GolfWowPhoto is on holiday: we meet again in late August!
GolfWowPhoto is on holiday: we meet again in late August!
Sir Rocco Forte, a keen sportsman with a lifelong passion for golf, was inspired to create his Hotels’ first golf Resort. He appointed leading golf architect, Kyle Phillips, to create this golf centre master plan.
Phillips was honoured to be entrusted with this unique opportunity to set new standards for a links experience in a warmer climate than the traditional British Coastal courses. Despite both tracks being built to the same standard, and occupying similar ground, the East and West courses provide alternate journeys for golfers to enjoy. Both start beside an internal practice range, the West has a more out and back arrangement with a long stretch of consecutive holes on the front nine but a stirring four hole seaside finale. The East, by contrast, enjoys a two loop routing that changes direction more frequently, its 18th hole is played right alongside the cliffs but the rest of the closing stretch is set on higher, tumbling ground.
The Phillips routing is probably the highlight of the entire golfing component at Verdura. The property enjoys nearly 2 kilometres of beach frontage and it would have been easy to build one course along the coastline and have the other away from the sea. There was plenty of natural undulation through the deceptively spacious interior, however, and Phillips wisely chose to spread the best holes, and best terrain, across both courses, giving each a tremendous seaside closing run and an exciting central area that touches the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The resultant journey, which twice takes golfers to the sea and back again, is richly rewarding here, particularly on the more diverse East Course.
The West Course actually incorporates more coastal land, but a number of its early holes stretch consecutively along the eastern boundary and a few fairways are a touch tight given the exposed nature of the site. The beachside holes are its star attraction, golfers get theirfirst glimpse of the sea at the 8th and 9th before returning for a four hole encore at the 15th. It’s these final four holes with their uninterrupted views that really steal the show. The 16th and 18th are beautiful two shotters, the 18th routed right along the shoreline, while the 15th and 17th are short holes dominated by watery backdrops. There are other standouts as well, including the strategic par five 4th and the strong par four 5th, with its rousing approach played partly across a pronounced natural depression. The first coastal hole, the two shot 8th, is also terrific.
The more undulating East Course is an equally memorable place for golf. Its finishing holes don’t quite have the glamour of the West’s and the front nine par fives that link the central area to the southern beach holes are a little underwhelming, but there are more directional changes here and plenty of design surprises as well. Highpoints include the short par four 3rd, early water holes at the 5th and 6th, each with stunning outlooks, the intimidating ridgetop par three 12th and the semi sunken 13th green. From the 13th the course turns seaward, both the 14th and 15th are long holes that plummet across glorious linksy ground while the 16th is a delicious short hole played into a wickedly shallow target. The finishing duo are also really strong; the penultimate hole rising gently into the foot of a Sicilian hillside, and the fabulous par four closer crashing from an elevated tee right along the craggy coastline.
Although its dramatic seaside holes are likely to live longest in your memory, the great thing about Verdura is how consistent the golf holes are across both courses and how fun and interesting the rolling fairways and greens play. Once the native grasses have fully established and the layouts have further matured, Verdura will fulfil Sir Rocco Forte’s ambitious aim and become continental Europe’s finest golf destination.
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The Cape Breton Highlands Links Golf Course is a public golf course that offers golfers a unique opportunity to experience golf on a course that experts rank among the top 100 worldwide. When you consider that there are 32,000 golf courses worldwide, it is easy to understand why those who have had the opportunity to experience and come to know Cape Breton Highlands Links – love it!
Designed and constructed under the direction of world-renowned golf course architect Stanley Thompson, Cape Breton Highlands opened in 1941 and is a fine example of one of the world’s best courses from the golden age of golf course design. The course is situated on one of Canada’s most unique settings located in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The National Park features every natural attribute imaginable and it is within this setting that Thompson routed the course to offer players a rare and unique combination of sea side and mountain holes that together, combine to produce a course deserving of it’s world class rating. The diversity of the holes and the uniqueness of the setting make Cape Breton Highlands a truly outstanding golfing experience.
” Every now and then I get a mean streak and like to fool the boys a little. But, I never hide any danger. It’s all out there for the golfer to see and study ” – Stanley Thompson
The layout is by far one of the most unusual of Thompson’s routings, and it is why this is possibly his very best. After he finalized his routing he made a decision of shear genius. He separated each unique area with a long walk. So why was this important? Because the course unfolds like a series of chapters from a great book, each chapter, or set of holes, has its own unique setting. When they are combined together they make for a wonderful journey through, or storey of, the local landscape.
Historically, Highlands Links celebrates the Celtic heritage of Cape Breton and Thompson himself christened each hole with a Scottish name.
Highlands Links – 247 Keltic Inn Road – Ingonish Beach, NS B0C 1L0 – Canada
The Twenty Ten Course
Built to stage The 2010 Ryder Cup, the first course to be built specifically for golf’s greatest team tournament, it measures a robust 7,493 yards off the back tees and has a par of 71.
With water hazards on half of its holes, the course has six signature holes and presents many more memorable tests and risk-and-reward dilemmas. One of the features of the spectacular new course is its variety with many of the earlier holes having a links-like feel with some long rough and greenside swales, before the middle section of the course reveals the full extent of the lake-lined challenge.
A tough finishing stretch culminates in a real sting in the tail at the 18th.
The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport, South Wales, UK. NP18 1HQ
Ballybunion Golf Course has a spectacular location off the west coast of Ireland. Located on the north west coast of County Kerry, on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find two wonderfully challenging and unique links golf courses at Ballybunion – the Old Course and the Cashen Course.
The Old Course (Est. 1893)
Length: Blue Tees 6,802 yards / White Tees 6,350 yards / Ladies Tees 5,459
Par: 71 Men / 74 Ladies
The Old Course exudes a majestic feel that simply cannot be compared to any other course on earth. With beautifully contoured fairways that tumble down through a blanket of grassy dunes, it’s no wonder these challenging holes have been consistently rated among the top courses in the world.
The Cashen Course (Est. 1984)
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Senior
Length: Blue Tees 6,306 / White Tees 5,997 / Ladies Tees5,031 yards
Par: 72 Men & Ladies
The Trent Jones Cashen Course, located along the sweeping, undisturbed shoreline, offers breathtaking views throughout. There is a wild look to the place. Long grass covers the dunes that pitch and roll throughout the course.
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Designed by the legendary Hall of Fame architect Pete Dye, Kohler’s four championship golf courses are all ranked among the best in the United States by the leading publications, and The American Club Resort is the only resort with four courses ranked in America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses for 2011/2012 by Golf Digest.
Melded into a river basin formed by the flows of glacial runoff, Blackwolf Run features courses which have hosted the U.S. Women’s Open and the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf and will host the U.S. Women’s Open again in 2012. Experience these extraordinary courses – ranked among the best in the country.
River course is one of the most challenging and scenic destinations in North America. GOLF Magazine says this course “must be considered the nation’s finest public-access course of modern times.”
Meadow Valleys Course
Professionals and amateurs of all skill levels can experience a day of golf like no other on the Meadow Valleys course. Described as both subtle and devilish, it winds through meadows and charges across ravines, reflecting the natural features of the Wisconsin terrain.
A throwback to the raw freshness of Ireland sculpted into the Wisconsin coastline, Whistling Straits offers two courses which have hosted the PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open and the Palmer Cup. Experience these two must-play courses – both ranked among the best in the United States.
Just inland from the great lake and interspersed by four meandering streams, the grassland-and-dunes aspect of the Irish is a deceivingly tranquil landscape. Both traditional and memorable, the Irish is full of unique challenges.
Open, rugged and windswept terrain defines the walking-only, links-style Straits Course sculpted along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. A masterpiece in the world of golf created by Pete Dye, Straits course at Whistling Straits was ranked # 3 in Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses for 2011/2012
The Course RSGC is considered as one of the masterpieces of Robert Trent Jones who chose this course as one of his five favorites from more than 500 courses he designed worldwide according to what he wrote in his book GOLF – THE MANIFICIENT CHALLENGE – published in 1988.
Officially opened in 1964 Sotogrande was the first course Trent Jones designed in Europe and is blessed with his design philosophy, which consists of building courses perfectly integrated with the natural surroundings which are a great challenge to the better players, but accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
Nothing describes better a round on Sotogrande than these words. It is a fascinating course for players of any level which retains all the natural beauty of the land on which it was built only 150 metres from the Mediterranean.
The course has a par of 72 and measures 6.304 metres. It offers long tees, wide fairways and elevated greens delicately moulded and very fast, which embody the biggest difficulty of the course. Of the 100 or so bunkers on the course 69 are placed around the greens which, warn the player to have great accuracy when attacking the pins. The variety of holes is another characteristic of Sotogrande, variety not only in shape and distances but in its vegetation: the mixture of cork oaks, pine trees, palm trees and an abundance of other species, provide the course with a wonderful personality and beauty.
A round of golf on Sotogrande is very well balanced. On the front 9 holes 4 and 7 will highlight good examples of the risk factor which Trent Jones rewards by asking the players to choose whether a hole should be a difficult par or an easy bogey. These can also be said of holes 13 and 15 on the back 9.
The quality of the course is very well reflected by the quality of the champions over a period of many years. Among others there are Severiano Ballesteros, Jose María Olazabal, Roberto de Vicenzo, Sergio García, Padraig Harrington or Rory Mc Ilroy.
Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande
Paseo del Parque
11310, Sotogrande Cádiz – España
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Royal Birkdale, one of Britain’s finest golf clubs, has been voted the No 1 course in Britain and is among the best in the world. The stunning coastal resort of Southport is the home of Royal Birkdale, for many golfers, the best of all the great golf courses to have staged The Open Championship.
The club has hosted the men’s championship nine times since 1954, most recently in July 2008 and has hosted the women’s tournament five times, latterly in 2010. Previous winners of the Open at Royal Birkdale are Pádraig Harrington, Mark O’Meara, Ian Baker-Finch, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson (twice). Royal Birkdale has also hosted the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup, and the Curtis Cup and will host the Senior Open Championship in 2013.
Founded as Birkdale Golf Club in 1889, the club was awarded “Royal” status in 1951. Birkdale Golf Club moved to a new site in Birkdale Hills in 1894 and built a new distinctive art deco clubhouse in 1935. In 1946, the club hosted its first big championship in The Amateur Championship, won by Irishman James Bruen. During the immediate post-war era, the club also hosted the 1948 Curtis Cup, in which the United States team were victorious, and the 1951 Walker Cup, which also fell into the hands of the United States. With these successful stagings of important events, Royal Birkdale was felt to be ready for its first Open Championship in 1954 and the club has been on the Open rota ever since.
Three generations of the Hawtree family of golf course architects have worked on the course. Frederick G. Hawtree and champion golfer J.H. Taylor are the two people most responsible for the current routeing, following the valleys between the very large dunes which dominate the property. The arrangement makes for excellent spectator conditions during major events. Frederick W. Hawtree, the son of Frederick G, performed some modifications in the 1960s and in 1993 Martin Hawtree, son of Frederick W., improved and modernised the layout further, with all 18 of the club’s greens being completely rebuilt, to improve turf and drainage following the 1991 Open Championship. Only relatively minor tweaking, such as the addition of a few new bunkers and back tees, has been deemed necessary in advance of the last two Open Championships.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club Waterloo Rd Southport PR8 2LX
At Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, where the Pacific Ocean meets the rugged shoreline of the Southern Oregon Coast, four distinct courses await you.
The game of golf was born on rugged, wind-swept land just like this. Every hole, every hazard, every shot is defined by nature’s infinite presence. As the elements change, so does the game. It’s all part of the tradition of links golf. Lies are tight and conditions are lean. Bounce and roll are a much better measure of quality than color. Mastery of the ground game becomes a more important skill than raw power. The ingenious and inventive player is rewarded with multiple options on nearly every shot. Amongst the massive dunes and hearty pines, you’ll discover golf in its purest state. Where nature is embraced, not conquered. And where the traditions of a time-honored game yield to an experience unlike any other.
It began in 1999 with the opening of Bandon Dunes. Designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, the course is perched on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean. Bandon Dunes unfolds along pristine native dunes where expansive ocean views are revealed on nearly every hole. The course is completely natural and routed through an environment of indigenous vegetation. Beyond breathtaking scenery lies the game of golf in its truest form. This is a thinker’s course. Winds are ever-present, and the varying elements create a new experience each time you play.
Perhaps Golf Odyssey summed it up best: “it is here, on this remote stretch of the wildly stunning Oregon coast, where the finest golf courses in the whole world quietly await you.”
Imagine rolling hills, sandy dunes, a stiff breeze blowing off the Ayrshire coast. Before designer courses, before manicured greens and major championships, these lands inspired local Scots to play the game of golf. Beloved since its first formal course was built in 1901, Turnberry’s fairways have been shared by the game’s elite and casual enthusiasts from around the globe. Even the conversion of its links to runways during two world wars could not diminish the desire to play here, a place made for golf, where countless competitions have been waged that shall never be forgotten.
Beautiful in sun, exacting in cold and wind, Turnberry’s three courses are both part of golf’s legacy and part of its future. A round on The Ailsa, The Kintyre or The Arran is the kind of extraordinary experience that changes a player, professional or amateur.
Named after the third Marquess of Ailsa, who owned the land on which it was built, this par-70, 7,211-yard championship course is one of golf’s storied places. Home to four Open Championships, Ailsa has shaped some of the most remarkable moments in the tournament’s history.
Its first three holes pose a fairly tough opening, particularly when the wind blows from the direction of its namesake, the brooding isle of Ailsa Craig, 11 miles out to sea. From the 4th to the 11th, the coastal scenery is magnificent and the course is demanding. Commanding a passage of stout hitting throughout, the 5th to the 8th holes are framed by sandy hillocks, while the9th, 10th and 11th are flanked by craggy rocks.
On its stony ridge on the edge of the sea, the 9th hole is Turnberry’s trademark. The landmark lighthouse casts shadows over the 13th century ruins of Bruce’s Castle, the reputed birthplace of Scotland’s hero king Robert the Bruce, and the narrow path to the tee and the drive across the corner of the bay fills players with trepidation.
The 17th, named Lang Whang, is the only par 5 on the course. A short but challenging hole, its subtle contours slightly obstruct each shot-characteristic of the trickery of Turnberry. On the 18th, with the red-roofed hotel in sight to distract, gorse running down the right side and small dunes peeking up just enough to block your view of the landing zone, finding the fairway is even more difficult.
The draw of that experience will keep golfers returning here, to Turnberry, forever.