This will be my fourth trip to South Africa and the first which will have 6 rounds of golf, alongside all of the great experiences that this wonderful country can provide.
PerryGolf has been operating escorted tours to South Africa for eight years and this will be the first that I have hosted. Our team on the ground in South Africa, let by Gordon Turner is exceptional. The feedback we consistently receive is extremely positive and the anecdotal stories I hear repeatedly are of above and beyond service from a group of people who genuinely care, and take the hospitality they deliver very seriously and professionally.
With this background, my wife, Marion and I shall be hosting fourteen PerryGolf couples for two weeks in South Africa. We believe this is about the perfect group size to create as much intimacy with fellow travelers as you wish, yet enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded new friends when the opportunities permit.
Our schedule can be viewed here. It is a schedule that we have refined and adjusted over the years as new experiences and opportunities have arisen.
The group we shall be hosting is comprised of some old friends and soon to be new friends. We are both very much looking forward to the experience. Our bags are packed and I hope that I will be able to provide my insight into a great travel experience.
The climate is temperate. The vistas are spectacular. There are beautiful beaches and dense jungles. Ruins of ancient civilizations pique the curious not far from the bustle of the world’s largest cities.
Scattered across South America are an array of activities, from entertainment late in the evening, to diverse, eclectic, world-renowned cuisine. Historical artifacts, abundant wildlife, mountain peaks and crystal coasts enchant, awaiting around every corner or turn in the road.
You may tango, of course and why would you not, if presented the opportunity?
PerryGolf, industry leader in global golf travel, continues to expand its South American portfolio, offering a trio of Cruises and Escorted Tours in 2020 to satisfy every desire in this popular, growing destination. January or November, ship or land, couples or singles, explore the Southern Hemisphere, savoring soothing temperatures and gentle breezes, enjoying a fixed itinerary that includes golf, culture, sightseeing, history and ample time to relax.
Golfers indulge on courses new and old, testing their swings and enjoying the camaraderie. These courses come in many forms, designed by an eclectic mixture of architects. On one hand is Gil Hanse’s Olympic Golf Course near Rio, designed specifically for the game’s return to the 2016 Olympics. Then, there’s Granadilla Golf Club, a tidy layout designed by English businessmen in the 19th century in the idyllic getaway of Valparaiso on the Chilean shore. Robert Von Hagge’s Buenos Aires Golf Club, on the other hand, took the professional golf spotlight in 2000 when the dynamic duo of Tiger Woods and David Duval secured the World Cup for the United States. Regardless, the venue, the golf courses in South America pose a certain challenge along immaculate landscapes against backdrops rugged and stunning.
PerryGolf guests interested in touring South America by sea, can enjoy Argentina for nine nights and four rounds of golf in late November, early December 2020.
Book by Oct. 31, 2019 and double upgrade your stateroom on the 690-guest Azamara Quest, a nimble, mid-sized luxury vessel offering all the amenities one could want at sea or in port – fine dining, live entertainment and a country club style atmosphere. The Azamara experience is built on four key pillars: destination immersion, extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wine, and wellness and vitality.
Rio de Janeiro is a sizzling destination spanning from Copacabana (Beach) to Corcovado (Mountain), whose permanent resident is the iconic Christ The Redeemer, a 125-foot statue built as a symbol of Brazilian Christianity nestled inside the Tijuca National Forest.
First suggested in 1850, the concept for the massive statue was finalized in 1920. Construction began in 1922 and was completed in 1931, paid for entirely by Brazil’s Catholic Church. Crafted from reinforced concrete and sandstone, the statue is 98-feet high and the arms are 92-feet wide, perched atop a 26-foot platform.
Buenos Aires, described by travel aficionados as the ‘Paris of South America’, is the largest city and capital of Argentina, sporting nearly 3 million residents. Known for its beefy steaks, luscious malbec wines and vibrant nightlife, Buenos Aires combines old school European style with modern Latin energy. San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego is the regular Sunday night site for a “milonga” for those wanting to watch the tango in the street.
Machu Picchu is a unforgettable destination made even more appealing by the enjoyable ride to get there on the Hiram Bingham Train, where you’ll travel forward on the rails but feel as if you’ve walked into a snapshot from a previous era. The train is elegant and rich in charm, with its wood-paneled interiors and brass fixtures, delivering a experience from the days of luxury travel aboard parlour cars, providing a smooth ride to the enchanting ruins.
Among those competing this week in the Alfred Dunhill Links Pro-Am are superstar professionals Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose, along with a fortunate collection of amateurs such as the eclectic, enigmatic, endearing actor, Bill Murray, who was seen hitting shots one-handed early in the week. The tournament, similar to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am held on the U.S. PGA Tour each February, is the consummate combination of competition and camaraderie.
The fortunate golfers are playing three iconic courses, Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and of course the host, The Old Course at St. Andrews, final round site for those who survive the 54-hole cut.
Guests of PerryGolf are quite familiar with the triumvirate, any of which can highlight an Escorted or Customized Tour to Scotland. For more than 30 years, PerryGolf has been a international leader in global golf travel. PerryGolf now offers Tours to South Africa, South America, New Zealand, Norway and beyond, however, the company, founded by two Scottish brothers, traces its roots to building custom itineraries for golfers who want to play the game in the land where it was born.
Kingsbarns, the baby of the bunch by far opened in 2000 and Kyle Phillips’ design was adored from the outset, drawing praise from fellow architect Tom Doak. The North Sea dominates the background on each shot, the wind ripples the flag as tee shots scoot down wide, firm and fast fairways, trying to dodge devilish pot bunkers. Kingsbarns delivers the a full and frisky links experience, albeit in a modern dress.
Carnoustie, considered the most difficult course in The Open rota, crowned Francesco Molinari during The 147th Open in 2018, as he tamed the beast, holding off Tiger Woods, among others. Padraig Harrington also outlasted Sergio Garcia in a playoff at Carnoustie, which has served as The Open host on eight occasions and counts Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tom Watson among its champions.
The Old Course will serve as The Open host for the 30th time in 2021 for the 150th edition of the championship. (PerryGolf is proud to be an Authorised Ticket Provider for The Open)
Zach Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen claimed the last two Claret Jugs at St Andrews. Dr. Alister MacKenzie, architect of Royal Melbourne and Augusta National, admired the reward of a precise tee shot on No. 16, the alternative routes to make a par on No. 14 and the intricacies of the famous Road Hole, No. 17. MacKenzie wrote, in the ‘Ideal Holes’ chapter of “The Spirit of St. Andrews” that the Old Course was the only golf course on real links land that has not been defaced by the hand of man.
In describing ideal holes it is extremely difficult to get away from the Old Course at St. Andrews. I was much enamored of the strategy of the course … but today I am still more amazed at its subtlety.”
Dr. Alister MacKenzie, ‘The Spirit of St. Andrews’
MacKenzie’s masterpiece is arguably Cypress Point, perched on the tip of the Monterey Peninsula in California on sandy soil among the cypress and the pines. When a friend mentioned it in the same breath as the indomitable Old Course, MacKenzie scoffed at him.
“St Andrews cannot be compared with Cypress Point,” MacKenzie told his friend. “St. Andrews is first class, there is no second, and Cypress Point comes a very bad third.”
The Old Course meanders through the heart of the charming town and is closed on all but four Sundays each year, adding to its allure, mystique and accessibility. On the links’ day of rest, residents and visitors are often seen sharing a picnic basket adjacent to a fairway or taking a stroll across the Swilcan Bridge, which, through the years, has been the centerpiece for keepsake snapshots and iconic photographs of legendary champions bidding golf’s oldest championship farewell.
Click a photo of your own on a PerryGolf tour, walking those same fairways with your friends and family alongside.
A world-class city, terrific dining and wine, breathtaking scenery, an elegant ship and excellent golf with a genial group of companions, who may become lifetime friends. Yes, a winter cruise to South Africa with PerryGolf, a international leader in golf travel, sounds inviting indeed.
This exceptional golf voyage includes pre-cruise and post-cruise options. Combined, they extend the trip by eight nights and four rounds. The pre-cruise portion includes three nights at the exquisite Jock Safari Lodge, golf at Leopard Creek, ranked No. 2 in South Africa, morning game drives, happy hour in the bush and ample time to relax and recharge in the middle of the day when the animals are resting.
Leopard Creek played host to a Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf match between Ernie Els and Nick Price in 1996. The course was renovated in 2017 and the greens were converted to Champion Bermuda grass. The par-5 No. 13 borders the Crocodile River and is unforgettable.
Gordon Dalgleish, PerryGolf Founding Director, visited South Africa in 2014 and offered these observations. Cape Town has developed into a vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan destination over the last 20 years, reckoning with its past to emerge an inclusive city that attracts more than 1.5 million visitors annually.
With an array of activities to experience and sights to see in a temperate climate, it’s easy to understand the global appeal of Africa’s southernmost city. During our cruise on the excellent 690-guest Azamara Quest in January, the average high temperature will be 83 degrees fahrenheit and the average low will be 63. Expect sunshine 90 percent of the time.
In need of a strenuous workout? Hike the Platteklip Gorge to the peak of Table Mountain, then enjoy a relaxing ride down in a cable car, overlooking the city. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and in 2011 was designated as one of the seven new Wonders of the World.
Roughly an hour outside of Cape Town, the cities of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl featured rolling vineyards, grand estates, and three of the country’s top restaurants.
South Africa has a storied tradition in golf history, starting with none other than Gary Player, the eight-time major champion, who in the 1965 U.S. Open became the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam at age 29. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods later broke his record. In addition to his role as an ambassador for golf and healthy living, Player is also an accomplished golf course architect. He was the initial designer of The Montagu at Fancourt, which is available to those selecting the post-cruise option.
His countryman Ernie Els has been a world class player for three decades, winning three major titles as one of the best players of his generation.
Durban Country Club has been a frequent host of the South African Open and also entertained the European Tour’s best in the Volvo Open in 2013 and 2014. Zimbali CC meanders through the forest and the ocean as architect Tom Weiskopf met strategic challenges without disrupting the land’s delicate ecological harmony.
Of course, we’ll also enjoy three easy days at sea aboard our vessel, Azamara Quest. The Azamara experience is built on four key pillars: destination immersion, extraordinary service, fine cuisine and wine, and wellness and vitality.
Does November 2020 better suit your schedule? If so, consider our Escorted Tour
France is the ultimate destination for lovers of wine, food and culture. In recent years it has become a budding locale for golf travelers as well. The 2018 Ryder Cup held outside Paris at Le Golf National was memorable not only for the Europeans trouncing the Americans again, but also for showcasing a golf course that is but one of many highlights on the roster. France has four of the top 10 courses in a Top 100 ranking of Continental Europe, including Tom Simpson’s gem Morfontaine, which was ranked No. 1. Here’s more information on the best courses in France to help you plan your next PerryGolf Customized Tour to this phenomenal region.
The Albatros course at Le Golf National, designed by architects Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge, in collaboration with Pierre Thevenin, is a demanding layout, requiring accurate tee shots and courageous approach shots over the many water hazards that dot the property. Fontainebleau, set inside a forest, is a classic private layout originally designed by Tom Simpson opened in 1909 and redesigned on several occasions through the decades, including a Fred Hawtree touch up in the 1950s. Deauville features nine holes designed by Simpson and nine holes by Henry Cotton. A former host of the French Open, it’s a wonderful mixture of tree-lined, parkland holes and there are now 27 holes on the site. Medoc – Las Chateaux, set in the heart of wine country, features wide fairways bordered by heather, gorse, and broom, enticing golfers into the delights of carefully preserved nature. The fast greens, the influence of winds from the Atlantic Ocean, and the technical difficulties of the layout make this championship course a constant challenge. Chantilly Vineuil, 30 miles north of Paris, has also played host to the French Open (Nick Faldo won here) and Bobby Jones also walked these fairways. Another gem from Simpson, avoiding the numerous bunkers is a key to success on this classy layout with a British feel.
GASTRONOMY – Perhaps no other country is more synonymous with excellent cuisine. There are myriad delicious options scattered about. Enjoy dinner at Chateau du Tertre in the Bordeaux region. Savor a typical French brasserie dinner at La Coupole in Paris, where the seafood is excellent, Patty Smith played guitar on the terrace and authors Henry Miller and James Joyce were frequent guests. Delight in the wild turbot with summer vegetables prepared by executive chef Patrice Vander at Les Fresques, a Michelin One Star restaurant and perennial favorite among PerryGolf guests when they visit Monestier.
WINE – If delectable dining brings fine visions of France to mind, then the reds and whites on the table here, only accentuate those tastes, aromas and feelings. More than seven billion bottles of wine are produced annually in France, originating from vineyards sprinkled across the country in a practice that dates to the sixth century B.C., heavily influenced by wine’s role as sacrament in the Roman Catholic church. Wine-producing regions include: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Corsica, Loire and roughly a dozen more. PerryGolf Escorted and Customized Tours to France often include multiple wine tastings, allowing guests to sample the spectrum of flavors in exquisite settings such as Château Smith Haut Lafitte. The Savoie region, in the southeast corner of France near the Italian and Swiss border is a perfect destination for wine lovers.
PALACES – The Palace of Versailles, originally a hunting lodge for Louis XIII, was completely transformed by his son, Louis XIV. It is a massive building, including the famous Hall of Mirrors. The state rooms are full of beautiful paintings, gilded furniture, exotic china, sumptuous materials and ornate rugs – all the trappings of an extravagant lifestyle and a must-see attraction for those visiting the area. Of course, there’s more. Château de Chambord, Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon and Château de Fontainebleau offer a leisurely way to pass the day.
MUSEUMS – With nearly 10 million visitors annually, the Louvre is one of the world’s iconic museums, home to the Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milo. Located in Paris, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, open until 6 p.m. during the week and approximately 9 p.m. on the weekends. Musee d’Orsay is also located in Paris and is one of the five most visited museums in France while Musée de l’Armée is the French military museum and the site of Napoleon’s gilded tomb.