Thursday, 28 April 2016

ANTEQUERA...... well worth a visit

TSG is fortunate that I have and continue to get asked to visit, research and review golfing destinations, particularly those often away from the mainstream. So it was with our visit to the historic hillside town of Antequera, a rural retreat in the Andalucian hillside about 35 miles north of Malaga. My good friend Rodrigo Villegas had been involved in the design and promotion of the course and two hotels in the region and he had often asked me to visit and profer my professional opinion. So for my birthday in April 2016 and to escape the miserable UK weather it was a great opportunity to view a course and a region , I had never before visited.

beautiful, historic, ANTEQUERA
the 18th at Antequera from the 19th!

TSG ofcourse expects a certain standard and its on this criteria that I write and form an opinion. With regard to the GOLF, I am looking for a well maintained, interesting design with stunning vistas. This was certainly the case at the ANTEQUERA GOLF COURSE. In respect of the accomodation, I look for a range of budget options but at the 5 star level, our expectations include, great location, great facilities, outstanding food. Again at the CONVENTO DE MAGDALENE, we where not to be disappointed. Finally as it is a Social outing, the area has to offer somethng special too. A hat trick, ANTEQUERA TOWN  did not let us down.

Flights to Malaga are so easy from the UK from most airports in the UK, Very reasonable prices can be found by comparing the respective budget airlines, particularly, Monarch and Easy Jet. We flew Easy jet from Newcastle for less than £70 return.  However if we had to take our clubs that would have added over £60 to the flights. It was cheaper therefore to use the facilities of for just £40 , I  hand picked a set of clubs that where waiting for me at the hotel on arrival and would be collected after our departure. Iwas very happy with the quality of the equipment. If I am in a competition like the JR CLASSIC, I would want my own clubs but playing socially, these more than fit the bill. A cash saving, ease of travel, no discernable issues at all with the clubs, I recomend  this company and will use again, as we will  who collected us at the airport and took us to the hotel, efficiently and on schedule.

So to the hotel, situated atop of a hill about 8km from Antequera town is the magnificent Convento de Magdalene. The approach is spectacular, the hotel, imposing and attractive. The staff were professional and attentive, the facilities and spa befitting a 5 star establishment but in my humble opinion  the rooms were as good as I have been on any golf trip. The food was quite simply awesome. Wine list extensive as you would expect in Spain.... the place is the Bees Knees.. A more budget option that might favour a party of guys, as opposed to, as we were couples,, would be the HOTEL ANTEQUERA GOLF situated in the town itself.  Despite our hotel being out of town and away from the couse, taxis are readily available, the charges reasonable at 15 Euro into the centre of the town.
Our Lounge in our bedroom, UNBELIEVABLE!

The course is very testing.  You need to drive long and certainly very straight to set up opportunities to attack the Greens. This part of the job TSG did quite well. there is substantial water on many approaches and to give birdie opportunities you needed a high ball flight to get close... this as you may be aware is not my strength and despite an improvement on day 2, I simply never got close enough regularly.
Approach to the 3rd hole
 Finally the Greens are superb, Rodrigo told me he had slowed them down, but they were still pretty rapid. It is a Championship standard set up. The vistas are sensational. most Tees

are designed to
drive at the 13th
the 18th , two birdie opportunities 
maximise the stunning location, with the cliffs and gorges offering a scenic landscape second to none. The facilities are more than adequate, the pro shop and driving range quite clearly very popular and the bar and restaurant offered an exceptional 19th hole
The Food was/is FABULOUS

glorious vistas off the tees
experience. A BUGGY IS A MUST, there are many elevation changes and  a few long walks between tees.  the 3rd, 13th and 18th where my favourite holes, but none disappointed.  Play here you wont be disappointed.

Were TSG at his best  the 19th HOLE

ANTEQUERA is an old mediaval town with many historic sights, such as the Moorish Castle. Many Churches, Museums and a Nature Reserve on its doorstep, mean there are many activities available. 
restaurant and Bars too numerous to mention, mean nightlife is good too. The cost of Wines, beer and food.... This is the TAPAS capital of Spain. where unbelievably cheap, A bottle of wine & Euro. Beers and wine just 1.5 Euro.... on a night out we couldnt spend 20 euro a person.

ALCAZABRA Moorish Castle
Cheap or what

This place does not get the plaudits it deserves. I RATE IT 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

2014..... A special year

The year has been somewhat changed from my normal schedule, I played on tour in January at the majestic Eagle Creek and had hoped to return in April to play at celebration, Disney and defend at Fox Hollow.  Karen sadly contracted pneumonia whilst in the states in January and I felt unable to head back to Florida whist she was recovering. Pleased to say she his now well and back on her feet.

So as of May bank holiday, I have just played in two events.... Both successful. In a British Inclusive Golf event, Team TSG dismantled the field to clean up with 93 points.   At Carus Green, I played inane SDGP event and won the top 20 order of merit points available with a net four under score.

In June, I am heading up to the renowned Roxbrughe course in the borders representing BIG against the SDGP in a Ryder Cup style event. August see the best at Nailcote, the British Par 3. Can Team TSG make it four in a row. Can TSG add to my five titles.

October will see my return to Florida to see if I can go one better than last year and recapture the Florida Open.

  Then I head of to Mesquite, Vegas, Neveda to represent the Rest of the World against the USA in the Phoenix cup, returning to Florida to play in a Golf a Channel Event before returning to the Uk for the anticipated births of my new three grandchildren.... Golf n kids. Luv it... Luv life.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The British Par 3 Championship 2013

Early August only means one thing.  Magnificent Nailcote Hall and the Cromwell Course. Team Social Golfer looking for an unprecedented third successive Team Title. At the end of the week TSG had added two more titles to his BP3 portfolio.
Looking majestic as ever.

So the Tuesday Celeb amateur, the premier Team Event.... and Team TSG..... Peg, Roger Hurcombe, the Ledge Steve Skitt and TSG this year joined by Big Brother winner and DIY Guru, Craig Phillips. For those unaware of cRaigs story, this affable scouser gave his winnings away to support a downs syndrome young lady. he hasraised thousands to assis in her care since. A Gentleman in every sense of the word. a high handicapper, playing of 14 here ( half handicap) his expectations were it was fair to say not high, but he was soon to see the defending champions had high hopes.

A delighted Craig, with his trophies and awards.

It would be fair to say we absolutely dismantled the field.... from Craigs first shot to the hear of the Green and a nett birdie, everyone was on top form.  TSG holed everything.... we did not blob or bogey a hole. 

                                    The 3 Time Team Social Golfer, Champions @ the British Par 3

                                                    TSG part of the Presentation Party

                          TSG explains to good mate Shell Macrae, just how i sank thar birdie putt.
                                                                          TSG in Action
                        With Pro Jamie Little, a fine partner and young man in the Pro Am. sadly two under was                                                                                never enough.
TSG has launced a draw into the crowd and hit a spectator, not a happy feeling.

more pics next time.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A second Golf Channel Title in the USA

A short visit to my Florida home was based on the opportunity to play the GC Major at the prestigious Orange County National  courses and get a regular tour event in as well out in Tampa at the highly rated Trent Jones course, Fox Hollow.  In fairness lack of playing opportunities in the UK left me totally under cooked and prepared having only arrived in the States three days before the event due to Easter. I played solidly on the first day at the Panther  Course and indeed on the second and final day at the Crooked Cat had put myself into contention. A couple of holes proved costly and I had to reluctantly accept 5th probably an accurate reflection of my form.

I practiced relentlely the next week, playing highlands reserve, championsgate national, grand cypress and providence, so there were no excuses, nor did I need any as I came back from one behind at the turn to clinch a two shot victory in searing temperatures, my game was red hot.

TSG now a two time winner on the Golf Channel Tour.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


TSG with that fine young Actor and Comedian Chris Ramsey of BBC Tvs Comedy Soap HEDBURN.

Now Chris has just paid £1500 for an empty Box, I kid you not... This £ 1500 was assured to the Stroke Association without even knowing it would contain the Max Lacroix watch I had won at The Facebook Open.

Many Thanks Chris, hope to see it on TV one day.  

Sunday, 30 September 2012


This week, TSG should have been playing in The Pinhul Open in Portugal, but the wifes back problems forced me to pull out giving me opportunity to fully watch this years competition.

In a few hours time, The USA will complete a clynical, comprehensive thourhghly deserved victory at magnificent Medinah. indeed only the size of the battering remains in doubt as the Europeans have only pride and in some cases faltering reputations to play for. It seems ridiculous to consider that in this walloping Tiger has been pointless.

Two year ago, capt Faldo was pilloried after what on reflection can now be considered quite a valiant performance at valhalla and I sense the knives are now out for Jose in a similar vein. I find this quite incredulous in a contest so flagrently in favour of the host side. consider the USAs disasterous record in the past two decades when crossing the pond, Europe have by comparison been very succesful. With the dice so loaded to the home teams advantage any Home Captain worth his salt should deliver. Doctoring the course, picking wildcards in form and the USA have 4 of these to Europes two. Picking pairs who work and make the home crowd raucous and boisterous to an often unacceptable degree, then its no wonder its been such a calamatous defence by the Europeans. It has remained a riveting spectacle and it has to be acknowledged produced some sensational golf of the highest quality albeit mainly by the USA.  am I alone however in finding the football crowd antics and behaviour , unacceptable and out of place in any golf contest. be were you dont reap what you so. If chicago can do this and its acceptable, then what about 30,000 Scots at Gleneagles in 2014 when hogmany comes early.It wont be long till some poor protaganist has a 6 foot putt aka Langer at Kiawah and on his putting stroke is greeter with a chourus of boos. If thers any justice it will happen to the guys who have positively whipped upp this level of hysteria, maybe Bubba, Bradley or even Poults.  We need to get back to basic concepts, Golf is a sport were the cheering starts when the ball has stopped moving and theres no place for the support, laughter , encouragement of failure.

At Gleneagles, the Rough is likely to be like a Jungle, the greens slow, weather wet and windy. The captain may, although unlikely have more impact on selection and then the drunken scots hoards could play there part. WELCOME TO THE HIGHLANDS Team USA.

Anyway the BRITS wont capitulate for long, TSG of to Florida to play in the Florida Open and the WORLD WOODS golf channell event, beware USA, the fightback Begins here!!!!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Sensational Summer

What really can you say, Facebook open champion, Facebook pairs champion, British  Par 3 Team champions once again. Followed up with a 3rd position in the g tour qualifier at Moor Allerton which all but ensures a semi final berth at Belton Woods and keeps the qualifying final at Aphrodite Hills  in Cyprus very much in focus. July and August very much saw TSG reach an unprecedented level of success and all this at a time we were moving to theYorkshire Dales..... Oh. Happy heady days.

Great Times at st.Andrews
In July, Karen and I with our good friends roger (Peg) and his wife Chris ( cheeky Chablis) headed up to St.Andrews to play in the inaugural Facebook Community Open a three day comp over the dukes, Torrance and kittocks courses. Superbly organised by local entrepreneur and Yorkshire lad Steve Cooke who with his family have to be wholeheartedly pris and thanked for making this event so memorable. A you now know, Tsg pretty cleaned up but this event was so much more than golf withcompetitorsfrom all over Europe, Australia and the good ole US of A....

With Robbie Harrison and Peter Harewood.... GREAT GUYS!!!

 It had a truly cosmopolitan and  international feel and the new friendships forged and made are far more important than the golfing titles.  Day 1 at the dukes our four all with Robbie and the mercurial Peter Harewood who sprayed the all everywhere but with style, grace And a smile was a great day for means peg. Our golf was ok without being dynamic....

 We struggled at times but fought for every point. I scored 34, peg 31 and we led the team event and was 2nd and 5th respectively in the individual.. Moving to the Fairmont to playitstwo ourse day 2 saw peg struggle a touch, I peppered the flag relentlessly but couldn't translate into birdies. We still led the team, I with 34 again, third in the individual, three adrift. The last day at the kittocks and whilst I didn't play as well really as I had at the Torrance the day before. Two birdies, a nearest to the pin and a Third day without a blob saw me compile a 39 top score on the day. Particular praise to a very sore Roger who despite bringing considerable pain and discomfort, bravely soldiered on to compile a score which ensured a comfortable team victory.
Ian and Peg on the Swilken Bridge, later in the week we were invited to
tour the R & A

The week culminated with a magnificent presentation at Old Course Hotel. Nicklaus famously said you had to win at the home of golf and TSG did. Great week, great company, fabulous golf, memorable event. Thank you to all who made it so enjoyable.
winning the magnificent prize from gOLFOON a 3000Euro Swizz Watch
which I explain will be donated to The Stroke Association
Powering my Tee shot away at The Dukes

Peg an I ponder my club selection
Heading south to the magnificent, stately Nailcote Hall and the annual British Par 3 extravaganza. The team event saw peg and I joined up with skitty our celeb was the Big Break winner Mark Murphy. A fine young man who played exceptional golf all week. In the team event we were imperious and at 16 under clear winners for a second year. Whilst the 3 amateurs all chipped in.... Mark was the star of the occasion.we were joined by gorgeous Eye Candy caddie, Rebecca Keen who brought much needed glamour to our colourful team.

The winning TSG defending Champions

 In the main comp I was paired with Mr Trilby , 2008 winner Steve Cowle, once gain we had a great time but frankly never threatened to pull of a victory in the event for my cup THE HALLIWELL Cup, congrats to James Graham who I played with in 2010 when I won the event, clearly he learned something. The week culminated in the final team event when I joined the Nailcote Hall select team featuring great mate and trick shot star David Edwards and fine veteran Maurice Bembridge. Another first place to end in my opinion the best ever BP3. Thanks to Rick and Sue from Nailcote. Rick the course gets better. John and the Champions team.. U r all stars..... Many thanks.

My new home Town, Hawes in Wensleydale

Our new business no time to golf


                                      The putt that give big Steve second, how did it slip by

Then a third at splendid moor Allerton and an enjoyable day with old mate Steve Howarth who finished second..... What a golfing month.