FREE BEER SETS THE PACE AT PALMARES

Golfers at Palmares Beach & Golf Resort, in the Algarve, raised a collective glass after winning an important battle in the war on slow play.

The stunning five-star resort in Lagos, which boasts 27 holes, is keen to make its latest tournament –Eradicate Slow Play – a regular event after a successful debut.

As well as introducing the new R&A rules and recommendations, which are designed to speed up play, the philosophy behind the event was embraced by the participants – spurred on by some radical local rules to act as an extra temptation to complete the nine holes of Texas Scramble as quickly as possible.

One incentive in particular – the prospect of free beer in the clubhouse up until one and hour and 45 minutes after the shotgun start – certainly did the trick for the winning team from the UK as they toasted their success.

It meant Brad Walker, Steve Smith and Derek Sanders – with an average age of 62 – enjoyed an hour of quenching their collective thirst with complimentary hospitality after tearing round nine holes in just 45 minutes. Although their score was immaterial, it was still impressive as they posted a one-under-par gross total, while their nearest challengers joined them at the bar just a few minutes later after posting times of 50 and 55 minutes respectively.

Aside from other incentives of replacing all lost balls with a brand new sleeve, the threat of punishment also served its purpose with one-shot penalties handed out for: searching for lost balls, practice swings, hitting provisional balls or reading greens from both sides.

The resort’s operations director, António Pinto Coelho, believes the tournament will now become a fixture at the multi award-winning course, which was extensively redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Jnr in 2011.

He said: “It was a big success. Everyone got into the spirit – especially with a complimentary shot of Medronho before the start. It was just a great time and got back to golf being fun.

“Most people said playing faster made them have more fun and didn’t affect the final score – not that the score mattered for this tournament.

“Seeing some of the participants in their 70s running between shots was quite a sight and we’ve already had many requests to repeat the experience. It will be back again in the near future and perhaps we will come up with a few extra local rules to enjoy!”

www.onyriaresorts.com | www.onyriapalmares.com | www.onyriabeachhousehotel.com

LA MANGA CLUB TO HOST NEW EUROPEAN CRICKET CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Spain’s prestigious La Manga Club has been selected as the official venue partner for the eagerly-awaited new European Cricket League (ECL), which will launch this summer and has been hailed as cricket’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.

The famous sports and leisure resort will host the event for the next three years, with the inaugural tournament taking place in Murcia, south-east Spain, from July 29-31.

Played over 17 matches in a T10 format, ECL 19 will feature the domestic champions of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia and Spain competing for the chance to be crowned as Continental Europe club cricket’s ‘Kings of Europe’.

And interest in the new competition is set be huge, with all the games being televised live in Europe and India across a combination of broadcast, digital and social channels to 160-plus countries and an estimated audience of more than 142m people. 

Nick Montgomery, general manager at La Manga Club, said: “The European Cricket League is a fantastic new initiative, and we’re thrilled to be playing such an important part in helping to launch such an exciting project. 

“The facilities that we can offer cricket teams are on a par with some of the best in the world, and partnering with this new competition will give us the opportunity to showcase the resort to a truly global audience.” 

La Manga Club is widely-known as the home of cricket in Spain and features an outstanding range of first-class cricket facilities ideal for hosting teams and staging tournaments – including the continent’s only European Cricket Performance Centre. 

ECL 19 will feature sides from Dreux (France), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Svanholm (Denmark), Bremen (Germany), St. Petersburg (Russia), Brescia (Italy) and Cluj (Romania). Teams will be split into two groups of four with matches being played on a round-robin basis, with the top two from each progressing to contest the semi-finals and final. 

The first league will be limited to eight champion clubs from official ICC member federations, but event organisers plan to increase the number of qualified teams in the coming years. 

Daniel Weston, founder of the European Cricket League, and who plays for the German national cricket team, said: “We are delighted to have La Manga Club on board as the official venue partner for the Champions League of cricket in Europe. 

“Featuring southern Europe's best cricket facilities, the resort is the perfect destination for cricket fans and champion clubs to combine world-class cricket and entertainment in equal measure. 

“There has never been a European-wide league of this nature and it’s our desire to make the ECL the flagship competition in Continental Europe. The team behind the league has vast experience of organising and promoting events of this nature to a global broadcast audience, and we can’t wait to get started.” 

La Manga Club’s European Cricket Performance Centre has been designed to help international teams, counties, schools and colleges, as well as assisting with the development of players and coaches. Its extensive facilities include six first-class grass pitches and two artificial wickets on two existing grounds, plus 23 grass and five artificial net lanes – all with 25-yard run-ups.  

In addition, there are also specialist grass fielding, catching and wicket-keeping areas and, with the final phase of the centre having been completed this winter with its new grass pitches now fully bedded in, La Manga Club is already attracting significant interest with Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire all confirmed to visit ahead of the start of the new season. 

Also the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association, La Manga Club’s unrivalled other facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm Wellness Centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and more than 15 bars and restaurants.  

For more information on the European Cricket League, please visit www.ecl.cricket/league

COSTA NAVARINO PARTNERS WITH AZALEA

The multi-award-winning Costa Navarino, in Greece, has appointed Azalea to spearhead its global golf and sports PR, and to support the destination in its enhanced guest offering.

Two-time Masters champion and Ryder Cup legend José María Olazábal was recently announced as the designer of two new golf courses at Navarino Hills, which will open for play in 2021.

The new Olazábal designs will take the Costa Navarino golf offering to an impressive four layouts, alongside The Dunes Course – designed by Bernhard Langer together with European Golf Design – and The Bay Course, created by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Further developments at the destination will upgrade the sporting facilities, with an emphasis on tennis, alongside the opening of a unique, sustainable earth-sheltered clubhouse at The Bay Course, which will add further drive to Azalea’s mission for worldwide recognition for the destination.

One of the world’s most sustainable destinations, Costa Navarino is renowned for its pristine coastal location, breathtaking landscape, cultural heritage, luxury hospitality and real estate. A commitment to the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility exist throughout its operation, as well as a desire to promote the entire region of Messinia, while protecting and preserving both its natural beauty and heritage.

Luke Frary, Azalea account director, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity for us to communicate Costa Navarino across the marketing spectrum in order to heighten its status within European and global markets, and to spread the word about the unique proposition that the destination has to offer.”

www.costanavarino.com

RBH DOMIN-EIGHTS IN NEW GOLF WORLD RANKING  

All eight RBH-managed golf resorts have made it into Golf World’s new top 100 GB&I ‘Ultimate Stay-and-Play’ venues – with Slaley Hall, pictured, named England’s fourth best resort.

The Hexham, Northumberland venue was 24th in the list, with Aldwark Manor, York, also creeping into the top 50 at 46. Oulton Hall, Leeds, was 58th, Belton Woods, in Grantham, was ranked 62nd and Forest Pines – now rebranded as DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa & Golf Resort – in Broughton, Lincolnshire, was a further three places back.

Norwich’s Dunston Hall was 76th, Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Golf Resort was ranked 81st, while the Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, in Shropshire, was 88th. It’s an outstanding success for the group, which has more resorts in the top 100 than any other hotel group.

And Alan Foley, RBH’s director of golf and spa sales, was quick to praise staff at the resorts for their consistently high levels of performance.

He said: “What is a fabulous success for RBH is down to the hard work and dedication of every member of our resort teams, from the general managers down to the part-time workers. Their attention to detail and helpful ‘can-do’ attitude has been rewarded with all eight of our resorts in the top 100. It’s a fabulous feat and we thank them all for their commitment to the group ethos.”

As the largest golf resort operator in the UK, RBH – the UK’s leading independent hotel management company – manages eight championship and tournament golf courses across the UK, in a diverse collection of more than 70 branded and private-label hotel properties.

www.rbhmanagement.com

ALCANADA ENERGISED BY NEW SOLAR TECHNOLOGY

Club de Golf Alcanada is basking in the glow of a new solar-powered link-up with one of the world’s leading environmental technology companies, DAS Energy GmbH.

The stunning golf course in Mallorca has teamed up with the Austrian company and fitted state-of-the-art, flexible solar panels to all of its buggies to harness the sun’s power and further reduce the club’s carbon footprint.

It’s the latest progressive step for the club and the solar panels will increase the range of the buggy by up to 35 percent before it needs recharging, while battery life will be extended by up to 2 years with the lightweight roof additions. The module’s biggest advantage is the light weight of 5.7kg which is realised through high-tech compound materials. As a positive result, the buggy’s centre of gravity is not negatively influenced.

Director of golf at Club de Golf Alcanada, Kristoff Both said: “We all need to be more conscious about the environment and it is always at the forefront of our thoughts at Alcanada. DAS Energy is a professional company with a great product and we were keen to get involved with them. We are really pleased with the end result and it was a quick and easy installation process.

“As a club, we have eliminated the use of plastic straws, we will introduce bee hives to unused areas of the course and we will also be installing charging points for electric cars in the near future. They may seem like small changes but it all adds up and can make a real difference to the bigger picture.

“In Mallorca, the law states all golf courses must already use recycled water for irrigation but we are hoping others will follow our lead and look at some of the other ways to reduce our impact on the environment.”

DAS Energy’s innovative panels can be installed on the existing roof of almost any golf buggy on the market without the need for any special tools and the fiberglass-reinforced plastic modules are durable and robust.

Alcanada, the only layout on the Balearic island that is next to the sea, boasts stunning views of Alcudia Bay and iconic lighthouse from which the Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course takes its name.

And it’s the latest investment in the future for the Mallorcan favourite, which will undertake an ambitious renovation project to all its greens this winter as part of a stunning €600,000 revamp.

Porsche-owned Alcanada, a member of the prestigious World of Leading Golf collection, is home to a centuries-old Mallorca clubhouse, which offers guests the opportunity to sample regional specialties in its first-class dining facilities on a sun-baked terrace that enjoys spectacular views.

www.golf-alcanada.com

EARLY SUCCESS FOR DUBLINER IN RACE TO QUINTA DO LAGO

Dubliner Peter Early saw off the challenge of 23 other golfers from across Europe to emerge victorious in Clubs to Hire’s Race to Quinta do Lago.

The competition – in association with Quinta do Lago, Irish Golfer magazine and retailer American Golf – was open to all golfers who held an official and regulated golfing union (or similar) handicap. And Early, a member at Royal Dublin GC, was one of more than 110 golfers to reduce their handicap by the desired 10 per cent before the end of September.

Those names were entered into a draw to determine the 24 grand finalists – from five different countries – who enjoyed a complimentary stay at the prestigious Portuguese resort.

The 53-year-old, who works for Aer Lingus, said: “This event was an inspiration for me to try to reduce my handicap. I started the year at 4.0 and managed to get my handicap down to 2.6. Even on days where I was not playing well and heading for a point one back, the thought of a trip to Quinta do Lago was very appealing and kept me focused. I look forward to competing again in 2019.”

As a reward for his endeavours, Early returned to Dublin the proud owner of a new TaylorMade M4 driver, while the prize for all 24 finalists included 18 holes on the Laranjal  course at Quinta do Lago, a night’s accommodation at the four-star Magnolia Golf & Wellness Hotel, complimentary club hire courtesy of Clubs to Hire, a gala dinner and prizegiving at the renowned Bovino restaurant, use of the practice range and complimentary buggies.

Clubs to Hire co-founder, Tony Judge, said: “The event was a great success and we were able to witness some very good golf. It was heartening to hear the really positive comments from the finalists who clearly really enjoyed the experience – and the opportunity to play on a world-renowned golf course.”

“We had more than over 3,000 entries of which 110 hit their target. The event is very much aimed at golfers who are keen to reduce their handicap and improve their overall game. We and our partners look forward to making the 2019 version bigger and better.”

Clubs to Hire handles more than 300,000 annual visits to its website and more than 80,000 bookings for rental clubs at 28 locations worldwide, including popular golfing regions in the USA, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and five countries across the Mediterranean, offering the latest clubs on the market, from leading brands such as TaylorMade, Callaway and Mizuno – for men and women, left- or right-handed – from just €35 per week, a potential saving of up to €125, with none of the hassle.

www.clubstohire.com

HIRES TO YOU MESSRS ROBINSON ...

A new scheme from Europe’s largest golf club rental business has already secured its first ‘partner’ … just days after its official launch.

Clubs to Hire, which has grown year on year since its launch in 2010, is recruiting partner businesses – or entrepreneurial individuals – to act as agents in a number of popular golfing locations. And the first ‘partner’ is Robinson Club Agadir, in Morocco, which will service exclusively that region of the North African country.

Robinson Club Agadir is a five-star resort which offers preferred rates at five nearby golf clubs – the 36-hole Golf Du Soleil; the 27-hole Les Dunes; the 27-hole Golf De L’Océan Agadir; Tazegzout; and Royal Golf Agadir, which possesses nine holes – with green fees bookable at the resort, while it also offers a shuttle service to each of the courses from the resort.

Clubs to Hire’s co-founder, Tony Judge, believes the new ‘lease and rent’ scheme it is now offering to potential partners provides a great opportunity to be part of one of the golf industry’s most positive stories.

He explained: “We had only just finalised the small print of the scheme when the Robinson Club Agadir said they wanted to be part of it. We had mentioned previously what we were looking to do, but only in passing. Yet they jumped at the opportunity to have exclusive rights over a territory.

“That merely confirms to us we really do have something special to offer potential partners. You always like to think you do, but it takes somebody else to show the same faith in the product that you have yourself.

“Quite simply, the scheme sees partners lease sets of clubs from Clubs to Hire and rents them to its customers in its exclusive territory. We promote the partnership on the Clubs to Hire website and booking engine and that individual, or company, is, effectively, Clubs to Hire for that region. And they get to keep 100 per cent of the revenue they generate for themselves locally.”

He added: “Since Clubs to Hire launched in 2010 it has seen consistent growth for eight consecutive years and has spawned Clubs to Buy and Clubs to Lease. At a time when much of the news around golf consists of courses closures and a fall in participation it’s great that people out there are demonstrating they want to be part of a success story in the golf industry.

“And we have many more territories we’d like to expand into if we can find the right partners.”

Clubs to Hire handles more than 300,000 annual visits to its website and more than 80,000 bookings for rental clubs at 28 locations worldwide, including popular golfing regions in the USA, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and five countries across the Mediterranean, offering the latest clubs on the market, from leading brands such as TaylorMade, Callaway and Mizuno – for men and women, left- or right-handed – from just €35 per week, a potential saving of up to €125, with none of the hassle.

CHERVÒ GOES FULL THROTTLE WITH NEW COLLECTION

Chervò has drawn unique inspiration from the diverse world of bikers and Tibet for its exciting autumn/winter 2018/19 collection.

The leading Italian luxury golf and leisure apparel company has launched the latest range, which underlines their progressive design and adds to the growing reputation of the brand in the UK, which is already among the most established in continental Europe.

The men’s collection features the colour moods more commonly associated with bikers, using steel and leather among the shades, while the women’s collection has adopted both vibrant and softer palettes, which can be found among traditional Tibetan tribes.

But while traditions are acknowledged, Chervò underlines its incredible versatility to be worn on the golf course and for everyday life, with premium quality and cutting-edge technology in the wide selection of stylish designs.

Peter Erlacher, who co-founded Chervò along with brother Manfred, said: “Comfort always remains at the forefront of our minds, using stretch qualities as base fabrics, or as stretch inserts in strategic spots.

“But at Chervò, we also like to challenge a few traditions with our designs and take golf and leisure fashion in a new direction with our innovation.”

Chervò’s high-tech, patented technology and performance materials have been translated expertly into golf with DRY-MATIC®, SUN-BLOCK®, AQUA-BLOCK® and WIND-LOCK® items, which guarantee its garments stand up to the toughest of weather conditions.

CHELSEA FOUNDATION SOCCER SCHOOL PROVES A HIT AT LA MANGA CLUB

Chelsea have made a flying start to the new Premier League season and this has been mirrored at Spain’s La Manga Club, with the club’s new Chelsea FC Foundation Soccer School having been hailed as a resounding success in its inaugural year. 

Around 250 boys and girls from the UK and Europe flocked to the world-famous sporting resort in Murcia to take part in the academies this summer, with a great blend of ages from six to 16 represented. 

Due to the success, an extended range of dates for the 2019 Chelsea soccer schools have now been finalised at La Manga Club next year from July 1-27 and from August 19-31, 2019.

Eduardo Ruiz, La Manga Club’s sports general manager, said: “The Chelsea Foundation academies are going really well and we’ve been delighted with the response that we’ve had.  

“The quality of the coaching on offer is second to none and this has been reflected in the popularity of the academies. The number of children taking part has been growing every week and the opportunity to be associated with one of the top football clubs in the world is something that really appeals to our guests.  

“The soccer schools really embrace what La Manga Club is all about – the chance to play sport to the best of your ability while having fun at the same time – and we can’t wait to welcome more up-and-coming footballers of all ages to the resort in 2019.” 

The Chelsea FC Foundation soccer school offers youngsters the chance to train using the same methods the Chelsea Foundation employs around the world. 

Open to boys and girls between the ages of six and 16, the school includes up to three hours’ daily training from the Foundation’s team of expert coaches, with all participants receiving an official Chelsea Foundation Nike training kit of a shirt, shorts and socks. Prices for the 2019 schools start from €295 (approx £260) per person for a week-long training programme.  

Boasting extensive facilities including eight Fifa-approved grass pitches, the resort is a popular choice as a destination for domestic and international teams seeking a warm-weather football training break. 

In addition, La Manga Club is the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and offers unrivalled facilities as a sports and leisure destination including three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm Wellness Centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and more than 15 bars and restaurants.  

For more details on the Chelsea FC Foundation Soccer School at La Manga Club  and to book, go to https://lamangaclub.com/en/chelsea-fc-foundation-soccer-school  

For further information about La Manga Club, visit www.lamangaclub.com

Youngsters having been having fun with Chelsea at La Manga Club

Youngsters having been having fun with Chelsea at La Manga Club

APARTHOTEL COMPLETES EL PRAT HOTEL OFFERING

One of Spain’s most prestigious golf clubs has made it easier for visitors to enjoy its Tour-proven facilities by partnering with a hotel just five minutes away by complimentary shuttle.

Real Club de Golf El Prat, which has available a number of stay-and-play packages with various hotels, has added the contemporary three-star Aparthotel Attica21 Vallés to its already impressive portfolio of partners in and around the sophisticated city of Barcelona.

The location of the Aparthotel Attica21 Vallés, just a five-minute shuttle ride from the clubhouse, affords a resort feel to Real Club de Golf El Prat, while its 96 fully equipped and furnished modern, comfortable and competitively priced apartments provide an ideal accommodation base for groups wishing to enjoy the freedom afforded by close proximity to both course and city.

Marcello Della Vecchia, director of sales and marketing at El Prat, said: “Partnering with Aparthotel Attica21 Vallés offers many benefits for visitors; not least its competitive pricing and its location, which gives the golf club a resort feel.

“We are now in an enviable position of having a wide choice of highly rated accommodation partners offering preferred rates at our golf course.”

Packages at Aparthotel Attica21 Vallés start at just €225 per person, for two nights’ B&B, with two green fees, based on two sharing a double room.

The additional option of Aparthotel Attica21 Vallés means stay-and-play packages for visitors to El Prat can now be booked at three-, four- and five-star hotels in and around Barcelona.

Five-star options include The Serras, a luxurious boutique hotel, the Majestic Hotel & Spa, and the Gran Hotel La Florida Hotel, while the equally popular Hotel Sant Cugat offers a four-star alternative – all within easy reach of the golf club and city centre.

Dating back to 1912, El Prat is one of the oldest courses in Spain and remains one of only a small number of clubs to have been granted royal status, hosting more than 250 national and international championships, including the Spanish Open on 10 occasions. It has also played host to some of the biggest names in golf, including home legends Severiano Ballesteros and José Maria Olazábal, eight-time Major winner Tom Watson and European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn.

Set across the 518-acre estate of BonVilar – just 35 minutes from the centre of Barcelona – El Prat makes clever use of its 45 Greg Norman-designed holes, over an exciting, varied mix of five highly acclaimed courses: the Open, Blue, Yellow, Pink – ranked the fourth best course in Spain by Golf Digest magazine – and Green. It also offers a modern and lively clubhouse and top-quality practice facilities, including a 300m driving range and a host of specialist short-game areas.

www.realclubdegolfelprat.com

Real Club de Golf El Prat is one of Spain’s oldest clubs

Real Club de Golf El Prat is one of Spain’s oldest clubs