TRAVELLING LADY GOLFER

L for Lisbon

L for Lisbon

⛳It has to be said, Lisbon is still one of our favourite European cities.  We first visited almost 30 years ago on a quick city break. We loved the old side of the city.  Going out for dinner one night we were encouraged to go into a restaurant by an older lady ushering us in.  So we went in, down the stairs into what can only be described as someones living room.  Two tables were set up, one larger one was full of local diners and a smaller one for us.  We sat and ate some of the most delicious local food, not overly pretty and certainly not tweaked to death or sprinkled with a cover all mask of herbs.  

⛳Visiting many times since, we have seen Lisbon evolve,  and we still love it.

I’ve even slept in Ronaldo’s bed – yeah, might have used artistic license there as I stayed in the Pestana CR7 hotel.  Kitted out with football memorabilia, it was surprisingly comfortable and a great location to explore the city.

When taking a golf break, this is the kind of location that its almost essential to take a few extra days in Lisbon.  Visiting the Monument to Discovories (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) a 52 meter monument celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.  Imposing in its size and bright white in the sunshine, it sits proudly on the side of the River Tagus.  

Just across the road in this part of Belem, Lisbon is a delight not to be missed, the freshly baked Pastel de Nata.   Baked using the traditional recipe dating back to 1837.

⛳With regards to the golf, outside Lisbon, is a lovely Cynthia Dye designed course in West Cliffs, a links course with amazing views.  Praia d’El Rey (home of one of my nearly holes in one) is just along the coast from West Cliffs make this one hour trip from Lisbon worth while  Both courses are stunning to play so Id definitely be going back to play them again.

⛳Short stays at Dolce Campo Real, Quint da Marinha or Penha Longa are also available for golfers.. So a few nights in Lisbon and a few nights at one of these resorts, and the holiday is made! 

⛳Another course of note is Troia, set on the peninsular and therefore a little bit of a journey but its a Robert Trent Jones Snr design and a stunning course.  Other course within spitting distance of Lisbon are Estoril, Oitavos Dunes, Belas Club de Campo, Lisbon Sports Club, Pestana, Aroeira one and two, Quinta do Peru, Ribagolfe, Dom Sucesso and the wonderful Royal Óbidos.  Of course there are more, but I haven’t played them all – yet!

Quinta do Peru, Golf Club, Lisbon

⛳Another place you might want to visit when in this part of the world is Òbidos, its just a nice quaint cobbled street town of original character, good restaurants and cherry cup to grab as you enjoy wandering around the town.

⁉️ Have you been to Lisbon? 

⁉️ Would you go to Lisbon?

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M for Motocaddy

M for Motocaddy

Not 1️⃣, not 2️⃣, not 3️⃣, not 4️⃣but 5️⃣Motocaddy products reviewed in one YT video!

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⛳We’ve been using the M1 and pro-series bag for a few months but decided to add to our Motocaddy family the M1DHC and the hydro flex golf bag so we can cover every eventuality – then we thought, why not add the accessory kits – so did that too!

⛳Got to say they are tough pieces of kit and we’re glad we invested in them.

⛳The M1 is really all one needs for a good electric trolley but as my home course is on a hill and can therefore be a bit windy, the M1 DHC is better for me as it doesn’t move unless the power is on.

⛳I loved the size of the Pro series cart bag, but with the benefit of hindsight probably should have got the waterproof one!

⛳The new addition is the hydro flex bag and in truth if you’re after a good all rounder – this fits the bill nicely.

⛳We loved the easilock system – which is unusually available for both the cart and the carry bag – they simply slot in and are engaged with the trolley – brilliant.

⛳The accessory kit is a must, but then I’ve never really had such luxury as a drinks holder and somewhere to put the score card out of the wet, so to me these are luxury items but worth the investment.   In fact it is more cost effective to buy the kit than the four individual items.

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⛳Our reviews are unbiased and based on experience of usage, or proposed usage.

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N for Northern Ireland

N for Northern Ireland

⛳We had the opportunity to go to Northern Ireland for the first time last year, and wow!!

But I’m not going to tell you about it ⁉️

Why?

⛳Because pictures speak louder than words, and as we’ve already made a lovely video about our experience in Belfast, for golf and for exciting lifestyle activities as well as where to stay.  So instead of me writing another article, please check out the video and let me know what you think below.

That said, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask, of course we are to help you

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O for Old Tom Morris

O for Old Tom Morris

⛳Birth name Thomas Mitchell Morris born to a weaver in Fife, Scotland.  Known Internationally as the father of the game or the grand old man of golf, he started working in the golf industry at just 18 years of age as an apprentice to Allan Morris.  Tom learned how to make clubs as well as the feather stuffed golf balls played at the time.  Allan and Tom played golf together and were reputed to be an unbeatable as a pair.  Leaving his birth town of St. Andrews he moved to take up a new position as ‘keeper of the greens’ at the recently opened Prestwick.  The 1860 Open golf championship was held at Prestwick with Old Tom Morris coming in second place behind Willie Park.  This didn’t deter him, with tenacity and a competitive spirit he later won the Open championship four times.

⛳Mastering the art of green keeping he is reputed to be the first to manage hazards and top dress greens – some say he accidentally dropped a barrow full of sand on the green, but whatever the cause the practice of top dressing remains to this day.   By increasing the greens and doing some clearing, he created a new front nine for the Old Course and changed the direction of play to anti-clockwise.  His knowledge and depth of golf has lead to the standardisation of the length of a golf course to 18 holes, with the Old Course once comprising of 23 holes. 

Other things you might not credit Old Tom for are: yardage markers, drainage and irrigation systems and tee boxes – before then golfers just used to tee off from where they finished putting on the previous hole.  He was also the first to use a lawn mower on a putting green.  It is also possible he designed the first mini links golf of nine holes with the Himalayas in St. Andrews for the St. Andrews ladies

⛳In 1865 he retuned to St Andrews as greenskeeper of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and established a shop for club making overlooking the 18th green of the Old Course.  Fittingly this hole now bears his name.

⛳Old Tom played in every Open Championship until he was 74 years old and holds the record as the oldest winner at age 46.  His son, Tom Morris junior was the youngest winner at just 17 years old in 1868.  Together with his son, they are the only father son pair to both win and become runners up.  Sadly Tom Morris junior died on Christmas day aged just 24.

⛳Becoming a great golf course designer of approx 100 golf courses, with big names such as Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie, Prestwick and Cruden Bay.  My home course, Cleeve Hill even has his world renowned stamp upon it- some say the green for hole 13 is a capital T for Tom – or it could be the original fortification he cleverly fitted the golf hole around?

⛳Interestingly the only surviving hole of his design at Carnoustie is the 6th, now called Hogans Alley it was originally called ‘Long’ – having played it, I know why!

⛳Born and died in his home town a wealthy yet humble man in 1908 aged 87.  St. Andrews not only embraces him but revere’s him.

⛳Some Old Tom Morris courses I’ve played are Alyth, Carnoustie, Crieff, Montrose, Nairn, Panmure, Royal Dornoch, Royal North Devon, Scotscraig, St Andrews Old, Cleeve Hill, Kettering, Rosapenna and Wallasey.

⁉️ Which Old Tom Morris course have you played, or would like to play?

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P for Putting

P for Putting

⛳ Well its got to be really with the putting lessons I’m having with Oli Leett @puttinghub

⛳ I am always astounded how few people invest in a decent putter, sure they chuck their money at a driver, the latest and greatest driver, but a putter seems to be the poor mans relation in the bag of tricks – but it shouldn’t be.

⛳ On a typical golf course, you’d play 4 par 3’s, 4 par 5’s and 10 par 4’s – if you take away the par 3’s, you probably only need the driver for up to 14 holes.  Yet you will need the putter on all 18 holes. Unless of course you chip in!   Furthermore, you only hit the driver once on a hole, yet putting is one or more putts, with 36 being the standard number of putts per round!

⛳ I did a review on YouTube for a great, but simple devise called the Putting Arc @theputtingarc last year.  I had fun with this too.  Simulating holes, producing fly-overs and challenging hubby – which he usually won, so I’m leaving him behind the camera next time!

⛳ Up until this series of lessons with Oli, I’d never had a one to one putting lesson, but chatting and taking advise from a putting expert has helped me.  In fact on Saturday I drained a 35 plus foot, slightly uphill off the right.  I’ve had a few little tweaks and a shed load of drills to help me and I’m still learning.  I guess for me having bit more confidence also helps, he can give me the technique, but I need to do it!  It wasn’t too technical either, which also helps, as I told Oli to give me bite size chunks.  It helps me having the Spider Putt app @spidergolfapp when recording rounds too.   Obviously my idiosyncrasies in putting might not be yours, so get your own lessons?

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For me putting takes concentration, sometimes I’m lacking in that if I’m honest, but Im much more comfortable with the process now and know when I get it right or wrong.

⁉️ Who would take putting lessons with an expert?

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Q for Quotes

Q for quotes

Nice easy one today.  

⛳ When I started in the golf  industry it was brilliant.  My business focus was new and I was making waves, people were starting to get on board with my ideas and it was a huge success.  The business was growing and I needed help, so I enlisted a third party to help me with overseas bookings, and to cut a long story short, they went bust – with some of my money.  They say friendships shouldn’t mix with business and I guess now, with the benefit of hindsight, that was true in this case.

?It wasn’t easy, permanent headache, sleepless nights, the odd tear and not much in the way of positivity for the industry.  We had even decided that if we didn’t get our money back, we would refund our clients out of our own pockets.  Such is our business ethics.  Fortunately, it didn’t come to that, but this series of events was the catalyst.

Reading an article one day, it read: 

‘If you’re not excited by the future, make a new one’

?That was it, there was my answer.  So we evaluated and made a fundamental change to our lives.  We closed the tour operating business and focussed on the things I enjoyed doing: media and marketing.

I still enjoy these things today and have had the good fortune to write for a number of big named magazines, blogs and e-zines.  This change wasn’t easy, but when you want something badly enough, it often isn’t.

? I’m happier, more fulfilled and have a lot to look forward to.

⁉️ What is your favourite quote or one that inspired you to do something?

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R for Royal Golf Clubs

R for Royal Golf Clubs

⛳ I can’t believe I cut my teeth in golf on a fledgling Royal!!  Royal Papua New Guinea Golf Club gained its Royal status in 2012 – naturally we were not living there then, but it did bring a smile to my face with my aspirations of grandeur even back in the 80’s!

? But what is a Royal Golf Club?  Put simply it is a golf club that has gained royal status from the reigning monarch.  Usually a member of the Royal family would become patron of that golf club.  When I think Royal family I think QEII but Royal golf club status pre-dates her reign and can be traced as far back as William IV reign.  The first club being bestowed royal status was Royal Perth Golfing Society & Country Club, Scotland in 1833.  Quickly followed by Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1834.

Interestingly, Royal status isn’t necessarily associated with a golf course being owned by the golf club.  A classic example being the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews plays on the St Andrews links and The Royal Perth Golfing Society plays on North Inch golf course.

?Don’t be fooled by the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Some golf clubs have adopted the name Royal just as part of their name.  It could be these wannabe golf clubs have taken the local area name or something historical.  Royal Tara in Ireland takes it name from the former residence of Kings at the Hill of Tara.  Similarly in India, Royal Springs gleans its name from the four natural water springs used by Mughal emperors.  Another Royal that isn’t a Royal is The Royal Links course in Navada which doesn’t have any connection to royalty at all.

⛳ Whilst I’ve only mentioned the British Royal family, the Spanish, Dutch, Belgian, Nepalese, Iraqi, Swazi and Swedish royal families are equally entitled to name a golf club a royal.  Some of the overseas royals I’ve played are Royal Club de Golf El Prat, just outside Barcelona and a great place to stay and play.  I particularly enjoyed the Pink course with its gathering fairways and tough greens.  With my knowledge of golf in Belgium, Swaziland, Iraq, Nepal, Sweden, Australia and the Netherlands sadly lacking, I can’t offer any top tips here , but I can tell you about Royal Bled in Slovenia.  What a place!!! Near Lake Bled and set in a beautiful haven this smallish golf resort is worth the visit.  It is dubbed heaven on earth for a reason.  The on site lodge is simply stunning and the golf course is one you must add to your bucket list for its views alone – not to mention it is simply a great course, tough but great.  Playing Royal Meknes in Morocco, just nine holes set in the walls of the city in the heart of the imperial city of the Sultan Moulay Ismail, if those walls could tell stories with their bullet holes and imposing height this article would be much longer!

? Some other Royals I’ve played are; Royal St Andrews, Royal Montrose, Royal North Devon, Royal Liverpool, Royal Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, Royal Dornoch, Royal St Davids, Royal Porthcawl, Royal Cinque Ports in the UK plus Royal Johannesburg & Kensington, South Africa.

⛳ So despite my first foray into golf starting on good royal ground, I need to do a lot of catching up to play some more of the others!

⁉️ How many Royals have you played and where, or which is on your bucket list of Royal courses?

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S for Solheim Cup

S for Solheim Cup

Unsurprisingly the Solheim Cup is my chosen subject for the letter S!

Some snippets to get your head around:

⛳The most caps for Solheim Cup Captaincy was Micky Walker who lead team Europe four times.

⛳The Captains aren’t alone.  Talking to Alison Nicholas recently, she told me of the vast team and organisation behind making the Solheim Cup successful every other year

⛳ The next Solheim Cup is to be played at Finca Cortesin, Costa del Sol.  It is the first time it will be played on Spanish soil

⛳ Arguably one of the driving forces behind the rise in popularity of watching women’s sport on television

⛳ Team USA have won the cup ten times as opposed to Team Europe’s 7 wins. 

⛳ Team Europe go into the 2023 Solheim Cup in Costa del Sol defending their title

⛳ The Solheim Cup is played every other year on odd years.  However, it started as an even year competition switching to odd years after play in 2002 at the Interlachen Club, Minnesota.  The following year, in 2003, it was held at Barsebãck Golf and Country Club in Sweden

⛳ This move was made as the Ryder Cup switched from odd to even years after the 2001 terrorist attacks.  The Ryder Cup competition moved to 2002, and thereafter played on even years

⛳ Scotland have hosted the Solheim Cup three times, Ireland once, Wales once, England never!

⛳ Ohio have hosted it twice at both the most recent event at the Inverness Club last year and at Muirfield Village in 1998

⛳85,000 course visits are predicted to visit the luxury site at Finca Cortesin, Costa del Sol next year

⛳ 75 hotels have been blocked out for the event, 30 official tour operators appointed, over 200 direct suppliers and with over 150 companies involved in hospitality, it is sure to be another great event under the Spanish sunshine in Andalusia

⛳ Don’t forget to book your tickets, or your favourite safe in front of the TV 18 to 24th September 2023

⁉️ Are you going?

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T for Tapas

T for Tapas

??Whilst visiting Cadiz I was served tapas – this wasn’t the first time I’d eaten such mouthwatering delicacies, but learning its story of evolution it’s one I’d like to share with you now.

?Cadiz is known for its sherry production in Spain.  The sweet syrupy liquid is served in bars up and down this region of Andalusia.  Being so sweet it attracted those annoying little fruit flies – the type that bug you but you can never seem to swipe!

The bartenders were getting a bit fed up with the flies spoiling their customers experience of the sherry so decided to put a piece of bread over the top of the glass, as a lid. 

?The word tapas comes from the Spanish word to cover – tapar

The thoughtful, maybe even entrepreneurial bartenders started to add salty ham, such as jamón ibérico or cheese to the bread which the clients willingly ate.  This salty food made them thirsty and so they would order more sherry.  A win win for the client and the bartenders – but a lose for the fruit flies!

Today tapas has evolved into a culinary art and can be found all around the world.

?Whilst visiting a pincho restaurant in Barcelona I was amazed by its selection.  Similar to tapas but you’d choose a skewer full of food or in some cases a bowl of food and took them to your table to enjoy.  At the end the waitress would count up the wooden skewers and charge you per skewer of food regardless of what was on it.  I loved that concept as you could choose exactly what you wanted.  The pincho restaurants are more common place in the North of Spain.

?Tapas can be hot or cold with favourites being Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp), chorizo (hot or cold), hams and cheeses.  I’ve had frittata with tapas – an egg based dish finished off under the grill – not to be confused with a spanish tortilla which is similar to an omelette as it is flipped over and finished off on the stove top.

⁉️Whats the difference between tapas and Mezze? 

Tapas is usually served with a drink, whereas mezze is served as a course, maybe a starter or a pre-dinner course

?Tapas treats for us include olives, fresh bread, dipping olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a good selection of meat and cheese – we tend to do a cold tapas, but do sneak in some warm chorizo if feeling indulgent

⁉️What is your favourite tapas?

Most mages courtesy of @cadizturismo

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