TLG BLOG

A for Andi

A for Andi

?I’d like to introduce you to the third member of our team – Andi the Landy

Andi is now a gender neutral landrover defender.  In a former life Andi worked for the MOD, his strength and resilience enabled him to carry more radio equipment than NASA.   Before selling Andi on, the MOD kindly replaced his engine and that’s when he entered our lives.

?As a dowdy all purpose army green, Andi had seen better days.  Sand filled and dirty we cleaned him up and stripping out the multitude of racks, radio equipment, batteries and a myriad of other equipment.  Like a huge sigh of relief Andi chassis literally lifted by about 15cm.  Giving Andi a new top was a turning point, no longer did the heavy duty canvas flap around in the wind.

?Good rubbings down, a new paint job, some TLC (there is even a passenger side vanity mirror now!) and raptor paint applied to the inside he was starting his new life transformation.  He is like a pupae reemerging as a gender neutral butterfly.  

But we haven’t finished with Andi yet – we still need to wrap up over the insulation we’ve already added to the inside with some 4-way carpet and there are still a few bits and pieces to install to make our lives better when on the road.

?Coupling Andi with the trailer we also bought at the same time, they make a fine pair of functional, comfortable work horses.

Andi comes with blacked windows to the sides for any would-be sponsors, partners or tourist boards we are working with and will be equipped to travel long journeys.

?Andi will be making appearances on our You Tube channel and we will even show you what we’ve done for the transformation – but for now, Andi is a pleasure to drive – people move out of the way when we come down the road – but maybe that the mad red hair flaying in the wind behind the drivers wheel that puts the frighteners on any other road users?

So like Andi, and share the adventures we are taking together.  Andi is the vehicle to get us to you.

A for Andi concludes our trip around for golf and lifestyle, we hope you have enjoyed it?  All articles are on our blog, and our website and of course some are even backed up with videos which sit on our you tube channel.

?So please do follow, like, share and subscribe and we promise to continue to show you some great adventures.

#AnditheLandy

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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B for Blog

B for Blog

⛳In this demanding fast moving world of instagamatic, podmania and reaching a crescendo of YouTubeilation, I’d like to give a subtle nod to the humble blog.  

Q. What is a blog? 

⛳It is an information platform, usually based on peoples experiences they want to share but it can be used as a ranting outlet for some! 

Q. Is it still relevant in todays, moving at pace demanding society where everything is wanted at the touch of the button – yesterday?

⛳There is a huge untapped talent out there writing blogs, they don’t usually do it for a fee and are rarely sponsored.   Anyone searching for information is very likely to land on a blog and get the information they need.

Q Why do I blog

⛳My reasons for blogging was not to drive traffic to my fledgling business, but as my way of saying thank you.  I was often invited on trips to various places as a Golf Tour Operator.  Whilst my specialism was, and still is, female golf and travel, the business was small.  In business, as in life, I’ve always wanted to give back, so if I was invited on a trip, and I couldn’t sell the destination as a small niche (in growth) business, I started to write about my experiences.  This gave me some comfort that I was indeed giving something back for the kindness and support the hosts had extended to me.

⛳Switching from Golf Tour Operating, into journalism is as a direct result of blogging.  I just found I liked doing the writing more and I wasn’t forever trying to sell something.  In essence, I just like sharing experiences, so people can choose to read, act upon or share as they wish.

⛳My own story of getting into blogging may be slightly different to others but with the number of views I still get, I think it is still relevant as yet another source of information. 

⛳It is easier to watch a video, volume on or not, than to read a blog but having and developing my writing skills has helped me personally get published in various magazines. 

⛳So when you’re reading a blog, read it and appreciate that the author has spent time researching the information they are sharing with you.  Of course you don’t have to agree with everything that has been written, but it is your prerogative to carry on reading, stop reading or respond to the author.

⛳Thank you to all of you who have supported me over the years, I genuinely hope it has helped you with information and maybe my honesty and humour has played a part too?

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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C for Colombia

C for Colombia

⛳This might not be the first place you would think about for a golf trip but mix it up with some culture then it could well be.  As Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus I felt duty bound as a golf explorer to visit too! Colombia is the forth largest country in South America and is home to the second largest population.

⛳I had just landed into Bogota after a long haul flight and I was exhausted.  Instead of resting, I jumped on an internal flight to Bucaramanga.  Arriving, I needed some fresh air, so decided to visit the driving range.  Now bearing in mind I’d just picked up some new golf clubs the day before leaving, I was quite excited to be on the range – but I couldn’t hit a barn door – it was terrible.  I went to bed feeling slightly fed up but blamed jet lag.

⛳Next morning I was playing Ruitoque, and so the awful golf continued, all I could do was laugh about it.  The clubs didn’t work, I literally kept air swinging everything – and that’s not one of my usual baddies!  By the 9th, I’m totally fed up, gazillions over handicap so I decided to play with the one iron that worked well for me – my 5 iron.  Hole 10 started not so bad, a bogey.  Then holes 11 through to 18, I pared every one.  So 1 over on the back nine and an extraordinary number over on the front nine!  I later found out I had been given the wrong clubs by my then golf professional, who looked at me and gave me a ladies set as opposed to the set of mens irons I had been fitted for.  I knew they didn’t feel right but my new 5 iron was my friend for the rest of the trip! 

⛳Back in Bogotá, a high altitude city which seems to be divided into two parts by the Santa Marta Mountains  Bogota vibes are distinctly different to Cartagena.  As with any big city, it is busy.  The golf on offer was often by invitation from a member, but we did manage to squeeze in a couple of rounds on nicely established parkland courses.  Playing an older, bedded in golf course, San Andrés with its narrower tree lined fairways was very much like playing a good parkland course here in the UK.  The caddies were great and it was common place to break after nine holes and have some food.  Usual practice is to buy your caddy food as part of his fee too.  The caddy didn’t eat with you and you drove the schedule, but it seemed to work quite well.  A very friendly place to play golf with the locals being bemused by my presence.

⛳With the movie ‘Romancing the Stone’ ringing clearly in my ear every time I think about Cartagena, I was delighted to be able to visit and play some cracking golf too.  As you see on movies, the centre of Cartagena is just as you’d expect- sun bleached multi coloured buildings propping each other up with greenery cascading down.  Wandering around the main streets my inner magpie come out as I glanced longingly in every emerald jewellers shop with envy.  With Colombia being the country that mines and sells most of this precious commodity, you can pick up some stunning pieces of jewellery.

⛳Ruitoque is one of Jack Nicklaus first Colombian ventures.  Set high up it affords some of the most spectacular views with the city laid out beneath and the rolling countryside beyond.

⛳Out of town playing Jack’s (now we’re on first name terms as I’ve written about his course designs so much and – wow he got around!!)  was the beautiful Karibana Cartagena.  A lovely pool area awaits your arrival and beyond is the golf course.  The blueprint of a Nicklaus design; wide open fairways and big imposing bunkers.   I got to watch the professionals take on the course, and the next day, I got to have a go myself! A slight difference in play but with no less enthusiasm and loved it with its ocean side holes and naughty bunkers placed in the way!

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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D for Dominican Republic

D for Dominican Republic

⛳On a miserable Monday, I’d like to transport you to the beautiful white sands and blue skies of the Dominican Republic.  Located in the Caribbean and being slightly smaller than Slovakia it has a land border with Haiti and a very long swim away to Puerto Rico.  

⛳With 26 golf courses on offer, many are designed by the big names in golf design.   Pete Dyes Teeth of the Dog is as iconic as the Caribbean itself.  There are actually three golf courses at Casa de Campo, Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and the Links.  Having played only two of them I can’t tell you about the Links, but Teeth of the Dog is set alongside the rugged coastline of the ocean.  Resembling dogs fangs, this is how it got its name.  I recall those few holes distinctly as a good challenge.  Hitting over inlets there was little room for error off the back tees, but then off the front some holes were very short – moral of this story, play the tees that are achievable to you as a golfer!  Playing Dye Fore with its views is also a great addition to the overall package at Casa de Campo.  However with 7,000 acres, there is more than golf here – multiple restaurants, its own beach, golf carts to use to get you around, clay pigeon and skeet shooting and even its own village.  With multiple accommodation styles of offer, its a great place for the whole family.

⛳Close to Punta Cana – the airpot I flew into, I stayed at the stylish and comfortable Westin Hotel.  With its open facade from reception onto the ocean, you immediately feel the cool welcome breeze of the sea.  A quick lunch meeting was served with the most delicate and delicious dish of ceviche.  As fresh as the ocean smell with a little squeeze of lime made working easy.   Playing Corales was a treat, quirky cave like holes were welcoming as they broke up the vast green, blue and white adding not only interest but an overwhelming curiosity as to how the golf course was so neatly manicured around these natural features.  

⛳You might be forgiven to thinking that the outer parts of Dominican Republic are all white sand, blues skies and oceans and it is, kind of.  But when it comes to golf, there is a fair share of trees, tropical ones gently swaying in the breeze and reflective water hazards too.

⛳Playing Punta Espada, another of my favourites in Dominican, you’ll be met with wide open fairways, strategically placed bunkers and the forever present blue ocean.  Despite its openness, plotting your way around this course is key to scoring well.  I recall playing a beautiful tee shot, albeit slightly left, it did open up the hole which was neatly tucked around the other side of an inlet lake on the right- needless to say, I thought I could get to it, and distance wise I probably could, but my cautious and knowledgable caddy advised to take an iron and put it left of the green, allowing a shot in.  When I got up there, I understood why – the entrance to the green was very narrow and had I gone for it, I would most likely be in the water.  Caddy one, Sarah nil.

⛳If larger, fun for all the family, hotels are your kind of thing, try staying and playing at the Barcelo.  A huge complex with multiple accommodation blocks which were served by various restaurants.  The main restaurant was more of a refectory than a posh restaurant, but you couldn’t fault the food.  The room I stayed in was on the ground floor, which reached out onto my own little garden then directly onto the beach.  Outside my room was a ‘bath’ – I hesitate to say bath, as it was huge too.

⛳A later trip to Dominican Republic I was asked to be guest speaker about ‘Female Golf and Travel’, and whilst I loved the challenge, I was also nervous as anything as I stood up in front of industry professionals chatting away about a subject that has been my life for the last decade.  

⛳Afterwards we got to relax, play some golf and do some sightseeing too.  The pool was a massive hit that trip and it was where we gravitated for an evening sundowner before showering and changing for dinner in one of the amazing restaurants on site.

⛳So as Monday comes to a close and the end of our A to Z is within sight, we hope that what we have bought to you, in our unbiased way, has given you some insight as to the depth of our knowledge of the golf and travel industry.  Please let us know what you think?

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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E for England

E for England

⛳With just over 2,000 golf courses, England has more golf courses than any other European country.  Utilising approx 2% of Englands land mass, even a densely populated country such as England has space for great golf courses.

England has it all – links, parkland, heathland and the odd hill top course.  Home of multiple Open venues, it sits nicely alongside its better established golf destinations; Scotland and Wales with Ireland being a short hop away.  Rich in history, for golf and for stories, England can satisfy most golfers of most abilities. 

⛳As one of the founder members of Golf Tourism England I always wondered why more golfers didn’t fly into London or any of the other airports, acclimatise to the time zone (and weather), play some golf in that area then go onto their bucket list courses either in mainland Europe or any of England’s neighbouring countries.  Is England seen as the poor (golf) relation to these better known destinations, or are we not that good at telling people about them?

⛳Even in our capital, London, there is golf.  Hampton Court, home of Henry VIII and located right on the River Thames, this unique golf course has deer wandering freely.  Then as you edge slightly further out of the capital the golf map opens up.

⛳There are some cracking courses which the sand haters will relish; Royal Ashdown Forest and Luton Hoo – both reasonably close to central London.  Further afield, play the highest course in England, Kington and into the Cotswolds we have Minchinhampton Old, both bunker less courses too.

⛳Some of the countries finest golf is in the home counties.  The Surrey and Berkshire course are world renowned with Wentworth, Sunningdale, the Berkshire and Swinley Forest and many more being on most golfers bucket list. 

⛳On the south coast, the closest part to France, is Kent; the Garden of England  With often temperate weather conditions and the likes of Royal St Georges, home of the Himalayan bunker – the deepest in golf history at 40 feet deep and 25 feet wide.  Plus next door is the equally exciting course of Royal Cinque Ports.   Princes is a 27 hotel golf complex, plus a whole lot of other alternative golf offerings make Kent a great place to visit.

w18 clubhouse Chosen 1/10/18 John & Paul

⛳With Merseyside being the most populated area for golf courses, there are 18 to choose from in just 644 kilometres.  The stunning design of Old Tom Morris, Wallasey golf course remains one of my all time favourites and is home to the Stableford points scoring system, with Dr Stableford clearly having a mare of a round to come up with this popular points scoring system on the 2nd hole – a par 4, huge dog leg right.

⛳English golf courses have cleverly worked alongside the National Trust and as such resulted in some golf course with not only amazing views but once which are often managed by the livestock and kept as natural as possible without the usage of chemicals.

⛳Yorkshire is the largest county in England and has 92 golf courses in West Yorkshire and 58 North Yorkshire.  Home to three Ryder Cup venues in Moortown, Ganton and Lindrick – and also home to many of Dr Alister Mackenzie designed courses.  Yorkshire is a good typical English experience where words are not minced and value is keen – but not to the detriment of the golf course conditions.

⛳There is also a great selection of hotel resorts all over the country, some owned and managed by big hotel chains, others are independent – all offer great experiences.

⛳Some of my favourite golf courses are Wallasey, Burnham and Berrow, Kington, The Worcestershire, The Wisley and my home course, Cleeve Hill.  I have been lucky to play a lot of golf in England, so there are loads more, but at some stage I need to shut up!  

⛳If you’re after some diversity in the golf offerings, England could be your answer.

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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F for Fashion

F for Fashion

The Skort

Is is a skirt?

Is it shorts?

⛳No, its a skort – said in a non super hero way – or maybe the humble skort should be the superhero article of clothing for golf?

⛳The word skort is a portmanteau with the word itself originating in the North America.  But this arguably fashionista item of clothing is not the recent design invention some might think.

⛳It appears the skort burst onto the fashion scene in the 1959 Montgomery Ward Spring Summer catalogue when describing an accordion pleat skirt over matching bloomers underneath.

⛳However the practicality of wearing a skirt, especially in sport was even earlier in 1931 with Lilí Álvarez, the Spanish tennis player setting the trend of wearing a ‘divided skirt’.

⛳The evolution of the skort combined with fashion and practicality bought the next phase in its development.   In fact my first skort was exactly this, a pair of shorts with a matching ‘flap’ of material across the front, so in appearance, shorts from the back and a skirt from the front.

⛳Modern day skort fashion is more feminine with the skirt usually all around.  This can be layered, pleated, boxed or any combination of.  At first glance it just looks like a skirt but with the practicality and modesty of shorts.

⛳The Skort has been adopted for various sports as a practical yet fashionable piece of clothing.  Generally the shorts come attached, but I’ve also known them to come as separates too. 

Pros

⛳The skort is a perfect combination of femininity, looks and practicality.   Stylish.  Comfortable.  Variety of fashion conscious styles, lengths and colours.  For any women of any age.  Often good to hide a bloated tummy!

Cons

⛳Sometimes not that easy to wear if you have to quickly pull waterproof trousers over the top.  The shorts leg width can be sometimes be too big or too small/tight- not everyone has 6’1” fashion model legs!

Here are a few brands I got to trial last summer:

⛳Lucky in Love

The flow of the material is distinctly feminine.  Lucky in Love clothing is known for being a bit ‘out there’ with colour ways and styles, making its own fashion statement on the golf course and tennis courts.  I did like the layering concept and did receive many compliments for the floral skort.  I also particularly liked the mesh inner layer which meant fewer layers bunching up over the stomach whilst allowing breathability.  The pink basic wear is a good wardrobe staple.  The pink one was meant to be longer in length and the floral of standard length, however, I didn’t see much of a difference in the lengths.  Both were nice and easy to wear 

www.shopluckyinlove.com

Floral layer Skort RRP £100

Pink Scallop Skort RRP £80

⛳J Lindeberg

A house hold name in golf fashion for males and females.  The skort provided was beautifully cut and hung well on the coat hanger – and on me!!  Although a little on the small side compared with others of the same size the redeeming feature was its quality.  I also loved the shade of blue (midnight) provided which made a nice change from navy.  The soft flowing material sits well topped by figure busting fitted waist band to add to the off centre pleat at the front for an understated fashion piece

Amelie Skort featured in midnight blue.  RRP £55 available at www.jlindeberg.com

⛳Röhnisch

If you want a good all round article of golf clothing Röhnish have been around the track so many times, you can almost guarantee they will have it.  Adopting more of a tailored fit, they look smart as well as being practical.  The navy blue/dog patterned ‘smooth’ skort is a pull on which did manage to hide a multitude of sins whilst remaining very comfortable – this one will be one of my go-to pieces for a long time   The lime green ‘Active’ skort one was more of a traditional button and zip front of a really nice light weight material.  Perfect for hot summer games of golf for added comfort.  Being a Swedish brand I always feel like Röhnish clothing fits me well as a 5” 10” non-supermodel proportions.

Skorts featured:

Active Skort RRP £69.95

Smooth Skort RRP £89.95

⛳Available from various pro-shops and on-line

⛳Prices correct Summer 2021

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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G for Gen X Golfers

G for Gen X Golfers

Having had a birthday yesterday, today I decided to fly the flag for my generation.  Who is a Gen X golfer?  Remember Baby boomers?  Well Gen X is the next phase on – 1965 to 1980, although there is some overlap, this is the general birth date range.

⛳Five consideration or traits of a Gen X person:

?First generation to have home computers

?Grew up with the word ‘alternative’ whether that is people, music or whatever

?Creative innovators with the aim of making the world a better place

?They have a higher chance of being laid off, outsourced, or relocated therefore acquiring many different skill sets to survive

?They embrace technology and social media

Often called the options, the latchkey or the grunge generation – all seem fitting.  Squeezed between baby boomers and millennials they are the first generation to experience high rates of parental divorce.

⛳Naturally this doesn’t apply to all Gen X and is only a quick summary.

⛳What can the Gen X bring to golf?

The thrill seekers looking for meaning in their lives, which could be seen as a midlife crisis!   Often wanting more as they near retirement and questioning themselves more too.  This next generation of retirees, often take early retirement in good health and with a reasonable income due to their work hard, play hard ethic.  They have a desire to travel, share and enjoy.

⛳The wider golf industry, (not just local golf clubs benefiting from increased membership numbers), coming out of the back of covid could really benefit from this generation engaging more with the sport.  It wasn’t that long ago that golf was seen as a retirement sport.   With the Gen X retiring younger, being fitter and having a lust to engage with all things golf, they really are the low hanging fruit for growth across the golf industry.

⛳I love playing golf with any golfer of any age, ability or gender, and I do particularly like it when all generations get involved from one family.  Unlike some sports, golf can bring the whole family together with fun rivalry balanced out by the handicap system.

⛳But talking about females in particular, I’ve also always felt that the 40 plus woman is the low hanging fruit to easily grow numbers in female golf participation.  This doesn’t mean that women and girls under the age of 40 aren’t, it means there are a greater percentage of females over this age who have had their families, who have a bit more time and a bit more cash to spend, who could be engaged to take up golf.  

⛳I did a quick survey for an article last year, speaking to a selection of golf clubs in the UK, I asked them about female golf membership.  Most had seen an increase in female golf membership, but when breaking it down even further, most, over 70% of these new female members, were over the age of 40.

⛳The travel side of golf could benefit enormously by tapping into this relatively easy to engage generation, as could apparel and the spin offs to many industries in the golf industry.

⛳So when thinking growth, lets embrace all generations – all have something unique and exciting to offer this great sport of Golf.

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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**Not all images are Gen X Golfers, but show all golfers

H for Harley

H for Harley

?‍?Not at all golf related, or even travel – but the one thing that has kept us entertained, sane and busy, Harley our black Labrador.

From the moment we got him aged just 8 weeks, our household was in danger of never being the same again.  He never ate any walls, chewed any slippers or tried to go upstairs or slide onto the sofas.  He did however, pee everywhere, ate anything that dropped on the floor and was as mischievous as any youngster, dog or otherwise.

?‍?We took him to puppy training classes where he won most improved, got to say it wasn’t difficult with the assortment of shapes, sizes and sharp teeth on offer.  He proudly displayed his blue ribbon on his cage until one day he got bored and ate it.

Harley loves his toys, especially the squeaky ones.  His current favourite is Teddy Edward, a dog or maybe even a teddy with a squeaky belly and a multicoloured scarf.  He tosses it around, catches it and does it all again.  Removing all breakable ornaments, plants and anything below ceiling height, it really is great to watch him play.  Then he chews it, we tell him off, he rests his head on Teddy’s belly then starts all over again a few moments later.  

?‍?When you walk in the door he has something to give you.  If you ignore him, he still keeps trying to give you something, bumping it into your leg, just to get your attention.  We’ve had dog toys, slobbered scarves, gloves, shoes, towels, plastic cups and one of his favourite offerings freshly, yet carefully, picked stash from the card recycling bin.  A fine reward, just for coming home.

?‍?Simple in his approach to life, he loves to chase a ball.  In fact he’s so ball blind, very little distracts him, not even another dog.  A squirrel on the other hand is fair game as he hurtles towards the fast squirrel trying to catch it.  Coming to an abrupt stop almost head butting the tree as the sneaky little thing climbs higher, taunting him.

?‍?His ever present wagging tail, whacking you on the head as you bend down to tie your shoes up.  The perfect height for any coffee table, that tail can be lethal as cups and their contents go flying across the room.  Food on a plate on the coffee table – well thats just his – in his mind.  You say no, and he licks his lips backing away knowing that if you move, it is bound to end up in his mouth.

?‍?He never begs at the table or in the kitchen, but we never seem to have bits on floors either?  He does however, sleep under the table whilst we eat.  He knows when its bed time, he tells us to stop watching a load of rubbish on television when he wants to go to bed, after his quick relief outside.

?‍?And would you believe he can pee on command – very useful indeed!

?‍?As with many, lockdown was tough.  Having Harley nagging for his walks and demanding our attention gave us some purpose to the ground hog days of lockdown.

?‍?His way to get our attention was to squeeze his incredibly hard nose under our arms and shove upwards, hoping the loose arm might land on his body somewhere for a stroke.  If he was in luck it did, whereupon he’d do a circle under the newly found stroking implement so he gets a good rub.  The nose shoving often resulted in spilt drinks, but he didn’t care, he’d got our attention by then!

He’s a long legged lab, he never quite grew into his legs but he’s as quick as a whippet (not squirrel) and as daft as a brush and we love him.  Long walks twice a day, a bit of ball chasing , two square meals of the same boring brown biscuit stuff which he devourers in seconds, water, a little love and kindness and the rewards are there to be had.

?‍?Now he is on permanent holiday with his other Mummy and Daddy and not having him here this week has been strange.  Smiling at the thought of them being woken up by his tail bashing on the wall, the odd bark which makes you jump out of your chair and the constant falling over him as he’s always in the way, gives us some pleasure.

?‍?So forgive my little indulgence when talking about Harley, but any dog, or cat owner knows how much they become part of your family, and how much we allow them to.

➡️Full review on golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

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I for Italy

I for Italy

??With the Ryder Cup being played at Marco Simone next year it seems appropriate to talk about Italy.

Marco Simone is located just 10 miles outside the city of Rome.  In the 1970’s   the Italian fashion designer, Laura Biagiotti together with her husband Gianni Cigna lived in the converted castle of Marco Simone which gives its name to the golf course.  David Fazio and David Mezzacane designed the golf course in 1989.  I had the good fortune of playing Marco Simone just one year after the announcement was made to host the Ryder Cup there.  I recall the pretty holes, the undulating pastureland and the imposing tower on the hill which dates back to year 1000.  A lovely course with some great challenges.  It will be interesting to see what they have done to accommodate the Ryder Cup fans and players next year. I also played Circolo del golf de Rome with the beaver wandering around it gave a sense of tranquility.  Small streams traversing the course certainly gave many opportunities to see these little creatures going about their business as you did yours, playing golf in amongst them.

??Another foray into Italy was not golf related, but had a totally different level of excitement.  My brother had an Aston Martin DB9 which we drove jointly from the UK down to Italy over a few weeks.  There was barely enough space for my bag let alone golf clubs, so they were bumped off the essential list pretty quickly.  Venturing into Italy we drove up and down Stelvio Pass a number of times before heading back down the other side on the San Bernardino Pass into Switzerland.  Leaving the sunshine at the bottom we were met by snow boarders as we parked up at the top.  Looping back round to settle at the beautiful Lake Maggiore for a day or so before heading over to the Ferrari factory near Moderna where I left him to continue his journey.

??A more recent golf trip was to San Remo, playing the surprisingly quaint course at Circolo Golf Degli Ulivi.  Undulating and challenging it still shows history of yesteryear with its remnants of industrial follies.  I recall a stunning hole over a ravine with the landscape spread out in front of us and the sea beyond.  I played golf with a couple of local members, who were accommodating and friendly helping me navigate the course.  Being there at the same time as the Cannes film festival bought its own highlights.  We were stopped playing golf on the 18th approach shot as a private helicopter landed delivering a Chinese film star ready to play 18 holes of golf herself.

??Staying at the stunning less shabby more chic Royal Hotel San Remo, a huge imposing but very comfortable hotel with amazing views across the Mediterranean sea.  One highlight of staying at this superb hotel was the unique and delicious olive oil tasting.  A multi course meal, with each course having some element of olive oil in it – even dessert!  Wow that was delicious.

Whilst in San Remo, I also played Garlenda golf course. As pretty as the name suggests, hilly in places and flat in others, it is a course one can relax whilst playing.  Enjoying  a friendly and homely atmosphere afterwards in the clubhouse

??One final thing I learned from my various trips to Italy: fresh pasta is the best.  A complete convert to fresh pasta, the dried stuff doesn’t even grace our kitchen cupboards anymore!

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