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Flat but bloomy: Bad Vilbeler Golfclub Lindenhof

To kick off my tournament season earlier this year I decided to play a round at Bad Vilbeler Golfclub Lindenhof, north of Frankfurt, Germany. I played this course once before, but only for 12 holes or so.

So I was excited that day, the weather was holding up quite nicely and I was really interested to see the rest of the course. In early summer, when everything is in full bloom, this course is supposed to be extremely beautiful. That day was a little different, no blossom to be seen.

The course is rather flat but interesting nontheless. On many holes you find water as the prominent hazard, on most holes you do find however multiple areas you wouln’t want to place your ball.

The 9 and 18 really stand out in my opinion. The 9th is a par-5 dogleg right with a huge pond right in front of the mens tees. Either you are overly brave (and good enough) and drive over the water, or you lay up to the left and start to play to the right side starting with the secon shot. Great hole. What’s cool as well is the fact that you have a telephone at the tee box with which you can order something to drink or eat at the halfway house. So when you reach the 10th 15 minutes later, everything is waiting for you. Cool.

The 18th is a par-3 towards the clubhouse. What makes it special is the sheer amount of water you find on that hole.

So playing Bad Vilbel was a treat, a nice course, definitely not perfect but when you are in the area anyway, Bad Vilbel is a nice addition to your list – and stay for dinner if you can and enjoy the evening.

Sweden golf, Ekerum Resort Öland

During the preparation for our holidays in Sweden I researched so much on golf courses and was literally stunned by the sheer amount of top notch courses they have.

I wanted to play them all. As that’s not really possible when you travel with your family I narrowed it down to a bit more than a handful. Still a lot of golf. And then our itinerary required some severe adjustments so that we cut most of our journey through south Sweden and ended up in Stockholm and Öland.

No hard feelings, but I managed to play one round and one round only on Öland.

I played the Långe Jan course at the Ekerum Resort just outside of Borgholm, Öland. The resort features two courses, one named by the lighthouse in the very south of the island, the other named by the lighthouse in the very north. Both of them are supposed to be very nice, the Långe Erik being more kind of a “normal” course, and Långe Jan featuring a modern re-fit with wasteland areas and some tweaks you don’t find at every other course.

Långe Jan course, hole 1, Ekerum Resort Öland, Sweden.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the course, even with my round taking donkeys with some slow people all over the place. I got in traffic, joined a couple’s group which happened to be members and they told me they never experienced such traffic on the course yet. Well, bad luck for me.

Sweden has great courses to offer, and a big shoutout to the Exilgolfer and Sweden Golf, I got some great recommendations which courses to play. I will take my notes out again next time Sweden is back on my list. I can’t wait to play Bro Hof, Barsebäck, PGA of Sweden, Hills, Sand, Falsterbo, and so many more.

For this time it was just Ekerum. Very good course though. Would definitely recommend you play if you are on the island.

More information: Ekerum Resort Golf

The new sticks…

I just wanted to let you guys know that I quite recently bought a new set of clubs. You might be aware that I used to be a huge Acushnet fanboy and that I owned everything from Titleist, Scotty Cameron, Bob Vokey, FootJoy, etc. (Well, no Pinnacle to be fair). But I realised I have to move on. Which I did.

I got fitted for a complete set of the PING G400 range and couldn’t resist to order.

So far, my experiences are a bit so-so. These are great clubs, but I guess I have to adapt to the following:

  1. Graphite shafts. Never had those in irons before.
  2. Cast irons. Was used to forged so far.
  3. Chunky looks. I will get used to the wider sole and the brushed material.
  4. Distances. Are completely off, notable longer but unfamiliar.
  5. 0.75° upright. Yeah, that’s a toughie to be honest, completely new stance, especially for pitches
  6. PW, UW, SW, LW same range as irons. No such thing as the Vokey feel around the green unfortunately, but easy for full shots.

Other than that, they are damn good. Can’t wait to sport them next year to get me down to a new all-time low handicap… Fingers crossed.

Friday after-work practice session. #ping #g400 #project12 #break80

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So, this is what’s in my bag for 2018:

  • Driver: PING G400, Alta CB stiff, 10.5°
  • 3 Wood: PING G400, Alta CB stiff, 14.5°
  • 5 Wood: PING G400, Alta CB stiff, 17.5°
  • Hybrid 3: PING G400, Alta CB stiff, 19°
  • Irons: PING G400, Alta CB stiff, 4-PW, UW, SW, LW
  • Putter: Scotty Cameron California Del Mar

And yes, I know that’s 15 clubs… #shhhh

An autumn round which felt like summer

My in-laws live in south Germany and we visit them from time to time over the weekend, as you do. This time, they weren’t even there but we went there anyway (for other reasons) and I brought my golf clubs to play a round.

The area near Ulm is beautiful but not at all blessed with many golf courses. So it was easy to pick a course. After I played GC Ulm last time, I went for GC Donau-Riss, a 15min ride from where we stayed.

The course is equipped with an 18-hole course, a large range, decent training facilities and a short course. The overall appearance of the track is rather open. What I mean by that, it’s not your typical parkland course, on the contrary, without many obstacles you can overlook big parts of the course. Not all of it, but it is rather open, you get what I mean.

Carrying my clubs today… honestly, why would you do that if you had the choice. Trolley next time.

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It was early Oktober and during the round I hated me that I didn’t wear shorts. It was really hot, the sun was burning and it felt like a little reward for the bad summer we had so far.

I started my round on the 10th. No intentionally, but because I followed two youngsters which intentionally started on the 10. I just realised when my GPS watch made no sense whatsoever for my approach shot.

The course wasn’t overly packed but after some holes I got in traffic and joined another couple’s group, played along for 6 or so holes, played alone again, got in traffic again and joined another golf buddys’ group for the last 2.

All in all a fun round in just over 4 hours. The course was nice, while not extravagant. Holes which are worth noting:

  • 1. Split fairway.
  • 4. Double fairway, meaning you can decide to play left or right around an area of rough and trees.
  • 9. Uphill par-4 with a huge biotope area which you have to lay up for.
  • 15. Huge biotope again.
  • 17. Short par-3 with liver-shaped green. I couldn’t putt straight to the hole and had to putt “around the corner”.

So when you are in the area, give the course a chance. It’s not worth a huge travel but definitely is much fun to play. I had a great day on the course.

Re-activation and re-connection

This blog has been pretty silent over the last year which I actually feel a little ashamed of. The reason for the golf absence, at least in the blog writing fashion, has mainly to do with the fact that I became father to a beautiful baby girl, which I admire over the moon.

So priorities have shifted, the day work is important, the baby deserves a lot of time, my wife gets her share of my time without question, then I have another big online project running, read a lot, we have a house which takes some time, friends, family, hobbies and last but not least, playing golf.

Sounds like an apology? It is one, truth be told. But priorities do shift, and there is no such thing as bad behaviour for a blog that is absolutely free. I’m not even sure if somebody actually missed me, missed my golf stories or my golf pictures. Especially because Golficiency is quite active on Facebook and Instagram.

Long story short, over the winter months, I will try to create more content for my audience. Golficiency was founded in the off-season to stay in touch with the game, and it will be re-activated in the (European) off-season.

Happy reading!

Matt Ginella’s Top 50 US (public) courses

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In case you don’t know Matt Ginella, which would surprise me, but anyway, let me briefly explain what his job is – and let me warn you, you might want to quit yours immediately.

The story is easy, Matt works for the Golf Channel and is paid quite a salary to travel the world and play golf. That’s it. He plays the best courses around the globe, then comes back to Florida and talks a bit about his endeavours. Sounds stressful? I don’t think so. In my opinion this guy has the best job on earth. And I guess there are thousands waiting in line waiting for the moment he decides to resign – for whatever reason.

So Matt travels the world, he plays astounding courses and he regularly creates best-of lists, which I really like in general.

Not long ago he (re)created the Top 50 US public golf courses list, and you should definitely have a look:

#WomenOnCourse campaign inspires a generation at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

Host venue of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, inspires a generation with unique interactive campaign to uncover what makes women great

As 126 of the world’s best female golf professionals prepare to compete in the inaugural Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBMLO), 2-5 November, the host venue, Gary Player’s Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, is inspiring a generation in Abu Dhabi by showcasing the many diverse roles women play across all walks of life with an interactive #WomenOnCourse campaign.

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has recognised the opportunity presented by the FBMLO to inspire and support women, both on the golf course and off. The #WomenOnCourse initiative launched yesterday and will continue throughout the tournament week, asking players, spectators and the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club family to get involved and show their support.

Clinton Norris, Sales Manager, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club says, “It is important we use this fantastic event to celebrate the major roles women play in our community and society at large. Our campaign is designed to support the Ladies European Tour and get people thinking and sharing their thoughts, whatever gender, age, ethnicity, so we can all appreciate and openly share how we are inspired by those we know and admire.”

#WomenOnCourse activities kicked off yesterday with a compelling discussion between LET professionals Melissa Reid and Camilla Lennarth, and two inspiring Emirati ladies Sarah Al Nowais, founder of FitNut Blog and co-founder TheADmovement and Fatima Al Ali, Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy as they shared their ideas on what makes women great and their thoughts about being ‘on course’, both in the literal sense of the golf course, and also ‘on course’ in life.

Camilla Lennarth said, “Whether it’s to win a tournament this season or achieve a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle, setting goals and check-points is integral to staying on course. What makes women great is their ability to empower one another and support their peers throughout these journeys. Being here in Abu Dhabi is a great opportunity to showcase golf and inspire the next generation.”

Sarah Al Nowais said, “TheADmovement was created to support and encourage women in Abu Dhabi to participate in an active lifestyle and sports. Seeing all these women here at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, taking part in the first ladies professional golf tournament in Abu Dhabi has really inspired me to try golf and I hope that other women take the chance to visit during the event weekend.”

Monday evening also saw Saadiyat Beach Golf Club host a clinic for 16 students from the Higher Colleges of Technology. Leading up to the FMBLO, the club in collaboration with FBMA, has hosted a Training Program – offering Emirati women and students a series of 10 lessons over a five week period. Fatima Al Ali, who participated in the training said “I really love golf now that I’ve taken part in the sessions and it’s so exciting to meet some of the world’s best players here in Abu Dhabi.”

The #WomenOnCourse campaign continues, with the club asking the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club family, the players, tournament spectators and general golf fans to get involved and share their thoughts on what makes women great.

(External source)

South Africa’s Western Cape wins award for “Best International Golfing Destination”

westerncape-17nov16The Western Cape’s natural paradise has been recognised as the 2016 Golf Destination of the Year for Africa and the Gulf States by the global trade association of the golf tourism industry, IAGTO.

Golf tour operators from South Africa who were present and exhibiting at the 2016 IGTM (International Golf Travel Market) collected the award on behalf of the Western Cape at the IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner held in Palma, Spain.

“It is fantastic to win this award in which we were up against the following nominees: Abu Dhabi, Agadir, Dubai and Casablanca. I hope it will encourage more golfers to visit South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape,” said Carl Reinders, of Pro Golf Africa Safaris, speaking on behalf of the South African golf operators. “South Africa has now been awarded an IAGTO Destination or Golf Resort Award for the 7th time since 2003, which highlights just what a fantastic golf destination our beautiful country is and the wonderful golf it has to offer.”

Reinders said that with the diversity that South Africa and particularly the Western Cape provides, with quality golf, wine, cuisine, culture, beautiful landscapes and of course the opportunity for safari, makes it a unique destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The fact that South Africa is also excellent value for money is an added advantage, together with the wonderful climate it has throughout most of the year.

The Western Cape has a fantastic array of golf courses, with some of the best courses in the country such as Pearl Valley, De Zalze, Erinvale and Stellenbosch Golf Club situated amongst the historical Stellenbosch and Franschhoek Winelands.

Within the city of Cape Town, courses such as Royal Cape, Clovelly, Milnerton and Atlantic Beach boast magnificent views of the famous Table Mountain. Arabella Resort and Spa, situated on the Western Cape’s Whale Coast, is also a past winner of the prestigious “Golf Resort of the Year” award presented by IAGTO, and combined with Hermanus Golf Club and the opportunity to see Southern Right Whales nursing their young is just another unique experience on offer in this beautiful part of South Africa. The city of Cape Town, which is at the centre of this fantastic region, is one of the most celebrated tourism destinations in the world.

The IAGTO Awards were established in 2000 to reward exceptional contributions to the world of golf travel. IAGTO’s 500+ golf tour operators from 62 different countries cast their votes for these Awards. Each operator was asked to nominate what they considered to be the best performing golf destinations this year enjoyed by their golf travelling clients.

The golf destination in each of the five regions with most votes receives the 2017 Golf Destination of the Year accolade. Operators were asked to consider the following criteria: customer satisfaction, quality of golf courses & accommodation, value for money, professional conduct of suppliers, support from the local tourism industry and accessibility to tee times.

(External source)

Costa Navarino and Monte Rei celebrate back-to-back WLG award successes

The stunning Greek resort of Costa Navarino, in the Peloponnese, has been honoured at the prestigious World of Leading Golf (WLG) awards for the third successive year.

WLG, an organisation representing many of the most renowned golf clubs and resorts in 17 countries, has held an award ceremony only for the past three years – and Costa Navarino is the only resort to have collected a ‘gong’ at each of the ceremonies.

In the first year it was for ‘best newcomer’; last year it was for ‘best service’; and this year, at a ceremony at Golf Son Gual, in Mallorca, it took the title for ‘best overall impression’.

The ‘environmentally responsible’ resort, in Messinia, comprises a number of distinct and complementary sites featuring five-star hotels, residences, spas and leisure facilities, including two stunning championship golf courses: the Dunes and the Bay.

But it wasn’t the only destination to get the warm familiar glow of award success, for Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, in the Eastern Algarve, took the top award for the second successive occasion. Last year it was titled ‘best member’ – this year the title was renamed ‘best overall venue’, but the outcome was the same.

Monte Rei features a championship Jack Nicklaus signature course in more than 1,000 acres of countryside, and was voted Portugal’s number one in the 2016 Golf Digest ‘best courses’ ranking.

Club de Golf Alcanada – the only course in Mallorca adjacent to the sea – received the award for ‘best service’, with particular emphasis being placed on the friendliness, competence and up-selling ability of its employees.

Its Robert Trent Jones Jnr course opened in 2003 and blends naturally into the typical Mallorcan terrain, while offering magnificent mountain and sea views, amid mixture of pine and olive groves. In addition, the club boasts a centuries-old Mallorca clubhouse with a sun-baked terrace.

For golfing gourmands, it did not come as too much of a shock to learn that the award for ‘best culinary offering’ went to Golf Club Beuerberg, in Eurasburg, Germany.

Beuerberg, located 20 miles south of Munich, opened in 1982 and is a former host venue of the European Ladies Open. The restaurant, under the experienced auspices of Urs Zondler, who has been in charge of the kitchen since it opened, is renowned not just for the quality and variety of food, but also the ambience and service.

Abu Dhabi’s Yas Links joined WLG only in early 2016, yet it created such an impression that it was awarded the title of ‘best course condition’.

Sprawled out along almost two miles of sandy Arabian Gulf coast, the Kyle Phillips’ design was the first links course in the Middle East. Measuring 7,414 yards off the tips, Yas Links took more than three years to construct and has eight holes abutting the coastline itself. It is ranked number one in the Middle East and #46 in the world by Golf Digest; and it sits at #62 in the world ranking with Platinum Clubs of the World.

The three-time Volvo World Match Play venue, Finca Cortesin – located just inland from the Malaga coast – took the honour of ‘best newcomer’, which seems to be a platform for future glories.

Its 6,802m, par-72 championship course opened in 2007 and is ranked as one of Spain’s best. Designed by Cabell B Robinson, it makes the most of its natural Mediterranean landscape and includes 20 varieties of flora and a forest. It also incorporates a Jack Nicklaus Academy and offers a golf-club valet and cleaning service, state-of-the-art practice facilities, buggies with the latest GPS technology, and an on-course buggy bar for ice-cold drinks.

Claus Feldt, WLG’s chief executive, said: “Once again we were able to reward the crème de la crème of WLG members. The standard of competition for all of these awards is probably the highest anywhere given that all WLG members have to attain amazingly high levels anyway; so to emerge victorious in any category is a real badge of honour for golf resorts.

“It makes you really proud to work in an industry where so many people take such immense pride in what they offer to their clientele. We should also give our thanks to everybody who came along to enjoy the evening’s activities and to Andreas Pamer and his team at Son Gual for the use of their stunning venue and their excellent hospitality.”

Alcanada’s director of golf, Kristoff Both, added: “It was a really memorable and enjoyable evening; a great opportunity to meet with like-minded people, and to exchange views and ideas in a very convivial atmosphere. To receive this prestigious award alongside so many other fantastic clubs is a huge honour for us.”

WLG and its member clubs are passionately committed to preserve golf culture, but not only by heeding to such things as rules, dress code and etiquette – they commit to the very highest of quality standards concerning the design and caretaking of golf courses and services, as well as the levels of ambiance and gastronomy.

(External source)

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Listed in World’s Most Iconic and Influential Clubhouses

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, the premier golf resort in the Middle East located in the heart of Dubai, is proud to join the ranks of the world’s most well-known Clubhouses in Golf.com’s recent listing of The 18 Most Iconic Clubhouses.

The influential list compiled by leading Golf Magazine’s Joe Passov has recognised Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, and its home the UAE, as being a destination for this world class sport, acknowledging the club for its impressive aesthetics, architecture and history alongside the 18-hole championship golf course it is renowned for.

Coming in at number eight on this respected list, special reference is made toward the iconic nautical heritage of the Club’s concrete ‘sails’ and everything it represents.

“It is a great honour for Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club to be included in such a prestigious list of world-renowned golf clubs. Our iconic clubhouse is a Dubai landmark, which represents the city’s important nautical heritage, as well as being the only golf clubhouse in the world to be featured on the Nation’s banknote. To join the prestigious list of golf clubhouses including The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews and Augusta National Golf Club, as well as being the only club from the Middle East really puts golf in Dubai on the international map”. Christopher May, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Golf.

(External source)