Sky and golf.tv: What the heck are you doing?

Just when you thought you got access to the best golf broadcasting service, you realize it’s still not the way it should be. It would be so easy though.

I was a long-time Sky subscriber. Already when it was Premiere and then later Sky, I paid a fortune in monthly fees to get to watch some golf. I was never interested in other sports than golf, so I paid it for the weekly tournament on the Euro tour and on the PGA tour. That was the time when I haven’t had a family and plenty of time.

The years went by and it truly annoyed me how much Sky charged for the sports package and that you a) need a set top box, and b) are contracted for two years with no chance to get treated like a valued customer. In order to benefit from some reductions you had to cancel the subscription and wait for the call with the offer.

So from a pure contractual standpoint I hated Sky from the beginning. But the golf was too good to be neglected. Then came the daughter and with her next to no chance at all to watch some golf on the weekend; neither the Euro tour in the afternoon and truth be told, nor the PGA tour at night.

There we have another problem with Sky, it’s all live. And while this is nice to have, what I’d really appreciated back then would have been a streaming functionality at your time of choice. I quit watching golf eventually and just bought one of the daily or week passes for Sky Ticket. That allowed me to at least watch some of the majors.

Continue reading Sky and golf.tv: What the heck are you doing?

Golf Travel Advisor: Caribbean golf in the Bahamas

When I went to the Bahamas years ago, I wasn’t after golf or lush green fairways. I wanted to sit by the pool, on the beach, have some tropical drinks and enjoy the sun. And I did exactly that.

There are however many more activities you can go for in the Bahamas and all of them excel even in combination with each other. The facilities are there, the weather is mostly picture perfect and what could be better than outdoor sports in this environment?!… Exactly, nothing.

While there is an abundance of water sports activities possible here on the islands, there is golf, too. And as you are most likely interested in golf, let me break down some must do’s when it comes to golfing in the Bahamas.

Point taken, the clubs are private to a certain degree and there might be some restrictions to get on and play a round, but sometimes this is no problem depending on the day of the week, the time of the day or the hotel you are staying at. So there’s still the chance to play some exquisite golf, you won’t be disappointed at all.

Continue reading Golf Travel Advisor: Caribbean golf in the Bahamas

With golfers in mind: Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel

One great golf trip almost guaranteed, if you happen to start it right. And that includes deciding for the best accommodation that caters all your needs as traveler, golfer and hedonist human being.

While the Castillo Hotel Son Vida could be described as the Grande Dame of the up-market community of Son Vida, 10 minutes outside of Palma, the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella, just a stone’s throw away from the Castillo on the other hand is the young, dynamic little sister.

It boasts a modern vibe, fresh design and contemporary facilities – together with a direct access to one of the most attractive golf courses of the island. So it’s arguably a good package, one that seems to tick all boxes. Is it true though?

Traveling to Mallorca is always a good decision. It’s even more advisable if you are not only interested in sun bathing and the general primrose path the island is offering but even more when you want to include some sports and wellness activities into your daily diary.

As the Castillo Hotel Son Vida is known for the sheer luxury of a golf hotel, the Sheraton is known to be a 5-star hotel complex, designed around the needs and requests from golfers, just in a younger package.

That starts with direct access to the Son Vida club but it luckily doesn’t end there. Depending on the package you book (there are now non-golfer packages as well for those who are after a holiday retreat but are not (yet) golfers) you have included full access to the different courses, to the training facilities, to the frequent shuttle bus and of course to all hotel amenities which there are plentiful.

Continue reading With golfers in mind: Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel

Another thing to learn from the pros: Repair pitch marks on the green

It might become a new series on the blog; there are indeed so many things to learn from professional golfers. So, in this inaugural post on things to learn from pros: be the heck thankful to the sport, the course and treat both with dignity — start by repairing your pitch marks.

We all know what I’m talking about. You get to a course, looking forward to some great hours playing your beloved sport. Then on hole whatever, there’s a deep pitch mark in your putting line. Either you see it beforehand and repair it for yourself because the guy/gal who did this wasn’t aware or too lazy. The other possibility would be you don’t realize there is mark, you putt and miss because of that bloody ditch in the ground that nobody repaired in the first place.

Both alternatives are annoying and at the same time avoidable. Just make it your damn rule whenever you step on a green, first—before you think about putt lines, speed and turf condition—repair your pitch mark. If you can’t find yours or if you haven’t left one, please repair the one that another idiot left earlier. The players behind you will thank you for that, because only a flat, non-dimpled green is a joy to putt on.

It goes without saying that you don’t start your round of golf without putting the necessary tool in your pocket. That’s a start at least. You just have to remember it use it eventually.

If you do need some tutoring on how to actually repair marks, this guide should help you. Two and a half minutes well invested.

Now go out, play and take care of the course. You’re not a green keeper, but quite literally you are one—for the sake of joy for all of us. Thank you.

Golf courses closed down again

Just when you thought you were lucky because golf was considered an individual sport with all its COVID-19 perks, it gets closed again for some dumb reason.

COVID-19 strikes back and we’re in the middle of the second wave; no question that we have to take some serious precautios measures.

Germany dealt pretty well with the crisis in the past months. People for the vast majority have been using masks and protected themselves and others. As a consequence the numbers went down. Then after the holiday season and due to some stupid behavior of certain people, it went up again.

As a consequence the government had to come up with measures that will bring the numbers back down again and maybe get us to a situation that we’re going to be able to have a rather normal Christmas this year.

Continue reading Golf courses closed down again

Nice autumn round at Golfclub Friedberg

Despite being not far from where I live, I never played this course before. Today was the day, and it was a pretty good day indeed.

All the other courses in my region held their season closing tournaments and blocked the course during golf prime time. So I looked for another course where I could play a round as the weather was forecasted to be really nice.

I ended up at Golfclub Friedberg. Or Golfpark am Löwenhof. Or Sommerfeld Golf Friedberg… no idea what the official name is to be honest. There are at least three websites for the very same golf course. Very confusing and totally worthless.

Friedberg is like 30 minutes from where I live but still I never had the chance to play here. I heard some very strange stories being a very dry course in the summer time, so I figured let’s try out in the autumn, can’t go wrong much. And I was totally desperate to play.

I was grouped together with a lovely elderly couple and 14-year old Jan. He was very chatty (I mean really chatty), played only for 6 months but was already a fine player with his 20 handicap. He was +11 after 13 holes. I on the other side was minimum +13 after 11 holes… As an excuse, this was his 6th round of the week. I’m not even sure I played 6 rounds all year!

Score-wise it wasn’t the best I had to offer. Even with my irons I wasn’t as constant as I had wished but it was a great round nonetheless. The course is interesting and challenging. Nothing too fancy but definitely a well designed and well maintained course which I might visit a bit more often next year.

Or in other words, it doesn’t at all deserve all the hate. Only the club management and the three websites deserve it. The lady in the office was not in her best mood either and they had no logo balls I could purchase. A real pity.

A chilly and damp comp day 2020

Last weekend I played my first and only tournament of the 2020 season. This year truly is remarkable I have to say.

It feels weird. Usually I play around 10 to 15 tournaments a year. Actually almost every round I play is a tournament. And as I’m playing a comp series that is not connected to a certain club, I tend to get around pretty much in a radius of a 90 minutes ride by car.

This year is different. I had no season prep at all, played and practiced very irregularly only and as a consequence didn’t play much at all. As a matter of fact the comp I played last Saturday was the first one this year, and I’m pretty sure it will remain my only one of 2020.

What crazy months this have been…!

Anyway, I wanted to at least get in one official score in 2020 which is why I enrolled for a tournament at Golfclub Rheinhessen Hofgut Wissberg St. Johann, pretty mouthful indeed.

I knew the course from two years ago and while I can’t say I remembered the holes, there were passages which indeed came back to mind. Not to puzzle with local knowledge but it was good to at least have a feeling of “I played here before, I know the course, there are no surprises”.

Continue reading A chilly and damp comp day 2020

New Golficiency Service: The Golf Travel Advisor

This is the beginning of a new category of articles and posts which will, quite irregular to start with, surface here on Golficiency.

Over the years of golf travel and golf travel preparation, I was a keen collector of travel ideas and hence created quite a substantial golf bucket list. It grew longer and longer. So long that it’s easy to snip here and there and build a neat little golf trip around it.

As my list consists of international courses of all sorts, it should be relevant and interesting for a broad spectrum of golf enthusiasts, just like you!

I traveled for golf and I traveled with golf — and I’m sure you appreciate as well some well investigated golf course, travel and suitable accomodation information to have you all prepared for a great golf break with your partner, your mates or your family.

Could there be anything better than golf travel; get around the world, see new places, meet new people, play the best golf courses and stay at fantastic hotels and resorts? … See, there you have it! Nothing beats a great golf trip. Well, almost nothing.

Stay tuned for some great articles coming your way. Make sure to follow Golficiency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to not miss a thing.

The grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses: Golf Son Vida

As the weather turns colder and more miserable outside here in Central Europe, it fills me with great memories of late 2019, when I played golf during winter, which in Mallorca feels nothing but great with its blue skies and very pleasant and moderate temperatures.

At the same time it gives me a heavy heart as so much happened during the past months which did not turn well for golf in the Balearics or for the lovely islands in general. Of course I’m relating to the COVID-19 lockdown and all the unfortunate consequences that come with it.

This is a travel and course report of the better times when playing golf was an obvious thing to do in good weather and when every chance to play such a course is an absolute must.

Mallorca is a golf mekka, I don’t break this to you I’m sure. On this rather small island there are not less than 24 golf courses and the vast majority of them are publicly available to play.

The oldest, since 1964, and maybe hence the most original course of the island is Golf Son Vida, meandering around the famous Castillo Son Vida Hotel and through the posh and sophisticated Son Vida urbanizacion, just 10 minutes outside of Palma.

Nowadays Mallorca is famous as a golf destination all across Europe, if not the world — and it all started with Son Vida, the grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses.

Continue reading The grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses: Golf Son Vida

My second visit to St. Leon-Rot was just as fabulous as the first

It was only much slower, but that wasn’t my fault in all fairness.

St. Leon-Rot is one of these famous golf complexes that scream golf quality. It features two courses and they used to be on everyone’s list for the best golf courses in Germany.

Last year was the first time I set foot on this holy land and managed to play the St. Leon course, presumably the more exciting and more difficult course. At least it’s the track that is played when international golf tournaments are staged here at St. Leon-Rot. As I only experienced one of the two golf courses so far, the plan was to go for the other one this time, the Rot course, named after the other part of town.

Continue reading My second visit to St. Leon-Rot was just as fabulous as the first