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)

BMW international open in munich… my first on-site pro-tournament report

germany isn’t blessed with professional golf tournaments at all. it’s just one per year!! ok, to be honest, this one single event that is played on german soil is one of the better ones. BMW does everything right to make this event as memorable and professionally organized as possible.

as a matter of fact this week’s tournament was the first one i was personally attending (i.e. visiting) on-site. the rest of all the US and euro events are just consumed on telly… unfortunately! after these days i can tell you that it’s a bit sad that the germans only have the possibility once a year to come to such an event. ok, they can travel to switzerland, the netherlands and italy, but that’s not quite the same.

is it because germany has too little sponsor potential? by no means! there are dozens of corporations that would jump in as a sponsor of a world-wide recognized golf event in germany. is it because the golf courses are lame? not at all! we have some very nice and professional courses in germany where such events could take place. is it because germany has only one single important and famous golf player? maybe yes… martin kaymer is currently THE german golf player and gets all the attention. he’s a BMW ambassador and understands to get the southern-german people to the course but i guess if we had some other big names in international golf, we might have some more interest among the german people, golf players and golf enthusiasts. berhard langer, alex cejka and marcel siem are just not important enough (anymore).

but back to my weekend: the weather was not promising for these days: mainly cloudy with some rain shower. so i packed my belongings like an umbrella, rain kit, cap, victuals and some other stuff and drove to the golf club eichenried, 20mins north of munich. the area that was set up was really impressive: a huge tent city with lots of exhibitors and fun stuff to do. for sure dozens of BMW cars and a beer garden have been installed too!

throughout the days i was walking with different players, just like it was suitable to me at that time. i saw colin montgomerie, matteo manassero, sergio garcia, martin kaymer, chris wood, dustin johnson, francesco molinari and many others. it was real fun to be so close and to even be able to talk to them, ask them for an autograph (afterwards) or just be amazed by the playing capabilites these guys reveal. that’s real golfing proficiency!… eh, i mean golficiency! :)

in the end i was unlucky to have a 5-hour trip to frankfurt to make. therefore i had to leave early and couldn’t stay till sergio garcia and pablo larrazabal had a 5-hole (!) play-off. from what i’ve seen and read later on, it must have been a thrilling event in the end!  why isn’t there such a tourney in frankfurt?… i should consider to move somewhere else. florida maybe! :)

one short notice on the course: i was disappointed a bit, since i was somehow expecting a lot more. it’s not bad, that’s for sure but i had the impression that there were power lines all over the place and that made it hard to feel like on one of the best german golf courses! sorry to say!!

Golf Club Feldafing… a Bavarian lake-side Beauty!

Last weekend, I’ve been to the long awaited BMW International Open in Munich (Eichenried to be precise). Therefore I used the southern-German bank holiday and made my way on Thursday to stay at a friends’ flat right in the heart of Munich. See my other post regarding the tournament coverage!

Since 2 days of watching pro golf seemed to be enough, I brought my own bag in order to take the chance on Friday to play a beautiful course in or around Munich and to pay only a weekday greenfee. After some intense investigation I found the hotspot of choice: The Golf Club Feldafing, near Starnberg (30mins off Munich city center), right at lake Starnberg.

The course is one of Germany’s oldest ones, with massive old trees and a long history. The former US-president Dwight Eisenhower played a round and some other celebrities as well. It’s an old parkland course that is situated on the western lakeside and offers some stunning views. It belongs to the small group of “Leading Golf Clubs of Germany”. So be sure to bring your camera!

Getting there was as easy as it gets, Friday morning 7.30am. I started without any preparation and lost 2 balls on the first 2 holes (Titleists…). But that’s OK I guess; due to the massive tree population every ball can consider to be lost, if you can’t find it immediately or it bounced back into play.

To make it short: The course is really worth the journey. Whereas the last 3 holes are a bit more open, the main character of the holes is a narrow fairway, surrounded by trees, trees and trees again! So be straight!! That’s a tip I can give you. I only played with my irons and think that was (for me) the right decision. Last three holes I paired a group with an elderly gentleman, who was very polite and friendly. Just like some other club members I had a decent chat with. All had a very friendly and likable attitude, what wasn’t anticipated from my side to be honest. I thought that this place is held by the ungracious Munich upper-class, but i was disabused by all means.

The club house interior was modern-stylish, just like the furnishings on the sun terrace. I really liked it there, I can tell you.

If you’d asked me whether I’ll come back; I’d say: probably yes. But for sure there are some other gorgeous places around the Bavarian capital! We will see… here you see some impressions of Golf Club Feldafing: