Posts tagged Quality Golf Destinations

Golf in Ontario - The forgotten golfing oasis

Golf in Ontario – The forgotten golfing oasis

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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.

Golf in Ontario - The forgotten golfing oasis

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.

Golf in Ontario - GroupThe 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).

Golf in Ontario - Great restaurants golf in Ontario - triple bogey beer golf in ontario - fishing golf in ontario - tim hortons

 

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

Angus Glen Golf ClubA 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.

Golf in Ontario - Angus Glen golf club

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

Royal Ashburn Golf Club18-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.

Golf in Ontarion - Royal Ashburn Golf Club

GF $90 – $65. 7,104 – 4,783 yards par 72 5 sets of tees Black, Blue, White, Gold, Green

Bay of Quinte Golf Club

Bay of Quinte logo Set on Lake Ontario the course runs inland rather than along the lake shore, is a very friendly local member’s golf club with some of the best putting surfaces I have played on in over 12 months.

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.

Golf in Ontario - Bay of Quinte Golf Club

GF $ 55 – 30,   6,571 – 5,063 yards par 72 5 sets of tees Black, Gold, Green, Blue, Red

Black Bear Ridge Golf Club

Blackbear Ridge Golf clubOne 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.

Golf in Ontario - Black Bear Ridge Golf Club

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

Briars Golf ClubA 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.

Golf in Ontario - The Briars Golf Club

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

Lora Bay Golf ClubA 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.

Golf in Ontario - Lora Bay Golf Club

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

Wooden-Sticks-Golf-ClubOne 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.

Golf in Ontario - Wooden Sticks Golf Club

GF $ 195 – 155, 7,025 – 5,276 yards par 72, 5 sets of tees Black, Green, Blue, White, and Red

Caledon Country Club

Caladon Country Club LogoDesigned 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.

Golf in Ontario - Caledon Country Club

GF $ 70 – 35, 6,502 – 5,581 yards par 72, 3 sets of tees Blue, White, and Red

Hockley Valley

hockleyLogo3A 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.

Golf in O~ntario - Hockley Valley Resort

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.

Golf in Ontario - The Briars Resort

 

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.

Golf in Ontario - Nesleton Waters Inn

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.

Golf in Ontario - Nesleton Waters Inn

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.

Overview

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.

Golf in Ontario - !0th hole at Blackbear Ridge GC

 

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 in Ontario - Hockley Valley Golf in Ontario - Royal Ashburn Golf Club Golf in Ontario - Caledon Country Club

(Golf courses left to right – Hockley Valley, Royal Ashburn & Caledon Country Club)

Package includes

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.

Not included

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 info@qualitygolfdestinations.com or phone 01782 510800

Golf in Ontarion - Bay of Quinte TourismGolf in Ontarion - Central Counties tourismGolf in Ontario - Grey Simcoe tourismGolf in Ontario - Headwaters Tourism

For general information about the regions of Ontario click on the tourism logo above, for Golf club info click on the club logo’s

North Wales golf breaks – 4 great holiday golf courses

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North Wales Golf Breaks

 

Sometimes it’s nice to get away for a few days golf without driving for hours and short golf breaks are becoming more popular, with this in mind we sent our website guru Kevin to see what North Wales golf breaks were all about and in particular the improvements made last year to one of the region’s best known courses thanks to a popular Welsh tourist board advert, Nefyn & District Golf Club.

 

Bull Bay Golf Club 

North wales golf breaks - 1st Fairway & Green in the distance Bull Bay

North Wales Golf Breaks - The Club House Bull Bay

The Clubhouse                                                                              The 1st Fairway & Green in the Distance

LogoOur first Golfing Challenge in North Wales was playing at Bull Bay Golf Club, Anglesey; Most of the Tee’s gave you panoramic views over the Isle of Anglesey.

From the moment we arrived at Bull Bay GC we were made very welcome by the professional John Burns. Once we had booked ourselves in we decided to sample the hospitality of the club house where we enjoyed a superb meal with great views over the golf course, we then ventured on to the 1st tee.  Straight away it became apparent that this was going to be a challenging course and we were not wrong.

The Course has 10 Par 4s, 5 Par 3s and 3 par 5s

North Wales Golf Breaks - 18th Fairway and Clubhouse Bull Bay Golf Club

                    The View from the 18th Tee towards the Clubhouse

 

           Penmaenmawr Golf Club         

logoOur 2nd Course on our tour of North Wales was the superb setting at Penmaenmawr Golf Club, Conwy.

This course is a 9 hole golf course with 18 tees and has superb views towards the Great Orme at Llandudno and Anglesey.  The course has greens that are very well maintained and several of them are elevated.  Overall this Golf Club has a great atmosphere and you are made to feel a member, the course does not have any par 5s but trust me a couple of the holes feel like par 5s especially the 5th.

If you want to spend a morning or afternoon at a friendly golf club then the Penmaenmawr Golf Club is the one to visit.

       View from the 6th Tee

The Clubhouse                             The 12th                                  View from the 6th Tee

North Wales Golf Club

North Wales Golf Breaks - 8th Green from the tee North Wales GC

logoThe 3rd Course during our North Wales tour was the Links course of North Wales Golf Club situated in the sunny seaside town of Llandudno with excellent views over the Conwy estuary to Anglesey and the Snowdonia Mountain range.

This course is a championship links course and has held the Welsh team championships in the past; this course runs right along the coastline on the west shore of Llandudno giving you fantastic views as well as some challenging links golf.

Prior to our golf we again enjoyed a superb meal in the clubhouse where we found the staff very welcoming and efficient at all times.  The views from the club house could be a little nervous for some golfers as the 15th tee was directly in front of the clubhouse windows.  It was great for us as it helped us to choose which club to use when we played,  having watched a number of drives they did not make the tight fairways.

The Course has 9 par 4s, 4 par 3s and 5 par 5s the 16th & 17th Par 3s are two of the most interesting Par 3s you will play

 

North Wales Golf Breaks - 9th Green North Wales GC

The 16th Par 3 North Wles GC

The 16th Par 3                                                                                                          The 9th Green

North Wales Golf Breaks - The 17th Par 3 North Wales GC

The 17th Par 3

Nefyn & District Golf Club  

logoOn our short tour of North Wales we have so far played 3 fantastic Golf Courses and thought it couldn’t get any better but I must say I think we saved the best to last.

Nefyn & District Golf Club is a must for any golfer who is visiting North Wales.  During 2014 the course was hit by extreme weather and this caused part of the course (The Point as it’s known ) to be closed, in April 2015 The Point was re-opened, where it has been enhanced and extended.

When you arrive at Nefyn you’re automatically hit by breath taking views and the wow factor.

                                 

1st Fairway (Front)  The 4th Par 5

The 1st Fairway (Front)                                                     The 4th green (Par5)

The Old course is very challenging with some breath taking views with some magnificent golf holes.

On the Front 9 you will play only 1 Par 5 which is the 4th hole and, as it says in the superb course planner, it will demand a straight drive, the green is set close to the cliff edge.

The rest of the front 9 consists of 6 Par 4s and 2 par 3s

We were just taken aback by the front 9; the tees, fairways and greens are superb, we just couldn’t wait at this point to play the next 9 holes on the Point.

North Wales Golf Breaks - The Point

 The Point

North Wales Golf Breaks - 1st Fairway start of the Point

The 1st 9 holes were challenging but the next 9 holes on the Point are fantastic and again you will play fairways that will run very close to the coast line.

The 1st on The Point is a 327 Yard Par 4 where you can’t see the green, so for you long drivers of a ball an iron is needed off the tee, then it’s a wedge to the green but you can’t see the green and if you go too far you’re in the ocean!

One of our favourite holes on The Point was the Par 3 7th even though we didn’t par it, it was a challenging hole. You tee off from outside the RNLI tower with the coast guard watching every shot (what a job) over the 6th to the 7th.          

You finish The Point on a par 4 leading back to the club house.

On the point you have 1 par 5, 4 par 4s and 4 challenging par 3s.

Once you have finished your round there is nothing better than a well-earned meal & drink in the superb clubhouse.

The facilities at Nefyn & District Golf Club are excellent, not only the superb clubhouse, but they have a golf shop selling the very latest golfing equipment from all manufactures. There is also a driving range, putting green and chipping area.

Overall a superb golf club where you are made to feel like you’re a Member.

The 3 7th Tee in front of the RNLI TowerClub ShopThe Shop                                                                               The par 3 7th in front of the RNLI Tower

 

If you are interested in a North Wales golf breaks prices start from as little £99pp including golf and B&B accommodation. Packages featuring Nefyn & District GC start at £179pp. Many other North Wales golf breaks are available please contact Quality Golf Destinations by emailing us at info@qualitygolfdestinations.com or phone the office and speak to Rob or Rachel on 01782 510800

St Andrews - Home of golf

St Andrews – Golfing risk and reward

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There are times when you book something and you hope rather than expect the trip will meet your expectations. In March, instead of hoping on a plane in search of the sun, we headed north for the pilgrimage that every golfer should endeavour to do at least once in their lives and visited the Old Course at St Andrews.

St Andrews - Home of golf

There are three main ways for visitors (assuming you don’t include knowing an R&A member or qualifying to play in the Open Championship in the list) to play on the Old Course at St Andrews.

1) Pay though the nose for a guaranteed tee time, I can think of better uses of a minimum £1500 for a 2 night golf break staying at an excellent hotel admitted, and two rounds of golf, one on the Old and one on of the other excellent links trust courses.
2) The daily ballot, one of the unique things about St Andrews is that the majority of tee times on offer on the Old course are through the daily ballot. 48 hours before (i.e. Monday for the Wednesday) you can enter the ballot which is published on the Monday afternoon. During the summer months the ballot is always oversubscribed, and you will have something like a 3 in 1 chance of playing. During the winter months some days are not oversubscribed, free tee times after the ballot has been made are available to be booked but you have to be fast to get one of these.
3) The third and less publicised way than the other two is a ballot that takes place in mid-September each year. For two weeks the ballot is open for a number of tee times each day throughout the year. This ballot is open to groups up to a maximum of 8 golfers and you have to play an additional round at one of the St Andrews links courses. Once the draw has been made payment has to be made within the required time, the only drawback is that the ballot is entered with specific names and each player must have an official handicap and a certificate has to be shown to the 1st tee starter.  Everybody who plays the Old course has to have an official handicap certificate and its one of the few who will stick to it.

 

The September Ballot allows you to arrange a golf holiday around your Old Course booking with the knowledge that you will be playing on those hallowed turf on a certain day. We came out with a date in late March, June was our original preferred date but after having a wonderful set of new waterproofs I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test them to the full.

North Berwick

We had a four night Schedule starting off in North Berwick in East Lothian and conveniently close to Edinburgh, staying at the Macdonald Marine Hotel and overlooking the North Berwick links. A stern test of golf at any time of the year and a host to many Open final qualifying rounds when the Championship is held at nearby Muirfield Golf Club a couple of miles away in the next village of Gullane.

As an alternative to golf at North Berwick a round at one of Gullane’s three courses is also a great option, this year’s Scottish Open is being played over a composite course of No 1 and 2. Tee times at Muirfield GC are harder to find than hen’s teeth being only available on a Tuesday and Thursday for visitors and then only a few of those each day.

 

Carnoustie

St Andrews - CarnoustieAfter North Berwick our next destination was Carnoustie, one of the toughest of all Open Championship courses, having hosted 7 Open’s, 1 Ladies Open and 1 Senior’s Open as well as plenty of top amateur events including this year’s amateur championships . Tight fairways, bunkers from hell and undulating greens make this course tough on a calm day and epically impossible when the wind is up. We only had an “interesting” breeze when we played but glorious sunshine. With 9 of the first 11 holes playing into the wind it had me waving the white flag at an early point of the round before rallying well. With a leisurely lunch in the Carnoustie Golf Club (one of the 10 oldest golf clubs in the world) clubhouse which gave an extremely friendly welcome and had the most interesting collection of Open memorabilia on the walls as well as being great value for money compared to the hotel behind the 18th green.

Again there are multiple courses comprising the Carnoustie links, the Open Championship course together with the excellent Buddon and Burnside courses makes this a golf holiday on its own. The Championship course hosts the Open again in 2018 and the Senior’s Open in 2016. Other good courses close by and worth visiting are Panmure Golf Club and Montrose Links.

 

St Andrews

We then enjoyed the 40 minute drive from Carnoustie to St Andrews still in gloriously sunny weather. We stayed in St Andrews at the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel which overlooks the 18th fairway of the Old Course, one of the top hotels in the town. For fans of BBC’s Professional Masterchef 2015 winner, Jamie Scott has his two rosette restaurant Rocca at the Hotel. The only thing in our opinion that stops this being a five star hotel is probably the physical size of some of the rooms (not the décor or room facilities), everything else is superb. We especially loved the R Bar at the Rusacks, it provided a perfect spot to watch the 18th fairway through its panoramic windows in the warm for a couple of hours sipping some excellent Darjeeling tea.

 

St Andrews - McDonald Rusacks Hotel   St Andrews - Rusacks Room   St Andrews - Rusacks Hotel   St Andrews - Rusacks Rocca restaurant

 

Find out about the Rocca Restaurant at Macdonalds Rusacks hotel St Andrews

Find out about the Rocca Restaurant at MacDonald Rusacks hotel St Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Andrews splits into two half’s. On one side you have the golf and many of the tourists in the town are here for that, the other half is the University town. With all the students around means the pub prices are reasonable as are many of the restaurants in town, good to know if you are on a budget.

I have to admit to being quite star struck in St Andrews, I have visited there before but never played and with seven courses in the town and a few more a mile or two out of town it is a links golfers haven, this is before you get to the history of the place, the iconic skyline of the 1st and 18th hole of the Old course, the fact that you have to carry your bag or have a caddy gives it a unique feel.

 

St Andrews - Jigger InnOn our first full day in St Andrews we played the New Course, only a 120 years old but as far as golf in St Andrews goes its new. Super course and not as tight as I expected however the first 4 or 5 holes run alongside the adjacent holes of the Old course and you find yourself looking at that rather than concentrating on the course you were playing. By the end of the round I had enjoyed the new course in its own right. That evening we did what every golfer visiting St Andrews has to do! Visit the Jigger Inn by the famous 17th green, the infamous “road hole”. Although it has become part of St Andrews folk law it’s only been a pub since the 1970’s but the place has a sense of history with some great photos of past champions adorning the walls and the Jigger Ale is a very quaffable beer for real ale fans.

 

 

St Andrews - Old CourseDay 2 at St Andrews and the decision of a few whiskies in the Key’s Bar in the town centre the previous evening may have caused problem if it was not for a very respectable 11:30 tee time on the Old course. An extremely leisurely breakfast overlooking the 1st and 18th fairways made the morning go pretty quickly and before we knew it we were strolling over to the starters hut for probably the most nervous tee shot of my life. We need not have worried, two tracer bullet drives were fired down the middle of the fairway and we strolled down the 1st. The Old course is not the hardest links course you will ever play as long as you a) keep out of the fairway bunkers and b) don’t leave yourselves 70 yard putts (something I failed to do on a few occasions) but the condition of the course even in March was spectacular to say the least. You are also helped by the local course rangers who make sure you keep up with play but also let you know the correct line to hit on a few of the blind tee shots, very helpful and needed on probably the busiest golf course in the world.

It’s probably the only course I will ever play for the first time knowing the holes and what’s coming next.  All too quickly we found ourselves on the 17th tee, bottled the tiger line and found myself on the rough on the left, still with miles to the green a five was a realistic score so was delighted to have a chance of Par with a snaking 10ft putt (missed).

 

St Andrews - 18th tee Old courseStanding on the tee of the 18th I wanted to go round again, despite the fact the back nine playing into a stiff breeze and it was freezing, however the best was still to come my approach to the famous last green was straight down the pin and after a quick look at the cup it finished only a few feet from the hole. 5 foot for birdie with a slight left to right break, what 150 professional golfers would give for that in the middle of July this year and unlike the 17th it was in all the way. A great finish to probably our most memorable game of golf, truly wonderful.

 

If you would like us to arrange your St Andrews golf holiday please give us a call and we can help you organise what is every golfers dream holiday. There is a huge range of golf courses on the east coast of Scotland that will suite every level of golfer and budget. Green fees at the Old Course in the summer are currently £175 per player which is one of the cheapest of the Open Championship courses in the UK, play during the winter and the price drops to £80 and if you’re as lucky as we were played in perfect conditions.

 

If you are interested in a Scotland golf tour please contact the Quality Golf Destinations email us on info@qualitygolfdestinations.com

of follow the link here and fill in your details SCOTLAND GOLF TOUR

 

St Andews    Carnoustie Golf HotelMacdonald Marine Hotel North BerwickCarnoustie Golf LinksSt Andrews Links Trust

 

 

2 years ago

La Cala Golf Resort – Spain Special Offers

  La Cala Golf resort - Hotel                                              La Cala Golf resort - clubhouse terrace 

La Cala Logo main

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+

 

             la cala bed 1                   la cala bed 2                 La Cala golf resort - Asia course   

 

                        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

 

 La Cala Golf Resort - Europa  La Cala Golf resort - America course      

 

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 info@qualitygolfdestination.com
Not exactly what you want? give us a call and we can customise your package to your exact requirements.

 

Tournemant Golf Weeks - Vale do Lobo

Tournament Golf Weeks 2015

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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

Tournemant Golf Weeks - Vale do Lobo

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.

tournemant golf weeks - vale do lobo

 

 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

Tournament golf Weeks - Lisbon

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.

tournament golf weeks - Quinta du Peru

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

Tournament golf weeks - Tunisia golf festival

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

 

Tournament Golf Weeks - Penina Golf Week

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

Tournament Golf Weeks - Penina

 

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

Tournament golf weeks - Singles trophy

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.

Tournament golf Weeks - Lumine Golf Club

 

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

India's Golden Triangle - Jaapee Greens Golf Club

Golfing India’s Golden Triangle

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November Newsletter

Golfing India’s Golden Triangle – India discovered.

India's Golden Triangle - Jaypee Greens Golf Club

 

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

India's Golden Traingle - Golf in JaipurThere 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.

India's Golden Triangle - ITC Classic Course

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.

India's Golden Triangle - The Taj Mahal

 

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.

India's Golden Traingle - Jaipur  India's Golden Triangle - Taj Mahal Gatehouse India's Golden Triangle - Amber fort  IMG_6474

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.

India's Golden Triangle - Jaypee Greens Golf Club

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.

new_delhi_logo

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.

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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.

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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

logoHome

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

Package includes

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

The Azores – A golfing oasis in the middle nowhere

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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

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).

Getting there

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 Climate

The Azores - Sao MiguelThe 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

 

The Azores - LakesSao 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.

untitledThe Azores Golf Islands

 

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.

The Azores - Batalha Golf Club

Batalha Golf Club

The Azores - Batalha GCThis 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

The Azores - Signature 6th hole at Batalha Golf Club

203 yard Par 3 6th hole on the “B” course at Batalha Golf Club

Furnas Golf Club

The Azores - Furnas Golf ClubA 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.

The Azores - Ponta Delgarda Marina

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

The Azores - Hotel Talisman  The Azores - Talisman Sun deck

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 Azores - Terra Nostra Garden Hotel  The Azores - Terra Nostra Hotel

 

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!!

The Azores - Caloura Hotel Resort

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

The Azores - Caloura Hotel Resort

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.

The Azores - Volcanic lake  The Azores - Windmill  The Azores - Seascape  The Azores - Scuba diver

 

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.

The Azores - View point

Rob & Rachel from Quality Golf Destinations visited Sao Miguel during September 2014

Quinta do Lago North Course

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Reopening Quinta do Lago North Course

 

The eyes of the European golf industry are set to be on Quinta do Lago in October when it unveils its eagerly-awaited totally revamped North Course – predicted to become one of the new stars of European golf.

 

Redesigned by renowned American architect Beau Welling in close collaboration with European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, the new layout has been built to the highest specifications with a €9.6m investment programme and is in line to become the new number one course at the prestigious family resort.

 QDL as Built Rendering New - w color logo

The North Course has been redeveloped with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. While many modern-day developments tend to focus on length, Welling and McGinley have been keen to design a golfing experience where accuracy and course management are the key factors, and a course that is playable and fun for golfers of all abilities.

 

Welling, who has worked on more than 90 projects worldwide, said: “We have kept the routing of the North Course intact, but we have totally reworked the golf experience within the existing corridors.  Specifically, we have worked very hard to make the experience more playable for higher handicappers while at the same time created precise target areas for the better player looking to score.  

 

“Paul has been great to work with. He is very passionate about golf in general, but he has a particular and keen interest in Quinta do Lago.

 

Quinta do lago North“We quickly realised we were very much “aligned” in  terms of what we wanted to see happen with the improvements to the North Course, so collaboration has been easy.  We both put a big premium on playability, but also in asking golfers to use their creativity when approaching a shot.    The new experience of the North Course is going to require strategic thinking and have a lot of shot values, no doubt a big imprint of Paul’s influence.”

 

Among the changes introduced on the 6,776-yard course which has been closed since last December, all greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation, drainage systems and cart paths have been rebuilt using the latest state-of-the-art technology, with four sets of tees introduced on each hole to accommodate players of all levels.

 

With the existing turf on all tees, fairways and greens having been stripped back, the final figures for completing such an ambitious project make impressive reading, with 379,800 tonnes of earth moved on site during the redevelopment.

 

An amazing 93.5km of new piping has been fitted on the redeveloped layout while the wide range of different jobs that have been carried have included:

 

  • Stripping existing grass
  • Earthworks
  • Sand extraction
  • Rough shaping
  • Lake installation
  • Drainage installation
  • Irrigation installation
  • Golf features construction
  • Cart path installation
  • Final grading
  • Sand capping
  • Final preparation and floating
  • Sod fairways and tees
  • Seed roughs and greens
  • Grow in
  • Environmental management

 

While the routing of the course has not changed, Quinta do Lago has addressed golf course strategy to make the par-72 layout significantly more playable for all golfers, while still being a challenging test for the better players.

 

A low-cut Bermuda grass approach has been introduced around greens to create a myriad of recovery shot options for increased satisfaction on all levels of play. The aesthetics of the golf course have also significantly improved through the introduction of a cool season rough grass and the select planting of native grasses and specimen trees to help the environment.

 Quinta do lago North

The renovation has also allowed Quinta do Lago to further reduce the impact on the environment by using recycled water and solar energy to maintain the course. The reduction of grassed areas will lessen the impact on the environment and the new design will include the creation of some new animal and plant habitats.

 

John Dwyer, chief executive of Quinta do Lago, said: “I think people will be blown away by the North Course.  It is going to be very different but very playable and a real challenge, and it will be one that members and visitors will want to play again and again.

 

“We have focused on building a course that will be the best presented in Europe once it opens and we couldn’t be happier with the work that has taken place.”

 

Set amongst 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago is one of the most highly regarded golf and residential developments in the Algarve since opening in 1972. Located just 15 minutes from Faro airport, the resort offers residents and guests an unparalleled location benefiting from a year-round temperate climate, a variety of lifestyle pursuits and a strong sense of community.

 

Since its inception, Quinta do Lago has been at the forefront of European golf with three 18-hole championship courses – Quinta do Lago North and South courses and Laranjal – matched by outstanding practice facilities at the Paul McGinley Academy and the new Taylor Made Fitting Centre, which gives golfers the chance to enjoy the ultimate club-fitting experience by providing them with the tools and techniques used by professionals on tour.

Quinta do lago north  Quinta do lago North

 

Away from the fairways, the resort’s extensive leisure facilities guarantee there is plenty to keep everyone occupied with events, tennis, cycling and water sports just some of the activities available.

 

Quinta do Lago’s stunning location by the beach offers the perfect place to relax and unwind while the resort’s wide array of restaurants, both formal and informal, take advantage of the fresh Mediterranean produce that the region has become famous for.

Be one of the first to play the Quinta Do Lago North course with Quality Golf Destinations

Barcelo Montecastillo

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort

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Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort – Jerez

A little water with your Sherry

We continue to look at the often ignored region of Spain the Costa De la Luz, the western region of Andalucía and one that seems to get better on every visit we make.

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - 18th Hole

Jerez – Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort

We again flew in to Malaga Airport (Gibraltar Airport is only 45 minutes away) and travelled the 2 hour drive along the always quite Spanish toll roads this time stopping for a bite to eat on one of the many service stations that run along the route. Their main purpose is for fuel but they have the very Spanish versions of something approaching a little chef, the main difference being you will probably get a welcoming smile as we attempt to order in our very poor version of school boy Spanish. It’s a sad state of affairs that I can speak more words and phases of Thai than I can of most European languages. Watered and refreshed we soon found ourselves approaching Jerez which is amazing well signed posted, with the Barceló Montecastillo resort also easily found being located adjacent to the Jerez race track which hosts the Spanish Moto GP race each May. This week, usually on the May Bank holiday weekend is generally best avoided for the golfer as up to 250,000 bike race fans flock to the area. Although the track is only a couple of hundred metres from the resort you only see it once or twice on the course as it lies on the opposite side of a small hill.

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - Clubhouse  Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - Hotel

 

The Golf at Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort

The golden days of the Montecastillo course were probably from 1997 to 2001 when it hosted the Volvo Master’s the flagship end to the European Tour Season for 5 years. Winners during that period include Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Padraig Harrington. The only other venue for the tournament’s 22 year history before the end of season event moved to Dubai was its not so distance Andalucía neighbour Valderrama. The course up to a few years ago could have been accused of resting on its laurels and not making the best of what is in our opinion one of the best Nicklaus designed courses in Europe. However that cannot be said of the course today. Barceló Group have to be applauded at the time effort and not to mention the amount of money spent on the course to bring it back to fantastic condition. Considering its position away from the main golfing tourist track of the Costa del Sol it’s a pleasure to play a golf course of this quality. The project is still on going with excellent plans to improve the course and facilities here further, don’t be surprised if you see this venue gracing the professional ranks again in the coming years.

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - Golf

 Barceló Montecastillo Resort and Hotel

As well as a fantastic golf course the rest of the resort has been fully renovated in 2013. The 5 Star hotel which was originally built in the early 1900’s as the retreat of the Earl of Garvey is everything you would expect of a hotel of this class and is one of Barceló Premium range of Hotels. The original building now houses the clubhouse, the adjacent main hotel building has a selection of wonderfully appointed rooms with views over the golf course which are extremely comfortable and of a good size. Some very nice touches such as the expresso machine and luxurious bathrobes give the finishing touches together with some exceptionally quick Wi-Fi. The hotel has only 121 rooms and suites and 20 Villas overlooking the 18th Fairway. 3 restaurants are distributed around the resort, together with 2 outdoor swimming pools, an indoor swimming pool housed in one of the best spa’s in the area and a wonderful terrace area too sip a well-earned drink after your round of golf or before dinner. The Resort also has a convention centre with its own self-contained 4 star hotel

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - room  Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - Bar

 

Resort Overview

As a destination in its own right you should put Barceló Montecastillo Golf resort on your places to golf bucket list. It’s a great location for either small or large groups or that quite golf break as a couple. The course is fantastic both in design and condition. It’s a challenge off the back championship tees for the better players at over 7,000 yards Par 72 but is also playable and more importantly enjoyable by all level of golfer with a fair selection of tee positions. We would recommend using a buggy at Montecastillo as there are some considerable yardages between some of the greens and the next tee. We especially liked the water fountains positioned in shady areas around the course every few holes, another good touch as keeping hydrated while golfing in the sun is a topic in its own right.  The hotel has the style and service you would expect of a five star resort. Its Spa is exceptional and a perfect place to rejuvenate after a round or for the non-golfer to enjoy while you are enjoying the fairways. If you have visited and enjoyed 5 star resorts such as Penina or Penha Longa in Portugal you will enjoy Montecastillo.

Away from the resort Jerez is only a few miles away and is a fascinating town to visit and of course the centre of the countries sherry wine producing region. There are a number of excellent vineyards to visit and of course sample the local product. The city of Seville is only an hour’s drive away by car or Train and is a fascinating city to explore with its architecture and history. Beaches are plentiful and only a few miles away from Jerez.

And finally on to the important thing the Golf head to head around the Championship course against Rachel for the Quality Golf bragging rights. I stood confidently on the 18th tee with a one point lead playing the last, but the Pressure was on after a wonderful approach shot on the 18th by my opponent and as many great players before me I hit what looked a great shot in the air but unfortunately came up a yard short and found the water. Hence the title of this Newsletter and in my defence it was defiantly a Sunday pin position, well played Rachel !!!!!

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort - 18th Tee

 

 

For more details and packages at Barceló Montecastilo Golf Resort please give us a call or visit our website

Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort

At Quality Golf Destinations we tailor make the golf package to meet your needs, if you are interested in a Golf Holiday, Contact Rachel or Rob on 01782 510800 or email

info@qualitygolfdestinations.com

Penina Summer Holiday Offer

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PENINA SUMMER HOLIDAY SPECIAL OFFER at  

JJW Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Penina Hotel and golf resort         

To celebrate Summer Penina Hotel and Golf Resort are pleased to present this fantastic Summer Holiday offer. Normally retailing at £865 pp we can now offer this package at an amazing price. All our rooms are upgraded to superior rooms with views over the pool and 18th/9th greens

 

7 nights NOW ONLY £ 715 p/p

16 July – 24 August Unlimited Golf at Algarve’s premier 5* Golf resort

4 nights NOW ONLY £ 440 p/p

 

 

Based on 2 persons sharing a twin or double Superior pool view room with daily breakfast, Unlimited golf is included on the resorts golf courses with return private airport transfers or car hire. (Flights not included), Single Supplement £75/night

Valid for new bookings up to 4th July 2014

OFFER EXTENDED 6th AUGUST 2014

For stays up from July 16th – August 24th 2014

 

 Penina Hotel and Golf Resort - Championship course

 

Golf included in Package

Golf available on Sir Henry Cotton Championship course, Penina Resort course and Penina Academy course.

Golf must be pre booked; handicap certificates are required for the Championship course only

 

 

 Penina Hotel & Golf Resort - Pool  Penina Hotel and golf Resort - Restaurant

 

 

Penina Video tour

 

JJW Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

 

Penina Hotel and Golf resort - classic roomLocated in a magnificent 140 hectares estate, JJW Penina Hotel and Golf resort reflects its culture through a natural fusion of English architecture, Portuguese hospitality and high standards of service. 188 rooms and suites totally renovated offer comfort, relaxation and stunning views over the pool, golf courses, gardens and Monchique Mountains. Five restaurants and two bars invite you to taste the international or Mediterranean cuisine and creative cocktails.

All guestrooms and suites have telephone with international direct connection, LCD screen TV, Hi speed internet access, automatic mini bar and in-room safe, individually controlled air conditioning satellite TV, pay-tv channels, tea and coffee making facilities and hairdryer.

Penina hotel and golf resortThe hotels privileged location allows you to discover the local sandy beaches, the Monchique Mountains or simply enjoy a round of golf. Golf facilities include 36 holes; the 18 hole Sir Henry Cotton Championship course which has hosted the Portuguese open 10 times, two 9 hole courses, The Resort and Academy, Golf Pro shop, 2 chipping greens, 4 putting greens and bunker practice area. The main practice range is widely renowned as being one of the largest and best in Europe.

The JJW Penina Hotel and Golf Resort has managed to retain the elegance of this iconic golf resort while still maintaining an exceptional standard of service, great facilities and superb attention to detail.

 

 

 

Penina Championship Golf Course

Penina Championship coursePreviously The Penina, but known as the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course, the main 18 holes provide the most demanding test of a player’s skills in the Algarve, if not in Portugal. With the inevitable difficulty that a flat landscaping and terrain creates with club selection, the holes are crossed and flanked by a series of streams, ditches and water hazards, demanding precisely executed shots to avoid trouble and achieve par. The course is beautifully maintained, winding past tall stands of eucalyptus and clumps of palm to mainly elevated greens which have subtle slopes and sometimes treacherous speeds.

18 holes, Par 73, 6912 yards

To book please quote “Penina Summer JJW Offer” Contact Quality Golf Destinations by phone on 01782 510800 or email info@qualitygolfdestination.com

Sancti Petri Hills

Novo Sancti Petri Cadiz – June Newsletter

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Novo Sancti Petri – Cadiz – Rediscovering the lost art of losing a golf ball

Just when you think you know something you visit part of a region that totally changes your opinion. We were lucky enough to be invited to the west of Andalucía to inspect the golfing areas around Novo Sancti Petri Cadiz. The Costa de La Luz, not Andalucía most famous golfing region and our first visit to the area. To many people golf in Andalucía is golf in the Costa del Sol, but the region stretches all the way from Spain’s border with Portugal in the West to Almeria in the East, a good 7 hour end to end drive along everyone’s favourite Spanish road the A7.

Novo Sancti Petri - Hills

Cadiz – Novo Sancti Petri

We flew in to Malaga Airport and it was a very pleasant 2 ½ hour drive along the A7 and AP7. I enjoy the toll roads on the continent, they are relatively cheap (around 10 euros for a 250 km trip) and no one drives on them. The scenery changes quite dramatically once you pass Gibraltar to a greener rolling hills landscape with vineyards on the best slopes, with river valleys and small lakes in between. If you can ignore the large amount of wind turbines on the hills you would definitely call it a pleasant land scape.

  Novo Sancti Petri - Cadiz  Novo Sancti Petri Beach  Novo Sancti Petri - Cadiz at night 

For those of you not wanting such a long drive the region is well supplied with flights to Gibraltar, usually slightly more expensive than Malaga flights (but not always) for the more adventurous of you Ryan Air fly into both Jerez and Seville which is also close by and an option from London airports. Novo Sancti Petri is one of the main summer resort centres for Cadiz, only 15-20 minutes’ drive away and well worth a visit with its heritage going back to Phoenician times, ancient city walls and the old town/harbour area. The beach at Novo Sancti Petri stretches for an amazing 8 miles of picture perfect sand and is known as La Barrosa Beach, also and slightly surprisingly, is an area of unspoilt dune land between the hotels and beach. This gives anyone lucky enough to have a sea view an amazing sight when they open the  curtains each morning.  

Novo Sancti Petri Beach

The View from the Hotel of the Beach

  Novo Sancti Petri is a Spanish tourist resort, in the summer the hotels and beaches are packed with the inhabitants of Madrid on their family holiday (think of it as a very sunny Devon). There are a number of large resort hotels on the beach, Villa’s and apartments around the golf courses and a purpose built commercial centre with shops, bars and restaurants for those people who want to escape the “entertainment” the beach hotels insist on hosting in the evening. We were visiting both the Resorts Iberostar Hotels, Royal Andalus and the Andalucía Playa both excellent 4* hotels and only a few minutes’ walk from Iberostar very own 36 hole Novo Sancti Petri golf club with its excellent practice facilities.

Iberostar Royal Andalus pool

The Iberostar Royal Andalus at Novo Sancti Petri

  Both the hotels have had recent refurbishments, with the Royal Andalus literally finished weeks ago, the majority of rooms have either some sort of sea or pool views, with a few at the Andalus overlooking the golf course. This has helped give both hotels an excellent feel, the feature that stands out more than the room décor or pools was the excellent food available through the complexes. I usually only opt for a buffet restaurant when there are no other options available or you have just arrived in a resort and have not got your bearings yet. Iberostar have for me reset the bar on an exceptional buffet dinner. With a superb range of choice, multiple show cooking and deserts that tasted every bit as good as they looked the cuisine went way above what you would have expected in any 4* hotel. Breakfast was almost as impressive as dinner and continued the five star gourmet treatment with HP sauce available (the true measure of a star rating in my book). The two Iberostar hotels at Novo Sancti Petri both have very different feel to them, the Royal Andalus caters for a more family market while I would describe the Andalucía Playa as more of a couple’s hotel, both however are excellent beach resorts that we would happily return to on holiday ourselves, always a bench mark when reviewing a hotel.

 

The Golf Overview at Novo Sancti Petri

Novo Santi Petri golf club is owned by Iberostar and as you would expect has excellent resident’s rates. The club has two championship 18 hole courses the A & B, designed by Seve Ballesteros. Water and Pine trees dominate the features of both golf courses, nice greens give you confidence to go for puts and despite its length if your eye is in you can score well on the greens. As well as the golf courses the club have a superb golf range with separate par 3 area and putting and chipping greens as well as a Jack Nicholas golf academy with its own dedicated facilities. The Academy area has its own mini club house/bar El Chozo, across the road is the main clubhouse with the normal full facilities including Restaurant, Proshop and Caddy Master.

A course Par 72 7064 yards, B course Par 72 6639 yards

Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club

 

As well as Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club there are a number of other clubs close by we recommend.

 

Logo_Sancti_Petri_Hills_golf_03The Sancti Petri Hills course which is situated behind the Novo Sancti Petri Golf club is a great par 68 course, designed by Manuel Pinero what it lacks in length it makes up for with strategically placed bunkers and water features. The driver can only be used on selective holes but its position that counts here. Don’t be put off with the Hills title of the club, this refers to the elevation as the land climbs gently away from the sea, it’s definitely not a hilly course and well worth a visit. Also don’t be fooled by the length of the card here there are 7 par three’s on the course the last two both around 200 yards and played over water

Par 68 5,211 yards

 

 

Novo Sancti Petri - Hills Golf Club

Sancti Petri Hills Golf Club 10th hole

 

 

Novo sancti petri - Campano golf clubcampano_logoCampano Golf club is one of the oldest courses in the area. The original nine holes was laid out in a clockwise loop by Robert Trent Jones, and the quality of the design is easy to see and is a mature layout, there are some large pine trees that have to be avoided. The club was extended to 18 holes in 2006. The new nine is set inside the original course and has some interesting water features and plenty of olive trees but it allows you to open your shoulders on certain holes. All in all a gem of a golf club with a very nice bar and restaurant to relax in after your round.

Par 72 6,514 yards

 

 

Novo Sancti Petri – Area overview

Novo Sancti Petri is a great place to go on a golf holiday, there are more than enough golf courses to keep you happy for a week’s holiday. The beach is a wonderful endless stretch of sand and the City of Cadiz makes a great day out on a non-golfing day, as are the local wine and sherry vineyards that are famous the world over. Accommodation at both the Iberostar hotels is extremely comfortable with everything you would expect from a four star resort hotel. If I was being picky Wi-Fi in public areas for guests is pretty much a norm in hotels of this class around the world these days, it is lacking here but the hotel management are looking to rectify the situation in the near future, saying that a couple of minutes’ walk to the local bars will get you hooked up for some free Wi-Fi as you enjoy a coffee and brandy while keeping up to date with Facebook or Twitter accounts.

The golf is very enjoyable here and the courses were all in great condition (especially the greens) when we visited the region (May 2014). Be sure to bring a good supply of Golf Balls here, as with many resort courses, the designers love to put water features which make the holes look spectacular on the photo’s but can quickly ruin a golf score card. Also beware the old adage of tree’s being 90% air it does not hold true here, hit a ball in to the foliage and if you don’t see it bounce out the likely hood is, it’s still up the tree. Hence the title the lost art of losing a golf ball, we both only brought a few balls with us on this trip in a vague effort to keep within baggage limits on the last day despite playing some good golf we were feeling the real pressure of only having one ball left in the bag!!!

Quality Golf Destinations visited Novo Sancti Petri in May 2014, Hotels stay during the visit were the Iberostar Royal Andalus and Andalucía Playa. Golf Courses visited Novo Sancti Petri GC A & B courses, Sancti Petri Hill GC and Campano GC

Example package at 4* Royal Andalus – Novo Sancti Petri

7 nights HB, 5 rounds of golf March/April 2015 from £520pp

4 nights HB, 3 rounds of golf from only £280pp

 

WINTER SPECIAL 21/11/14 – 8/2/15

7 nights HB & Daily Golf only £385**pp upgrade to All inclusive only £135

A great range of other dates and durations are available

**supplements apply Christmas & New Year’s Eve

Novo Sancti Petri - Royal Andalus Novo Sancti petri - room  Novo Sancti Petri - Royal Andalus

 

For more details and packages please give us a call or visit our website At Quality Golf Destinations we tailor make the golf package to meet your needs, if you are interested in a Golf Holiday, Contact Rachel or Rob on 01782 510800 or email info@qualitygolfdestinations.com

 

novo sancti petri - iberostar logoLogo_Sancti_Petri_Hills_golf_03campano_logoNovo Sancti Petri - Golf Club Logo

In our Next Newsletter we feature Barceló Montecastillo Golf Resort in Jerez

Coming soon from Quality Golf Destinations

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Newsletters coming soon in 2014- For those of you who enjoy our monthly newsletters here are some of our feature topics for the next few months.

 

Coming Soon - Thailand on a shoestringThailand on a Shoestring – We examine how Thailand’s vast range of budget hotels compare with the more traditional tourist chains, is it worth taking the risk of dropping down a Star or two. A few tips to help you be able to chose the right hotel and bring what you thought was a destination beyond your means into your budget.

 

 

 

 

 

Coming soon - Dream Golf Itinerary'sDream Golf itinerary’s – its five star all the way as we examine some of our personal favourite luxury itineraries of 2014 for the travelling Golfer. The feature includes destinations including the USA and Southern Africa in some exceptional tours.

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon - Golf in ChinaGolf in China – We pay our first in-depth look at the Chinese Golf Market- focusing on Hong Kong and the Haikou and Shenzhen regions of the county and the Mission Hills Golf Resorts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming soon - Plan aheadPlan ahead to make the best savings – despite TV ads telling you that last minute hotel bookings give you the best deals. We tell you the best way to save your hard earn money and get the best holiday for your money, especially the best ways for deals on flights.

 

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