Drinks and dinner the first night were a success – the group gelled nicely and the conversation was vibrant with constant laughter. Pairings had been thoughtfully made in advance, based on personal requests and years of experience. Our round on the Montagu Course at Fancourt the following day was terrific. The weather was ideal. The course was in great shape.
Dinner on the second night was at Henry White’s, in the formal dining room at the Manor House. In order not to stress the kitchen, we staggered the seating over 90 minutes, which worked out very well. An impromptu party broke out in the bar after dinner and the first full day on tour was now in the history books.
Day 2 of golf, consisted of a 40-minute coach ride to Pinnacle Point….South Africa’s answer to the Old Head in Ireland. We enjoyed a spectacular day with a steady breeze and glorious scenery.
Upon returning to the Manor House and short downtime, we congregated for a casual dinner at La Cantina, the Italian restaurant at Fancourt. As the tour progressed, the convivial, welcoming atmosphere accelerated. In our marketing materials we speak of “like-minded” travelers, and this group is the very essence of that description.
After golf, the group enjoyed a BBQ in the clubhouse overlooking #18 green….it was an appropriate way to conclude our visit to Fancourt.
After a relaxing morning and with a tinge of sadness, our group departed Fancourt the following morning. Golf clubs and luggage were surfaced to our next venue. A simple, 40-minute flight to Cape Town and we were at the gorgeous Lanzerac property by early afternoon. More to follow…
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
Islay is truly one of the hidden gems of Scottish tourism. It is a relatively popular destination for Scots seeking a peaceful vacation on an idyllic island known for its whisky production and slower pace of life. There are only 3,500 residents on Islay, which is reachable by air from Glasgow & Edinburgh in addition to regular ferry service from mainland ports.
Tour the ruins of the Castle and the Cathedral, stroll the lovely streets in the quaint village, eat lunch at the St Andrews Links Trust and return to the Fairmont St. Andrews on the outskirts to absorb a scintillating sunset and majestic view of the town.
Then again, there are many other ways to enjoy the Home of Golf.
Taking the time to tour one of the local distilleries is a fascinating experience that will reveal the method, nuance, time and skill required to craft world-class whisky, beer or, even gin.
About three miles northwest of St. Andrews is Eden Mill, Scotland’s first single site brewery and distillery. The Haig Family made spirits on the property throughout the 19th century, and current ownership revived operations in 2012.
Eden Mill combines an excellent water source to an outstanding, experienced international team of distillers, producing a palate pleasing product that aims to be the world’s best small batch single malt whisky.
While Eden Mill is an obvious starting point for a guest wanting to learn more about the fabric and backbone of Scotland, there are other options available near St. Andrews. On a summer day, delight in a refreshing gin-and-tonic produced in a farm cottage near Kingsbarns by brother-and-sister team William and Isabella Wemyss, proprietors of Darnley’s Gin. What makes their product unique? They say it best …
We handcraft Darnley’s Original Gin using a combination of 6 botanicals including elderflower, coriander and lemon peel to create a classic juniper led gin that is smooth and elegant with fresh citrus and floral flavour.
St Andrews is undoubtedly the home of golf – spiritual and physical – and nearby Lindores Abbey Distillery claims the title of ‘spiritual home of Scottish whisky. While you’ll have to wait until 2023 to sample the first run of the product, which was stored in Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbon barrels in 2017, it’s a fascinating trip to this 12th Century abbey and neighboring farm where whisky production dates to 1494 and King James IV.
After a 523-year hiatus, Drew MacDonald restored whisky production. Attention fans of the 1995 hit movie “Braveheart” or history buffs: William Wallace rested in Lindores Abbey after The Battle of Black Earnside in 1298 and the ruins are also open to the public.