Tuesday, 29 March 2016
The Executive Golf and Leisure arrived in Belfast after a short 25 minute flight from Glasgow Airport. A quick 30 minutes taxi drive from Belfast International airport to the city center, the team checked into the 4 Star trendy FitzWilliam Hotel, quick freshen up and over to the very famous Crown Liquor Saloon, a unique setting, rich in history, with a religious influence at the front entrance. All the team agreed it is a must visit when in Belfast City and don't be surprised if you are there until closing time.
Back to the Fitzwilliam Hotel, just a stones throw across the road, a quick change of clothes, the team met with the management team for a cocktail reception in the very beautiful Penthouse Suite. A small kitchenette, 6 table dining space and the views overlooking the city are truly breathtaking, where you can also enjoy the same experience.
The team then took a short drive over to the 5 Red Star Merchant Hotel for a show-round, a hotel of two styles the Merchant Hotel offers a collection of Victorian boutique rooms and a collection of quirky Art Deco rooms, and not to mention the luxury spa with outdoor Jacuzzi. While eating breakfast or dining in the main restaurant, you will be mesmerized by the ceiling. On the ground floor, you will find the atmospheric Bert's Jazz bar and restaurant. The Merchant Hotel offers a wide variety of entertainment and relaxation, it really does tick all the boxes.
With the icing on the cake and the candles lit, we all enjoyed a meat feast in Hadskis Restaurant, with a wide variety of scrumptious dishes, Hadskis will cater for all cravings which can be enjoyed in the main restaurant or at the chefs table, however they really do specialise in beef, with a range of steaks and different cuts from sirloin, to succulent short rib, or a 1kg fillet steak sharing dish, it would be rude not to order beef.
DAY 2 - COUNTY DOWN & DUBLIN
The day started with a one hour transfer to Montalto, a 10 bedroom exclusive luxury, property on a country estate. Beautiful tranquil setting just 30 minutes' drive from Royal County Down Golf Club. With great adaptability, they will attend to your needs and requirements with onsite fishing and the opportunity to bring in clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, and falconry.
After a short visit to County Down, it was time to move on to Dublin, first stop the very famous Portmarnock Golf Club. A clubhouse rich in history, huge trophy collection and Walker Cup memorabilia. The team was host by the club manager for a stunning lunch using local produce. Following lunch the team were invited to play the golf course. With beautiful views, Portmarnock offers 27 holes on a unique peninsular setting, after golf we relaxed with a pint of the famous black stuff - smooth and luxurious, Guinness really is best enjoyed in Dublin.
A short 30 minute drive into the city, the group were welcomed by the management team at the 5 Star FitzWilliam Hotel Dublin City Center. Located on St Stephens Green, they really were in the thick of it. The staff and customer service really was top notch. After again a quick freshen up the team were invited for a 3 course dinner in the hotel restaurant, they enjoyed a delicious starter and main however the dessert really was the star of the show, if you can squeeze it in - DO IT!!!
DAY 3 - DUBLIN
After a beautiful breakfast in the Fitzwilliam Dublin, the team received a very warm welcome from Eoin the general manager at Royal Dublin Golf Club, a quick tour around the clubhouse just like Portmarnock rich in history ended in the dining room to enjoy the spectacular view of the golf course with warm oven baked scones. After taking in the view and navigating their game-plan, the team booted up for 18 holes on Royal Dublin, which they found very enjoyable. Very much like Portmarnock the course was flat, with cleverly positioned fairway bunkers and undulating green-side aprons protects this course from a sub-par round.
Back on the road again, the team traveled across country to the 2006 Ryder Cup Venue the 5 Star K Club Resort. With a quick show around the owner, Mr Smurfit's beautiful on-site home which is available for exclusive use, the star of the show really was the basement floor - a Mediterranean styled swimming pool and HUGE wine cellar/cave with dining area, again this manor house ticks all the boxes for entertainment and relaxation.
A short drive over to the 5 Star K Club Hotel, the team had time to relax and enjoy their enormous rooms. To finish the evening they were greeted by Michael the general manager in the hotel bar, followed by a three course 5 Star, fine dining experience, enjoyed listening to many of Michael's stories and experiences he has created over the years of managing one of the most prestigious properties Ireland has to offer. The K Club really does know how to do luxury - by far one of the most comfiest beds the team have experienced.
DAY 4 - DUBLIN
The team parted from the rest of the group, with an intense schedule starting at the unique, family owned European Club. A tough but well-designed golf course, with the famous sleeper lined bunkers. Back onto the Viano van the team traveled back into the city for a show-round the very beautiful, and incredibly luxurious 5 Star Merrion Hotel. When looking for the absolute finest rooms, dining and spa look no further than the Merrion Hotel, it offers a fine collection of art with a champagne accompanied tour of the masterpieces on-site.
After a beautiful lunch in the Cellar Bar at the Merrion, the team took a very short drive to discover the quirky trendy, but much relaxing 5 Star Dylan Hotel. The hotel offers a variety of rooms that cater for all needs whether it be a city break or your residency for a week-long tour.
After enjoying the Dylan the team ventured to their final visit of the day, The Island Golf Club, another peninsula golf course protected by high standing dunes, with beautiful views of the Irish Sea.
This has been a very educational and inspiring tour, and the team would like to extend their thanks to Tom Cotter for organising and hosting the tour, to all the Hotels, Restaurants and Golf Courses and their management teams for their warm welcome and wonderful hospitality.
The team at Executive Golf & Leisure are fully equipped with all the necessary information to look after all your needs and requirements for a tour of Belfast and / or Dublin.
If you are interested and would like some further information about these locations please contact the team on:
Tel: +44 (0)1786 832244
Toll Free USA: 1877 295 2247
Toll Free Canada: 1866 392 5021
Monday, 28 March 2016
Ah Scotland, land of mystery and beauty. Land of fine Scotch whisky and the Loch Ness Monster. Land of highlands and lowlands. Land of castles and of Braveheart. Scotland is well-known and well-loved for many reason and just in case you’re after a few more, we’re sharing some of the most adored activities the country has to offer.
1. Whisky tours
It’s no secret that the Scots make the best whisky in the world and whisky lovers travel from all over to visit our distilleries for a bit of a taste and a gander. With over 50 whisky distilleries in the Speyside region alone, you are spoilt for choice.
Most distilleries offer fantastic tours and the public are invited to learn about how this world-famous elixir is made and sample a dram or two.
2. Salmon fishing
Salmon fishing is the Rolls Royce of fishing in Scotland and is considered a most sophisticated sport. Scotland is the spiritual home of the 'king of fish' and each year anglers from around the world visit our banks to fly-fish for salmon which run most rivers in the country.
If fishing isn’t quite your cup of tea, you could visit these beautiful locations just to watch the salmon leap – it’s quite a sight to behold. Early autumn is the best time to view this as salmon propel themselves upstream to their breeding grounds.
3. Game bird shooting
Scotland is famous for sporting bird shooting with pheasant, grouse and duck aplenty. It is important to follow conservation practices when going out on a ‘hunt’ and so it’s best to join a well-managed tour where your guides know the rules, as well as the best spots!
If your shooting’s a little rusty and you don’t want to scare away all the birds for the rest of your party; you can always visit a clay pigeon ground beforehand to brush up on your aim.
4. Improve your handicap at ‘The Home of Golf’
Scotland is home to the most prestigious golf course in the world, the Old Course, St Andrews. The game's origins at St Andrews date back to the 12th century. The Old Course at St Andrews is the holy grail of tee-offs for golf enthusiasts everywhere and as it’s open to the public, you have the incredible opportunity to follow in the footsteps of legends. St Andrews also offers guided tours of the facilities and its 7 courses which allow you to learn about the rich history of the game and the fame of this esteemed location.
To make an entrance, what better way to arrive for your game on the Old Course or to start your tour at St Andrews than by VIP helicopter. If it’s good enough for Sean Connery, then you’re in good company.
5. Golf and Sail the Scottish Coastline
There are few better ways to experience Scotland’s magnificent landscapes and rugged coastlines than on board a luxury yacht sailing on open water. A golf and sailing holiday in Scotland allows you to discover its secrets and learn about the fascinating history of the coastal regions with many hidden gems of island golf courses and stunning seafood restaurants.
You could also choose to keep it inland and explore the country’s many lochs and canals under sail.
Let us set you off on the ultimate Scottish luxury adventure
Whether you wish to combine a whisky tour and leisurely tasting of the finest malts with a round of golf on the world’s oldest and most prestigious course, or try your hand at fly fishing for the ‘king of fish’ or even bring down that most challenging of game birds, Executive Golf & Leisure will see you through.
We arrange exclusive luxury tours for you hosted by professional qualified guides or simply suggest the finest places for you to explore at your leisure. We are delighted to tailor-make a luxury personalised itinerary to suit you and your great friends.
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
How to fit in at the Old Course, St Andrews
If you’re going to be following in the footsteps of legends and teeing off on one of the oldest and most prestigious golf courses in the world, you want to look and act the part.
The Old Course at St Andrews in Fife, Scotland is considered to be the "home of golf". Historic records show that golf has been played in St Andrews for more than 600 years although many believe the game's origins here date back to the 12th Century. Steeped in history and boasting iconic landmarks like The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse, the Old Course at St Andrews is open to public golfers six days a week, although you will need to be patient when securing a tee time – the course is fully booked months in advance.
Once your reservation is set, it is most sportsmanlike to acquaint yourself with the etiquette required when playing, not only on a course as iconic as the Old Course at St Andrews, but on any course for that matter. Etiquette is an integral part of the game of golf and following it ensures maximum enjoyment for all. It boils down to having respect for the course, respect for your fellow players and respect for the game of golf.
Here are a few rules of etiquette to follow when playing the Old Course at St Andrews, as well as a few other handy tips for your visit:
Before your tee time
Preparation is key when playing a new course for the first time, and fortunately, the St Andrews Links website is full of helpful information. They have also launched a free smartphone app which boasts a variety of marvellous features and allows you to preview the Old Course and visualise your upcoming game. The interactive planner also keeps you up to date with the latest news from the St Andrews Links and includes weather forecasts.
Detailed information about the Old Course is available on the St Andrews website, as well as a useful video series on how to play the course, presented by Steve North, the Director of Instruction at St Andrews Links.
Remember to bring along your current handicap certificate as the starter has the right to request it prior to play.
Arrive at the starters box 20 mins prior to your tee time and meet your representative from Executive Golf & Leisure who will assist you with your check in procedure. There is a putting green located alongside the 1st tee so take a few minutes to practice your putts before you tee off.
At over 6,700 yards long, The Old Course is a fair stretch so be sure to use the restrooms before you tee off, and take plenty of water with you. It’s also advisable to book a caddie in advance. Many of St Andrews caddies have worked on the course for years and their experience and knowledge is indispensable.
If you’re in need of a warm up before playing the course, why not visit the practice range at the state-of-the-art St Andrews Links Golf Academy?
Etiquette while playing
Care for the course
The overarching principle of respecting the course and fellow players extends to how you carry yourself on the course and take care of the green.
Ensure that you repair any pitch marks on the green, whether they are yours or not. Irish professional golfer, Pádraig Harrington says “If all golfers did this, problems with pitch marks would be a thing of the past”. Along with ball marks, take care to repair divots or ensure your caddie does this for you and always cover shoe marks before leaving the green.
Greenkeepers work hard to maintain the course in tip top shape; at the very least you can help keep it that way.
When leaving the bunker carefully smooth over footprints, using a rake if one is available.
Take care when handling the flagstick and removing the ball from the hole and never use your club-head to remove the ball. Do not lean on your club on the putting green and remember to replace the flagstick in the centre of the hole before leaving the putting green.
Slow play can easily detract from the enjoyment of the game for the group behind, so be sure to play at a good place and keep up with the group in front of you.
It is considered good etiquette to invite the group behind you, irrespective of their number, to play through if your group has lost a clear hole. Where your group has not lost a clear hole, but it is apparent that the group behind you can play faster, you should also invite them to play through.
Pace can be maintained by being ready to play as soon as it’s your turn, and playing a provisional ball when your ball is lost out of bounds. If someone in your group is struggling to find a lost ball you should signal the players in the group behind you to play through.
Consideration for others
Always show consideration for others and do not distract players who are making a stroke.
You should also ensure that any electronic devices taken onto the course don't disturb other players.
Do not stand too close to the ball, directly behind it or behind the hole when a player is about to swing. The same applies when on the putting green; and be careful not to cast a shadow over another player’s line of putt. Remain on or close to the putting green until all other players in the group have holed out.
Safety on the course
In order for any game to be enjoyed fully, certain safety precautions must be taken. With golf there are no exceptions. Be mindful of other people on the course and ensure no one is in a position to be hit by the club or ball. Alert any greenkeepers in range before making a stroke. If your ball is heading in a direction where it might endanger someone, shout a warning immediately. The traditional word of warning is “fore!”.
After your round
Before leaving the course ensure that you have all your belongings with you and you’ve repaired any pitch marks, divots and shoe marks on the final green.
St Andrews offers golfers plenty of opportunities to dine or reflect on their game over a whisky at any one of their clubhouses. There is also a shop to purchase some memorabilia of your noteworthy round of golf, and you can sign up for guided walking tours of the courses.
Play the Old Course at St Andrews this summer
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