5 Reasons to visit France on a Customized Golf Tour

PerryGolf guests traveling on the Best of Southwest France Escorted Tour this month will savor the beautiful Biarritz, which offers the country’s pleasures – cultural, scenic and gastronomic.

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 15th hole at Le Golf National demands bravery and accuracy.

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.

Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Restaurants in Paris

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ryder Cup returns to Ireland in 2026

Adare Manor will entertain 24 of the world’s best golfers in 2026.

After the Royal & Ancient enjoyed a resounding success in Northern Ireland last week as Shane Lowry won The 148th Open, the European Tour is taking its flagship event to Ireland in 2026.

The Ryder Cup is headed to Adare Manor in County Limerick.

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“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.

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“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.

Golf’s best end major year with The 148th Open at Royal Portrush

This week, for the first time since 1951, The Open returns to Northern Ireland. The field tees off Thursday at The Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush beginning at 1:35 a.m. EDT (6:35 a.m. local time).

This marks the second time golf’s oldest championship has been held outside Scotland and England. Modifications have been made to the venerable links, which was designed by Harry S. Colt. Starting their project in 2015, esteemed architects MacKenzie and Ebert used land from the adjacent Valley course to build two new holes – the 7th and 8th – specifically for the tournament.

Francesco Molinari is the defending champion. Rory McIlroy, who grew up in nearby Hollywood, is the betting favorite and shot a course-record 61 at Royal Portrush in the 2005 North of Ireland Championship. Since his victory in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy hasn’t finished outside the top-5 in The Open, either.

Brooks Koepka, seeking his second major title of the year and fifth consecutive top-2 finish, has loyal caddie – and longtime Royal Portrush member – Ricky Elliott on the bag. Tiger Woods hasn’t played since Pebble Beach. He’s paired with Patrick Reed and Matt Wallace and tees off at 10:10 a.m. EDT on Thursday. Dustin Johnson hopes to bag an elusive second major after a series of close calls.

Expect to see chilly temperatures in the 50s and 60s, daily rain and of course, wind. Severe changes in elevation enhance the challenge at Royal Portrush and experience is a vital tool for those hoping to hoist the Claret Jug. The average age of the past 10 champions is 35 years, 3 months. The competitors won’t be able to get away with purposely overshooting the 18th green, either. They’ll face a devilish lie in the drop zone on the 474-yard-par 4 that finishes a diabolical three-hole closing stretch that’s certain to finish The Open hopes of more than one competitor.

PerryGolf is an Authorised Ticket Provider for The Open and proud to escort guests to the final round of this year’s championship after they’ve played some of the finest links in the British Isles such as Royal County Down, Royal Birkdale and Castle Stuart. There’s time to reserve your spot on a variety of Cruises, Escorted Tours and Customized offerings available for 2020 and 2021.

The 150th Open at St. Andrews in 2021 is certain to be a special experience in the Home of Golf. On one particular Escorted Tour, PerryGolf guests will play memorable rounds on a quartet of courses that have combined to host The Open on 35 occasions and wrap their trip by attending the final two rounds of the championship. PerryGolf is also pleased to take golfers to test their game on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush as part of our new Irish Links Golf Cruise, which has offerings in 2020 and 2021.

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The new, condensed PGA Tour schedule put in place for the 2018-19 season means that The Open is the final major of the calendar year. It’s been a thrilling season, beginning with Woods’ exciting victory at The Masters, Koepka’s dominant performance at Bethpage and Gary Woodland’s flawless weekend to stave off Koepka at Pebble Beach. Still, the golf world has anticipated this championship at Royal Portrush ever since it was announced. The course is in excellent condition and certain to offer a stiff test. After a practice round earlier this week, the affable American pro Rickie Fowler avoided predicting a winning score due to the uncertain conditions ahead, saying simply that any round under par would be a good one.

Enjoy.

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Strong field to battle Lahinch Old in Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

The sixth hole at Lahinch offers a striking view of Liscannor Bay. Irish pro Christy O’ Connor Jr., Europe’s hero in the 1989 Ryder Cup, called it the one of the best par-4s in the world. Hard to argue with him.

Lovers of links golf, natural beauty and legendary layouts enjoy a treat this week as the Lahinch Old Course plays host to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time.

Ranked No. 35 in the world, Lahinch is nestled on Ireland’s west coast, “The Wild Atlantic Way,” and has been a treasured favorite of PerryGolf clients for decades.

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The layout has also been a regular host for elite amateur championships over the last 127 years, however this is its first foray as an European Tour host. The event, which starts Thursday, is the largest sporting event ever held in County Clare and has injected energy into the village and money into the economy. More than 10 million pounds were spent on the course and village in preparation according to the Irish Times and another 6-7 million pounds are expected to be generated this week.

Located 60 miles south of Galway and 45 miles west of Limerick, the course has welcomed many esteemed guests through the years. Byron Nelson visited in the 1960s. Phil Mickelson toured the course in 1991 prior to the Walker Cup matches, has returned on other occasions and was granted honorary membership. In 2009, Stewart Cink prepared for The Open at Lahinch while the man he defeated in that championship, Tom Watson, considers the course one of his favorites. Read more about the character of Lahinch and the characters who have passed through.

Lahinch enjoys an illustrious architectural history. Old Tom Morris designed the original 18 holes in 1892. The unknown Charles “Mo” Gibson made changes in 1907. The great Dr. Alister MacKenzie (Royal Melbourne West, Cypress Point) renovated portions in 1927, although chunks of his work were lost to the sea. In recent times, Dr. Martin Hawtree and his team have overseen changes.

Lahinch will make the finest and most popular golf course that I, 
or I believe anyone else, ever constructed.”

Dr. Alister MacKenzie (1926)

The course offers views of the ocean – though it’s not really in play for most golfers – large grassy dunes, beautiful vistas and the firm, springy turf that characterizes courses in the linksland. From a strategic standpoint, hearty par-4s are the essence of the layout, as No. 3, 6, 10 and 17 feature a possible long iron approach shot to a shallow, sloping green complex.

Hole #10

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open has attracted a strong field, although next weekend’s World Golf Championship tournament in Memphis probably kept some highly ranked American professionals from crossing the Atlantic to play Lahinch.

The betting favorite is Jon Rahm, fresh off a tie for 2nd in last week’s Andalucia Masters – held at another jewel in the PerryGolf lineup, Valderrama, which played host to the 1997 Ryder Cup.

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Joining the talented young Spaniard in the field are familiar stars from the European circuit such as Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Wallace, Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, who won the 2000 South of Ireland Amateur Championship here.

Of course, all eyes of professional golf and all of the game’s best players will arrive in Ireland in two weeks for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. PerryGolf clients will attend the final round with co-founder Colin Dalgleish (only one golf spot remains) and play a loaded roster of British Isles offerings as they cruise from Edinburgh to Southampton.

PerryGolf is an Authorised Ticket Provider for The Open (sometimes referred to as the British Open or Open Championship). Golfers and golf fans wanting to experience the game’s oldest championship at Royal St. George’s next summer can do so on the 2020 British Isles Golf Cruise

Golf Channel coverage of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to tune in and become better acquainted with a course worth knowing.