Back to normal life after the Ryder Cup!
Back to normal life after the Ryder Cup!
This day is officially my fav golf day ever!
Ryder Cup vibes...
While on vacation at the in-laws, I got to play this typical provencal course. And I must admit it was a pleasant surprise. I thought the course would be too hilly but it was much flatter than the other courses of the region. Greens were really impeccable despite the heat wave and the course is pleasant. The good shots are rewarded and the bads are penalized but overall I had a good time and will definitely play it again.
Last round of my trip around the world, Mayakoba was a course I really wanted to play. It was the 21st country I was playing in and it was a lot of fun! The facilities are top notch and my wife got to enjoy the pool while waiting for me! The staff is impeccable too. The course is extremely well maintained with a couple of the holes by the Caribbean sea and the 1st hole has a giant cenote in the middle of the fairway. I don't think strategy plays a role big enough to but 5 stars but I would def recommend anyone in the region to have a go at the course!
Snowy mountains, blue lakes, white sheeps and a nice sunny day in mid-april... can't get much better than this. From having a steak on the deck of the beautiful clubhouse to hitting your drive on the 15th (back tee) over a stonewall with mountains and lakes in the background, Jack's Point has it all. Very different than all the other courses I have played so far and one of my favorites. Also the most distant ever from home, so I made the most out of it! Definitely a place to visit (NZ South Island) and a course to play when in Queenstown!
After playing KC and CK, I did not expect this course to be that good! The clubhouse is not great, and I had to rent one of the worst set of clubs one could imagine. The fairways were not in great shapes and the round promised to be late and slow... and rainy! Yet, I had a fabulous time. The greens were as good as it gets, and the layout is just brilliant. It really reminded me one of these Irish/ Scottish courses were each approach shot has to be hit purposely or the ball won't hold on the green. I really am a sucker for this type of courses were strategy is more important than pure power, and I had a hell of a time playing Para!
Oh boy! One of the courses I had dreamed of playing ever since I started being interested in the game was Cape K. Thanks to Patrick, I even got the full VIP treatment. And I am going to sum it up quickly... It's one of the most fun rounds I have ever had. The layout is of course brilliant and the views are second to none. It is quite unique to play a hole with 100 meters drop on each side of the fairway and behind the green. Facilities, like at the sister's course Kauri Cliffs, are world class too! And on a side note, I got to take a few very nice drone shots!
Golfing in NZ... What a treat! Kicking off my NZ tour with Kauri Cliffs was definitely a treat! The course is absolutely stunning (some fairways were a bit sick, yet it did not change the overall feeling). The views from several holes (including 12 to 16 on the back 9) is absolutely spectacular and the layout is fantastic! The par 3 7th is one of the best yet most challenging holes one can ever play but if you were to lose one or a few balls here, just look at the ocean and all will be forgotten in a heartbeat. The clubhouse and facilities are truly spectacular too! Overall, a challenging and expensive course but it is worth every penny!
Taking advantage of the Australian generosity, I got invited to join a member at NSW and I was up for a treat! Full disclosure, the wind was blowing hard and the course kicked my ass... but I had a great time. The course is in very good shape, and the back 9 is one of the best back nines you can play. Few holes are right on the edge (even over for the par 3 6th) the Sydney coastline and offer a great challenge to all players. Each par 3 plays in a different direction, so you really have to think hard about the type of shots and power of the wind before hitting your shot... Only very good shot will be rewarded! The clubhouse is also stunning and Tom Doak has been commissioned to re-do some work... curious to see how he can improve this already great course!
After a morning round in Melbourne Royal West, we moved to Metropolitan in the afternoon. Here again, I had a fabulous time on this course that is one of the very best manicured courses in the country, even in the world! Tee boxes, fairways and greens are perfect but bunkers are really out of this world! Truly taking advantage of that Melbourne Sandbelt. Having a drink at the new amazing clubhouse is a must! Really thinking about spending more time in Melbourne in the future...
As I was doing a trip around the world with my wife, I got a very unexpected phone call from one of the top Australian amateurs who offered me the opportunity to play Melbourne West and Metropolitan the same day. Always keen to meeting new people and playing great courses, I jumped on the occasion and joined him and a couple of friends. Of course, I arrived early and droned over the course, then I joined my partners for the morning round. They all 3 drove 350+ yards on the first tee shot... Well lets say we were not in the same league! But we all 4 of us enjoyed the course so much!!! The history, the layout, the clubhouse, everything is perfect. The member (another top amateur in the country) told us it was the best shape he had ever played the course (lucky me). Every single hole requires the player (no matter how good he is) to think hard about the strategy! Being on the fairway is not sufficient... You need to be on the right side of the fairway to be able to attack the green from the better angle to have a shot at keeping the ball on the dance floor! Exactly my type of course... Dr MacKensie never disappoints!
After playing the Dunes the night before and treating my wife and I to a nice diner and night at Lost Farm, I got to play the 2nd course on the property. I woke up very early to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and take some drone pictures and got the great surprise of seeing hundreds of kangaroos casually playing on the course! As soon as I stepped on the 1st tee box, I was in love with the course! Absolutely loved all 20 (!!) holes with a special thought to holes 4 - 6 as well as 18. This Coore and Crenshaw designed is my favorite out of the 2 and is, as you'd expect, in top conditions. I believe they did a great job for all the players to have a fabulous time! It was a long way from home, but what a course!
Should be a good day!
Playing a Tom Doak course in Tasmania was something I had always wanted to do. So knowing I’d be in the region I decided to seize the opportunity! Got to play the course by myself and in excellent conditions. The price is very competitive for course of this quality though I feel they could do better with a couple of goodies and a higher end approach. As for the course, though excellent as expected I find it a bit too uneven with the front 9 being one of the best in the world with holes 3-7 being top top class including the par 3 7th, Tom little devil, and the back 9 is somehow less fabulous and flatter. For the anecdote my round became truly unforgettable when I crossed path with a Kangaroo on the 16th tee box! We got to stay at the hotel (lost farm) and that was very nice though the diner was a let down for the price. Definitely a great resort to come and play at!
Should be another good one... hosted 12 NZ opens!
What a day! Thank you Patrick! Really loved it!
Right after a hurricane, we did decide to go to PGA National without really knowing what to expect (see my other reviews about the Champion course). The 1st course we played was the Palmer course and despite good course condition (especially after that hurricane), I was a bit disappointed. The course did offer some very nice holes, but overall, the challenge was not really there (definitely not there compare to the Champion course and its infamous bear trap). This course is more for the retired people of Florida... So play the Champion course twice if need be, you won't regret it!
What a surprise! The tour course, though less famous that its big brother is a true gem. A little less technical, we had an absolute blast on this course that is somehow very different than the Stadium course. A bit wider, less penalizing, and a bit flatter than the other course, the Tour was a real surprise for everybody at the event, and I would highly recommend you not to skip it when playing this resort. Note: to me PGA Catalunya is the Terre Blanche of Spain, though the top course at each resort are top notch, the 2nd in Spain is better than the Riou in France... But the hotel and practice are better in France... Your choice!
The Stadium course at PGA Catalunya is where I played my 1st AllSquare event and also the place where I became a single digit handicap golfer, so a special place for me. But lets be honest, the course is difficult for the non scratch player, especially during a tournament, and almost overwhelming as we were discovering the course... but what a course it is!! Each hole is very unique and offers its own challenge. My favorite is probably the par 5 3rd, though 11 to 13 could easily take the cake! Each one of these holes are around a beautiful lake! Magical spot between trees! As I was a bit frustrated to not take pictures, I borrowed a buggy the next day and cruised around to finally take my usual 100+ pictures per round! The accommodations were also tremendous and it was a fantastic event!
Got invited by a member to play Real Puerta de Hierro, and it was a real treat. What we did was to play the front nine of each course that each start almost from the restaurant with a fairly long par 3... intimidating! You are very much in the center of Madrid, but it doesn't feel like it, except when on one of the holes, you get to see the 4 new towers of Madrid in the background. The course was in perfect conditions, despite the heavy rain, and you could feel the history in the clubhouse.
Got to play Assoufid while in Marrakech, and very much enjoyed the course! The practice area was nice, and having a caddy is not mandatory... though we decided to get one and they were not top quality to be honest, so disappointed on that part of the course. The course is, as you might expect, in the middle of the desert, with the Atlas Mountains in the backdrop... though depending on the heat, you may not see them much. Overall, the course is very challenging by its length and also some well-thought out details... Need to hit the right part of the fairway or reaching the green might be difficult. The 17th is the signature hole, a downhill par 3 with a beautiful view. Overall, it is a great course, not too far from the center of Marrakech, and can definitely be a challenging test!
Taking advantage of Les Bordes re-opening to visitors (only during the winter time), I went to play the course with a couple of friends. The weather was ugly on the way to the course but got lucky as we stayed dry and got to experience one of the best courses in the world with stunning fall colors. Each hole is very unique and the entire course challenging. If you shoot 79 or less from the back tees, you have your name and your flag on the wooden board in the clubhouse, and my friend, shooting a 77 has now his name there! Strategy is very important at Les Bordes, and is the execution. 6 to 8 is one of the best stretches of holes I have seen with each hole being very different. Water in definitely in play in no less than 12 holes, so make sure to be on top of your game... Or carry lots of balls. I did not find the course to be unplayable to be honest, but it requires lots of rounds to have the proper strategy. Overall, we had a fantastic time, and lots of souvenirs to think about! A must play when visiting the region (Chambord, the famous castle is very near by too).
I played Chantilly back in 2012 as I was fairly new to golf and it was a struggle, but as I returned to the courses this week, I could really appreciate the design of one of my favorite architects. The course (I played Vineuil) was in pristine conditions (rough was not too penalizing) and on most of your shots, you will have to think hard to define and execute the right strategy in order to get a decent score. The greens are also in perfect conditions and fast. After the round, we could enjoy a beer at the old clubhouse, one of the highlights of Golf de Chantilly, one of the top 5 courses in France without a doubt.
About an hour North of Lisbon, this new course designed by Cynthia Dye, the niece of Pete Dye (TPC Sawgrass), is a pure joy to play. The location is truly special with a couple of great courses very next door (Royal Obidos or Praia d'El Rey) and offers an impeccable view of the Ocean. The course was only open a couple of moths ago and so forth is not over busy nor expensive despite the perfect conditions. Most of the holes offer a great view of the Ocean, but my preference goes to the back nine (though the par 5 8th is remarkable!). The back 9 is absolutely perfect with some of the best holes you can play, including my 2 favorites, the downhill par 4 14th and the par 4 18th which I played during the sunset for a perfect view. Note that the region can be very foggy at times (I started early in the morning but had to push back to the afternoon due to the fog). But the region is really superb for golf and beach lovers, so don't hesitate to make the trip from Lisbon and spend a few days onsite to avoid any unpleasant weather.
Played the course 3 times last year while on vacation and it was absolutely fantastic. We were staying at the hotel and had breakfast in front of the par 3 7th for the whole week. The course is terrific and a true test. The inland holes are great as you are serpenting across the rice terraces. However, the 7th is a true delight with the shot having to go over the Indian Ocean with the Tanah Lot temple watching you stunning. This course really deserves its spot in the top 100 courses in the world and I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity to go to Bali!
Oitavos Dunes is an excellent course with some excellent holes such as the par 3 14th or the par 4 10th and amazing views on the Atlantic ocean. However, I would not rank it in the top 100 in the World like Golf Magazine did. It has several weak holes, the staff is not top notch, and the finishing (after the 14th) is boring. So, of course it beats a lot of courses, and you do get the wow factor on several holes; of course the region is fantastic (truly fantastic!) but the course is, in my humble opinion, not worthy of being top 100. A course like the new West Cliffs (an hour north) is a much better course with much better views despite his lack of history.
Fairly difficult course as it is long from the back tee (it was windy) and with a fairly poor service, and only a few good holes. Much better courses to play in the region than this one.
I am going to start my review by saying that I may be biased here since I just played my best round ever (69 from Championship tee... Yes bragging about it!). Yes, Monte Rei is located in Algarve, but really in the East part of Algarve (not as touristic as the other part) and you barely see the sea once, if you jump high enough on the 8th tee box. Does it matter? Nope. The course is great. I played it in early August, so it was hot, but it was not so bad for me. I decided to stop by the pool first (wife was there, so had to) which was nice (though could be expensive), I then headed to the clubhouse. The staff was great and the facilities top notch, a true difference vs the other courses I played in Portugal including some good ones like Oitavos Dunes. After a nice warm up, I got to the course. It was fairly hot, but the buggy (which I usually don't like) is included in the price (150€ for sunset rate... not so bad). Despite the hot weather, the course is in perfect conditions. Each hole is unique and if I remember correctly, the course has 4 par 3s and 4 par 5s. The layout is great, bunkering stunning, greens perfect and very calm. I don't think is too difficult but you certainly need to play well. The feel you have on one hole can be very different on the very next, but I really enjoyed 12-13-14 and 16 as well as 3rd and 4th. There are not many week holes, if any. At the end of the round, someone from the staff was waiting for me and had engraved the Monte Rei Tag with my name on it... Will definitely keep it as it was my first under par ever! Definitely worth to go a bit out of your way and play this tremendous course. On a personal note however, I really enjoyed the surrounding of Lisbon and up North (Oitavos Dunes, West Cliffs...) even better than Algarve as a region... So don't sleep on it if you go to Portugal!