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To hire or not to hire – that is the question.

To hire or not to hire – that is the question.

Self-drive golf holidays can make it all too easy for us. We throw every piece of golf paraphernalia in the boot of the car, from rain gear to the odd gizmo we have never used. On our return we always promise we will be more sensible in our packing next time but it just never happens.
Fly-drive golf holidays are a different case (pardon the pun) all together. Most airlines now charge to carry golf bags on top of your standard luggage allowance, unless you are lucky enough to be turning left when you board a plane.
Hunting around, the average airline cost to carry golf bags short haul is around £70 return. Is it worth it?
Playing on a golf holiday with your own clubs should mean you play better, but you could use this as an opportunity to try some different clubs you’ve been eyeing for a while, or just choose the same set as at home.
Across the popular Golf Planet holiday destinations in Spain and the Algarve in Portugal several companies have now set up offering golf sets for hire. Depending on how much you are willing to pay, you can choose from the latest clubs on the market and either pick them up at the airport or have them delivered to your golf resort. Of course the sets of clubs are always clean and ready for action on the first tee.
We would recommend you take out the low cost insurance when you hire clubs on your golf holiday as even losing a golf head cover can be costly.
Some resorts, including Costa Navarino in Greece, are running special offers this year for Golf Planet Holidays clients including club hire in your European golf holiday cost.
If you do decide to take your own clubs, one helpful hint gathered from personal experience is to stick a tall broom handle in your golf bag. If it’s longer than your largest club it would be the broom handle that would be damaged, not your driver.

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Morocco – a winter sun destination with a difference

Morocco – a winter sun destination with a difference

If you still haven’t decided where to go on your winter golf escape, look across the Mediterranean at Morocco. Here on a Morocco golf holiday you can enjoy beautiful courses and immerse yourself in the exciting history of this exotic country.

Less than four hours by plane from the UK, the temperatures are now heading towards the mid-twenties and the sun is shining eight hours a day whether you head to the Red City of Marrakech, Agadir or Mazagan near Casablanca on the Atlantic coast.

There are seven great golf courses around Marrakech. You can always book a caddy to help you round the greens and avoid the hazards. The clubhouse facilities are second to none and after enjoying an unpressured round, take time to relax on the terraces and enjoy the views. The breathtaking backdrop of the Atlas Mountains will leave you in awe of your surroundings.

In contrast, the hustle and bustle of the Medina in Marrakech has to be experienced at least once during your golf holiday in Morocco. However determined you are not to spend money in the souk, you will be tempted to bring back a souvenir or two.

Just a few minutes from the Medina, in the central L’Hivernage district, is one of our favourite hotels, the Movenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi Marrakech. With four restaurants set within the stunning resort there is no need to leave the premises, but we do recommend you enjoy some local cuisine on your doorstep.

The Fairmont Royal Palm is ideal if you wish to stay in the countryside surrounding Marrakech, the outstanding Royal Palm golf course, designed by Cabell B Robinson, is on site and should be at the top of your list, wherever you choose to stay.

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, turn your attention to Agadir on the Atlantic coast for your Morocco golf holiday, with its miles of beaches and equally attractive golf courses, including the links at Tazegzout. The elegant Mazagan resort near Casablanca is a stand out alternative for those looking for elegance and excellent golf on the course designed by Gary Player no less.

With the Moroccan dirham currently at a favourable rate to the pound, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy this North African country and experience a winter sun golf holiday which will stay in your memory long after the suntan has faded.

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New Year, new rules

New Year, new rules

Wherever in the world you are planning to take your 2019 golf holiday, make sure you pack the new Rules of Golf.  Officials at the USGA and R & A have launched a new, easier to understand and apply, set of rules which came into force on 1 January.
The new rules have been seven years in the making and are designed to make our favourite game more attractive and accessible, as well as quicker.
1. One of the most important changes is that the search time for a lost ball is reduced from five to three minutes.
2. Now, when you are measuring out where to drop a ball, use the longest club in your bag, except for your putter. You also drop the ball from knee height, not your shoulder. Who remembers when we had to drop the ball backwards over our shoulders?
3. In bunker play touching sand incidentally doesn’t lead to a penalty stroke and loose impediments can be removed anywhere, including hazards.
4. There’s no longer a penalty for a double hit, but if you opt to drop a ball outside a bunker, there is a two-stroke penalty.
5. If you like to use a caddie on your golf holiday, they can no longer help you with your alignment.
6. And perhaps our favourite new rule, a ball wedged between a flag stick and the side of the hole is now deemed as holed.
7. In a move that will be definitely be a bonus when you are playing a new course on holiday, if your ball goes out of bounds you can play a new ball in the area near where the ball left the course. You no longer have to traipse back to the tee.
There are plenty more changes and it is worth spending a bit of time familiarising yourself with the new rules on the R & A website, ready for the fantastic season of golf ahead.

https://www.randa.org/

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Rediscover Le Touquet

Rediscover Le Touquet

Nearly 100 years after Le Touquet became a favoured destination for the sophisticated British traveller, it remains as popular as ever, especially for golfers.
From the young Princess Elizabeth to witty author and dedicated golfer, PG Wodehouse, Le Touquet was the place to be seen in the roaring Twenties and Thirties. Away from the beach or the casino, the model for Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, golfers enjoyed a round on the Le Touquet La Foret course, which has been open since 1904.

During this glamorous period in the resort’s history, the time had come to add another golf course to the seaside town. Who better to design it, than the golf course architect of the moment, Harry Shapland Colt who lived up to his reputation, creating the outstanding Le Touquet La Mer links.

The links had an early VIP visitor, with the then Prince of Wales secretly playing the course for a few days before it opened in 1931.
Over the ensuing decades the course layout gradually altered. Now, after the discovery of aerial photography from the 1930s, golf architects and leading course restorers, Patrice Boissonnas and Frank Pont have returned the course to what closely resembles Colt’s original design and it’s as brilliant as ever.

Their research led them to uncovering four lost holes, the 13th to the 16th . Boissonnas said: “It is like finding treasure in a treasure hunt. We were able to restore Colt’s original dogleg right par-5 15th, described by his design rival Tom Simpson as one of the best he’d ever seen. Returning the 16th to its original setting has also allowed us to reinstate a spectacular downhill par 3.”
The course has deservedly won a place in France’s Top 10 and is now listed in continental Europe’s Top 40.
A new contemporary clubhouse is at the heart of the golf resort and the welcoming Le Manoir hotel has been given a new look while retaining its famous welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.

Whether you have played Le Touquet before, or you want to see what all the fuss is about for yourself, you’ll appreciate the endeavour and passion that have taken this resort to a whole new level.

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Nigel's back nine...

Nigel's back nine...

After a career on the professional golf circuit, Nigel Burch is enjoying what he lovingly calls the back nine of his working life, organising golf holidays for our clients.
Nigel’s addiction to golf started early, caddying alongside Bill Longmuir, now playing on the European Senior Tour. Aged 17 and 18 Nigel played as an amateur in the Open at Royal Troon and Royal Lytham and was one of the first British golfers to be awarded a scholarship to go to University in the States, heading to Iowa, where he studied journalism.
After turning pro, Nigel joined the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, a nation that remains close to his heart. “South Africa is a second home to me. I did well playing in the heat and I made lots of good friends. I was Captain of the PGA in Natal for three years.”
He continued to travel the world playing top courses with clients and is now putting his extensive knowledge to excellent use. “I like putting itineraries together, it’s a fantastic feeling creating golf holidays that people enjoy.”
“The country I didn’t really know was France, having played so many courses there now, I am not surprised that four French courses are in the Top 10 in Europe (Morfontaine, Chantilly Vineuil, Fontainebleau and Les Bordes).
“I enjoy looking for new destinations. There is nothing like going to a place and seeing it for myself.
“I got a real buzz when I went to Lithuania, to the Vilnius Grand Resort. It is so good. It is no wonder it is hosting the European Amateur Team Championships next year.
“Marrakech and Bulgaria are two other emerging golf destinations, keeping the old favourites on their toes.”
“I love doing my job. It is the back nine of my career and I really enjoy meeting and talking to people, especially about golf! Our business is built on personal recommendations and there is always an added pleasure when clients come back for another holiday.

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Keep your golf game warm this winter

Keep your golf game warm this winter

Here are our top tips for enjoyable winter golf.
1. Take advantage of local rules in winter
• Preferred lies. Keep an eye out for when it starts. Each club decides how far the player is allowed to prefer the lie. Make sure you check it out before beginning your round.
• Embedded ball. Check if relief extends to the rough.
• Cleaning your ball. All balls have to be marked before being lifted and replaced in the exact same spot.
• Casual water. You get free relief if water is visible under your feet or the ball when you make your normal stance. If it is, then you are allowed to drop the ball within one club length of your nearest point of relief.
2. Head to the range It’s no fun standing on a chilly practice ground in the winter, so head to a covered range instead. Motivate yourself by paying in advance, which can often mean you benefit from a discount every time you go. If you prefer, find your nearest indoor simulator, where you can ‘play’ some of the best courses in the world and keep warm.
3. Play with a coloured ball No one wants to waste time in the winter hunting for balls either under leaves or covered in frost. A softer ball is often easier too.
4. Use alternate balls When it gets very cold change balls on alternate holes, keeping the other ball in your pocket to keep it as warm as possible.
5. Wear multi-layers and a good winter hat You can lose more than half your body heat through your head. Don’t wear too much though as it will impact on your swing and you will soon warm up walking round the course.
6. Keep an eye on your ball. Follow your ball from the moment you hit it until just before it reaches the heart of the sun. Then turn your attention to the spot where you think it will land; you’ll soon see it.
7. Remain positive Remember how lucky you are to be outside with your friends on a crisp winter day.
8. Book yourself a winter golf holiday You don’t have to travel too far to find good weather and higher temperatures in the winter months, or enjoy a long haul golf trip and watch those winter golf blues magically disappear.

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To hire or not to hire – that is the question.

To hire or not to hire – that is the question.

Morocco – a winter sun destination with a difference

Morocco – a winter sun destination with a difference

New Year, new rules

New Year, new rules

Rediscover Le Touquet

Rediscover Le Touquet

Nigel's back nine...

Nigel's back nine...

Keep your golf game warm this winter

Keep your golf game warm this winter