Golf­ing Around the World

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Gabriella Bron­dani Images © Club Med

Golf cour­ses dot the world map, with spec­u­lar greens and fair­ways lur­ing many golfers. How­ever, hit­ting a lit­tle white ball for 18 holes is not the only ap­peal. Could the al­lure of golf be as much about the ex­cite­ment of travel as it is about the ac­tual sport?

Gian­luca Tucci from brand con­sul­tancy CN&CO and a mem­ber at the Jo­han­nes­burg Coun­try Club says, “My hand­i­cap is not nec­es­sar­ily some­thing to write home about. How­ever, golf af­fords me not merely an op­por­tu­nity to en­joy time out with my friends and to make busi­ness con­tacts, it sup­ports my love of travel. Whether it is tak­ing a trip with my golf bud­dies to the Gar­den Route where we are spoilt with beau­ti­ful cour­ses, or pack­ing my clubs and hit­ting the skies to ex­plore fair­ways on other con­ti­nents, there are lit­er­ally thou­sands of golf cour­ses I can en­joy.”

While some his­to­ri­ans claim golf orig­i­nated dur­ing the Song Dy­nasty in China be­tween 960 and 1279, a more widely held view is that today’s game can trace its ori­gins to mid1400’s Scot­land.

What­ever its an­ces­try, pas­sion for golf is found across the world, which makes it easy to use the game as an added in­cen­tive for travel.

Fa­mous Euro­pean cour­ses like St An­drews Links in Scot­land are etched in our minds. Many know St An­drews’ Old

Course ei­ther as play­ers or dur­ing tele­vised spec­ta­cles. But over the years iconic cour­ses such as St An­drews have

been ri­valled by newer up­starts wish­ing to lure am­a­teurs and pros alike.

Take, for ex­am­ple, the Els Club in Dubai, de­signed by South African golf­ing leg­end, Ernie Els, fondly known as Big Easy. Set in the desert and over­look­ing the sky­scrapers of this iconic city, the course is awe-in­spir­ing in both de­sign and main­te­nance. While the high cost and scarcity of wa­ter has af­fected many cour­ses in South Africa, in the desert state with, it seems, un­lim­ited wa­ter at its dis­posal, the course is an oa­sis.

In Por­tu­gal’s Al­garve there are breath­tak­ing cour­ses and re­sorts such as the Club Med Da Balaia, perched on a red cliff-top over­look­ing the At­lantic Ocean. In the coun­try’s Oi­tavos Dunes, you will find Quinta da Mar­inha, revered as one of the best cour­ses in Europe.

Com­bin­ing is­land hol­i­days with a round of golf is prov­ing pop­u­lar, says pro golfer, Gary Daoust: “Play­ing the Ka’ana­pali course in Maui, Hawaii, is spec­tac­u­lar. That be­ing said, any course in Hawaii gets my vote.”

With re­sorts such as Club Med Bin­tan Is­land in Sin­ga­pore ac­tively lur­ing the South African novice and am­a­teur golfer by to­tally re­vamp­ing its of­fer­ing and pro­vid­ing allinclu­sive golf­ing pack­ages, all the avid golfer needs to do is pitch up.

In South Africa, golf cour­ses can be found in the Kruger Park – where you have to watch your back for hip­pos, lit­er­ally. Cour­ses have also popped up all across the cityscapes, of­ten hid­den be­hind tall trees – just drive be­tween Jo­han­nes­burg and Pre­to­ria on the N1 and you pass dozens of cour­ses.

Olivier Han­naert, Club Med South­ern Africa MD, says, “One rea­son for mov­ing to South Africa was golf. I love play­ing golf in South Africa as there are so many op­tions. De­spite hav­ing played cour­ses in Por­tu­gal, Switzer­land, In­done­sia, Sene­gal, and more, South Africa’s golfers and cour­ses are some of the best. While trav­el­ling, I al­ways look for cour­ses that of­fer some­thing more than what I can find back home – and South Africa pro­vides that ten­fold over.”

With the di­ver­sity, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, and travel op­tions open to golfers, fol­low­ing that dim­pled lit­tle ball can hap­pen in most places on our ex­quis­ite planet Earth. So join the trav­el­ling golfers and see the world.

Club Med Da Balaia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.