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.
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.
“We are delighted to announce The 2026 Ryder Cup will be staged in Ireland at Adare Manor which is a world class venue, both in terms of the golf course and the wider resort facilities,” said Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup director.
The Ryder Cup returns to the Republic for the second time and the first since Europe crushed the U.S. 18.5 to 9.5 in 2006 at the K Club.
“Aside from having provided three Captains over the past four editions, in addition to world-class talent such as Rory McIlroy, Irish players such as the late Christy O’Connor Jr., Philip Walton, Eamonn Darcy, Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley are intrinsically linked with providing Europe’s winning moments over the years,” Kinnings said.
Adare Manor, owned by J.P and Noreen McManus, is a world class resort and the golf course, designed by prolific American architect Tom Fazio underwent a extensive renovation in 2016-17. PerryGolf takes guests there in late summer 2021 on our Irish Links Golf Cruise spanning 12 peaceful nights on the outstanding Azamara Quest, which provides the ideal home to tour Ireland’s beauty.
“I am delighted that the prestigious Ryder Cup will return to Ireland,” J.P. McManus said. “It is a wonderful tribute to the many great Irish golf ambassadors and success stories Ireland has had in golf over the years and a nice follow on from Shane’s momentous Open win on Sunday in Portrush. The nation was behind Shane, it was a great achievement and very well deserved.”
Adare Manor played host to the JP McManus Pro-Am in 2005 and 2010 and a star-studded field including Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm is expected to return in July 2020 and compete in the event again.
Golf is the centerpiece of any trip to Ireland. PerryGolf guests play the wonderful array of modern jewels and classic links on the island, such as world top-10 Royal County Down, Old Head and the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush which received excellent reviews from competitors and fans alike after it served as wonderful host for The Open.
PerryGolf also offers an Irish Links Golf Cruise in 2020 that includes a round at Ballybunion Old, arguably the most famous course in Ireland prior to last week’s championship. And, if playing the Ryder Cup courses of Europe is a personal goal, test your skills at the 2022 site, Marco Simone, on our Best of Italy 2020 Escorted Tour which includes a stay at gorgeous Lake Como and four nights in Rome.