can be easily be arranged. The great thing for the travelling golfer in Canada is there is a great choice of vehicles with the luggage capacity to accommodate clubs and cases without breaking the bank and filling up with fuel in Canada is around half the cost per litre to the UK. Roads are well signposted but with a satellite navigation to help you it’s a pleasant experience.
Ontario is a great destination which has unfortunately been too often ignored by UK travellers for the more popular Western Canadian City of Vancouver and British Columbia. For golfer’s it’s a superb golf holiday destination, if you’re looking for a family holiday with a couple of games of golf thrown in it offers some great options. Great accommodation and food, superb scenery with a vast range of activities to keep you occupied on your days away from the golf course. Good uncrowded roads (away from downtown Toronto!!) and the locals are both extremely friendly and of course speak English. More importantly they readily understand an English accent, something their close neighbours south of the boarder so often fail miserably at. I for one thoroughly recommend Golf in Ontario as one of the best summer & autumn golf holiday destinations you can find.
A heartfelt thank you
Thanks must go to Bill at Golf Stream Travel on behalf of the Ontario tourist boards who organised the trip. Ontario’s Central Counties Tourism, Headwaters Tourism, Bruce Grey Simcoe Tourism and Bay of Quinte Tourism. Not forgetting all the hotels and golf courses we visited who, without exception, were all fantastic hosts and thank you all so much for helping introduce such a wonderful region to Quality Golf Destinations.
Our Introduction to Golf in Ontario “In the fall” package
From £849pp (trips between the 1/9 & 30/10)
Your chance to play some amazing golf courses to the backdrop of the world famous Canada Fall when the tree lined fairways are at their most spectacular. 7 nights twin shared accommodation in quality hotels throughout your stay with some amazing breakfasts included. We will also recommend some great places for dinner each night so you get the most out of this golf holiday. All the golf courses on this itinerary are memorable in their own right and always in superb condition. Golf carts are available at each course for a small additional fee with the exception of Wooden Sticks GC where they are included.
(Golf courses left to right – Hockley Valley, Royal Ashburn & Caledon Country Club)
7 nights Luxury Hotel accommodation (Twin/Double room), 5 Rounds of top quality golf & daily breakfast, Transfers or Car Hire
Golf at Hockley Valley, Osprey Highlands, Caledon Country Club, Royal Ashburn and Wooden Sticks Golf Clubs (Inc Buggy)
Accommodation – Hockley Valley Resort 4 nights, Nestleton Waters Inn 2 nights, Westin Hotel Toronto 1 night.
International flights, Travel insurance, Golf buggies (Unless stated), Items of a personal nature, gratuities and tips.
If you would like us to add flights, or extend your stay we will be happy to tailor your package for you.
For more information contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01782 510800
For general information about the regions of Ontario click on the tourism logo above, for Golf club info click on the club logo’s
2 years ago
La Cala Golf Resort – Spain Special Offers
4* La Cala Golf Resort, Mijas, Malaga
Group Special Golf Holiday 2016
NOW FROM ONLY £ 355 per person
Based 3, 5 or 7 Nights Half Board, twin share in a standard room, including 3, 4 or 5 rounds of golf at the resort’s 3 courses.
Golf Buggies( Certain dates & tee times excluded) and Airport transfers
Valid for new bookings only, based on group of 4
Additional discount available for groups of 8+
Low Season Medium Season High Season Single Sup
3 Nights 3 Golf £ 350 £ 370 £ 405 £ 99
5 Nights 4 Golf £ 530 £ 555 £ 610 £ 165
7 Nights 5 Golf £ 660 £ 690 £ 740 £ 230
Low Season – December, January, July & August
Medium Season – November, February, May, June & September
High Season – March, April and October
Golf included in Package on site at La Cala Golf Resort
Golf from either the America, Asia or Europa courses
Room & half board upgrade’s available. Non-Golfer prices available on request
Additional information – The Hotel
With a four star rating, Hotel La Cala is one of the top Costa Del Sol hotels in Spain. It commands a central position between the golf courses. Built in a traditional Andalusian style and with 107 rooms, it has a choice of 3 categories of rooms: classic rooms, superior rooms and junior suites., all of which have superb views of the golf courses.
La Terraza Restaurant offers fine dining with a range of dishes that reflect the local gastronomy of Andalucía as well as international influences. Patrons can choose to dine al fresco on warmer nights, while seated beside the beautiful moonlit swimming pool. For just a quiet drink or nightcap you can relax in the Lobby Bar or if you wish to use the internet, look at satellite TV or play interactive games. There is also a speciality wine and tapas restaurant La Bodega to enjoy the real taste of Spain. Relaxed and informal, La Bodega captures the passion and personality that this part of Spain is so famous for. We’re proud of our Andalusian roots and this shines through in our delicious tapas tasting experience. Wafer thin slices of the finest acorn-fed Iberian cured ham, creamy Manchego cheese, fiery hot prawn pil-pil, this is a true feast for the senses. We’ll help you to navigate the menu to create the perfect balance of textures and flavours, or you can take it one dish at a time, at your own pace, paired with a delicious local wine.
The resort is the ideal base for enjoying your holiday. Just minutes from the coast and the towns of Mijas Costa, Marbella and Fuengirola, the estate is however totally removed from the bustle and hustle associated with the attractions of the coast. It is totally private allowing you to relax in one of our luxurious refurbished hotel rooms. Where else can you be only minutes from the centre of the action yet with the advantage of being able to shut out the distractions of the outside world – should you so wish.
The Clubhouse is only a minutes walk away from the hotel and features all the bar and restaurant facilities you would expect from a facility of this stature. Large Pro shop and changing rooms, Golf Club and buggy hire (which is included with your green at certain times of the season). There is also an excellent Academy facility which includes an open grass driving range, dedicated putting and short game areas and a 6 hole par 3 course which has holes varying from 120-170 yards.
Additional information – The Golf
America Golf course
6009 m, par 72.
Formerly the North Course, Campo America is enhanced by spectacular views of the Sierra de Ojén and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s wide, linked fairways and relatively few bunkers make this a slightly easier driving course, though the hilly topography requires a lot of carry across steep brush-covered side slopes. There are water hazards on the 9th and 16th and five par 5s.
Asia Golf course.
5925 m, par 72.
Formerly the South Course, the spectacular Campo Asia has plenty of challenging holes, guaranteeing a testing round of golf which puts a premium on the approach shot. The oldest of our three courses and the one most respected by the professionals, it is narrow and short, with four par holes demanding skill and strategy.
Look out for the 1st with its classic design, and the 14th where the aim of your drive is especially critical. The 9th requires full concentration. Remember not to over-club off the tee or this lengthy par 5 could spoil your scorecard
Europa Golf course.
6014 m, par 71.
A dramatic course but easier for the average golfer, with generous fairways, flatter terrain and slightly larger greens than Campo America and Asia. Notable for one main bridge and four smaller bridges across the River Ojén, which features in eight holes, cutting across three fairways. There are four tunnels for golf carts.
Water hazards guard the 3rd and 14th greens. The 14th is at the maximum limit of what is allowed for a par 3 at 233 metres. The par 5 11th is the longest hole at 524 metres.
To book please quote “La Cala Offer” Contact Quality Golf Destinations by phone on 01782 510800 or email email@example.com
Not exactly what you want? give us a call and we can customise your package to your exact requirements.
With the Christmas holidays quickly approaching many of you will be thinking of getting away during the early months of 2015 for some winter sun and a bit of friendly golf competition! Here are our recommendations for some of the best tournament golf weeks over the next few months. The events below are great holidays for small groups, couples, and single golfers
1 – 22nd Amateur Week – Vale do Lobo – Portugal from £535
25th – 31st January 2015
One of the oldest and most popular Amateur tournament golf weeks on Portugal’s Algarve. Played at Vale do Lobo Golf Club over its two championship golf courses the Royal and Ocean sees between 80 and 140 golfers from all over Europe converge to play in a mixture of daily tournaments.
Sunday 25th – Practice day and evening cocktail party at Spikes Brasserie
Monday 26th – 1st Round Single Stableford Qualifying (Men’s & Ladies divisions 0-14 & 15- Max handicaps 26 men, 32 Ladies)
Tuesday 27th – 2nd Round Single Stableford Qualifying – top 8 net scores in each category qualify for Quarter finals of Singles Match play trophies,
Wednesday 28th – All Categories Match play Quarter Finals, & Greensomes Stableford
Thursday 29th – All Categories Match play Semi Finals, & Peter McGuinness Singles Stableford.
Friday 30th – All Categories Match play Finals, & Better-ball Stableford
Saturday 31st – Four ball Better Ball team Stableford – Prize giving Cocktail party and Dinner.
Package is based on 2 or 4 people sharing a 1 or 2 bed apartment on Self-catering basis. Package also includes airport transfers and full golf tournament entry as per above itinerary.
2 – Orizonte Lisbon Golf Trophy £445
10th – 15th February 2015
Some of Portugal’s best golf courses are found around the Lisbon area. Take this great tournament golf weeks format to discover four of the best and largely unknown courses to the south of Lisbon.
The tournament golf week includes 5 nights’ twin share accommodation in the 4* Sesimba Hotel & Spa, 4 rounds of golf at Quinta do Peru, Aroeira, Ribagolfe and Santo Estavao. All Airport and golf transfers included, Wine cellar visit with tasting, Fado dinner & Prize giving dinner.
Excellent range of prizes for winners including a week’s holiday for 2 with golf.
3 -Tunisia Golf Festival Third Edition – £745
8th – 15th March 2015
Tunisia is fast becoming a popular winter golf destination. With some excellent golf courses, top class hotels and a great winter climate. This is the third year of the very successful Tunisia Golf Festival and flights for this event are available from London, Manchester, East Midlands, Birmingham and Glasgow Airports. Staying at the excellent 5* All inclusive Riu Palace Hammamet Hotel this is a true all inclusive golf week.
The Tournament Golf Weeks Package includes:
7 Nights on ALL INCLUSIVE at the RIU PALACE HAMMAMET MARHABA HOTEL 5*
5 Rounds of competitive golf to be played on YASMINE HAMMAMET x 2 + CITRUS HAMMAMET x 2 + EL KANTAOUI GOLF x 1
Cocktail Party with Canapé on 9th March.
Gala Dinner with entertainment & drinks on the 14th March followed by Prize Presentation Ceremony
Guided visit of PORT EL KANTAOUI for NON-GOLFERS
1 Massage per Golfer
Transfers: Airport –Hotel –Airport
Daily transfers: Hotel – Golf – Hotel
4 – Penina Golf Week – £635 – Algarve Portugal
26th April – 2nd May 2015
Enjoy a fantastic tournament golf weeks at the Algarve’s premier luxury Golf resort the JJW Penina Hotel and Golf Resort. Penina Hotel & Golf Resort has an 18 hole Championship course, 9 hole resort course and 9 hole academy course together with some of the best practice facilities in Portugal if not Europe. To complement the excellent golf facilities Penina has four on site restaurants with every taste catered for from fine dining at Le Grill to a succulent post golf snack at the Henry Cotton Bar and restaurant where golfing memorabilia adorns the wall’s. A fantastic place to spend a week in the sun, meeting new friends and enjoying some great golf
The Penina Golf week package includes;
6 Nights’ twin shared Accommodation in a Classic Room
Daily Buffet Breakfast at the Restaurant
1 practice round on the Championship course including pull trolley
3 competition rounds on Championship Golf Course including pull trolley
Pre-Dinner Welcome Cocktail
Welcome Dinner including house wine, soft drinks, mineral water and coffee
Gala Dinner including house wine, soft drinks, mineral water and coffee
50 driving range practice balls on golfing days
Private Airport transfers
Upgrade to a pool view room and single room occupancy are available at a supplement.
5 -Singles Trophy £599 – Costa Daurada Spain
7th – 12th May 2015
If you are single and a golfer you are most welcome to participate in “The Singles Trophy” in Costa Daurada. You will have the chance to enjoy some great golf combined with sunshine, gastronomy, entertainment and social events where you will meet other single golfers from all over the world.
This tournament golf weeks package includes 5 nights’ accommodation in a single room at 4* Hotel Palas Pineda with daily breakfast buffet, 4 days of golf (2 practice days and 2 tournament days), free range balls, all transfers, a wine tasting, a Spa visit, 5 dinners with wine plus 2 nights of musical entertainment with dancing! If you prefer to share a room with a friend then the price reduces to £499 per person.
Single golfers from all over the world will join this event so if you are looking to meet new golfing friends in a relaxed and international environment sign up for the trip today!
DAILY PROGRAM: the Singles Trophy 2015
May 7th: Arrival to Barcelona or Reus Airport where you will be met by the organizers, followed by a bus transfer to the hotel. Welcome reception in the evening followed by dinner with wine included.
May 8th: First Practice Round to be played at Costa Dorada GC, the oldest course in the region. Tee-off from 10h30. We will play an informal Team Event where you will be able to play your own ball the whole round. In the evening after dinner there will be musical entertainment at the hotel!
May 9th: Second Practice Round will be at Bonmont GC, a true championship layout designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. First tee-off is at 10h30. With new team pairings we will play an informal Team Event where you will be able to play your own ball the whole round. At 19h00 we offer a wine tasting at the hotel.
May 10th: First Tournament Round at Lumine Lakes, designed by Greg Norman. Tee-off from 09h30. From 17h00 onwards guests can enjoy the adjacent “Spalas” Spa at the 5* Gran Palas Hotel.
May 11th: Second (and last) Tournament Round at the spectacular Lumine Hills with tee-off from 09h30. In the evening, Gala Dinner with price giving ceremony and music entertainment at the nearby 5* Gran Palas Hotel.
May 12th: Departure day with transfers to Barcelona Airport and Reus Airport.
Non golfer options are available for all the above holidays. Flights are not included in any of the above packages however we are happy to arrange these for you. All holiday packages that include flights have the added security of ATOL cover.
Finally thank you to everyone who has made 2014 another successful year. We hope you enjoyed travelling, working and golfing with us this year and helping us making it our busiest year ever.
Our monthly newsletters have been very well received again this year; we hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy writing them. Hopefully they give you plenty of ideas for future holidays.
We also have an active Facebook page, if you enjoy using social media please like our Facebook page, we update regularly with our latest offers, newsletters, golf news, golf photos and a few golf based observations that we find amusing! Click on the Facebook Icon to find our page.
We hope you all enjoy the Christmas and New Year celebrations and we look forward to seeing you next year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Quality Golf Team.
Neil, Rachel & Rob
Golfing India’s Golden Triangle – India discovered.
India as a golf destination? When I first found out my next trip was to India I have to admit I had mixed feelings, after all it’s not a place to play golf, is it? For the sightseeing, culture and food India has long been a holiday destination no question but golf? Well the 1st FICCI Golf tourism summit in Delhi was the place to find out what Golf in India is all about, followed by a week playing some of the courses and discovering what else the local region had to offer my mind was made up, armed with my business visa, enough medical supplies to combat Delhi Belly and, of course, my golf clubs it was India here I come.
The First taste of India
Arriving in Delhi International airport with a friendly welcome from our hosts, the short drive into the city centre was an adventure in its own right, we were told the traffic would be quiet!! Maybe for Delhi standards but it took busy to a totally new level, the first thing you learn very quickly is that time is on a different level, don’t get stressed if a 20 minute journey takes 45 minutes, no one else does. Just enjoy the local symphony of car horns and try not to focus on the bus six inches from the door mirror. We soon disappeared down a side road and found ourselves in the diplomatic area of Delhi and admiring the impressive India gate monument and the colonial embassies that line the wide avenues in this part of town.
FICCI Golf tourism Summit
A real intensive two days of presentations, meetings with Indian golf operators, golf courses, hotels, airlines and regional tourist boards. Organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) together with the Indian Golf Tourism Association (IGTA) and held in the conference hall of The 5* LaLit hotel close to the centre of Delhi. After around 30 appointments I had learned a lot about the history of golf in India, where to stay, where to play, what to do and when to go so I was raring to see the real India and get outside of the conference hall and discover what was out there for myself.
Golf in India
There are over 200 golf clubs in India, including the oldest club outside the British Isles in The Royal Calcutta Golf Club whose history dates back to 1829. However many of those 200 are not accessible to the general golfing public being military courses. Out of the remaining courses probably around 20-30 are rated as international standard. Many of the outstanding courses have been built over the last 20 years to international standards usually in conjunction with some sort of property development, one of the exceptions to this rule is Delhi Golf Club, located close to India Gate in the centre of Delhi, built in 1931 by the British it is still a very colloquial members only club and famed for its quality and condition but happy to allow visiting tourist golfers (with the appropriate handicap certificate) to play. I played two other excellent courses around the Delhi area, Jaypee Greens Golf Resort in Noida to the south of Delhi, designed by Greg Norman with water featuring prominently on this course. Good clubhouse and hotel also feature at this resort. The other course worth a mention is the ITC Classic Golf Resort in Manesar. A rural setting but probably the best Jack Nicklaus course I have played around the world, some great holes on this course. The new luxury ITC Grand Bharat hotel has just opened here and for a special treat is a wonderful place to stay for a night or two while enjoying the golf course in a true luxury all suite resort. We also played 9 holes at Rambagh Golf Club in Jaipur and was a good example of a local golf course, a very enjoyable four ball was played but the course was nowhere near the standard of the other courses. It’s a long time since I have seen gang mowers used for cutting the fairways but it’s a reminder of how much golf course maintenance has improved over the last 10-15 years in the UK an experience that turned back the clock.
Away from Delhi and Jaipur, some excellent golf is found in a number of locations especially in Mumbai and Bangalore/Chennai regions. For the more adventurous golf can be played up in the foothills of the Himalayas on the world’s highest golf course at Gulmarg Golf Club in Kashmir at 2,650 metres above sea level and is over 100 years old.
Golf and Sightseeing tour
The best way in our opinion is to combine a sightseeing tour with a few rounds of golf. India’s Golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur allows some of the best sightseeing in India while taking in the best of golf around Delhi.
Following the famous Golden Triangle route. Starting in Delhi for a few days allowing for a couple of rounds of Golf while enjoying a day to discover the old town of Delhi together with its colonial past. Then head down to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal something that cannot be missed on a trip to this region of India and nothing short of spellbinding.
En-route from Agra to Jaipur stop and discover the ghost town of Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur has some wonderful sightseeing. At the Amber Fort outside Jaipur you ascending on elephant up the hill (this is optional for those of a nervous disposition), on which the fort is situated. Before discovering one of the region’s most famous hill forts. In the city itself the old pink-hued streets of the old town are a delight to walk around with its markets stalls and busy streets you really get to experience the fragrance of India and its chaotic charm. A visit to the palace of winds is a must see and one of the most photographed historical building in India is located just outside the old town walls. Outside of Jaipur there are some amazing old maharaja’s palaces set in the hills that have been converted into luxury hotels. This make a great historical stop for a night’s stay as you turn the clock back, and enjoy a Maharaja’s life style in a completely unique experience. It’s also a nice change from the busy City based hotels. Finally return to Delhi for a night or two and enjoy a final round of golf. This tour can be done in five or six days but we would recommend taking around 10 nights to fully enjoy the experience, have time to relax and when playing golf three or four times and enjoy the experience. For non-golfers there are plenty of additional activities to keep them occupied while you play golf or there is always the option to relax by the hotel pool or be pampered in a spa.
Overview of India’s Golden Triangle
A wonderful holiday destination, not everybody’s cup of tea but if you love to explore a new culture and have a sense of adventure then India may well tick a lot of your boxes. You have to be a fan of Indian food before you go as you may be seriously limited when it comes to meal times, the exception being breakfast although the top quality 5 star hotels do cater for the international visitor. However the food was spectacular and delicious, I loved it.
Good quality accommodation is available in all the main cities and most large towns and if you are a lover of Spa’s then you will be delighted with what they have on offer. Guides are excellent and speak perfect English as do nearly all the staff you will find in the hotels and golf courses (I had some great caddies, many play golf themselves and nearly all the clubs have monthly caddy tournaments) make sure you have some small denomination notes as a little tip here and there will make the good service excellent.
The golf was something most surprising and pleasing. The top golf courses around Delhi will stand up and be counted against top resort courses the world over when it comes to condition and course design. With most of the world’s top golf architects having courses in India there are certainly quality courses elsewhere in the country as well. Away from the International standard courses the local club courses can still be enjoyable if you need your fix of golf on holiday, just don’t expect manicured fairways and greens. You will however have a very warm welcome where ever you play.
I was not expecting to enjoy India as much as a did, it’s probably the busiest place I have been to and from someone who has spent a lot of time in the Far East that’s saying something. Only in India will you get five lanes of traffic on a dual carriage way and it still (sort of) moves for most of the time, after a few days in Delhi you become accustomed to the craziness of the place.
The more you travel, the more you travel with an open mind and I believe the more you enjoy new places, visiting the Taj Mahal will definitely always rank in the top five places in the world to visit, I defy anyone not to be impressed or moved by its scale and atmosphere. I certainly was on both counts.
You will see poverty in India but at the same time you will also see more smiles than you would in the high street on a Saturday afternoon. Away from the cities the land is agricultural and a tractor is likely to be the village’s local bus to market it’s definitely a country of contrasts
So is India a real golf destination, probably not if you’re comparing it to other long haul alternatives such as Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa or the USA. There just are not enough quality courses in a vast country the size of Europe. However plan your itinerary correctly and it’s a perfect place to intersperse your sightseeing with some very good golf. If you enjoy doing things on your holidays especially sightseeing then India has so much to offer it could well be the place for you to explore.
We certainly recommend the India’s Golden Triangle as a starting point for discovering India and I personally look forward to our next visit to discover more of this fascinating country.
An example Itinerary of a Private 10 night Luxury Golfing holiday in India’s Golden Triangle
Prices from £1,975pp
Same itinerary using 4 star hotels from £1,599 pp
Visit India and follow the famous Golden Triangle. Enjoy the perfect introduction to India’s three most popular destinations – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – as we explore the icons and discover the secrets of this fascinating region. Experience the history of massive forts, the opulence and splendour of Rajasthan’s palaces, the bustle and buzz of markets and bazaars, and the traditions of a heritage homestay. Travel through a land full of contrasts on this compact India tour, jam-packed with unforgettable highlights.
DAY 01: Arrive Delhi
Meeting and assistance on arrival at Delhi Airport. Private transfer and check into the 5* Claridges hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 02: In Delhi
After breakfast enjoy a morning half day city sightseeing tour of Old Delhi visiting the Red Fort built in 1648 by Mughal Emperor Shahjehan Jama Masjid. One of the largest mosques in India, Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana – the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Also drive past Chandni Chowk shopping centre of Old Delhi.
Afternoon half day city sightseeing tour of New Delhi visiting Qutab Minar built by Qutub-ud-Din aibek in 1199, in 1199, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate (War memorial arch), Lakshminarayan temple – a modern Hindu temple. Also drive past President’s house, Parliament house, Government secretariat buildings and Connaught Place – shopping centre of New Delhi.
Overnight at the Hotel.
DAY 03: In Delhi
After breakfast transfer to the ITC Classic golf course for 18 holes with shared buggy and caddy
Overnight in Delhi.
DAY 04: Delhi – Agra (204 kms, 4.5 hrs)
Morning- After breakfast check out of The Claridges and transfer by road to Agra via Nordia.
En-route play golf at Jaypee Green GC after lunch continue to Agra
On arrival check into ITC Mungal hotel Agra.
Evening at leisure
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 05: Agra
After Breakfast enjoy a half day city sightseeing tour of Agra visiting the world famous Taj Mahal built by Moghul Emperor Shahjahan in 1630 for his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. Later visit the Agra fort containing the halls of Private and Public audience and other palaces. (Taj Mahal closed on every Friday).
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 06: Agra – Jaipur (237 kms, 6.5 hrs)
Morning after breakfast Check out of hotel and drive to Jaipur enroute visiting FATEHPUR SIKRI built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal and other Palaces.
Check in to the ITC Jaipur – Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 07: In Jaipur
After breakfast a full days sightseeing in Jaipur
Morning half day excursion to Amber Fort the ancient capital of the state until 1728. Visit the Jagmandir or the hall of victory glittering with mirrors, Jai mahal and temple of Kali. Ascend on elephant /jeep ride, the hill, on which the fort is situated.
Afternoon half day city sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting Maharaja’s city palace and the observatory. Drive past Hawa mahal or the palace of winds and through the rose-pink residential and business areas of Jaipur.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 08: In Jaipur
Transfer to Samode Palace Hotel – Live life as a Maharaja for a day in this amazing hotel set in the hill 1 hour from Jaipur
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 09: Jaipur – Delhi
After breakfast transfer to Delhi, on arrival to Delhi check in to Claridges hotel or similar hotel.
Afternoon at leisure
Overnight at the hotel
Day 10: Delhi
Play at Delhi Golf Club including caddy
Dependant on your return flight time an extra night may be needed in Delhi
or Day 11: Delhi
Transfer to Airport for your homeward flight or internal flight to extend your holiday
10 nights Twin shared accommodation in top class 5* Hotels
Daily buffet breakfast
3 rounds of golf including, Shared carts & caddy* (recommended caddy tip 500IRS approximately £5)
Private transfers with English speaking guide
Full days sightseeing in Delhi and Jaipur and half days sightseeing in Agra.
All entrance fees included in listed sightseeing tours
International Flights (London/Manchester – Delhi)
To Visit the hotel websites listed in this tour click on the hotel logo’s
The Azores Golf Islands
We are going to visit Sao Miguel in the Azores Islands playing Golf! Most people we talked to about our upcoming trip nodded in a vague I should know where you’re talking about way. “Where’s that ?” or “How do you get there”? Was the usual replay. to find out more read on.
The Azores Location
Sao Miguel Island is the largest island and the administrative capital of the Azores archipelago which is part of Portugal. The Azores comprises nine islands of varying sizes with a total population of around 250,000, over half living on Sao Miguel and lies 900 miles off the west coast of Portugal. For hundreds of years it has been an important stopping point for ships crossing the Atlantic, these days many of the ships visiting are of the cruise variety. All the islands have volcanic origins and together with the Canary Islands, Madeira and Cape Verde comprise the little known biogeographic region of Macaronesia (good bit of quiz trivia).
The Azores are remarkably easy to access from the UK, SATA the Azores airline fly direct during the summer to Sao Miguel capital town of Ponta Delgada from Gatwick (Saturday flight), however for most flexibility TAP flights from Heathrow and Manchester connect well with a short stop in Lisbon. While in Lisbon do consider a stopover, it’s a one of my favourite European cities to visit, a great city to wander around and with the metro system very easy to get around the city without spending a fortune on taxi fares.
The weather in the Azores is changeable! The islands enjoy a mild temperate climate throughout the year and benefits from the Gulf Stream. The average air temperature varies between 11°C (night) and 26°C (day) depending on the time of year and the surrounding ocean averages between 15°C and 25°C the sea temperatures act as a radiator keeping the air temperature relatively warm at night. Being so far out in the Atlantic, the islands are prone to rainy days at any time of year, and without these showers of course, you could not enjoy the beautiful flora on the islands.
Winter – November to March. Some bright sunny days, a few wet and windy days and some overcast and cloudy days, with average temperatures of between 11°C (night) and 17°C (day).
Spring and autumn – April to May & September to October. You can expect consistently warmer weather, brighter sunnier days with average temperatures of between 11°C (night) and 24°C (day).
Summer – June to August. Lovely warm sunny days with average temperatures of between 15°C (night) and 26°C (day). It can be quite humid especially on the coast or in areas where there is a lot of vegetation, basically perfect.
Warning! If you are looking for a beach holiday with guaranteed sun, then the Azores are not the right destination for you, it’s not the Canaries. However, if you are looking for a holiday where visiting the beach is just one of many activities, then the Azores might well be the perfect destination! It defiantly has a year round golf climate.
Sao Miguel Island
Sao Miguel is one of the most picturesque Islands we have visited, around every bend are exceptional views of this small Island around 65 miles long and 10 miles across. Each end of the island has upland areas over 1000 metres high with spectacular flora and fauna. Old volcanic creators with Azure blue lakes, cliff top viewpoints that are accessed via roads not out of place in the Alps and of course the sea that can be seen from most parts of the island.
A car is pretty much a must on the Island to get around but driving on the Island is one of the most stress free driving experiences I have had abroad. Firstly the island has some good main roads, secondly there are not that many cars on the roads. Think of a quiet Sunday morning on the roads at home and you have rush hour in Sao Miguel. Thirdly Island life is pretty slow here and the speed most people drive can best be described as snail’s pace, but go with the flow and it adds to the pleasure of enjoying the island.
The Island has four main towns Ponta Delgada the capital and entry point to the Island, Ribeira Grande in the north of the island, Vila Franca and the hill town and centre of Geo springs Furnas. All are very unspoilt and cater for locals first and tourist later as well as the main towns there are a few larger fishing villages and farming communities, if you want to find the unspoilt charm of Portugal of 40 years ago this is the place to go. The main industries on the islands are farming (70% of Portugal’s dairy products comes the islands) and fishing. The Island is also self-sufficient in electricity being sourced from solar power and Geo-thermo power.
There are 3 golf clubs on the Azores archipelago, Terceira Golf Club on the neighbouring Island of Terceira 90 miles away which was the former course for US military personal at the nearby airbase. Sao Miguel has two Championship golf clubs, Furnes Golf Club an 18 hole par 72 course and Batalha Golf Club a 27-hole complex and current home of the Ladies Azores Open on the Ladies European Tour Access series. Both the courses on Sao Miguel are members clubs with active club competitions however the courses are extremely quiet by UK standards even at the weekends tee times can be easily accommodated and during the week you feel as though you have the course to yourself.
Batalha Golf Club
This course, designed by Cameron Powell in 1986, offers 27 holes in three loops of nine , A, B and C all 3 loops have their own special features; A is probably the most technically challenging, B has some superb tree line dog legs and an outstanding par 3 6th hole. The C course is slightly shorter but possess a more tactical challenge with again some spectacular tree lined holes and a very tough par 5 finishing hole. Its magnificent setting, nestling on the edge of the surrounding hills and with sweeping views to the ocean, large raised greens, wide and generous fairways and its volcanic sand bunkers.
The course opened to the public in 1993 and its imposing clubhouse offers all the normal facilities including excellent practice facilities, Club and Buggy hire
We played all three combinations of Batalha and enjoyed all the combinations, The B and C nines are more undulating and a buggy is worth considering. The course condition is good and a very enjoyable game of golf for any standard of player.
Batalha Golf Course is situated on the north Coast of São Miguel Island, just 10 minutes from the centre of the capital Ponta Delgada and 5 minutes from Ribeira Grande. Both golf courses are well signposted off the main roads.
A & B, Par 72 White tees 6,473m Yellow tees 6,230m Red tees 5,324m – B & C, Par 72 White tees 6,288m Yellow tees 6,057m Red tees 5,216m – A & C, Par 72 White tees 6,349m Yellow tees 6,071m Red tees 5,250m
203 yard Par 3 6th hole on the “B” course at Batalha Golf Club
Furnas Golf Club
A spectacular golf course set in the midst of a powerful volcanic landscape with luxuriant tropical vegetation. This is a truly incredible golfing experience and not what you would expect as the fir tree lined fairways and sloping hillsides give the course a very Scottish feel, it’s unlike any golf course you will play in the rest of Portugal.
The first nine holes of the course were laid out by Mackenzie Ross in 1936, and represent the first golf course on the island. The holes meander through a landscape of spectacular natural beauty. Extended in 1992 by golf course architects Bob Cameron and Chris Powell, the course now boasts 18 magnificent golf holes and warm British style clubhouse.
The Course itself set amid stand of majestic Japanese cedars and with fiendishly contoured greens (especially the 18th) is quite gentle in nature but is without doubt a genuine test of skill and finesse. The Although the course is high in the hills some 700m above sea-level it’s a relatively flat and easy walking course.
Furnas Golf Course is situated in one of the most beautiful part of São Miguel Islands, set above Furnas Valley and close to volcanic crater Furnas Lake, with its famous hot springs and Terra Nostra Gardens. It’s a 25 minute drive from Ponta Delgada, 15 minutes from Caloura, Água d’Alto.
18 holes, Par 72, White tees 6,232m Yellow tees 5,955m Red tees 5,256m
Where to Stay on Sao Miguel
Most of the decent hotels are in the main town of Ponta Delgarda. The town also has the best range of bars and restaurants together with a nice marina area.
Ponta Delgarda Marina with the Hotel Marina Atlántico on the right
Hotel Talisman in the old part of town is a charming 4 star hotel, individually styled rooms an excellent restaurant and its own cosy Sports bar with free Wi-Fi and in a great central location. It even has a small plunge pool and sun deck on the roof. A warm welcome and great service is one of the hotels main plus points, the hotel owner is also a keen golfer so is very golfer friendly. www.hoteltalisman.com
Hotel Talisman – Old town centre location
Hotel Marina Atlántico is a modern 4* hotel and part of one of the best hotel chains in Portugal, overlooking the marina the hotel has excellent appointed rooms. Good amenities including a spa and an indoor pool and a large underground car park for guests. Excellent restaurant and bars and within a few minutes’ walk from the town centre.
Staying outside Ponta Delgarda there are two main options. The Geothermal Spa town of Furnas has an exceptional Art Deco hotel the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, a sister property to the Atlántico Hotel. This property is ranked as a 4 star and recently won an award as the best 4* hotel in Portugal, this I can well believe as it’s probably better than many 5 star hotels we have visited. Together with large room size, indoor pool and Spa, award winning restaurants, and possible the best gin & tonics in the world! the hotel is set in the grounds of its own thermo hot water pools. Rich in minerals these natural springs are extremely popular. www.bensaudehotel.com
The other hotel is the excellent Caloura Hotel Resort, approximately 7 miles along the coast from Ponta Delgarda and set on the cliff tops close to the small fishing village of the same name the Caloura Hotel has one thing that sets it apart from its rivals – its View!!
Caloura Hotel Resort from the Sea
All the rooms at the resort look out to sea so everyone is treated to the spectacular view. The hotel has an excellent restaurant, large outside pool and terrace area with café. A few minutes’ walk away you find a small sheltered beach. We stayed at this hotel during our trip and really enjoyed the experience, excellent staff and is still a family run hotel. We would defiantly recommend car hire for stays at this hotel. www.calourahotel.com
Sea View from the Caloura Hotel
What else to do on Sao Miguel
The Azores are a paradise for anyone who likes an activity based holiday, with its climate it is perfect for mountain bikers or hiking and walking tours, nature lovers will enjoy the year round whale and dolphin watching, water enthusiasts can enjoy world class Surfing and Scuba Diving. Other activities include Horse riding, fishing, bird watching and visits to points of interest such as the tea plantations or the thermal springs. Above anything else it’s perfect for a couple of days simply driving around the islands and enjoying the spectacular scenery.
Overview of the Azores
A wonderful holiday destination, we fell in love with the Island of Sao Miguel and its people very quickly. You can’t get further away from the sunbed packed mass holiday resorts in Europe than Sao Miguel. Spectacular scenery, good food and wine, Very enjoyable golf and excellent choice’s for accommodation. Big thanks you to Pilar at Azores Golf Islands for all you help and guiding us around the golf courses and excellent restaurant recommendations. To Katherine at the Caloura Hotel Resort, such a wonderful resort and especially for sorting out the Scuba Diving with the extremely professional Acores Diving centre.
If you enjoy doing things on your holidays the Azores and Sao Miguel could well be the place for you to explore. We certainly recommend it and will be returning ourselves sooner rather than later. Its truly is a Golfers Oasis but closer to home than you may expect.
Rob & Rachel from Quality Golf Destinations visited Sao Miguel during September 2014