Golf Travel 2007 Review
By Peter Hellman
2007 was a busy year for the Classic GOLF Tours team. Part of that business involved travel. To become experts on golfing opportunities around the world, we must occasionally push away from our desks; grab a flight and hit the links in some far flung part of the planet. It's tough duty, but someone has to do it. Now that we are back behind our desks again, here are some of the highlights, experiences and reflections from our team about these golf junkets.
Ireland - Neil MacKinnon
I visited the Dublin area in April and played two courses at Druids Glen (Heath and Glen). I also played Royal Dublin, a great old course with a strong links style. Just 14 miles west of Dublin is my new favorite place to stay & play. The Carton House, an 18th century renovated estate sitting on 1700 spectacular acres, has two impressive courses - the O'Meara and the Montgomerie. I also visited Dromoland Castle, an 11th century castle updated to appeal to today's luxury traveler. With it's onsite championship course, it is also one of my favorites and conveniently close to the Shannon airport. My last stop was Greg Norman's exciting Doonbeg Resort. Fabulous is my word for this place. The resort has one of Ireland's best courses and some of its most comfortable lodges.
England's Golf Coast - Dave Barela & Peter Hellman
Dave and I barely had time for a pint between rounds at the three British Open course and other hidden gems near Liverpool. Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Birkdale (our favorite and site of the 2008 British Open) were every bit as terrific as advertised. Other gems such as Formbys and the S & A stand out as well. The northwest coast of England has many fine courses, great accommodations and fewer golfers competing for prime tee times. Due to its location, the warming Gulf Stream makes playing golf in early April comfortable and fun. To play Royal Birkdale this year, go in March or April. Otherwise, you will have to wait until after the Open.
Wales - Neil MacKinnon
"Wales, golf as it should be." "World class golf at reasonable prices." "Easy access by rail or car from London Heathrow or Liverpool/Manchester." These are things to remember about golf in Wales. Great golf courses abound in Wales and three of the best are at The Celtic Manor in Newport. The 2010 Course, site of the 2010 Ryder Cup, the Roman Road Course and the Montgomerie Course are great tracks at reasonable prices. Near Cardiff is the Marriott St. Pierre with its championship Old Course. This too is a great stay & play location. I also recommend Royal Porthcawl located just outside of Cardiff. It's a true links course that rivals anything in Scotland or Ireland. To the northwest is Royal St. Davids. It has one of the most spectacular backdrops for a golf course anywhere. Further north, you'll find Conwy and Bull Bay. I recommend visiting Wales before the 2010 Ryder Cup hype increases visitors and prices.
Argentina - Peter Hellman
There aren't many places in the world where the dollar is strong, fabulous golf is inexpensive, steak is as available and priced as MacDonald's hamburgers and fine wine cost about as much as a six pack of Coors. I love this place! Ten days and six rounds of golf around Buenos Aires and Patagonia convinced me that Argentina's is a golfer's paradise. The British/Scottish influence on golf course design is most apparent around Buenos Aires. Clubs such as the Jockey Club, Los Olivos, Buenos Aires Golf Club and San Andres Golf Club (translation: St. Andrews Golf Club) are fabulous examples of the United Kingdom's influence on club house and course design. In Patagonia, land of "gauchos" (local cowboys), rugged snow covered mountains and deep blue lakes, you will find more modern courses such as Arelauquen, Llao Llao and Jack Nicklaus' new course Chapelco. You may want to bring your fly rod too. The fishing is world class.
Cancun, Mexico - Jim Watts
I had a chance to explore Mexico's latest addition to its stable of fine golf courses in early December. Cancun has always had wonderful beaches, great hotels and world class resorts and restaurants, but great golf is something fairly new to this area. The Playacar Golf Club and Jack Nicklaus' Moon Palace Golf Resort are impressive and challenging additions to Cancun's golf scene.
Other destinations we visited this year include:
Jamaica - Jim Watts Florida - Jim Watts & Dave Barela Sweden - Peter Hellman Cabo San Lucas - Dave Barela Alabama Golf Trail - Dave Barela
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