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Travel

Mendip Spring Golf Club: A 27-Hole Facility with Diverse Courses and Amenities

Mendip Spring Golf Club is located in North Somerset, near the city of Bristol in the United Kingdom. This golf club offers a comprehensive facility with 27 holes, a driving range, and a hotel, catering to a variety of golfers.

Championship Course and Lakeside Course – Golf for Every Skill Level

The facility includes two distinct courses: The Brinsea Championship Course and The Lakeside Course. The Brinsea Championship Course is known for hosting professional tournaments. It provides a challenging experience for golfers of all abilities. One of its notable features is the Kenell 11th hole, which requires golfers to keep the ball in play from the tee for a good score. The Kenell 11th hole is renowned for its visual appeal and presents a substantial challenge to golfers.

The Lakeside Course, in contrast, offers a different test for players. It is designed to be accessible to golfers of all skill levels. This course provides an excellent opportunity for players to enjoy the game, regardless of their experience. Mendip Spring Golf Club aims to offer something for every golfer, ensuring that both courses meet various needs and preferences.

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Europe Travel

La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort – the new highlight on Andalusia’s Costa del Sol

Ambitious for the future

The US Millenium Hospitality Group has big goals. With La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, it wants to become one of the leading and most luxurious golf resorts in Spain. It has entrusted this task to the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Group, which is one of the most renowned luxury hotel brands worldwide.

The first steps have already been taken. The golf course, previously known as ‘Alcaidesa’, was rebuilt at a multi-million dollar cost and shines in a complete new splendour. The new, stylish clubhouse with its cool restaurant and the extraordinary beach club are already in place. The same goes for the huge driving range with new grass tees and the large putting, pitching and chipping area. Added to this is the already existing 18-hole Heathland Golf Course, so that the resort has two completely different golf courses.

By Easter 2024, a five-star hotel complex comprising 153 exclusive rooms and 51 villas is to be built on an area of 400 hectares.  Several more villas, all with private pools, will be available for purchase. Various restaurants and bars will be part of the complex as well as swimming pools, a spa and fitness centre and event facilities. A halfway house is under construction on the newly designed links course.

Millenium’s plan to become the flagship in Southern Europe with the resort seems to be working, because they have already been accepted as a member of the European Tour Destinations and are happy about this seal of quality.

All in white

As soon as you enter the white clubhouse of La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, shining in the sun, you sense something special. The arc of tension is slowly built up, starting on the steps to the entrance. It continues as you cross the huge entrance hall and ends in front of an infinity pool with a view of the Mediterranean.

Unique: infinity pool at the clubhouse Terrasse (Photo: La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort)

The modern pro shop offers everything you need on a round. The rental clubs are of the best quality. The first tees of the two courses are in opposite directions. We first play the Heathland Course, which leads into the hinterland.

The Heathland Course

The 18-hole Heathland Course was designed by former Ryder Cup player Dave Thomas. The par-72 layout has a length of 6,373 m from the back tees and features different landscapes. While holes 1 to 5 and 17 and 18 are located on a plateau and resemble a heath landscape, the other courses wind their way down into the valley with magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea, where several water hazards await.

This is also the case at the 13th, a par-5, where the tee shot has to be hit well in order not to land in the water hazard crossing the course head-on.

Challenging Par-5 on the Heathland Course (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

Due to the sometimes considerable distances between the individual holes and the considerable differences in altitude, a buggy is highly recommended. Some of these are brand new and of course equipped with GPS.

Unique Links Golf Course

The next day we played the only links course in southern Spain. The origin of the course dates back to 1992 and was designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark. Its current redesign is due to the US-American Kurtis Bowman, who redesigned all greens and added several bunkers. The course was only opened this summer but is already in great condition.

The par-72 course has a sensational layout and is suitable for all handicappers. The course is teed off from four tees. Players with a handicap of less than nine are recommended to use the white tees. The course then has a length of 5,841 m. At the moment, there is no table of playing conditions. I play off the yellows and am looking forward to the 5.5 km journey ahead of me. I know of no other course in Spain that offers such sensational views. The Rock of Gibraltar, which is clearly visible on a clear day, keeps attracting attention on various courses and distracts from the game. We are lucky with the weather and after a short initial rainfall, we enjoy the sunshine on the rest of the round.

Tee off to enjoy (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

The varied courses, the constant ups and downs and the great views over the course make the round of golf an unforgettable experience. Everything is extremely well-maintained and also perfectly matched visually.

The water hazards are impressively designed and interrupt the different shades of green of tees, fairways and greens with their brilliant blue. The course is not only great to play, but also meets the highest aesthetic standards. Some holes run directly along the sea.

Everything at its best (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

Development is already encroaching on some of the holes. This will increase further with the Fairmont Hotel La Hacienda, which is being built in terraces level with the back end of the beach with the best views across the course to the sea.

Directly along the beach (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

The palate will also be pampered

What could be better than finishing off a successful round of golf with a great meal and special drinks? The fact that this is possible at the resort is thanks to the Azotea Group. Behind it are the journalist Cristina Lasvignes and her husband José Manuel García. Among other things, they have founded various restaurants and bars in Spain under the Sal Verde brand that meet the highest standards.

Attractive location above the golf course (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

These include the Clubhouse Restaurant as well as the Arena Bar in the Beach Club, which is located directly below the golf course. Both combine a great ambience, the highest quality and outstanding creativity.

Arena bar at the beach club (Photo: Azalea)

Exceptional dishes and creative cocktails are created by the Michelin-starred Executive Chef Manuel Berganza and the renowned mixologist Luca Anastasio. The latter plays a special role in Sal Verde’s concept, because high-quality cocktails play an essential role in Sal Verde’s gastronomy concept.

Spectacular from the air as well (Photo: James Hogg)

Those who have a choice are spoilt for choice. Either you choose the Spicy Moscow Mule, the Senorita Margarita, the Amalfi Ten Tonic, the Galan or Paloma, or you try them all. With one exception, they were all new to me and impressed me as much as the menus of the latest Spanish star chef. The tuna tartare, popular in Andalusia, served here with truffles and spring onion dressing, melted in my mouth just as much as the mussels au gratin with spicy tomato sauce, to name just two of the various delicacies tasted.

As the Fairmont accommodation is still under construction, we are staying at the Aldiana Club near the golf courses while we get to know the new resort.

Adiós Aldiana Andalusia

The sun still rises every morning over the Aldiana Club Costa del Sol in Alcaidesa. But this will come to an end on 21 November 2022, because the resort will soon change hands. After the planned renovation, it will be called Sun Club Costa del Sol from next year and will continue as a four-star hotel under a new flag.

Sunrise at Aldiana Alcaidesa (Photo: Juergen Linnenbuerger)

The current all-inclusive concept will then be replaced by an offer that includes a choice of breakfast, half board or full board. It remains to be seen whether the great barbecue in the beach restaurant, which is still part of the club, will be offered.

I enjoyed the freshly prepared Andalusian specialities and especially the extremely spicy chorizo sausages. These remain in my positive memory as well as the varied and high-quality offer in the entire club. The well-maintained facilities and the friendliness and attentiveness of all the staff contributed in equal measure to my feeling of well-being during my stay. Not to forget the bright and clean room with the extremely comfortable bed.

Spicy and extremely delicious (Photo Juergen Linnenbuerger)

I am convinced that the Millenium/Fairmont concept will work out and that their guests will be delighted with the high-quality offer. I already am and look forward to another round on one of the most impressive golf courses in southern Europe. Hasta luego. 

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Travel

Verdura Resort Unveils New-Look East Course reopens with a master redesign.

One of Europe’s top golfing destinations, Verdura Resort in Sicily, has returned to 45 holes with the reopening of the spectacular new-look East Course following a major redesign.

Globally acclaimed golf architect Kyle Phillips returned to the site of his original creation to upgrade the 18-hole championship layout and has spent the last three years reworking his magic at Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel. The much-anticipated revamped course was unveiled to the golfing world earlier this month.

The premium layout to all visitors

The extensive renovation has seen a number of new features added and modifications made to the routing of the East Course and the neighbouring West Course. The reordering of hole numbers has allowed for the restoration of former favourite holes and brings exciting new additions, while the planting of fescue grasses throughout the course gives the layout added definition.

Phillips said: “We have certainly made the most of the terrain available to us. The drama of the coastline has been improved and we’re proud of what has been achieved. It is new and fresh, the result is great and I think it will be really well received. It has definitely reached the level we were striving for.

“One of the big differences is with the routing. With the previous layout, you would cross the other course and they would weave through each other a little at times. Now they are more clearly defined.

“The course now starts near the practice range on an existing hole, has 14 new holes in between and then finishes on three existing holes back to the clubhouse. This will make the East Course a par-73 course and the West a par-70.

“They will both be good challenges. Naturally, with any new course, it takes time to take shape and we’re expecting it to continually improve throughout the winter months so that golfers will enjoy even better playing conditions in 2022.”

How the new East Course brings joy to the community.

The reopening of the new East Course adds to the extensive selection of exceptional facilities available at Verdura Resort. Home of the European Tour’s Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, Verdura is nestled in 230 hectares of stunning Mediterranean landscape on Sicily’s southern coast. The courses and facilities combined have established Verdura as one of the world’s elite golf and lifestyle destinations.

A member of the exclusive European Tour Destinations network, the resort is famous for offering guests an unforgettable five-star golf experience in one of the most beautiful settings in world. Verdura Resort was recently named as a recipient of Golf Digest magazine’s coveted ‘2021 Editors’ Choice Award for the Best Resorts in Continental Europe’ for the sixth successive year.

Press Release by The Azalea Gropu

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Europe Travel

The World’s First International Olympic Academy Course with José María Olazábal

A Ryder Cup legend and captain of the victorious European team that won in such memorable fashion at Medinah in 2012, José María Olazábal has written his name into Ryder Cup folklore with his achievements over the last four decades.

Now a successful golf-course designer, the two-time Masters champion will unveil the first of two new 18-hole courses that he has created at Navarino Hills in Costa Navarino, Greece, this November with the launch of the world’s first International Olympic Academy Course.

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Here we have an exclusive interview with Olazábal discussing the Navarino Hills project and where his inspiration came from.

Q: When and how did your involvement in the Navarino Hills project come about?
José: I first came to Costa Navarino around six years ago when they were looking for a designer for the two new courses planned at Navarino Hills. My team and I all absolutely love the region here and we put in our very best effort to win the design job. Obviously, we were very happy when Achilles Constantakopoulos (chairman of Temes, the developers of Costa Navarino) chose us and we are working hard to repay his trust. 

Q: What were your impressions when you first saw the site?
José: Simply WOW. The property is spectacular, the views are breathtaking and the characteristics of the site are wonderful for golf. It surely ranks among the most beautiful properties we ever got the chance to work on. 

Q: What makes the landscape at Navarino Hills and Costa Navarino’s approach to developing golf courses so special?
José: The views are absolutely stunning, not just across the historic Bay of Navarino but also towards the mountains in the background. This sets the tone for the whole site and gives it a very strong character amidst the garrigue vegetation which is typical for the Mediterranean. Costa Navarino has found an absolute jewel with this property and they are trying to develop it sensibly with great focus on protecting the environment. I am delighted with their approach and we are trying to use all the latest modern techniques to contribute our share to the sustainability goals.

Q: Where did your inspiration for each course come from and have you tried to include any elements of your favourite courses in the world?
José: Well, I am privileged and have got to play many of the great golf courses around the world. Courses like Augusta, the Old Course, Valderrama, Loch Lomond and many others certainly leave an impression on you and influence you. I am a fan of the classics and am probably more of a traditionalist but, for the new designs we have undertaken, it is the land itself that gives you the inspiration. What is important is how the property sits in its surroundings, what features stands out and how we can model the golf course harmoniously into the terrain so that it feels like a natural fit.

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Q: What are the key characteristics of each course and what are the different challenges that golfers will face?
José: The International Olympic Academy Course has stunning views over Navarino Bay and is the longer and tougher of the two courses. It’s more compact and, in style, a bit posher than the Navarino Hills course. Navarino Hills has a more rural feel and takes you into the outback where you can enjoy a stroll in beautiful nature.

Q: Can you pick out a couple of holes on each course that you especially like and tell us a bit about them?
José: I think they all have their own little personality but, of course, a few will be talked about more than others. On the International Olympic Academy Course, the 12 th and 16 th holes are two beautiful but challenging par threes with great views over the bay where I am sure most golfers will stop to take a photo. Holes 10 and 15 will also get some attention. On the Navarino Hills course, I would say the sixth hole, a downhill par-five, stands out as well as the stretch from the 14th to the 17th.

Q: When the Navarino Hills project is completed, what will it do to elevate Costa Navarino’s status on the world stage as a golf destination?
José: Costa Navarino is already well known around the world but what the two new courses will do is to lift Costa Navarino from the status of a golf resort to being a full golf destination. With four golf courses, Costa Navarino will appeal to the global golf-travel market and I’m
sure will be successful in attracting many new guests.

Q: Why do you think Costa Navarino stands out as a golf destination?
José: We are spoiled as golfers because there are so many great places to go, but I have said it before and will be happy to repeat it: Costa Navarino is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It is more than just the golf offering there, it is the whole experience that is exceptional – from the nature, the culture and the people with their amazing hospitality to the food, the beach and so many activities to choose from. Don’t be surprised if you see me at Costa Navarino from time to time in the future.

Q: How important is the issue of sustainability to you when building a golf course?
José: It is a must. There is no alternative and, luckily, the topic has arrived in society as one of the most pressing issues of our time and for generations to come. Golf is only a small piece of this, but we must contribute our share and do everything to be as conscious about
environmental, social and economic sustainability as we can. Costa Navarino is certainly a leader in this and I am proud to be a part of it.

Q: In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good golf course and the characteristics that make you want to play it again and again?
José: It does not matter whether the course is extra tough or easy or long or short, what is important is that golfers have a great time. For that to happen, I think the course has to be fair and also has to fit seamlessly into the surroundings so that it creates this special
ambience.

Interview transcript provided by The Azalea Group

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Travel

Aroeira Golf Resort: An Elevating Experience

ORIZONTE NEW INVESTMENT ELEVATES AROEIRA GOLFING EXPERIENCE

ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf has taken its investment to new heights by unveiling an array of new facilities at Aroeira Golf Resort – a two-time host of the Portuguese Open.

Fresh from the rebranding this spring of its two 18-hole championship courses – Aroeira Pines Classic and Aroeira Challenge – Portugal’s leading golf management company has continued its spending by upgrading the golf leisure facilities at the resort.

Among the renovations made, the clubhouse for Aroeira Pines Classic, host venue of the 1996 and 1997 Portuguese Open, has been given a fresh new look with a modern contemporary décor inside and outside the restaurant, new kitchen facilities and refurbished changing rooms.

In addition, the resort’s swimming pool area has been refurbished with a new bar and décor while the Kids’ Club has also received a makeover, making it the ideal place for parents to leave their children while they’re playing golf or enjoying a relaxing meal in the clubhouse restaurant.

Nestled amid tranquil natural pine forest, Aroeira Golf Resort – 25km south of Lisbon – is rated among Europe’s top 50 golf resorts and has been dubbed the ‘Wentworth of Lisbon’ by many observers.

Among the many attractions on the stunning Aroeira estate is the Aroeira Lisbon Hotel. Providing the ultimate in chic modern design, the hotel includes 68 bedrooms and suites, an outdoor pool, a spa and a choice of five bars and restaurants, and offers easy access to the many golden sandy beaches in the Costa Azul region.

Alternatively, golfers can enjoy a staycation break in one of Aroeira’s choice of villas and apartments with stay-and-play packages, while a short drive from Aroeira, Ribagolfe boasts two of the finest layouts in the Lisbon region – Ribagolfe I and II.

As part of ORIZONTE’s golf maintenance programme, both courses were the subject of an upgrade at the start of the golf season while a new hotel partner for 2021, the Four Points by Sheraton Sesimbra, offers the ideal base to play the club known as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’.

ORIZONTE provides golfers with the opportunity to play four of the leading courses in close proximity to Lisbon in the stunning Costa Azul, together with exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options.

 For more details about ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf and to book any of its golf packages, please email [email protected] or visit www.orizontegolf.com

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Europe

Exclusive golf club in France’s Loire Valley now offers 46 world-class holes

GIL HANSE-DESIGNED NEW COURSE DEBUTS AT LES BORDES

Exclusive golf club in France’s Loire Valley now offers 46 world-class holes

12 July, 2021: The gift-wrapping has been taken off Les Bordes’ eagerly awaited New Course, with architect Gil Hanse taking time out from his busy schedule to unveil his first golf-course design project in continental Europe at the start of this month.

Hanse travelled from his home in America to France’s famous Loire Valley to give his personal seal of approval to the new layout, hitting the inaugural tee shot prior to members flying in from across the world to experience his new creation.

In direct contrast to Les Bordes’ Old Course, the New Course features a more traditional heathland style. When combined with the 10-hole short course – the Wild Piglet, also created by Hanse and opened in 2020 – members of Les Bordes Golf Club will receive one of the greatest golfing experiences in the world.

Hanse comments on the project and his love for France

Hanse said: “We’ve never built anything in continental Europe and we wanted to make sure that our first project was going to be something special, and Les Bordes gave us that opportunity. I have always loved visiting France, and to have the chance to create this course and leave a lasting legacy in such a beautiful part of the world makes me particularly proud.

“The golf facilities at Les Bordes are on a par with anywhere else in the world. When you consider the variety and contrast of the Old and New, the originality and quality of design coupled with the Wild Piglet and Himalayas putting green, across the board there are outstanding facilities for serious golf and fun golf – and there are very few places who can say that.

“One of the challenges that we were excited to accept was to have the chance to build a golf course on the same estate as (the Old Course), a course that has been ranked as the best in Europe.

“There are elements of a number of golf courses (in the New Course) including a lot of the great heathland courses around London and Paris. I think that I am always influenced by Pine Valley, which is very near to my home, and I think that some of the scale of National Golf Links is apparent out there too. If you roll all of those into one, I think that’s a pretty good recipe.

“With the three golf courses and the amenities that are already in place and the ones that are coming, I can’t see how Les Bordes won’t be considered one of the finest golfing destinations in Europe or in the world.”

Set 90 minutes south of Paris in France’s magical Sologne Forest, the New Course fits harmoniously into its surroundings, with the fairways blending seamlessly into the natural vegetation and trees, and maximum care and attention was taken by Hanse and his team to clear the location and preserve the natural environment.

Featuring large bunkers, subtle elevation changes and incredible green complexes, the layout measures 7,211 yards from the back tees but, in contrast to the Old Course, is expected to play shorter than its overall length due to the firm and fast playing conditions.

Jack Laws, director of golf at Les Bordes, said: “The opening of the New Course is a significant landmark in the history of Les Bordes and the culmination of many years of hard work from Gil and his team, and everyone here on the estate.

“The New Course is an outstanding golf course with truly exceptional architecture. It’s incredibly exciting what Gil has achieved here, and its addition means that our members and guests will be in the enviable position of being able to enjoy two world-class, but very different golfing experiences.”

The opening of the New Course headlines three years of investment at Les Bordes, developing a community where all family members have endless possibilities for fun and adventure. Completed on-site amenities include natural swimming lakes and pools, beaches, watersports, go-karting, fishing, equestrian, petting farm and biking and walking trails.

Future investment plans include an announced partnership with Six Senses for the transformation of the 19th century ‘Chateau Bel Air’ into a luxury hotel and spa, a village square with shops and restaurants and a variety of residential homes in various styles, as well as an equestrian centre, an organic farm, an art gallery and outdoor amphitheatre.

Press release written and distributed on behalf of Les Bordes by Azalea