Part 4: Golf, Friends & Fancourt, South Africa

Welcome Function

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.

Our third round of golf was at Africa’s top-rated course and venue for the 2003 President’s Cup, The Links at Fancourt. It was exceptional. It is a difficult but wonderfully manicured course and the clubhouse experience is similarly impressive.

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…

Lanzerac Hotel

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. View on LinkedIn.

Part 3: Arrival in South Africa

Fancourt - The Manor House - PerryGolf.com
Fancourt – The Manor House

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 well.

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.

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. View on LinkedIn.

Distilleries enhance the allure of St Andrews

Any trip to St. Andrews will certainly, hopefully, thankfully include a round on the Old Course, a couple rounds at the Dunvegan and a stroll around the campus of Scotland’s oldest university, where William and Kate met as students.

https://www.perrygolf.com/escorted-tour/scotland-the-150th-open-st-andrews-2021.php

Old Tom Morris designed the St Andrews New Course which opened in 1895. Avoid the bunkers.

Wander to the banks of the harbor and gaze across the North Sea toward Carnoustie. Tackle the New Course (which isn’t so New after all) or perhaps venture to the lovely Kingsbarns, a modern gem among the classics.

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.

https://www.perrygolf.com/golfcruising/the-open-at-st-andrews-2021-golf-cruise-package.php

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.

The operation expands further in the summer of 2020 enabling Fife’s top tourist attraction to double from 25,000 to 50,000 the number of visitors it can accommodate annually.

https://www.perrygolf.com/theopen/2021-st-andrews-british-golf-the-open-championship-packages.php

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.

Heading north out of St Andrews one arrives in the legendary Speyside region, in the northeast of Scotland, which has earned a global reputation by creating some of the best whisky in the world. The Macallan raised the bar in distilleries to a unprecedented level in 2018 when it opened a stunning £140 million building on the exquisite Easter Elchies Estate.

Golfers who enjoy a Scottish Highlands & St Andrews Customized Tour relish the opportunity to tour the majestic Macallan distillery and Visitor Center.

Reflections on a Great Golf and Sightseeing Experience in New Zealand

My first visit to New Zealand was 1989. At that stage the country had a few good courses but none with significant international profile. I am just returning from a two-week trip escorting a group of PerryGolf clients through the North and South Islands of New Zealand and can unequivocally say that New Zealand is one of the great golf and lifestyle destinations. The intervening 30 years has seen a remarkable evolution in the golf and hospitality industry. Read more “Reflections on a Great Golf and Sightseeing Experience in New Zealand”

Discover These 3 Ideal Destinations for Golf-Loving Couples

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence is one of many memorable attractions in Italy made readily available on a PerryGolf Escorted Tour, catering to couples.

From the banks of Venice to the shores of Sydney, whether observing the flightless Kiwi or simply gazing out upon the beautiful water of Lake Como, PerryGolf offers myriad destinations for couples who seek to combine their passions of travel and golf.

Enrich your mind and replenish your soul while pursuing those pesky pars, making lasting friendships along the way with similar minded folks who walk alongside on a unforgettable journey. Each of PerryGolf’s Cruises, Custom Tours and Escorted Tours provides not only a host of activities, sightseeing, dining and, of course world class golf on amazing courses, but also ample time for relaxing, recharging and enjoying a vacation certain to create indelible memories.

(Also, keep in mind that if you book a PerryGolf cruise by March 31st, your better half saves HALF, and you will also receive free internet while on board select Azamara cruises).

While PerryGolf can take you from the British Isles to South Africa and many points in between, learn more about these three destinations which are ideal for golfing couples:

Italy

If ever there was a country suited for traveling couples, it’s this European destination which is famously shaped like a boot.

Milan. Venice. Rome.

Shopping. History. Food & Wine.

Whatever you prefer – or why not a taste of each? – Italy caters to couples, allowing ample opportunity to indulge and inhale each scene and delight. Inquire about PerryGolf’s Best of Italy Escorted 2018, which begins Aug. 25 and spans two weeks, traveling from bustling city streets to quiet countryside. Admire Michelangelo’s amazing painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, feel in awe while gazing deep into Da Vinci’s Last Supper and you never know which A-List celebrity you may bump shoulders with while strolling about Lake Como.

The golf is stellar. Marco Simone will be the site of the 2022 Ryder Cup and is certain to present a daunting challenge to the finest professionals from Europe and the United States. Located 10 miles from the center of Rome and meandering around an 11th century castle, Marco Simone combines a creative mixture of challenge, beauty, risk and reward, designed by noted American architect Jim Fazio. The par-5 16th hole, measuring 550 yards from the championship tees with its green defended by a menacing stream is certain to snare the attention of each man or woman who passes through.

The quaint, beautiful towns of Sorrento and Positano sit perched high upon steep cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.

A major shipping hub and port in the 18th century, Positano today is a sophisticated resort gazing down over the gorgeous central Amalfi Coast in Italy. Explore along steep flights of steps, if you wish. The town’s origin is traced to the ninth century and its nucleus centered around a Benedictine Abbey.

John Steinbeck, Pablo Picasso and Liz Taylor are among those who have fallen hard for the charm of Positano.

 

New Zealand

Sparse in population, rich in beauty and abundant in local hospitality, New Zealand demands at least one visit from any adventurous traveling couple.

From Taupo to Queenstown and every interesting point in between, PerryGolf delivers a unforgettable experience in New Zealand, offering both an Escorted Tour which begins Nov. 5th and a delightful cruise which departs in January, 2019 in addition to Custom Tours of your preference.

Let’s start with the golf, which in recent years has increased in quantity and quality. The incredible landscapes, rocky cliffs and vistas of sparkling blue water provide the perfect canvas, enabling talented course designers to craft masterpieces worthy of the trip required to experience them.

Along those lines, Cape Kidnappers receives all the headlines – and rightfully so. This Tom Doak masterpiece makes Pebble Beach look mundane, demanding shots over trees to targets in slivers of land nestled 500 feet above the glorious Hawke’s Bay. Equally enjoyable is Royal Wellington – the first in New Zealand to receive the Royal designation – and a regular host of the New Zealand Open – most recently in 2014.

Away from the links, Hawke’s Bay and its world-renowned wineries will make any wine connoisseur feel warm and fuzzy. It’s the nation’s oldest wine producing region in New Zealand is known for its full-bodied red wines and complex Chardonnays.

Lake Taupo is a destination beyond description. Called “Nature’s Ultimate Playground,” the brilliant scenery from Huka Falls to Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings must be explored and PerryGolf provides ample time for just this on the journey.

 

Australia

Dates haven’t been finalized for the Best of Australia Escorted Tour 2019, but expect it to begin in January or February – and expect it to fill up quickly. The array of quality golf, interesting cities and warm people make Down Under a special landing spot. Then again, the warm climate awaiting when most Northern Hemisphere residents battle nip and chill of winter doesn’t hurt Australia’s seasonal popularity, either.

The golf is stunning in this grand sporting nation. We’ll discuss, momentarily, the world renowned layouts and immaculate conditions. But first, consider the wealth of attractions to realize in Sydney, Melbourne and beyond.

When discussing iconic images, the Sydney Opera House takes center stage. Located on the glorious Sydney Harbour and perhaps the most easily recognized structure in all of Australia, it welcomes seven million visitors annually. Take a guided tour or better yet – enjoy one of the 1,500 performances the Opera House holds each year.

For deluxe accommodations, the Langham Melbourne is an exquisite 5-star hotel on the banks of the Yarra River. Calm your body, mind and soul as East meets West in the Chuan Spa, which is considered among Australia’s finest.

Vue de Monde is simply one of many elite dining options available in downtown Melbourne. Be sure to save room for the rest and enjoy the view from 55 stories above the city, gazing across the skyline.

In Queensland be certain to visit one of these restaurants. We can almost taste the Patagonian Toothfish and Sydney Rock Oysters.

There are so many of the world’s best golf courses from which to choose. New South Wales (right) opened in 1928 after the Scottish architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie unveiled his brilliant vision. Abutting the Tasman Sea and Botany Bay, the layout is routinely ranked within the top five in Australia. Over on the northeast coast of Tasmania, the two courses at Barnbougle Dunes – The Dunes and The Lost Farm send scribes scrambling to the online thesaurus seeking other ways to say spectacular.