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…
I have long held the view that the first 15 minutes is the most important time period when you arrive at a hotel as it starts to define your experience. The same can often be said when you arrive at a destination – there is nothing worse than a long wait for a few overworked, immigration officers.
Our arrival into Jo’burg mirrored that of all our clients with your name on a sign at the top of the jet bridge. Regardless of how well-traveled you are, that simple interaction removes so much anxiety…you are with a local. Movement through an airport with a friendly face and local connection removes the needs for the reading of signage. Check-in for the
domestic flight and access to a lounge facility is the next step. All went
Arrival into George Airport was similarly easy. The driver has a sign outside baggage claim and 10 minutes later we are checking into the Manor House at Fancourt.
To be clear, Fancourt is a wonderful resort, but the Manor House is 18 suites with exceptional service inside that environment. First Class within a premium experience. Our group of 15 couples had virtual exclusive use and the camaraderie from the first evening was palpable…like-minded has never been a truer expression! Dinner, drinks, laughs, comparing notes and clubs, overlapping friends…it was a memorable first evening and set the tone for the next 12 days.
The next morning, golf was thoughtfully arranged at noon, golf carts to the front door of The Manor House and off we go with sunny skies and 72 degrees, light breeze.
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.