Thursday, 23 March 2017

MALTA.... A Mediterranean GEM.








Historic Valletta 
Malta, historic, unique, beautiful, friendly, a Med holiday with a difference. With only one Golf Course, The Splendid Royal Malta, you would never pick this as a Golfing Destination but as a Holiday destination with an opportunity to play a fine golf course too.. this island takes some beating.
Unique Par 3 7th hole UP or UNDER



St.Julian harbour.... loads of Bars and Restaurants
Gorgeous Fishing villages
Historic Buildings everywhere




                                             A fantastic parkland course ROYAL MALTA

With its location 30 miles south of Sicily and 50 miles East of Tunisia, it definitely fits the bill in respect of a sunny pleasant majority of the year destination.  The rain in Malta falls very sparingly, from June to August temperatures can get exceedingly high, but March, April and May offer a much  more pleasant heat to visit, enjoy the sites and of course golf.

Phoenician heritage with Roman, Norman, Ottaman even Napoleonic make this place a true Cradle of History. Then add The Great Sieges of 1585 and WW2.....  No matter where you turn there is something of note.    A few splendid beaches and gorgeous fishing villages and the Isle of Gozo, really do mark this out as a special place. the capital Valletta is sensational.... Great Bars and Restaurants complete a Social Golfers idea of paradise.
Really difficult raised saucer greens

Then the Golf, Royal Malta a course established in 1888 is a true parkland Test..... easy walks between holes, narrow tree lined fairways, fine conditioning, pleasant location. a few truly sensational and different holes... but its greens are its highlight and most formidable defence... All raised, well bunkered, now extremely settled over the years with subtle inclination and speed changes... no putt is a Gimme here. I throughly enjoyed my round... Friendly membership, fine practice facilities, great clubhouse, nice well equipped pro shop, great bar and restaurant.... top hire clubs too... All in all a great day.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

OH WHERE GOING TO BARBADOS

BARBADOS is certainly not renowned for its Golf it has only 4 major course, however it is certainly a gorgeous Island, fantastic people, a true PARTY Islland, great for A Social Golfing Break with the Mrs.

THE GOLF

IN truth, you wouldnt ever just visit this sensational island just for the golf.  Theres only two easily accessible for play courses, yet it does have the Caribbeans top rated course... if you are fortunate enough and wealthy enough to get a round. Sandy Lane is the regions most prestigious address... residents include Roman Abramovich, Simon Cowell, Oprah Rihanna, Cliff Richard etc.. etc...
There are 3 golf courses and the flagship GREEN MONKEY. This 18hole 7400 yard is truly fitting of such opulence, but unless you are a mate of the above the liklihood is that if you can even get a round it will cost you $1,000 The resort hosts two other course, the Fazio designed Country Club Course, with its open fairways and five lakes and many risk and reward shots. The original course, established over 40 years ago is the OLD NINE COURSE  and has just 9 holes. These courses whilst more accessable are still pricey and in my opinion both APES HILL and ROYAL WESTMORELAND  offer better value for money.  Apes Hill is a course set in lush pasture land and coral stoned quarries and sparkling lakes. There are several absolutely sensational vistas over the Caribbean sea. This has been acknowledged as one of the regions rising stars. The ROYAL WESTMORELAND is a members only club but does offer public tee times. The Robert Trent Jones Design is a proper Championship test that has regularly hosted European Senior Tr Events.
Ron Kirby designed BARBADOS Golf Club offers exceptional value at about $100 because  it has partner deals with most hotel chains and an exceptional hire club service. TSG had a great round here on my visit. The greens have recently been relaid, they were exceptional. interesting and challenging, would be my first port of call on the island. ALMOND BEACH VILLAGE has a  9 hole par 3 course, more for guest hotel relaxation than a challenge for dedicated golfers. Finally on the South COAST is ROCKLEY Golf Club. A Par 70 course of just over 5600 yards which never the less offers an interesting challenge and is quite well maintained.





The magnificent but extermely exclusive GREEN MONKEY COURSE

A rising star  APES HILL. A glorious, spectacular track

The ROYAL WESTMORELAND, Top Prices for a great experience.

BARBADOS GOLF CLUB, Affordable, pleasureable, great course.


Continuing to meet new friends on my travels.

                       
                                                             THE ISLAND


Time for a sail

Glorious coastline

Heritage Museum at Sudbury Plantation


The Bounty Advert beaches
Great views !!!!



Simply stunning and sensational. Wonderful friendly people. Glorious beaches, spectacular coastlines, great fishing, snorkelling and diving. Great colonial history. Plantations are a delight. Fantastic Food not just the super seafood dishes. BARBADOS IS BEAUTIFUL... A Social Golfers idea of PARADISE.



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   www.blueskygolf-rental.com 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  www.malagatransfer.co.uk  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.
SPA at the CONVENTO
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

RAISING FUNDS



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.