Presidents Cup shines spotlight on Royal Melbourne, one of many gems in the Sandbelt

The 4th hole at Royal Melbourne (Gary Lisbon)

The 2019 Presidents Cup featured a splendid performance by Tiger Woods, both as player and captain, thrilling competition between the United States and International sides and the emergence of young pros Sungjae Im and Abraham Ancer.

But the real star of the weekend was Royal Melbourne, the exquisite Alister MacKenzie design in the Sandbelt, which rewarded angles over power, demanded accuracy approaching the greens and tested each player’s touch, nerve and mental acumen.

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The 16th hole, a 433-yard par-4, was one of our favorites. The players favored the right side of the fairway, unafraid to miss wide in the wispy rough, to assure the proper angle into a undulating green, allowing them to feed their approach shots in from right-to-left and set up makeable putts. Woods closed out his singles match with Ancer on the 16th, draining a 15-foot birdie to give the United States the first point of the final day and jump start the comeback that produced a 16-14 victory.

Cavernous bunkers surround the 13th green at Royal Melbourne. (Gary Lisbon)

Of course, the glowing reviews Royal Melbourne received from players and spectators alike were no surprise to PerryGolf guests, who have enjoyed the temperate climate and finely manicured courses offered throughout the region and across Australia on many occasions. The friendly people and pleasant conditions make the land Down Under one of the five top international golf destinations each year.

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Not only is Melbourne, second-largest city in Australia, a delightful destination but there are seven world-class courses within 20 miles of downtown. Each is renowned for firm, fast turf and sharp greenside bunkers which can pose a problem to even the most advanced short game.

Royal Adelaide has undergone renovations since Dr. MacKenzie designed the course in the 1920s, however, it retains a true links feel, making it unique in a region that features mostly parkland courses. Commonwealth Golf Club, which has played host to the Australian Open, Women’s Australian Open and Victoria Open, finishes with one of the most demanding stretches anywhere. There’s only one water hazard on the layout, but ample trouble lurks. Victoria Golf Club, which recently underwent a renovation by Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking & Mead (OCCM), is where Peter Thomson, five-time champion of The Open, and U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy learned the game. A three-time host of the Australian Open (and future home of the 2022 Australian Open), the layout also welcomed the Australian Masters in 2010 and 2011 with countryman Stuart Appleby and England’s Ian Poulter hoisting the trophy. Kingston Heath, home to the 2016 World Cup of Golf and 2020 Australian Open, may have the most extreme green complexes of any Sandbelt course and the native grasses bordering the fairways provide sharp definition on rugged land. While all the courses take pride in their excellent condition, using Sutton’s Mix to craft fine putting surfaces, Metropolitan Golf Club (home to the 2018 World Cup of Golf) deserves the accolades it receives for being the best of the best from a conditioning standpoint year round. The marquee courses don’t stop there – also deserving of mention include: Yarra Yarra Golf Club, Woodlands Golf Club, Huntingdale Golf Club and Spring Valley Golf Club. An hour away is the Mornington Peninsula, home to three brilliant courses at The National, plus Sorrento Golf Club and the Tom Doak designed St Andrews Beach Golf Course.

The ideal weather and gently rolling terrain make all of the Sandbelt courses a pleasant walking experience.

Away from the course, take a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens, an 89-acre park founded din 1846 that features more than 8,500 plant species, peaceful lakes and lush lawns. Tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere, with a capacity of 100,000 spectators has served as host for World Cup Finals, Pope John Paul II and the Rolling Stones. The National Sports Museum, which reopens in February 2020 to unveil a massive renovation, is located adjacent to the stadium.

Guests wanting to view Melbourne from an eagle’s perspective will not want to miss the Eureka Skydeck, the Southern Hemisphere’s highest public vantage point. Feeling brave? Step out to The Edge and peer across the vast cityscape with nothing but air beneath you.

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Lions, Tigers & Birdies: Experience South Africa on a PerryGolf cruise

Those who opt for the Kruger Safari might come this close to a rhinoceros.

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.

PerryGolf is pleased to escort guests to South Africa in January for a 10-night, 4-round cruise, hosted by Founding Director Colin Dalgleish.

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.

The Jock Safari Lodge is the ideal place to rest in between lion and tiger sightings.

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.

Read more about South Africa, one of the world’s top five golf destinations.

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.

Pearl Valley is a Jack Nicklaus signature course, known for its excellent turf condition and constant threat of water hazards on the right.

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

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European Tour visits popular PerryGolf destination Doha Golf Club

The European Tour continues its trek through the desert this week, stopping in Qatar for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

The Doha Golf Club is a popular stop each year for the Tour’s professionals, who know they’ll enjoy ideal weather and a course in mint condition which offers plenty of scoring opportunities.

Eddie Pepperell is the defending champion and the tournament has produced a host of outstanding winners, including Branden Grace, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els.

No different than Al Mouj Golf, the Greg Norman designed layout where Kurt Kitayama prevailed last week in the Oman Open, the delightful course at Doha remains a popular option for guests enjoying one of PerryGolf’s Cruises to the region on the 690-guest Azamara Quest.

For starters, viewers tuning into the Golf Channel’s coverage this week will see a beautiful piece of property, featuring eight artificial lakes, 5,000 shrubs, 6,000 trees and 10,000 cacti imported from Arizona. What once was a bland parcel of rocks and sand has been transformed into a magnificent landscape with the city skyline presented in the background. The clubhouse is also a ornate beauty, crafted in the old, traditional Arabic style.

Like any proven championship course, the Doha Golf Club delivers a closing stretch which can create wild swings on the leaderboard. Walking in the footsteps of the pros, PerryGolf guests can take their swing at taming these holes, handling the shots presented here.

No. 16 is a 307-yard par-4 which most of the field can reach with a solid, accurate tee shot, presenting an opportunity late in the final round for the pursuers to chase down the leader.

The 17th is a short par-3 to a kidney-shaped green which is protected by a bunker in front and a collection of rocks to the left. Again, birdies will fly here as the golfers often encounter calm conditions and receptive greens, fostering an aggressive mindset with a short iron in hand.

The 587-yard par-5 finishing hole can create a thrilling finish. Eagles are available – but bogeys lurk.

There’s still time to join The 2019 Arabian Gulf Golf Cruise hosted by PerryGolf co-founder Colin Dalgleish.

PerryGolf is proud to offer multiple options for guests who wish to visit the alluring and exotic Arabian Gulf. In addition to excellent golf at courses such as Abu Dhabi and the Earth Course in Dubai – annual host to the European Tour’s DP World Championship, won by Danny Willett last November. That event serves as the final even in the season long “Race To Dubai” won by Francesco Molinari, capping a terrific season highlighted by his impressive victory in The 147th Open at Carnoustie.

Attend the 149th Open at Royal St. George’s

 

Enjoy a PerryGolf cruise to South Africa in 2020

Take a trip to the top of Table Mountain and enjoy a sweeping, panoramic view of the beauty of Cape Town on PerryGolf’s 2020 South African Golf Cruise.

 

PerryGolf is thrilled to add three exciting new golf cruises to its calendar in 2020. We’ll spend the next couple of weeks giving a glimpse of each unique, enchanting destination, starting today with a preview of our maiden cruise to South Africa, a 10-night 4-round trip offered January 21 – January 31, 2020 on the exquisite Azamara Quest. Look for more details – including pricing – on the PerryGolf website in the coming weeks.

Azamara Quest, a 690-guest luxury vessel, is intimate, yet never crowded, delivering fine dining, the full-service award-winning Sanctum Spa, live entertainment and impeccable poolside service with ample room to lounge and enjoy the view.

 

The South African Cruise embarks in Cape Town and returns there after visiting the fascinating ports of Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Durban and East London.

PerryGolf offers multiple options for travelers aiming to add South Africa to their portfolio. A visit there and it will become obvious why this diverse nation is one of the top five destinations for golfers in the world.

The Best of South Africa Escorted Tour 2019 is a 14-night, 5 round journey that is fully hosted by PerryGolf personnel throughout from February 23 – March 9, 2019. This Escorted Tour covers all the bases – golf, wine, cities and Big Game.  Our 2018 South Africa Escorted Tour in November is sold out and on a wait list. We also offer Customized Tours to South Africa with travel dates of your choosing. For example, The Best of South Africa includes 14 nights (four on Safari) plus 8 rounds of golf. Of course, our customized tours can be tailored to satisfy your preferences.

With a population of roughly 3.8 million, Cape Town is the second-largest city in South Africa, trailing only Johannesburg. From wine to hiking, beaches to boutiques, Cape Town has evolved into a diverse, cosmopolitan city that appeals to visitors from across the globe. Azamara Shore Excursions can lead you to the top of Table Mountain in a cable car with a revolving floor or schedule a leisurely bike ride through the city’s streets, allowing you to see, hear and inhale all of the sights, sounds and scents of Cape Town. PerryGolf president Gordon Dalgleish visited this region in 2014 with his family and shared his thoughts and appreciation for the bustling, beautiful city and surrounding area.

Many travelers became familiar with Durban in 2010 when the city was host for the soccer World Cup. Suffice it to say the city is no longer South African’s hidden gem. Home to the Zulu people and Africa’s largest Indian population, the city is rich in culture and architecture, and the majestic Golden Mile of beaches lies east of the city center. A trip to the African Markets begins with a scenic drive down Victoria Embankment and features stops at areas devoted to the spices, herbs and beads that reveal the essence of Durban. Azamara Shore Excursions also include a beer tasting and high tea while those inclined toward cardiovascular activity can rent a bicycle and pedal at their own pace down the coast, gazing at the myriad lagoons and coves.

Port Elizabeth is a wonderful coastal town on Algoa Bay in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Take a stroll down the Storms River Suspension Bridge (left) inside Tsitsikamma (aka Garden Route) National Park and perhaps catch a glance of the whales and seabirds of the region. As you wind down this coastline you’ll understand its billing as one of the most beautiful stretches in the world.

Those interested in spying big game, such as lions and rhino, can make the short ride inland to Addo Elephant National Park, where there are self-drive and safari hosts available.

Of course, golf is an essential part of the journey. South Africa has produced classy champions for generations, beginning with Bobby Locke, who won The Open on four occasions and is widely considered one of the game’s greatest putters. In 1946, Sam Snead traveled to South Africa to play Locke in 16 exhibition matches. Locke won 12 and halved two with Snead winning two. Our trip includes a round of golf at Humewood Golf Club, a challenging links that Locke considered the finest in South Africa during his era.

First and foremost on any list of South African golfing greats is the Black Knight himself, Gary Player, the nine-time major champion and one of only five men to win the professional Grand Slam. Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen have followed the path he blazed, claiming major titles in the last two decades.

Durban Country Club, established in 1922, possesses a strong reputation and has served as a frequent host of the South African Open. It’s the only course in Africa to be included in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World.

Pearl Valley, located on the luxurious Val de Vie Estate, has developed a terrific reputation as the best conditioned course in South Africa and ranks as one of the top 10 courses overall. Course designer Jack Nicklaus and the legendary home hero Player inaugurated the layout in 2003 and it served as host for the South Africa Open on three occasions. The 230-yard par-3 third hole is unforgettable and unforgiving as a hazard cuts into the right side of the green and a cavernous bunkers swallows errant shots to the left.

Our South African Golf Cruise is another program that showcases the diverse portfolio of golf and travel experiences that we offer. Not only does PerryGolf offer more options for couples by land and sea than any other operator, but PerryGolf Cruising alone in 2018/2019/2020 with Azamara Club Cruises features 25 of the World Top 100 courses as recognized by Golf and Golf Digest Magazines.