Why Links Golf Courses Are The Best To Play

Why Links Golf Courses are the Best to Play
 

When we think of the British Open we think of history, we think of the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player, and of course the likes of St Andrews, Royal St George’s and Muirfield.

This year the circuit’s oldest major has arrived in Hoylake at Royal Liverpool, but what makes this tournament, and in particularly links golf, so special?

Firstly, it’s unpredictable. US Open Champion Martin Kaymer recently said that “there’s never really a standard gold shot” on the links, and that’s true. The many factors of links, means each day can be different, and knowing the course is key.

Open Contender and current World Number One Adam Scott certainly knows this. Before the tournament he played five full practice rounds on the Wirral course before teeing off on Thursday, and would certainly be worth backing as a British Open champion with a Betdaq free bet, following his intense preparations.

Preparation is vital, but the uncertainty of weather along the coast can make it a nightmare for golfers, but incredibly exciting for fans.

The wind is of course a major problem to overcome, and this is perhaps why the Open is considered the most prestigious major of all, because it requires a heck of a lot of skill. Players need to control ball flight and spin in order to keep it as low as possible and out of the breeze, something of which was typified by Tom Watson in the late 70s and early 80s going on to win five Claret Jugs.

In essence, right across the course links play requires more skill, more understanding, and certainly more patience. Rory McIlroy grew up on links as a youngster, so it’s no surprise to see him lead the pack in the early stages at Hoylake, whilst others who have learnt their trade on the British courses have seen success in the last few years including Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington.

It’s a favourite for those with a solid short game, and for those wanting to improve theirs. Typically built on sand dunes and often very large, it can often leave a tough task when you’ve finally made the green, with run off areas cut very short, making a mountain out of even the tiniest of errors.

Throughout the courses the beauty of playing links golf is the challenges the tiniest errors leave you. It’s difficult to get a pretty round as the wind blazes in from the ocean, but like any sport – you can’t help admire the touch of class, talent, and sheer skill that sees a player through adversity.

 

Why Links Golf Courses are the Best to Play

Top Five Reasons to Plan a Golf Vacation in Northern France

MeertMeert in Lille, France

Beautiful Northern France has far more to see and enjoy than than just the following “Top 5.” In fact, there are so many incredible restaurants, alone, I may have to do another “Top 5″ post soon.

When you plan your golf vacation to Northern France, the following are just a few attractions and courses you’ll want to check out, but keep in mind the possibilities in Northern France are endless. If you’re travelling from the UK to France, the easiest and cheapest way is via the cross channel ferry and Brittany Ferries offer some great golf holiday deals that include the ferry crossing, bed and breakfast and a few rounds of golf. You’ll experience friendly people, beautiful golf courses, and delicious food. Let’s start planning your vacation to Northern France now!

  1. How do waffles made in a hinged iron griddle with Madagascar vanilla sound? They sound like something that could land you the number one spot in a top 5 list! They’re one of the specialties at Meert (pictured above) in Lille, France. Meert is a luxury (emphasis on luxury) tea room and sweets shop that has served kings, viceroys and generals (including Charles de Gaulle, a life-long fan) since 1761.  As if the waffles (“Gaufres”) aren’t sweet enough,  just next door is Meert’s chocolate shop. Any questions why they own the number 1 spot?   Golf de Bondues (a Trent Jones Course) is in nearby Bondues. Golf de Bondues boasts an American design with plenty of water and challenging holes.
  2. La Source (also in Lillie) is popular with vegetarians, seafood lovers, and health-conscious diners.  La Source serves delicious vegetarian, fowl and fish plats du jour, each accompanied by five hot vegetable side dishes.
  3. As for hotels in Northern France with “outstanding” reviews, the top pick seems to be Moulin de Connelles. If you read online reviews for this beautiful hotel in Connelles, France, you’ll see the following adjectives: magical, enchanting, peaceful,  beautiful, wonderful… Suffice to say, they had me at “enchanting.” You can visit a hotel’s website and let them tell you how wonderful they are, or you can read actual reviews from actual guests and REALLY find out all you need to know. Moulin de Connelles is so amazing that their reviews speak for themselves.
  4. Brittany (in North West France) gets high marks for restaurants, hotels, and golf.  Brittany golf courses offer golf year round, with breathtaking scenery and holes that are challenging and enjoyable for beginners as well as seasoned pros. Visit http://www.golf-brittanytourism.com/ for more information.
  5. Golf de Wimereux, created in 1901, is a gorgeous sand based golf course with excellent playing conditions all year. Guaranteed.

Golf in Northern France – Golf de Wimereux

Hopefully, this post will inspire to plan a trip as soon as possible to Northern France. Those of us who love travel AND golf, couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to experience the best of both worlds.

 

Golf de St Cast, St Cast

Golf de St Cast, St Cast

Sussex Golf Courses

Sweetwoods Park Golf Club

Perched on the South Coast of England, Sussex is famous for spectacular seaside views and rolling countryside. It’s no wonder then that this area of the UK is blessed with a wealth of outstanding golf courses. Ranging from sweeping rural courses to legendary coastal hideaways, chances are you’ll find at least one course in Sussex to add to your golfing bucket list!

Rye Golf Club

Founded in 1894 by 25 year-old Harry Colt, this links course (one of only two true links courses along the 100+ miles of Sussex coastline) has gained an almost mythical reputation due to its remote coastal location and the ferocity with which its members protect the unrivaled level of privacy on offer.

Previously notoriously difficult to secure a tee time for, the barriers to entry at Rye have loosened somewhat in recent years with the advent of the internet and word it’s now possible to gain access to the famously exclusive club if you manage to catch the course secretary in a particularly charitable mood…

If you are lucky enough to find yourself on the first tee then you’re in for a brutal, punishing and utterly unforgettable round of golf. Stretching over 6,300 yards of wind swept, meticulously maintained grassland Rye frequently features in “top 10” lists of golf courses anywhere in the UK and once played it’s easy to see why. The swirling wind and slanting fairways will test the mettle of even the most experienced golfer, but the exquisitely designed holes and old fashioned, historic charm will nurture a level of appreciative delight in the player that very few golf courses can hope to match.

West Sussex Golf Club

A round at West Sussex Golf Club is a similarly captivating experience to a battle against the devilishly tough 18 holes at Rye.

This however is where the similarities between the two courses end. Where Rye prides itself on traditional, fundamental golf, excluding a vast portion of players with its remote location, exclusivity and difficulty, West Sussex Golf Club concerns itself with being visually stunning and accessible to all.

That is not to say that West Sussex is an easy round, measuring 6,355 yards including 7, 400+ yard par 4’s it will test and challenge the most able golfers. Crucially however it conjures its difficulty in a less soul crushing manner than Rye meaning there’s still plenty of scope for golfers with higher handicaps to thoroughly enjoy a jaunt around the beautiful woodland course.

Sweetwoods Park Golf Club

Cutting a swathe through the Wealden Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sweetwoods Park is a recently refurbished course that counts stunning panoramic views of the picturesque village of Cowden, the surrounding rural woodlands and even a 13th century-church spire (the rest of the church is equally quaint but – as it can’t be seen from the course – we’re not interested!).

A much more modern course than the previously mentioned couple, Sweetwoods is quickly building a reputation as one of the finest golf courses in Sussex or the surrounding area of Kent. The level of care and attention lavished onto the playing surfaces is second to none, each fairway and green glows an inviting shade of luscious green that speaks to the effort that the ground staff put in to maintain such pristine conditions.

The ultra-modern clubhouse is worth a pre or post round visit also. Word from the locals is that the food is of such quality that it’s almost worth a visit just for a snack!

Dreaming of a Spanish Golf Vacation

Costa del Sol Golf Course

As soon as Sergio Garcia won the Wyndham Championship, his first PGA Tour win since 2008, I started thinking of Spain, Spanish foods and, of course, Spanish golf courses and golf vacations.

I did a little research and found out that you can easily book your Spanish golf vacation online. In fact, you can book a golf vacation, or holiday, to just about anywhere in the world – but, as I said, my thoughts are speaking with a Spanish accent right about now.

Thanks, Sergio.

Let’s look at those three thoughts separately.

First, Spain itself. That link will take you to Wikipedia and you can learn every fact you ever wanted to know about that beautiful country.

Second, Spanish foods. Spanish cuisine consists of a great variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. They are heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country’s deep Mediterranean roots. Spain’s extensive history with many cultural influences has led to a unique cuisine. In particular, three main divisions are easily identified:

Mediterranean Spain.- all such coastal regions, from Catalonia to Andalusia: heavy use of seafood, such as pescaíto frito; several cold soups like gazpacho and many rice-based dishes like, my personal favorite, paella from Valencia and arroz negro from Catalonia.

Inner Spain – Castile.- hot, thick soups such as the bread and garlic-based Castilian soup, along with substantious stews such as cocido madrileño. Food is traditionally conserved by salting, like Spanish_ham, or immersed in olive oil, like Manchego cheese.

Atlantic Spain.- the whole Northern coast, including Asturian, Basque, Cantabrian and Galician_cuisine: vegetable and fish-based stews like pote gallego and marmitako. Also, the lightly cured lacón ham. The best known cuisine of the northern countries often rely on ocean seafood, like the Basque-style cod, albacore or anchovy or the Galician octopus-based polbo á feira and shellfish dishes.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, there is Spanish golf and golf vacations. Quite simply, you need to remember one thing and one thing only: If you’re gonna play golf on the Costa del Sol, you must play Valderrama, Marbella and the fairly new Almenara.

The Time Is Right For a Golf Vacation

I just went on a short trip across the state of Kentucky to Dale Hollow State Resort Park golf course. My buddy Bruce Bottom, the PGA Pro there and his staff are always some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet and treat you much better than some golf course staff does in this day and age.

The course was in fantastic shape. The zoysia fairways are better than Astroturf. The greens rolled like the the best carpet in the world.

There’s no high grass, no weeds and no bad patches of any kind anywhere on the property.

The Range is almost like looking over a green Grand Canyon. I guarantee you can’t find a better Range in the state.

Basically, I can’t find anything but high praise for the entire experience.

I stopped in Somerset, just to make a good trip into a great trip.

The Cumberland runs just south of town and it’s the finest , cleanest, clearest river and lake you’ll ever find.

As always, I headed straight for Sonny’s BBQ to get the ribs, pulled pork and some of the finest sides you’ll ever find.

My travelling companion, my wife, did a review of the meal and you read it by clicking on the link in the previous sentence.

Somerset has everything you’ll need for a great golf vacation. The golf course at General Burnside is minutes away. Obviously you can easily get to dale Hollow and there’s 3-5 other courses close by.

Every restaurant you could ask for is on the strip and there’s 100 hotels to choose from.

Call Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park today and book a 2-3 day golf trip and the email me, cause I might wanna go back ;-)

PS: Summer golf is here. Have you booked your golf holiday at YourGolfTravel.com yet? Well, what are you waiting for?

 

 

The Top 3 Golf Courses in France

As I sit here wondering where to take my next golf vacation to, I notice the Food Network in on the TV in the next room and my wife is watching an old Iron Chef replay and one of her favorite Iron Chef’s is cooking some kind of French-fusion cuisine.

Hmmm….maybe France would be a nice place to play golf, do a wee bit of fine dining and travel by train. Sounds pretty durn fine now, don’t it?

And if you’re gonna play golf someplace you’ve never been, why not play the best of the best?

So I did a little investigating and I found the 5 best golf courses in France and found out a little more about them.

Here’s what I found:

1) Morfontaine – This course dates back to about 1913, when the Duke of Guiche obtained permission from his father to transform an old polo pitch in the park of Vallière into a 9-hole golf course for the pleasure of the Duke and his friends.

The opening ceremonies included professional golfer James Braid, who played against French champions Jean Gassiat and Arnaud Massy.

Pretty snazzy beginnings and even today it’s mentioned in the same breath with Royal Lytham & St Annes and Ballybunion, so I’m sure it would be a great golf experience.

2) Les Bordes – Private since about March of ’08, so you can only get so much info, but I did find that Les Bordes was the brainchild of Baron Marcel Bich.

It was designed by Texan, Robert von Hagge, and it’s been said that when he designed this beast he was at his most wickedly creative.

Les Bordes opened for play in 1986 and it’s a supreme challenge. The unforgettable Jean Van de Velde holds the current course record of 71 (one under par) so don’t show up with your fake 6 handicap and try to tell them you’re gonna set the fairways on fire.

Les Bordes has a slightly American feel to it, both in terms of the design and impeccable conditioning but it leaves no doubt that you are in France. There is more style here on this tournament condition layout than just about any other course in France.

3) Golf de Chantilly – One of the most beautiful courses in all of Europe and set amongst the forest of the Ile de France, about 30 miles north of Paris.

It was originally built 1909 and has played host to numerous French Opens, including the 1913 French Open.

The very best have golfed their ball here at Chantilly, including the great Bobby Jones from long ago and The Golf Channel’s Nick Faldo from recent memory. Faldo even won the French Open.

The whole Chantilly experience is very traditional and it’s said that it has a very distinct British feel. With 36 holes (Le Vineuil and Les Longères) and a clubhouse that is very reminiscent of that at Sunningdale, you may doubt that you are indeed in France?

So there you have a great start to planning a European vacation and getting ready to play golf in France.

There’s no way I can cover it all in one blog post, but I hope it’s got you thinking about the possibility of some very fine French cuisine, some very stylish golf attire, some very friendly people and some darn good golf.

Who’s Ready For A Fall Golf Vacation?

Grand Dunes Golf Resort

Okay, so I’m not really crushin’ or droolin’ or anything, but while I was cruising the web, looking for places to take relaxing, yet exciting, fall golf vacations, I seem to remember that Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has some of the finest places on the face of the planet to play golf, eat oysters and take naps!

My three favorite distractions while on vacations near a beach all in one place!

One of the best places in and around Myrtle Beach is obviously Grand Dunes. You can stay in luxurious surroundings, play exquisitely manicured golf courses and meet beautiful Southerners…what else do you need?!

The Resort Club Course has 7 of it’s 18 holes along the Intercoastal Waterway, has 6 (six) sets of tees so everybody can play it and was previously rated one of The Top Ten New Courses by Golf Magazine.

The Members Club Course at Grand Dunes has been called one of the Top 45 Courses in the World! That’s mighty fine ranking, if I say so myself.

You can also find the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame there as well.

There’s a golf academy, as you’d expect and there are planned events galore, so drop by and tell ‘em Mike sent you to Grand Dunes for a fall golf vacation!

How To Protect Your Golf Equipment On Airplanes

Hotels in PanamaIf you’re thinking about taking a golf vacation to beautiful, tropical spots such as the Caribbean resorts, Panama hotels or even embarking on a much needed business trip, you need to make sure that your golf equipment is protected and secure for the journey.

Whether a domestic or international flight, you need a practical solution to protect your precious golf clubs from the harshness of air travel and baggage handlers to ensure that they arrive at your destination exactly the same way you packed them.

A travelling golf case is the only option to protect your equipment on an airplane.

These cases come in two different styles: a hard, plastic shell, or a soft padded case. They both provide a good amount of protection, however, the hard case is the superior choice due to the hard plastic material. The hard case is the more expensive option, but it will save you money in the long run if your clubs are damaged.

Furthermore, most airlines will not insure soft cases. If anything happens to your equipment, you are responsible.

If you must use a soft case, make sure to take as much pressure off of the clubs as you can. This can be done by wrapping a towel or a soft object around the club heads and shafts, especially those which stick out of the end of the golf bag.

Shake the case and make sure you do not hear any rattling or movement. The clubs should be secure and in place, not hitting one another upon impact. This can be time consuming, yet it’s an essential step.

Hotels in Panama 2The last thing you need is to arrive at one of those beautiful Panama hotels without your golf equipment intact. This will definitely spoil a great vacation.

A hard shell case, though more expensive, definitely lends itself to the highest amount of protection, but before purchasing, write down a list of the features you are looking for.

The case should have wheels to make transportation easier. Also, make sure your golf bag fits inside it comfortably, not too tight or too loose. You may want to bring your bag to the store or measure it at home to ensure a perfect fit.

In addition, check for sturdy, strong handles as the handling of your case will be rough as it travels through baggage claim and air travel.

The same methods explained for the soft case apply to packing the hard case.

Fill in as much dead space as possible with other items such as golf towels, clothing, or soft shoes.

Attach the neoprene protective covers to your clubs as well.

Before you close the case, give it a shake and make sure you do not hear any rattling or movement.

Another detail you may want to consider is the weight of the hard case. Check with your airlines for specific weight restrictions and pricing.

When you’re checking in at the airport, have another bag handy in case you need to remove some items to lessen the weight.

Your trip to those exotic Panama hotels or that ocean side hut in Tahiti will be completely ruined if your equipment is damaged in transit.

Try to be as careful as possible when packing your clubs and allocate extra time if needed.

Whatever case you choose, take special care to secure the golf equipment tightly, and don’t cut corners.

It’s worth the extra time and care. Before you know it, you will be on the green, golf clubs in hand, enjoying every second of the journey.

Turning Stone Resort and Casino’s Secrets Revealed !

Golf Vacation Insider, the leading website for expert, unbiased and trusted golf travel advice, has published a revealing “special report” on Turning Stone Resort & Casino just one week prior to its hosting of an official PGA Tour event.

Turning Stone will undoubtedly put its best foot forward when the PGA
Tour plays the Turning Stone Resort Championship there next week
(September 20-23, 2007), but Golf Vacation Insider’s free “special
report” examines what the general public can expect when taking a golf vacation to the Verona, N.Y., resort and if it is, in fact, worthy of
their time and money.

In addition to detailed descriptions and full-color photos of the
resort’s amenities, this special report reveals such things as: why
the “championship” golf course is not the best one to play (and which
of the resort’s five courses truly provides a “member for a day”
experience); the pros and cons of the resort’s lodging and dining
options; the best time to visit; the best off-resort activities to
experience; and the resort’s unique rule with respect to alcoholic
beverages.

To get this special report, golfers need only visit GolfVacationInsider and select it from a list on the right-hand side of the page.

Hosting a PGA Tour event and hosting people on a golf vacation are
two very different things
, ” said David Baum, publisher and
editor-in-chief of Golf Vacation Insider. ” Luckily, after reading our
free report on Turning Stone, you’ll immediately know if it’s the type
of golf vacation experience you’re looking for
. ”

Golf Vacation Insider and Golf Odyssey, it’s printed, sister
publication, are the only golf travel publications in the world that
conduct their on-site inspections anonymously and do not accept
advertising, travel discounts or “freebies” from the properties they
review.

For more information about Golf Vacation Insider’s free, special
report on Turning Stone Resort & Casino, or to arrange an interview
with golf vacation expert David Baum, call 800-550-2286 or visit
www.GolfVacationInsider.com.

Top 10 Golf Travel Tips

Golf Vacation Insider

Golf Vacation Insider, the preeminent website for expert, unbiased and trusted golf travel advice, has published a series of ” Top 10 Golf Travel Tips ” on some of the world’s most popular golf vacation destinations, including: Arizona; Florida; Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Scotland; Ireland; Mexico; the Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon; and the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Available individually as free Special Reports, Golf Vacation
Insider’s ” Top 10 Golf Travel Tips ” are destination-specific
collections of priceless, insider secrets and expert advice that can
truly make or break a golf vacation to one of these popular golf
vacation hotspots.

They reveal such things as: the best golf courses to play (and the overrated duds to skip) at large, multi-course resorts; the best times of year to visit and the bad-weather months to avoid; where to find the best restaurants on and off a resort’s property, how to stay in a hotel’s best rooms at regular prices; even how to gain access to certain private courses.

To get one or more of these free Special Reports, golfers need only
visit www.GolfVacationInsider.com and select their area(s) of interest from a list on the right-hand side of the page. All of the information contained in the reports is based on Golf Vacation Insider’s strict policy of editorial independence. Golf Vacation Insider and Golf Odyssey, it’s printed, sister publication, are the only golf travel publications in the world that conduct their on-site inspections anonymously and do not accept advertising, travel discounts or “freebies” from the properties they review.

Cutting through the information overload and certain over-hyped
aspects of these popular golf vacation destinations is what our free
Special Reports are all about,
” said David Baum, publisher and
editor-in-chief of Golf Vacation Insider. ” Because we don’t accept
advertising or press junkets, we have the golf vacationer’s best
interests at heart and can give them the unbiased truth.

For more information about Golf Vacation Insider, or to arrange an
interview with golf vacation expert David Baum, call 800-550-2286 or
visit www.GolfVacationInsider.com.

They can even help you plan your dream golf vacation to Holland! And while you’re there, be sure to stay in two or three fine Amsterdam Hotels.