Rovos Rail: A South African Experience like no other – part 2

A South African Experience like no other -­‐ part 2

The African Golf Collage is a nine day, panoramic journey from Pretoria to Cape
Town (or in reverse) in which guests have the opportunities to participate in a
vast range of excursions ranging from game drives to city visits to visiting an
ostrich farm and a brandy distillery. The excursions are sometimes offered as an
alternative option to playing on world standard golf courses: Leopard Creek at
Kruger, Durban Country Club, Humewood in Port Elizabeth, Fancourt and Ernie
Els Oubaai in George. However, even if golfers want to play each of the five
courses there are still excursions which don’t conflict with the schedule for
golfing; such as the visit to the KWV Brandy Distillery, the visit to Highgate
Ostrich Farm and the game drives.
Upon departure guests are immediately immersed into the South African
scenery as they can see the vast greenery and mountains that make up the
Drakensburg escarpment whilst en-­route to Kruger. An exciting morning awaits
the golfers as they are invited to tee off at the wildlife-­filled Leopard Creek
course whilst non-golfers will enjoy a game drive in the famous Kruger Park.
Overnight, the train will conEnue to travel south to Hluhluwe where all guests
will experience a game drive through the Hluhluwe Game Reserve where a
wide variety of game can be spotted in scenic surroundings.

Sur le trajet du "ROVOS" de "Buffelsjagsrivier" à Cape Town. Sur le trajet du "ROVOS" de "Buffelsjagsrivier" à Cape Town.
On the third morning of the journey the golfers tee off at Durban Country Club
whilst the non-­golfers remain on the train which ascends through the Valley of
Thousand Hills where incredible views for miles ahead can be seen. The
journey conEnues the following morning where all guests take a tour of
Bloemfontein which is home to the Botanical Gardens as well as an Orchid
House. The city is known as the “fountain of flowers” due to fact that there are
over 400 rose trees planted within the city.
Guests are invited on another game drive to the Addo Elephant Park, known
for its huge herds of elephants whilst golfers take on the challenge of
Humewood Golf Course. Guests will then be invited to visit Highgate Ostrich
Farm in Oudtshoorn where guests can feed ostriches as well as purchase any
ostrich cuisine, golfers then leave the train to play at Fancourt whilst the train
makes another breath-­‐taking descent into George through the rolling hills of
the Montagu Pass.
Non-­golfers will get the chance to relax in the exquisite surroundings of Knysna
and the lakes of the Garden Route while golfers play at Oubaai. The train then
travels through Mossel Bay and varied scenery towards the vast Cape
winelands. On the last day all guests are invited to the KWV Brandy DisEllery
before ending their once in a lifetime trip in Cape Town.

Many guests that have travelled on the Rovos Rail describe the experience as
“stepping back in time” which can only be due to the sheer elegance of the
interior of the train with wood-­panelled rooms and beautiful furnishings as
well as the antique sebng upon the train and the calm and serenity
throughout the trip.
The Leopard Creek course is rated as the number one golf course in South
Africa undoubtedly because of the rolling scenery and bushveld surrounding
the course as well as the wildlife present around and within the course
boundaries. This course is ocen described as being “a golfer’s heaven” and is
not to be missed.
Durban Country Club’s course is universally considered to be one of the finest
layouts and is regularly ranked as one of the world’s top 100 golf courses. The
course is set on the edge of the Indian Ocean and amongst rolling sand dunes
and tropical vegetation which facilitate the incredible views which can be
enjoyed from this course.
The Links course at Fancourt is rated number two in South Africa and it’s easy
to see why, it represents a unique and difficult golfing experience. The
Outeniqua Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the course making it one
of the most scenic golf courses you may every get the opportunity to play.
The Rovos Rail experience is one not to be passed up on and the African Golf
Collage combines the perfect golf courses, the highest quality food, drink as
well as service with the beautiful and breath-taking scenery of South Africa
making it an unforgettable and unmissable experience.


Rovos Rail: A South African Experience like no other ‐ part 1

A South African Experience like no other ‐ part 1

rovos rail#

The Rovos Rail Company was established in 1989 and has earned a reputation
for being the provider of the finest luxury train journeys in the Southern
Hemisphere and it isn’t hard to see why; from the polished crystal glasses to
the varnished wood and brass panelling to the fine bone china everything
is upper class aboard a Rovos Rail train.
South Africa is arguably one of the most magical countries in the world with its
diverse and beautiful scenery which covers the entire country. Rovos Rail gives
the opportunity for guests to take in this incredible and breath-­taking scenery,
seldom seen by others, whilst embarking on a world-­class travel experience
including fine dining, spacious living quarters and magical experiences both on
and off of the train.
Paul O’Hagan’s article in Golf Monthly Magazine epitomises exactly why the
Rovos Rail trips are so successful and popular with golfers and non-golfers alike.
Paul chose the Golf Safari trip for his honeymoon which is an eight night trip
giving golfers the opportunity to play on five fantastic golf courses as well as
take part in excursions with the non-­golfing guests. The Golf Safari starts from
Pretoria heads north up to Sun City, then south to Durban on the Indian Ocean
coast before heading north through Swaziland and back to Pretoria. Rovos Rail
also offer six other journeys ranging from short two night trips to a fifteen day
trip from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Paul O’Hagan described the balance between relaxation and off-­train
experiences as “just right”; guests are given an itinerary for excursions but
there is always plenty of time to relax and just enjoy the scenery as the train
rolls through. Each Rovos journey includes multiple game drives as both a
replacement to golf and an extra for golfers but the other excursions are
different due to the different cities that are visited in each trip. Guests are
given the opportunity to do city tours along the way which gives guests the
chance to experience even more of the South African scenery and culture of
this special place.

rovos rail2
It seems that part of the draw of the Rovos Rail adventures is the style in which
they are taken in. Paul O’Hagan likens the food and wine to that of a top-­class
restaurant and even mentions the sommeliers who can make
recommendations which only begins to demonstrate the luxury with which
guests are presented with when they embark on a Rovos Rail adventure. It also
seems that the Rovos Rail adventures are not just attractive to an exclusive group of people but rather attractive to anyone who is interested in soaking up some of
the wonderful scenery and culture of a magical place – as Paul O’Hagan
explained – a typical Rovos passenger doesn’t exist! Even The Golf Safari was
packed with non-­‐golfers which just goes to show that although golfers are
offered the chance to play world renowned courses; the scenery and other
excursions are just as popular and sought after.

On the Golf Safari golfers are invited to play on five vastly different courses
which is described by Paul as “highlighting the fantastic variety of golf on offer
in South Africa”. On the Golf Safari golfers were invited to play five courses:
Lost City Golf Club, Champagne Sports Resort, Durban Country Club, The Royal
Swazi Golf Club and Leopard Creek. These courses all have something to offer
which is different from the last; the Lost City golf Course has around 28,000m²
of water – much of which is home to Nile crocodiles! There is also the
Champagne Sports Resort which has been rated as South Africa’s most
beautiful course and Durban Country Club’s exquisite views of the Indian
Ocean. However, not to be forgotten is the course at Leopard Creek which is
rated the number one course in South Africa; Paul O’Hagan described this
course as his “golfing highlight”. Being set on the border of the Kruger National
Park facilitates the viewing of some spectacular wildlife from some of the holes
and Paul mentioned the viewings of crocodiles and hippos – showing that even
on a golf course the natural beauty of South Africa is never far away.

Again, each trip offers different golf courses but there are overlaps in the
courses played by guests on different journeys but guests can be assured that
each course is hand-­picked to provide the best quality golfing experience for
them. Paul O’Hagan highlights the presence of the golfers on the trips being of
varying standards but how they are all “admirably catered for” and also how a
PGA professional accompanies each golfing excursion to help the golfers as well
as set up competitions for them, enhancing the overall experience of each

rovos rail3
Paul O’Hagan describes himself as “left wanting more” at the end of the trip
and describes the journey as a special adventure that he and his wife will never
forget. This seems to be the general consensus of opinion after a Rovos Rail
adventure and shows how these trips really are a once in a lifetime experience.

Part 2 coming soon…..

The 13 Craziest Golf Holes in the World

The 13 Craziest Golf Holes in the World

The 13 Craziest Golf Holes in the World

Golf is a refined and sophisticated sport, with origins dating back as far as the Romans according to some historians. Played with precision and meticulous strategy, the prestigious sport of golf – whilst competitive – can be a quiet, reflective and gentle-paced game. But here at Golf Escapes, we always like to let loose and have a bit of fun. Because golf doesn’t always have to be conventional; here are 13 of the wackiest, toughest and craziest golf holes and golf courses in the world.

1| Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa (Hole 19)

Although designed to be on the crazy side, Legend Golf in the Entabeni Safari Conservancy is one of the most respected golf courses in the world. Winner of the ‘Europe & Africa Property Awards’ in 2010 and Trip Advisor’s ‘Certificate of Excellence’ in 2013, this unique “world in one” signature course is a must-visit destination for all true golf enthusiasts. Featuring 18 holes which have been individually designed by a different golf legend and featuring the “Extreme 19th” (the highest and longest Par 3 in the world), a visit to the Legend Golf & Safari is truly special. The list of golf legends who have designed a hole include Trevor Immelman, Padraig Harrington, Bernard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Justin Rose just to name a few. The resort also offers a spa, botanical gardens, shops, a wildlife centre and the opportunity to go on a safari tour.

1. Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa (Hole 19)


2| Pacifico Golf Course at Four Seasons, Mexico (Hole 3B)

Set amongst white sandy beaches and palm trees, this uniquely designed golf course is a true representation of a golfing paradise. With the dramatic Sierra Madre Mountains as your backdrop and gloriously hot weather, a visit to the Pacifico Golf Course in Punta Mita’s Four Seasons resort is nothing short of luxurious. The 200 acre golf course is designed by American golfer Jack Nicklaus (AKA “Golden Bear”) and you can either play the standard third hole or attempt 3B which gives you the chance to swing at the world’s only natural island green, otherwise known as “Tail of the Whale”. The hole cannot play less than 170 yards so it’s a challenge that you won’t forget. But whether you take the 3B challenge or not, the rest of the course which borders much of the Pacific Ocean is sure to give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience with such spectacular sea views.

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3| Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, Idaho U.S (Hole 14)

This beautiful golf course and resort is located in the lakeside city of Coeur d’Alene in the state of Idaho. The plush green fairways are lined with large pines and the incredible Lake Coeur d’Alene makes the entire experience sublime. Cited as “America’s most beautiful resort golf course” by Golf Digest and with some of the most lavish rooms and facilities, Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Resort really does feel exclusive. Along this flawlessly manicured course, the hole to look out for is the 14th Par-3 hole where your target is the famous floating green. This signature floating hole is the world’s one and only moving green and it can only be accessed by boat.

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4| Carbrook Golf Club, Australia (Hole 15)

Queensland is one of Australia’s most energetic regions. With its subtropical climate and lively cities, it makes a fantastic all year round destination. The young and refreshing Carbrook Golf Club can be found in Queensland’s Logan City, in a suburb called Loganholme, and it was voted ‘Queensland Metropolitan Golf Club of the Year’ back in 2006. Just 3 decades old, the club doesn’t attempt to compete with the more established gold courses in the world, but it does promise a thrilling experience for golfers with a little bit of gumption. In true Aussie style, the course offers something slightly on the wild side to give the game an exciting edge. And what once started off as just a rumour has now materialised to be 100% genuine – with video evidence to prove it. If you’re not afraid of predators, this course is highly recommended but watch out for Hole 15 – or more specifically – watch out for the sharks swimming around in the water.

4. Carbrook Golf Club, Australia (Hole 15)

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5| Skukuza Golf Course, South Africa (Hole 1)

Golfing with spectators isn’t for everyone; but here at South Africa’s Skukuza Golf Course set in Kruger National Park, you could attract a rather eclectic crowd of warthogs, baboons or even hippos. The animals are not fenced off so are free to roam around and create a whole new dimension to the game. Skukuza Golf Course is the only golf course located in the park itself, so golfers will have to learn to share the space with the interesting four-legged residents. As soon as you tee off, you may find some unexpected obstacles of all shapes and sizes; it’s a truly fun and exciting experience.

5. Skukuza Golf Course, South Africa (Hole 1)

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6| The Elfego Baca Shootout, New Mexico

With just one hole in this tournament, there’s a very clear line of winners and losers – and it’s mainly going to be losers. The Elfego Baca Shootout in Socorro is a novelty shootout game at over 7,000 feet above sea level. Novelty it may be but it’s certainly a test of skill and accuracy (and sometimes sheer luck) and few have been able to go home with prize in hand. The target is a 50 foot patch of dirt which is not only 3 miles from Socorro Peak where you’ll be swinging from but also more than 2,000 feet downhill. It sounds impossible –because it is – and unsurprisingly, no-one is yet to achieve the 1 shot win. With the scorecard only going up to 75, it’s been impossible to keep track of the worst scores in history. But we do know that the best score is 9.

6.The Elfego Baca Shootout, New Mexico

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7| Cape Kidnappers Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand (Hole 15)

New Zealand has some of the world’s most spectacular natural sights, and here at Hawke’s Bay on North Island’s east coast, golfers will feel at one with nature amidst the typical rugged landscapes. Although very well maintained, the raw and natural surroundings of Cape Kidnappers feel far from manicured. Designed by well-known golf architect Rom Doak, the Par 71 course stretches over 6,500 metres and proves a fantastic challenge for all golfers. The one to look out for along this incredible course is the Pirate’s Plank which is the 15th hole; be careful with the 140 metre cliff drop on your left and the deep cavern to your right. What’s more is the region itself is home to some of the country’s finest award winning wines, so you can treat yourself and your party to a wine tasting post-tournament.

7. Cape Kidnappers Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand (Hole 15)

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8| Old Head Golf Links, Republic of Ireland (Hole 18)

The Par 4 18th hole on this picturesque golf course in Ireland has all the traits of a crazy miniature golf course; except it’s not miniature, and it is in fact a renowned course designed for some of the finest golfers and club members in the world. The lighthouse in the distance may resemble a life-size version of crazy golf but it’s very much a serious contest for those who are up to the challenge. From the tee, there are too many options and golfers can choose to play it safe by avoiding the cliff drop or take the hostile line and go over the gorge. All with the Celtic Sea as a backdrop, Old Head Links of Kinsale is set to be a scenic golf experience.

8. Old Head Golf Links, Republic of Ireland (Hole 18)

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9| Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, Indiana U.S (Holes 7-10)

Designed by world famous architect Pete Dye, the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis in Indiana is one of the most bizarre courses on the planet. And it will certainly prove to be a unique challenge; not so much the difficulty of the holes themselves but more due to their outlandish locations. Whilst most of the holes run neatly along the Indianapolis Motor Racetrack, holes 7-10 go against all natural golf laws and are placed right in the middle of the speedway. As you have to actually step onto the track to play these holes, the course closing days have to coincide harmoniously with prestigious racing events to avoid any golf-meets-NASCAR disasters.

9. Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, Indiana U.S (Holes 7-10)

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10| Nullarbor Links, Australia

Nullarbor Links is the longest golf course in the world, stretching over 800 miles across the Eyre Highway which links West Australia with South Australia across the Nullarbor Plain. The 18 hole 72 Par course is said to have an average of 40 miles between each hole, making it one of the wackiest courses on the planet. All the way from Kalgoorlie in Western Oz to the small town of Ceduna in Southern Oz, golfers will get to stop off at 18 different participating towns and cities. This ambitious course concept opened to the public in August 2009 and although surprising in every way – it is unsurprisingly Australian. If we can rely on anyone to be quirky, it’s definitely the Aussies. Worth a visit if you have the time to travel the 800+ miles. And quite the accolade to say you’ve played the world’s longest course. We’re talking crazy golf holes here of course, but you can take your pick here for one that would fit perfectly on the list!

10. Nullarbor Links, Australia

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11| Dunkerque Golf Course, France (Hole 3)

Dunkerque in Coudekerque Village of Northern France is an unusual golf course which attracts players of all levels and abilities. It’s renowned for being slightly bizarre due to its geometric shapes, which gives the course its rather curious and eccentric Nord-Pas-de-Calais style character. Much like the region itself which is home to a friendly people with eclectic influences from both France and Belgium, the course is somewhat outlandish. But this charm is all a part of the Northern French lifestyle, and the course is said to resemble a life-size version of a miniature crazy golf course. The entire golf course is a marvel to say the least – but perhaps the most interesting hole is the third which is placed onto a heart shaped green.

11. Dunkerque Golf Course, France (Hole 3)

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12| TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course, Florida U.S (Hole 17)

The Par 3 17th hole on the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course isn’t designed for sore losers. Claiming more 120,000 golf balls each year, the water surrounding this notoriously difficult hole doesn’t take any prisoners. In fact, it eats golf balls for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and your golf ball could be next. Home to the PLAYERS Championship and the prestigious Tournament Players Club, Sawgrass Stadium is one of the most famous courses in the world. Just 12 miles from Jacksonville, this challenging course is the creation of the one and only Pete Dye. And it’s purpose? To put pro golfers to the test like never before. The infamous 17th hole is said to have been the “maker or breaker” of pros who have frequented in the past. This course spells trouble for the inexperienced but if the water takes your ball hostage, you will still have the breath-taking Florida backdrop and hot weather as a consolation.

12. TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course, Florida U.S (Hole 17)

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13| Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland

Carnoustie or “Car-nasty” as some may call it is a reputable golf course in Dundee, earning its nickname from the brutal North Sea coast which is a wild and rugged as you might expect in Scotland. During the 1999 Open Championship, world-renowned Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia was reduced to tears after a very, very tough play and finishing last. If it can make PGA players crumble, it sure will prove a challenge to the rest of us.  Peppered with wretched pot punkers and hopelessly mired by the North Sea winds, there’s no hope once you hit the downhill spiral. The course is so outrageously tough in fact that any golfer suffering from miserable losses can be said to have the “Carnoustie effect”. Again, you can take your pick from the holes here for your portion of crazy, and you might just find a pro golfer huddled up in a bunker somewhere in tears suffering from the Carnoustie effect!

13. Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland

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Here at Golf Escapes, we can help you book golf breaks in various world destinations including France, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Cyprus, Morocco, Bulgaria, the Canary Island or the UK. Use our quick golf holiday search online or call 01342 811 777.


THE BEST GOLF BLOGS TO FOLLOW IN 2016 is one of the most well-known blog sites for all things golf – you’ve probably heard of it already. Discussing the latest golf news, the best golf equipment, travel, betting, players and courses, this website has developed a decent following. But it’s not the only golf blog to follow this year.

Here at Golf Escapes, we like to follow a number of different bloggers and here are some of our top ones to follow in 2015.


There’s no denying that is a must-visit site for any golf enthusiast. Sharing the latest news from the world of golf (including the players), you will have access to daily articles which range from new equipment updates to celebrity gossip. Read about the latest Rory Mcilroy/ Nike collaboration or discover the gossip on Lance Armstrong’s recent entry into golf.

Whatever you want to know about the golfing world, is the ultimate fountain of information – so we’re giving it a well-deserved number one spot in our ultimate 2015 list of golf blogs.


2| Wei Under Par

We bring you another incredible blog, one which has been run and edited by a female influencer. Female golfers are becoming and more and more common and blogger extraordinaire Stephanie Wei is one of the most influential in the business. She is a famous freelance broadcaster, a Fox Sports report and a keen golfer. With over 31,000 followers on her Twitter account, there’s no arguing that Stephanie knows her sport and she’s well respected within the industry.

Her cleverly worded blog covers industry news, some celebrity insight, updates from the PGA Tour and PGA Championships, and much more. Find out more on Wei Under Par now.


3| The Sand Trap

This is a golf blog with a difference. Unlike many blogs these days, interaction isn’t limited here. Much more than just news consumption, The Sand Trap is a socially-driven concept created by golf nut Erik and a few of his fellow golfer friends. The website is an online place for golf mad people just like Erik to connect with one another and talk golf all day, all night.

On top of exclusive sports coverage, the latest sports news, swing tips, opinion articles and commentary, The Sand Trap also offers weekly podcasts and a discussion forum accessible by all. Create your own profile and start connecting with other golf nuts today! And what you might really appreciate about this blog site is that it is run by real golfers with real day jobs; writers you can perhaps really relate to.


4| Hooked on Golf

One of the first golf blogs to ever be published, Hooked on Golf is truly a masterpiece that has earned its status in the blogosphere. Written and managed by Tony Korologos, an impressive amateur golfer with a 1-3 handicap, the website was launched back in 2004 (still in the early days of blogs and the internet as a whole). Today, Tony has posted almost 5,000 articles on the site and his writing never lacks personality. Also a keen musician, Tony brings an element of rock ‘n’ roll to his website style and we believe that this blog will always stand out from the crowd. A must read in 2015.


5| How to Break 80

Written for the competitive golfer, How to Break 80 gets straight to the point. Skip the golf news and celebrity gossip; this blog is written for serious competitive players only. Technically focused, all sentiment is left behind and you will find nothing but the finest tips on improving your swing and honing your game.

Jack Moorehouse is the blogger and golfer behind How to Break 80 and he starts his bio with some impressive statistics; according to NGT Research, there are over 60 million golfers in the world but less than half of those will ever break 100. Only 5% of the world’s golfers will ever break 80 and the aim of Jack’s blog is to help others become that slim 5%. Although Jack is not a pro golfer, his enthusiasm and expertise shines through and he believes he has discovered a great formula for breaking 80. Watch his videos, read his technical guidelines and his tried and tested techniques. Read How to Break 80 now and get the ultimate tips on improving your game and breaking the statistics.


6| Top 100 Golf Blog

The Top 100 Golf Blog has one goal and one goal only. It follows the travelling footsteps of a serious (and rather anonymous) golfer who plays on the top 100 golf courses in the world. Expect one part golf course critique, one part travelogue, and one part social commentary. Each golf course visited includes a detailed description, a considerable number of photographs to paint the picture, notes on the golf course, and details about the surrounding area of the nearby wildlife.

Unearth commentaries and reviews on Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey, Cyprus Point in California, the Teeth of the Dog Course at the Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic, Royal Birkdale in Southport (UK), Loch Lomond Golf Club in Scotland, San Francisco Golf Club, Golf de Morfontaine in France, and Royal Adelaide Golf Course in Australia.


7| Geoff Shackelford

The Geoff Shackelford blog has been created in partnership with Golf Digest. So if you’re looking for an expert golf writer you can trust, head to the Geoff Shackelford website. Geoff boasts a huge portfolio of experience in the sport and is a contributing writer / editor to so many publications including Golf Digest (of which he is partner) and Golf World Magazine. He is also an author of 11 published books, including The Future of Golf (2001) and Grounds of Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design (2003).

With a background in designing gold courses (he co-designed Rustic Canyon Golf Course in California), Geoff’s expert knowledge really shines through, covering all topics from technique to tour/championship reporting.


8| Travel Golf

Travel Golf is maintained by a collective of writers and golfing enthusiasts from around the globe and the blog’s main focus is shedding the light on renowned golf courses and golf clubs in every part of the world. Some of the top writers include ‘The Accidental Golfer’ (AKA Mike Bailey) who has over 15 years’ experience in golf writing and is a former editor of PGA Magazine, Jason Scott Deegan who has reviewed over 400 courses and whose work has been highly regarded by Golf Writers Association of America, and Brandon Tucker who is the Managing Editor of Courses and Travel for Golf Channel.

You can browse the blog by destination, including Canada, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Bermuda, California, Barbados, Mexico, South Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Spain.


9| The Golf Chick

Kristen Williams is a writer with a serious golf obsession and The Golf Chick is her platform for expressing her love of the sport. Starting out in 2005, this blog has grown and developed into a great read for anyone who has a golfing passion and it’s definitely one to bookmark for 2015. Written in the form of a journal, Kristen’s website is an inspiring resource for fellow female golfers but it doesn’t speak exclusively to a female audience; quite the opposite in fact. The Gold Chick connects with anyone who eats, sleeps and breathes golf and includes everything from interviews, product and equipment reviews, golf course information and commentary of pro golfers.

Other guest bloggers include Levi Slings and Mary from


10| Armchair Golf Blog

Neil Sagebiel is the man behind Armchair Golf Blog, a blog designed to celebrate the game of golf. Neil’s blog is inclusive of everyone and does not isolate beginners to the game, so you will find his website to be interesting no matter what level you are at. From the tender age of 12, Neil found his love of golf and played for his high school in California and now he shares is golf passion across the blogosphere with golf news, reviews and general golf ramblings.

Through his development of Armchair Golf Blog, Neil has met some amazing golf legends along the way, including Jack Fleck whom he wrote a book on called THE LONGEST SHOT: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf’s Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open (available to buy on Amazon).

Neil’s latest book is DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World and this is also currently available on Amazon.


11| GolfDash Blog

GolfDash Blog is written by John Diekmann and Doug Farrick, two golf mad bloggers with internet technology backgrounds. Their combined experience and passion for both golfing and the internet resulted in a great blog site which dedicates its purpose to helping readers enhance their game. Named “GolfDash”, the website acts as a golf dashboard; a place for finding the best deals on equipment and clothing, getting the most up to date golf news, reading the hottest reviews and what John and Doug like to call “no BS commentary”.

Started back in 2005, GolfDash has become a time-honoured resource, one which is trusted and admired by its many readers. The website receives traffic from every corner of the globe and we are excited to see more great writing on the GolfDash Blog in 2015.


12| Gorilla Golf Blog

“There are 790 golf blogs cramming the internet and our mission is that becomes a unique and fun place to visit for passionate golfers and would-be golfers.” – Tommy Priest

There’s no denying that the blogosphere is often oversaturated with bloggers who claim to be experts in their field. And for someone who’s new to reading blogs, it can often be hard to know where to even begin. This is part of the reason we created this list in the first place. Gorilla Golf Blog aims to be different and that’s we like about it; always striving to offer a point of difference for the average golf blog reader. Blogger Tommy Priest is from Switzerland and he started golfing from an early age in his life. Today he spends his spare time continually trying to improve and he launched Gorilla Golf Blog to share his thoughts on many golf related topics. Not only does Tommy cover the sport, he also delves into the lifestyle and the complete subculture of the sport – so it’s a great website for someone who wants to learn about every aspect of becoming a golfer. Visit Gorilla Golf Blog to find out more.


13| The Golf Blog cites itself as the number 1 blog for all things golf and we certainly agree that this website is well worth a read. As one of our must-read golf blogs of 2015, we simply can’t fault the website when it comes to golf news and technical coverage. So for those who are interested in perfecting their swing, this is a great resource. The Golf Blog combines journalistic writing with a selection of new media including YouTube videos and the use of social networks to make the website more up to date and interactive for visitors.

14| My Daily Slice

The archives of My Daily Slice date back to January 2006, so another time-honoured blog site which has earned its place in the blogging world through years of experience. The tagline for this blog is “Conversation starters for golfers” so it truly is an all-consuming hub for everything golf. From golf book reviews and crowdfunding projects to the latest news in professional golfing, My Daily Slice shares weekly nuggets of information which are perfect bite-sized portions for general golf chit chat.  It’s a great resource of golf knowledge and we are definitely adding it to our online reading list this year.


15| Golf for Beginners  

Golf for Beginners started as a journal for new golfer, Stacy Solomon. It was a place where she could keep a record of her golf lessons and a place to store all of the golf tips she picked up along the way. Of course, before she knew it, Stacy had a following and now the website is a place for other new bloggers just like Stacy to explore the beginnings of the sport. Learn more about golf and follow the journey of a rookie who is developing her skills and always looking to improve her game.
golf for beginners


Christmas Gifts We DON’T Want This Year…

Christmas Gifts We DON’T Want This Year…

Around this time every year the thought process is drawn into inevitable minefield of buying Christmas gifts for your friends, loved ones and of course, the golf enthusiast. The market is flooded with novelty golf gifts which at first may seem the ideal solution, but soon end up stockpiled in the back of the cupboard, at Golf Escapes however, we have a range of packages to suit every budget for stays in the UK or abroad and if you can’t decide, why not treat someone to a gift voucher to put towards a golf break they will truly love this Christmas instead of these monstrosities…

What every golfer dreads this Christmas…


Golf Club Urinal
Bringing a whole new meaning to “taking relief” on the course, when you think of the process it takes to get a new product to market, it really is astonishing that this actually exists. This gift is all well and good until your playing partner decides to “have a go” with your interesting looking, yet slightly warmer, new club.



$T2eC16Z,!yEE9s5jGJhYBRz1yYlH)w~~60_35Toilet Putting Green
Sometimes our putting is so bad it belongs in the toilet, but not literally. Maybe a few wires were crossed in the design phase and toilet golf was born. Putting is a skill that requires the upmost concentration and attention to detail, unfortunately for some of us however, so does using the toilet.



Novelty Golf Tie

Novelty Golf Tie
Every year the novelty golf tie makes its way into stockings up and down the country, and is then condemned to back of the wardrobe for all eternity and although this may get worn into work just the once to appease the gift giver, the only tie a golfer wants usually leads to a playoff.



Golf Club Drinks Dispenser

Golf Club Drinks Dispenser
In theory, this gift should be both practical and novel, however, taking note of other novelty clubs on the market, this one is best avoided. Carrying one club in your bag containing a refreshing beverage and another containing excess urine, a round of golf could end up leaving a really bad taste in your mouth.




Novelty Golf Balls

Novelty Golf Balls
For some golfers, selecting the right golf ball for your game is a surprisingly complex process, assessing what ball suits your game best, distance, feel, spin? For others, one good round with a particular brand and you are loyal for life. Either way, these novelty balls won’t improve your game and you will also have to swallow any pride you may have left when you shank these onto the opposite fairway and the infamous question of “which one is yours?” arises.

Ultimate Guide to European Golf Holidays

golf tee shot

With over 4,000 golf courses in Europe alone, there are more than enough golf holiday destinations to last you a lifetime.  From PGA golf courses and award winning golf courses to five star luxury resorts, Europe’s golfing industry is wickedly overindulged; great news for serious golfers.

Europe not only offers an unmatchable choice of golf courses but the continent’s picturesque backdrops are just an added bonus. The dramatic Italian lakes, the arresting allure of the French mountains and scenic sea views of the Spanish coast; wherever you are in Europe, you won’t be far from a dream golfing holiday.

Here at Golf-Escapes, we’ve hand-picked some of Europe’s finest golf courses and hotels to bring you the ultimate guide to European golf holidays. Read on to find out more about some of Europe’s most coveted golfing destinations.

Golf in France
The varying regions of France provide a rich and interesting choice of golfing destinations. From the tempting vineyards of the South West region to the quiet, hidden gems of Northern France and Pas de Calais, the French golfing experience is simply one not to be overlooked.

Best Courses

Whilst Northern France is often overlooked by tourists in search of sun, sea and coast typical of the Southern coastline, this region has much to offer in terms of history, culture and a never-ending stretch of vineyards. But there’s also the fairytale allure of the South West and its hundreds of French chateaux, making it an impossible choice between the regions. Here are some of our favourites, by region.

REGION: North of France

  • Le Touquet La Mer, Pas de CalaisDesigned by the legendary Harry Colt, this respected golf course dates back to the 30s and has been cited by many as an architectural wonder. To this day, the course remains a treasured favourite for serious golfers and its spiritual setting amongst the French sand dunes, makes it completely unique. With the challenge of coastal winds and firm, fast greens, this course is nothing short of stimulating.
  • Belle Dune, Pas de Calais the Belle Dune course is ranked by many as one of the best courses across Europe. This traditional links style course sits within the Marquenterre reserve and the area is adorned by the most stunning natural fauna and flora. Much like Le Touquet La Mer, the intense coastal winds promise a challenging and exciting round any time of year.

Best Hotels

For something of a grand affair, Hotel Westminster in Côte d’Opale is the perfect French seaside resort, and with a strong relationship with Le Touquet golf course, your stay will truly be seamless. Built in the 1930s, visitors can enjoy the art deco charm of the hotel and with its exceptional NUXE Spa, it’s the perfect base for a luxury family holiday.

If you’re looking for a hotel close to Belle Dune, the gracefully charming Hotel La Terrasse makes a great base for the seaside (20 metres away), the enchanting town centre of Fort Mahon Plage, and various golf courses in the area.

When to Go

Northern France is affected by cold winters and hot summers, an oceanic climate which can be temperamental. The best time to travel is during the summer months but generally, this is peak season for tourism. So if you prefer avoiding the hustle and bustle, try visiting during May/early June or late August/early September.

South West France benefits from a Mediterranean climate and is warm all year round and there’s plenty to do any time you decide to visit.

Other Attractions / Things to Do

The South West coastline is an enviable one and with beautiful towns such as Lourdes, Pau and Perpignan, there’s plenty to explore in this area. A region of vineyards and castles, South West France is a truly magical experience for culture vultures and wine enthusiasts. The Dordogne area alone is said to have more than 1,000 French chateaux and the city of Bordeaux boasts endless vineyards.

In Northern Franc e, you can explore all the small town treasures of Lille, Roubaix, Amiens and Arras. The Nord Pas de Calais region is also home to one of the smelliest cheeses in the world, Vieux Boulogne – perfect for foodies in search of a unique experience.

Golf in Italy


The up and coming golfing destination of Italy is a dream for all year round golfers. With a mild climate, and a love of great food and drink from the hedonistic nation of pleasure-seekers, a golfing holiday in Italy will be most relaxing. Fantastic scenery, beautiful golf courses and ‘La dolce vita’ attitude, make Italy a desirable choice for golfers.

Best Courses

The Italian way to life is all about enjoyment, indulgence and relaxation. And this is evident in their golf resort industry, which is marked by some of the finest golf clubs in the world. We’ve selected a few leading golf courses by region to help you start your search for luxury in Italy.


  • Parco de’ Medici, Rome – located just outside of Rome, the 27-hole Parco de’ Medici golf course makes the ultimate golf getaway in the Lazio region. A perfect mix of golf and city break, this golf club is an easy choice for couples or families looking for a varied itinerary. This elegantly designed course is suitable for all abilities but has a stimulating mix of ponds and waterways, so prepare for an exhilarating game.


  • Verdura Golf Course, Sicily – with two 18-hole golf courses to choose from (East Course and West Course), golfers can get all the practice they need whilst enjoying the coastal views of the Sciacca seaside. The West Course brings you closer to the coast with breathtaking views after the 8th or 9th hole, and the East Course has a challenging layout with variations in both direction and elevation.
  • Donnafugata, Sicily – also offering two 18-hole courses for your leisure (North Course and South Course), Donnafugata is a soulful sanctuary for serious golfers. With a 5* star resort including spa, luxury seekers will feel right at home.

Best Hotels

For your Rome golf break, Sheraton Golf Parco De’ Medici Hotel & Resort is a fine getaway with exceptional reviews. Get the best of both worlds and enjoy a serene holiday, just a few miles away from the hustle and bustle of the dazzling city. Dine at Restaurant Rinascimento, Restaurant Savoia or Restaurant Condottieri then head to one of Sheraton’s three bars for ‘Sheraton Social Hour’ when hotel guests can enjoy a wine-tasting session.

The Donnafugata Resort & Spa is a 5* star paradise ideal for families or couples looking to explore the beautiful island of Sicily. Within the resort, there are three superb restaurants serving fresh Italian cuisine.

Verdura Resort is another 5* star establishment which features a 60-metre infinity pool, 6 tennis courts and a world-class spa.

When to Go

Sicilian weather is sickeningly wonderful all year round, much to the sun-seeker’s delight. Unmatchable weather, picture-perfect landscapes and the most dramatic coastlines; Sicily is simply perfect any time of year.

Between June-August, Rome will see the highest tourist traffic. Queues for the Vatican Museum or St. Peter’s Basilica can be as long as four or five hours. If you visit Rome during peak season, be sure to book your tickets for tourist attractions in advance so you can avoid the queues.

Other Attractions / Things to Do

Italy is known for its blindingly beautiful natural landscapes, incredible works of architecture, love of great food and wine, and its striking coastlines. Together with the Mediterranean weather, an Italian holiday will not disappoint. Discover the Ancient ruins of the capital and spend a day at the Roman Forum and Colosseum, take a thrilling drive along the Amalfi Coast and taste the fresh seafood in Sorrento, or relax on the Sicilian beaches after trekking the volcanos of Etna and Stromboli.

Sheraton Golf Parco De’ Medici guests can enjoy the sights of Rome or get a day bus to the island of Capris, where the famous Blue Grotto caves can be explored with a guided tour.

Golf in Spain

Without a shadow of a doubt, Spain is the serious golfer’s ultimate holiday destination. With over 300 golf courses and stylish resorts sprinkled across the nation, Spain is a playground for golfers and luxury seekers alike.  Here at Golf-Escapes, we focus in on some of the best golf courses and golf hotels in the country.

Best Courses

Home to countless courses which have hosted world championships, a golfing holiday in Spain is quite frankly, second to none. There are high-status golf courses across all regions of Spain and here we have hand-selected just a few of the most prestigious and respected courses.

REGION: Catalonia

  • El Prat, Barcelona – nine times’ host to the Spanish Open, Real Club de Golf El Prat celebrates 100 years of club history and is managed meticulously to withhold its status as the most important golf club in Spain. With 45 holes designed by Australian golfer, Greg Norman, this is surely one of Europe’s finest resorts.

REGION: Costa Del Sol

  • San Roque (Old)the Old Course at San Roque is truly the pride of the club and its high-status is upheld by a members-only entry, expect for daily public periods which are ideal for tourists and the general public to get a taste of this challenging course. Designed by Dave Thomas and with narrow fairways going through groves and forest, this course promises to be an excellent contest.

REGION: Costa Brava

  • PGA Catalunya Stadium Coursecited as one of Europe’s top 50 courses, the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya has seen rising success since hosting the 2000 Spanish Open. This extensive and hilly course is tough but less advanced golfers can take ease from the five sets of tees; a flexible game for all abilities.

REGION: Madrid

  • Club De Campo with more than 10,000 members, this is Madrid’s biggest sports club. Hosting eight Spanish Opens and other major golf championships, Club De Campo is a must-visit destination for avid golfers.

Best Hotels

Stay in the 5* star Rey Juan Carlos Hotel for access to golf courses such as El Prat, Terramar, Llavaneres, or Club de Golf Barcelona; a boundless span of clubs to keep you occupied all week. Also a short walk to the Avenida Diagonal shopping zone and the energetic La Rambla.

La Cala Golf Resort in Costa Del Sol provides a luxury getaway for the whole family, and regularly has special offers for both golf and spa.

If you’re staying in Costa Brava, Emporda Golf Hotel, Golf beach Aparthotel, and Park Hotel San Jorge are all excellent choices with access to a number of golf courses including the PGA Catalunya Stadium Course.

For Madrid’s Club De Campo, there is no other establishment quite as ornate as ME Madrid Reina Victoria, with the grand and extravagant building dating back to 1919. Or for a more boutique experience at a great price, stay at the Petit Palace Puerta del Sol and enjoy free bicycle rental for reconnoitring the artistic city of Madrid.

When to Go

Barcelona is warm and humid in the summer, with high tourist traffic. Late spring is a great time to visit as the weather is pleasingly mild whilst still being outside of peak season.

The summer months see the busiest tourist traffic for Costa Del Sol and Costa Brava, both with soaring heats between June to September. March-May or September-October will be quieter if tranquil is what you’re after and temperatures tend to be mild-hot all year round.

Madrid is one of the liveliest cities in Europe, with a hypnotic energy that runs through the veins of the community, making it an exciting holiday destination at any time of year. But bear in the extreme weather; the Spanish have summed it up on one sentence, “Nueve meses de invierno y tres de infierno”, meaning “Nine months of winter and three months of hell.” So be prepared for sizzling summer heat.

Other Attractions / Things to Do

Barcelona is an art-lover’s paradise, with the awe-inspiring mosaic carvings of Gaudi and a fantastic underground feel with winding backstreets leading to the secreted local haunts (where the best tapas in the world can be found).

Visitors in Costal Del Sol can head to the neighbouring national parks such as El Torcal or Grazalema Natural Park, whilst golfers staying in Costa Brava can easily get to Barcelona for some city culture and great food.

The beguiling city of Madrid charms travellers from all around the world. It’s no wonder with its flavourful history, colourful energy and regionally inspired Spanish cuisine. Tease your taste buds with the country’s most curious concoctions; the profound and hearty fideuá of Valencia, the ever so polished veal terrine of Catalonia, or the mouth-wateringly delectable suckling pig of Castile.

Golf in Portugal

As Europe’s leading golf destination, Portugal is still where our British golfers prefer to return to time and again. It is indeed thanks to British wine exporters for forming Portugal’s oldest golf club Oporto and thanks to the perfect climate Portugal has it all. At Golf-Escapes, we feature the leading hotels, resorts and courses that Portugal has to offer.

Best Courses

The beauty of golf in Portugal is that the stunning championship, world class courses are all easily accessible and welcoming. In fact, you are never far away from a superb golf course in Portugal, regardless of what you are looking for, the quality of the golf courses is second to none.

REGION: Algarve

  • Monte Rei One of the finest golf courses in the world, simply stunning. The design and layout of this Jack Nicklaus Signature course is beautiful in every way. With extensive practice facilities and hole and after hole of visual beauty, any serious golfer simply must experience Monte Rei.

REGION: Lisbon

  • Praia d’el Rey Two superb loops of 9 holes make up this renowned course situated an hour northwest of Lisbon, Cabell B Robinson’s masterpiece is considered one of the best courses in Portugal. Running alongside the coast the views here are simply picture perfect.

REGION: Madeira

  • Santo da Serra The views across the bay of Machico are almost as superb as the golf here, with the course loved by professionals and amateur golfers alike. High up in the clouds the view will take your breath away as you navigate your way round 27 holes of stunning golf.


  • Estela Situated right next to the sea, Estela has all the qualities that make a true links course, subtle turf, sand dunes, undulating fairways, solid greens and Atlantic winds. Estela is a course for the purists.

Best Hotels

When staying in the Algarve, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is the first choice for many golf enthusiasts, a five star, elegant and luxury venue, the resort has superb facilities and features two onsite golf courses including the fantastic Championship course.

Another five star experience is Praia d’el Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort in Lisbon, which is also home to the much sought after Praia d’el Rey Golf Course, the hotel’s superb rooms provide outstanding views over the and the championship course, with a cheaper option being the Praia d’el Rey Golf and Beach Resort which offers more affordable apartments as a residential option with the same golf package.

To experience the beauty of Madeira’s golf courses, you will do well to find a more idyllic property than  Vila Gale Santa Cruz, set in the centre of Santa Cruz and a short drive from the courses, the hotel has stunning views of the mountains and ocean.

Vidago Palace and Hotel Solverde are two of the top hotels for golf in Porto, with Vidago featuring world class spa facilities and its own stunning course.

When to Go

In the summertime the sun is endless in Portugal, perfect for golfers playing long into the afternoon with the sun setting long after putting out on the 18th green.

July and August are the busiest periods for the coastal resorts, with the temperatures soaring, May, September and October are perfect for golfers to enjoy all that the areas of Portugal have to offer. The climate is warm all year round, even in winter and in the unlikely event of some rain, it will rarely interfere with a round of glorious golf.

Other Attractions / Things to Do

In the Algarve, beaches and nightlife can dominate your holiday away from the course, with local hotspots such as Albufeira becoming very lively at night. In contrast, some fantastic smaller fishing villages can offer a more relaxing or active stay, with mountain biking being incredibly popular and the nature reserves and leisure activities of Monte Gordo and the marina of Vilamoura being favourite attractions.

Lisbon is a fascinating cultural experience with so much of the city in which you can explore. The oldest parts of the city are home to some fantastic architecture, grand building, museums of art and one of Europe’s largest oceanariums.

In Porto, the attraction of this city is the superb wines and ports, with numerous historic tours and experience of the vine yards in the Doro Valley and the distilleries in the town centre.


We hope this guide has helped you with your search for the perfect European golf holiday. However, this is by no means an extensive list of our top golf resorts in Europe and we’ll be adding more information to this page in the coming weeks. To search by country or by region, please use the quick search on our homepage and discover the hundreds of golf courses across the continent.

Welcome to Signature Safaris.

Golf Escapes Ltd. are delighted to announce the addition of specialist safari tour operator, Signature Safaris, to our family. They provide bespoke safaris in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Tanzania. We are now able to provide an array of safari adventures from discoverer safaris, taking guests through the most remote wilderness areas in fixed and trail camps, to walking and fly-in safaris. We also include safaris for families with children, principally in Malawi, Namibia and Botswana.

Along with exciting game drives and treks through the wilderness, our adventures also provide for luxury tenting safaris that provide a truly up-close experience with the flora and fauna of Africa. Take a look at the Signature Safaris website by clicking here, for more on what we have to offer; additionally, feel free to contact a member of our team by calling 01342 811787. You can also take a look at our ‘Who We Are’ section for more on Mr. Simon Lacey, who heads this division of our business. Take a look at some exciting pictures below of travels in such a beautiful and scenic Africa.


Pictures courtesy of Wilderness Safaris.

Seve Ballesteros by Ernie Els

Seve Ballesteros

Ernie Els writes: “It’s hard to put into words what Seve meant to everyone in golf and it’s impossible to measure his contribution to the game.

“Steve was such an iconic figure and really the flag bearer for European golf over many years. He opened up so many doors for Europe’s players by winning all over the world and particularly in America. It’s fair to say that the European Tour would not be what it is today without him.

Seve was my hero when I was growing up. I loved everything about him – the way he looked, the way he played the game, his passion and his fighting spirit.

“What a man!

“As the years went by I modelled so much of my game on him. So for me to then fulfill my dreams and be able to compete with Seve was a privilege.

“Our match in the 1994 World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth was perhaps my standout memory of the many times we played together.

“It was a great match, an unforgettable day and I felt honoured that I was able to share centre stage with him. He was a fierce competitor, a great winner and, on the days when his massive talent and big heart just weren’t quite good enough, a gracious loser, too.

“He was so kind and said some very nice things to me and to my dad that day at Wentworth back in 1994.

I was lucky enough to call Seve a great friend, but for anyone who loved golf and sport he was a great man, a proud man and a great champion. We will all miss Seve.

Ernie Els tribute to the great Seve Ballesteros

Our first post!

Golf Escapes starts blogging!!

So many of you have asked for regular updates….

So here it is….the new Golf Escapes blog.  We’ll be updating this page regularly with offers, news and general ideas concerning the wonderful world of golf travel.

If anyone has anything particular you’d like to hear about, please let us know.

Jon Ruben