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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.