SAY IT WITH FLOWERS AT PALHEIRO GOLF

Whether it’s just nine holes or the full-blown five-hour-plus round, it’s fair to say most golfers have experienced a spouse’s displeasure at not being available to do any number of essential duties because of golf.

But at Palheiro Golf, in Madeira, golfers can choose to take home a token of appreciation to be passed on to a loved one: a bunch of flowers, grown on the estate and freshly picked, to say ‘thanks for letting me play’.

The idea came to Palheiro Nature Estate director Jonathan Fletcher after he was chatting to a golfer who had completed a round at the resort while on holiday.

Fletcher explained: “He’d enjoyed his round – and a couple of beers afterwards – and then asked us ‘where is the nearest flower shop?’. His reason was that, as he’d left his partner alone for the afternoon, to wander around the streets of Funchal, he would say ‘thank you’ by buying her some flowers.

“Sometimes, without meaning to, we take people for granted. It’s such a simple gesture, but we all know how much a ‘thank you’ means from our nearest and dearest, whatever gender you are. So we’ve made available in the clubhouse some of our most attractive home-grown blooms.”

One of the easiest ways to enjoy golf at Palheiro is to purchase a Madeira Golf Passport, which offers five rounds of golf at Santo da Serra or Palheiro Golf. Plus, the courses will supply free transfers to and from your hotel. It costs just €360 per person, and is available to purchase from many hotel receptions or at any of the participating golf clubs.

The par-72, 6,656-yard (6,086m) course at Palheiro Golf – designed by Cabell B Robinson – is situated within the magnificent Palheiro Nature Estate, which is more than 200 years old. At nearly 1,640ft above sea level, the location enjoys dramatic views of Madeira’s mountainous skyline and the ocean, as well as – nestling below, just 10 minutes away – the island’s capital, Funchal.

The original course at Santo da Serra, dating from 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by Robert Trent Jones Snr, who created a new and spectacular 27-hole complex. The third and fourth holes of the Machico course are regarded as the signature holes, sitting atop cliffs more than 2,200ft above sea level, providing views of the bay of Machico, where Portuguese navigators first landed in 1419.

The 27-hole, Severiano Ballesteros-designed Porto Santo Golf is a short plane hop away on the island of the same name. The par-72, 7,036-yard (6,434m) course, which opened in 2004, comprises two distinct nines. The southern route – a US-style layout – is dotted with lakes, requiring a long and precise game; while the northern route is atop fantastic cliffs, near the stunning beach of the same name.

Madeira, also known as ‘the islands of eternal spring’, has a population of only 260,000. On the same latitude as Morocco, the Atlantic archipelago has a sub-tropical climate, a rich volcanic soil and a unique eco-system. It is one of the only places in the planet where banana trees grow next to vineyards.

In 1999 the archipelago was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and five areas have been declared nature reserves. The Madeira Nature Reserve covers a substantial two-thirds of the main island, where development is prohibited.

www.madeiraallyear.com

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT NEW FACILITY AT FOXHILLS

Foxhills’ ambitions to create the best practice facilities in Surrey have taken a giant leap forward as work nears completion on a state-of-the-art new short game area.

The historic Surrey resort already places huge emphasis on its coaching with a covered, floodlit driving range and putting greens. But the new facility is no minor undertaking at 3,500 square metres with two practice bunkers, synthetic hitting areas and a 650 square metre green at a cost stretching well into six figures.

The new short game practice facility is expected to be open for use in March 2019 and will also be floodlit to allow for evening practice and tuition but should all for some major improvements among the membership and visitors with chipping, pitching and bunker play now given an opportunity to flourish.

With the plans developed alongside renowned golf club architects Edwards Design International, work has taken place over the winter as the exciting plans become a reality.

And director of golf, Chris Fitt, believes the new facility will be the envy of clubs around the county.

Fitt said: “We wanted to elevate our practice facilities to another level and this is a vital component of that. We firmly believe this will make Foxhills the best practice facility in the county and will be really special when it’s completed.

“It’s been a long process to get to this point but it will be a stand-out feature when it’s completed.”

It’s the latest addition to Foxhills’ impressive golf offering with two 18-hole Championship courses and the par-three nine-hole Manor Course to choose from, as well as specific coaching programmes available to beginners and experts.

www.foxhills.co.uk       

SOUILLAC EARLY BOOKING OFFERS BEST-VALUE GOLF IN EUROPE

Tour operators can offer players the most affordable golf in Europe when staying at Souillac Golf & Country Club this spring and summer – with seven-night unlimited golf breaks available from just €140 per person. (net tour operator rate)

 

Souillac’s breathtaking location in France’s beautiful Dordogne Valley is matched by the unbeatable value the resort is offering to couples, families and groups over the coming months as part of its 2019 early booking offer, with accommodation prices starting from only €20 per person per night and flights (with Ryanair) from £43 per person.

 

Available until May 1, players can enjoy savings of up to 20 per cent and as much golf as they like on the resort’s 18-hole course – regarded as one of the best in the region - when booking a self-catering package on selected dates between April and November, with seven nights for a party of four (excluding flights) on offer from €560. (net tour operator rate)

 

All breaks include accommodation in one of the Souillac’s spacious and well-equipped two, three and four-bedroom lodges, located in nine hamlets with each benefitting from its own swimming pool, with breakfast and half-board packages also available.

 

In addition, guests can enjoy complimentary access to the venue’s wide variety of other sports and leisure facilities including a driving range, nine swimming pools, tennis, table tennis, boules and a children’s play area, while Souillac’s charming bar and brasserie ‘Restaurant du Golf’ is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the fairways.

 

Set in the heart of the beautiful Dordogne Valley in 60 hectares of magnificent countryside, Souillac Golf & Country Club is the ideal destination to combine a relaxing golfing break with the opportunity to discover the many historic, cultural and gastronomic delights of the region.

 

And getting to the resort couldn’t be easier with direct flights from the UK to five airports – including Brive, just a 15-minute drive away – as well as being easily accessed by the motorway straight from Calais.

www.souillaccountryclub.com

IRISH GOLFERS READY TO TAKE FLIGHT TO VERDURA RESORT

Discovering the many delights that Sicily’s exclusive Verdura Resort has to offer has never been easier for Irish golfers and families with the impending launch of a new flight route from Dublin to the largest island in the Mediterranean this spring.

From April 3, low-cost airline Ryanair will be operating a twice-weekly service from the Republic of Ireland’s capital into Palermo airport, just an 80-minute drive away from Verdura – regarded as one of Europe’s top five golf resorts.

Fares for the new route, which will run on Wednesdays and Sundays until the middle of October initially, start from just €35.08 per flight, leaving guests with more money to spend on taking advantage of the resort’s extensive choice of luxury sports and lifestyle facilities.

Antonio Castelo, director of golf at Verdura Resort, said: “There are few nations in the world that can match the appetite of people from Ireland when it comes to playing golf.

“Irish players young and old are renowned not only for their love of playing high-quality golf courses, but also having plenty of fun away from the fairways, and the new Dublin service will give us the opportunity to showcase Verdura Resort to a new audience over the coming months.”

Set in 230 hectares of stunning Mediterranean landscape on Sicily’s southern coast, Verdura Resort’s world-class golf facilities include an outstanding 18-hole championship course as well as a par-three nine-hole course, double-ended driving range and first-class academy and Performance Institute.

Located between Agrigento and the fishing city of Sciacca, an 80-minute drive from Trapani and Palermo airports, Verdura Resort features 203 rooms and suites, all with a sea view, including six villas which offer a perfect solution for family holidays, each with its own private swimming pool.

Away from the fairways, the resort offers an extensive array of other luxury sports and lifestyle facilities, while guests also have the opportunity to sample, on and off-site, a taste of the gastronomy, wine, history and culture that has made Sicily famous across the world.

https://www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/verdura-resort/

ALCANADA BANG ON COURSE WITH RENOVATION PROJECT

Club de Golf Alcanada is laying the foundations for a successful 2019 as their green renovation project gathers pace.

The ambitious renovation project is part of a €600,000 investment to further improve what is already considered by many to be Mallorca’s premier golf course.                                                     

The diggers and experts moved in at the start of December to relay all 18 greens with new bentgrass T1, a superior variety of seed used at famous clubs such as Valderrama and Golf National, in Paris, which hosted last year’s Ryder Cup.

Anticipation is now growing at the prospect of playing some of the finest new greens in Europe, which will see the Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course scale new heights when it reopens in March.

With the progress on schedule, the project is approaching the midway point. New irrigation and re-shaping has already been completed on some of the greens and the first batch of fresh turf – which has been grown and nurtured in Arévalo near Madrid – will arrive at Alcanada this week.

Director of golf at Club de Golf Alcanada, Kristoff Both said: “A lot of great work has been going on since the start of December and it is really taking shape now.

“It’s exciting and stressful at the same time. But we have a superb team of experts working on this and we are positive everyone will notice a huge improvement when the works are completed.”

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

MARCH IS TAYLORMADE FOR CLUBS TO HIRE CLIENTS

The new year saw the much-anticipated release of TaylorMade’s M6 range of drivers, fairways and hybrids – and Clubs to Hire (CTH) customers can rent them on golf breaks from March 1.

What’s more, with every M6 set rental at its Alicante, Faro, Lisbon, Malaga or Palma outlets, CTH will provide a complimentary sleeve of TaylorMade’s new, enhanced TP5 balls (worth €14.50).

TaylorMade has taken Twist Face to the next level of performance with the introduction of Speed Injected Twist Face technology in the M6, to maximise speed to the allowable limit.

A thinner, more flexible face is initially designed above the legal limit before going through the tuning process, a process in which resin is injected to ensure maximum speed for each head. A significant benefit of the thinner, faster face design is that it provides a faster off-centre COR, effectively increasing forgiveness.

CTH co-founder Tony Judge said: “These are excellent new clubs – and balls – and will prove immensely popular with our clients, as TaylorMade products always do. They will be available in our outlets from the beginning of March although we are already very busy taking bookings now.”

A rental set comprising M6 metal-woods and TaylorMade M6 irons costs from just £70 for a week’s rental, with both men’s and ladies’ versions available.

Clubs to Hire handles more than 300,000 annual visits to its website and more than 80,000 bookings for rental clubs at 29 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 €193, with none of the hassle.

www.clubstohire.com

HOTEL JARDÍN TROPICAL OFFERS WINTER ESCAPE ROUTE

Hotel Jardín Tropical is ready to provide a sizzling combination of hot deals, warm hospitality and the wall-to-wall Tenerife sunshine to tempt UK visitors to make their winter escape.

Situated in Costa Adeje in the south of the largest of the Canary Islands, the exclusive hotel overlooks the Atlantic Ocean with stunning views towards the neighboring island of La Gomera and benefits from Tenerife’s constant year-round sunshine and temperatures of around 23-25°c.

 There is a already plenty of temptation to visit the 390-room hotel, which underwent an extensive renovation and relaunched just over a year ago.

 But a winter special offer has seen FIT rates reduced by up to 42-per-cent as an added incentive to head for the sunshine.

 With the addition of The Club – a fabulous five-star experience with additiional features and exclusive hotel areas to further enhance any stay – it’s the perfect excuse to leave the UK weather behind for a few days.   

 Hotel Jardín Tropical’s extensive facilities include:

 • Outstanding dining options including: Laguna Food Market buffet restaurant, Burger & Crab poolside snacks and lighter lunches, Ugo & Vandino’s authentic Italian cuisine, Las Rocas Ocean Food & Beach Club for a fresh seafood in a wonderful sunset terrace and Churrasco Argentine Steak House with mouthwatering dishes and live music. 

• Lively bars or a more relaxing cocktail terrace.

• Open air gym with state-of-the-art equipment and incredible sea views.

• Two outdoor swimming pools – one filled directly from the sea daily – and easy beach access.

• Close proximity and reduced rates to play any of Tenerife’s outstanding golf courses.

• Tropical Wellness, Health And Beauty Centre includes: jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath and refreshing tropical showers as well as a wide range of massage and beauty treatments.

 For more details on Hotel Jardín Tropical, visit www.jardin-tropical.com