Mark and Jacques take on Sri Lanka 2017 – Chaka Travel

We at Chaka are passionate about golf and have been extremely fortunate to go and explore the world so we can, with confidence, give you first-hand advice. The resorts we feature are always tried and tested, and our team can tailor-make the perfect golf holiday that suits you down to a tee.

We have been sending golfers all over the world for over 22 years and would love to organise your next golfing getaway. To get the ball rolling please call us at Chaka Travel on 02890 232112 or send an enquiry to enquiries@chakatravel.com Below is just an appetiser of what you too can experience!

Our PGA Professional Jacques Gous and our Managing Director Mark recently made a trip to Sri Lanka. Check out Jacques’ report from the trip, including a few comments from Mark. :-

Hi Guys

Well, Mark and I are back after an epic adventure in Sri Lanka and let me tell you that this is a magnificent country to visit for all sorts of reasons. We did, of course, go to investigate the golf holiday possibilities and trust me when I say that this was great from a golfer’s point of view. (Mark – also from a hacker’s point of view!)

We started off in Colombo with a wonderful overnight stay in the Jetwing Colombo 7 Hotel. This new hotel is well located and has great views from the sky-roof restaurant both in the day and at night

Mark – We overlooked the floodlit T20 match against Bangladesh below us, as we enjoyed dinner in the open air, overlooking the city with Hiran Cooray, the charming Chairman of Jetwing. We learned a lot about the ongoing growth of tourism in Sri Lanka from him and his son Dmitri as well as from Ramesh, the very experienced general manager of the hotel. Sri Lanka has moved on a long way since the civil war which ended in 2004 with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. Colombo’s tower-crane littered skyline reflects the inward investment resulting from the country rebuilding and moving rapidly forward. The meal was a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable affair – the natural friendliness and hospitality was something we enjoyed throughout the week.

Mark & Jacques arrive in Sri Lanka on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaThe pools at the Jetwing Colombo 7 Hotel, Sri Lanka

Jetwing Seven Colombo pool

We woke up early the next day and we were off to Royal Colombo Golf Club for our first round with two lovely Sri Lankan gentleman and let me tell you it was a pleasure. The temperature was a mere 34 degrees and we had to keep drinking water all the way. I thought it was a great course and the greens were pure as anything.

Mark – We played with two members, Priath Fernando, the President of the Sri Lanka Golf Union and Rinal Pieris, both could not have made the round more enjoyable or informative as they shared their knowledge about the course and the history of golf in Sri Lanka. Enjoying their company plus the wonderful colonial clubhouse and the, at times quirky, course made for a super morning. It’s not often you wait for a train full of commuters to pass the tee box before you continue with your game! Royal Colombo opened in 1879 and is the second oldest ‘royal’ golf course in the world outside of the UK)

Royal Colombo Golf Club, Sri Lanka on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaMark & Jacques at Royal Colombo Golf Club

Mark & Jacques at Royal Colombo Golf Club

Train passing the tee box at Royal Colombo Golf course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday

It’s not often you wait for a train full of commuters to pass the tee box before you continue with your game!

'Pure' greens at Royal Colombo Golf Club on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday

“the greens were pure as anything” – Jacques

After golf, we drove to Kandy (Mark -the less said about the drivers in Sri Lanka the better, but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted!) where we stayed and overnight at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel. This had a very colonial feel to it and sat on the riverside with some great views. We enjoyed dinner with the owner Jay who had kindly upgraded us to superb suites. The next morning was another early wakeup call and we were off to Mark’s and my number one course in Sri Lanka, namely Victoria Golf Club designed by Donald Steel. This course was set between the hills and valleys and the views with the Victoria reservoir in the distance was amazing. We had two great caddies and trust me when I say that these are the most happy go lucky people you have ever met and we really enjoyed their knowledge of the course and company.

Mark – as you drive into Victoria Golf Club you pass a par-5 with the narrowest fairway I have ever seen – my accuracy has always been a problem so my heart was in my mouth as we prepared to tee off. Fortunately, the rest of the course was much more forgiving and thoroughly enjoyable, and I played some of my best golf in a long time. This stunning course with its amazing views, huge trees, and clever layout is in my top 10 courses and I’m delighted to have finally played it after hearing Ian Botham raving about it during a cricket commentary many years ago. I understand that he never fails to play here when cricket tours bring him to Sri Lanka. On one occasion, he wrote in the visitor’s book; “try to stop me playing at Victoria.” I can fully understand why and know my next trip to Sri Lanka will involve at least one round at Victoria!Sri Lankan breakfast Kandy on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan breakfast Kandy

Sri Lanka Victoria Golf Course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaVictoria Golf Course Sri Lanka Mark teeing off on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaVictoria Golf Course Sri Lanka Mark 1st hole on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaVictoria Golf Course Sri Lanka lakeVictoria Golf Course Sri Lanka restaurant on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

After finishing our game and a quick shower we enjoyed a light lunch washed down by a few cold Singha beers before heading off to Nuwara Eliya, also known as “Little England” which was set at one of the highest points in Sri Lanka. We left Victoria which was set at 1,800ft above sea level to drive and reach our next hotel, Jetwing St Andrews which was at 6,000ft above sea level. This drive was amazing, climbing all the way through the most beautiful scenery, with waterfalls and tea plantations wherever you looked. This hotel and golf course was epic and the course boasts as not only one of the oldest in Sri Lanka but the world, constructed in 1889.

Mark – I didn’t have particularly high expectations of Nuwara Eliya golf course but was delighted to arrive at a lovely old clubhouse and a well-maintained course. Being such an old course it was no surprise to find that the trees lining the fairways were all very mature. It’s definitely a quirky course which has been molded to fit its location in the centre of the town, it has a few crossing fairways and one of the tee boxes is across a narrow laneway next to the course. One tee box is virtually in the high street so as you are teeing off, the local shoppers are watching from behind a fence just a few yards away! Jacques and I both came off the course very pleased with having played a well designed, clever layout with some superb holes and all in a stunning region high in the more temperate mountains.)

Sri Lanka Nuwara Eliya tea plantationMark & Jacques at the Sri Lanka Nuwara Eliya tea plantation on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaMark teeing off on the Sri Lanka Nuwara Eliya golf course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaMark on the Sri Lanka Nuwara Eliya golf course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

We left Nuwara Eliya after golf and headed down south to Hambantota, where the luxurious Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort awaited us. Just before arriving at the resort we were treated to a game drive in the Yala National Park. This was the closest thing to a game drive in Africa that I have ever experienced and the park and surroundings were awesome. Then off to the resort where everything was as expected, five-star from start to finish and the golf the next morning did not disappoint either.

Mark – the course only opened in June 2016 and apart from a few holes where they are replacing the fairways, was excellent – A great finish to a wonderful golfing adventure was watching Jacques and super caddy Kurunda work hard to ensure he rolled in a birdie putt to take him to one under for the round. As always it was a real pleasure to play with Jacques, he makes the game look so easy and is always cool, calm and collected…Kurunda the caddy was charming, helpful and knowledgeable and never stopped smiling even when I nailed drives into the long grass – which unfortunately I did quite a lot of for most of the front nine…..)

Sri Lanka temple & Ella Gap waterfall on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan temple & Ella Gap waterfall

Sri Lanka Yala Elephant rock on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

Yala Elephant rock

Sri Lanka Yala National Park elephant on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

Elephant at the Sri Lanka Yala National Park

Mark teeing off on Shangri La's Hambantota Golf Course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

Mark teeing off on Shangri La’s Hambantota Golf Course

Shangri La's Hambantota Golf Course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaMark and Jacques at Shangri La's Hambantota on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaJacques getting a birdie on the Shangri La's Hambantota Golf Course on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

Jacques getting a birdie on Shangri La’s Hambantota Golf Course

Shangri La's Hambantota the view from Marks room on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri LankaShangri La's Hambantota golf course card on Sri Lanka Golf Holiday Sri Lanka

We left straight after golf and headed back to Colombo where we would spend our last night at the Jetwing Lagoon Resort, only a short hop away from the airport. On the way there we stopped at the beautiful Jetwing Lighthouse Resort for some sight-seeing and lunch in Galle where the famous cricket ground also sits. We saw the fort and the lighthouse which was built by the Dutch way back in 1663.

Mark – one of the highlights of the week was Jacques asking me if the Lighthouse was inland or up the coast……I was tempted to say it was in an arid region to warn the ships of the desert!)

In Galle, we also witnessed a Sri Lankan trying to make a living by risking his own life and throwing himself of a ten metre cliff diving into some of the shallowest water you can imagine. This was impressive. Our last night was spent at the Jetwing Lagoon at Negombo near to the airport. Breakfast the following day was enjoyed watching the sunrise over the lagoon.

Mark – Once we got to Colombo we were treated like kings at a superb final dinner with Chandana and Ayomal from Island Leisure Lanka. Chandana is known by many of his friends as Chaka!!!! Ayomal accompanied us around the island and is a charming, well-mannered and extremely courteous young man, he is a rugby player also which went down well with Jacques and me!! We were looked after like royalty from start to finish and we couldn’t be more grateful for the wonderful hospitality we enjoyed!!!)

All taken into consideration, this was an epic adventure and one that myself and Mark will remember for a very long time. Thank you Sri Lanka, it was great!!
Jacques Gous

Mark – yes Sri Lanka was a fascinating, diverse country – great scenery, food and thoroughly enjoyable golf. Jacques many thanks for the laughs – you were great company! We both really appreciated the wonderful hospitality and friendliness we enjoyed throughout the trip and like Ian Botham I’ll definitely be back!)
Mark Marais

Chaka Travel sponsor Matt Mumford at Jamega Pro Golf Tour Hamptworth Golf Club 18 September 2017

Chaka Travel sponsors Matt Mumford at the Jamega Pro Golf Tour played at Hamptworth Golf Club. View his report below

I always have good memories of Hamptworth Golf Club

1. I used to play many of my junior county days here
2. In the 2016 season I shot one of my lowest pro rounds here of (-5) 66 in the Pro-Am

And after receiving another invite to play in this years Pro-Am I couldn’t wait to get out there and play

This time no 66 but very steady round of -1 70 for me and it was nice to get another under par round under my belt and set me up for the tournament itself

Day 1

A nice sunny day greeted us at the course so scoring looked like it could be low and after a nice start of a couple of pars and a birdie on the 3rd I was nicely away.

Bogey on the 4th was quickly forgotten as I reached the par 5 7th in 2 shots and left myself an eagle putt.
What a putt never looked like missing and in it dropped for an EAGLE, when I then made a birdie 2 on the next hole the 8th I reached the turn in -3 (32)

A steadier back nine followed with just one birdie on the 18th and only one dropped shot so home in level par and -3 (68) for day one.

Day 2

Not nervous, but excited to get out there as my -3 had left me in overnight 4th and out with the leaders.

A lot of work to do to catch them but what a buzz going out in the final groupings

What a start, as I made birdies on the 1st, 6th and 7th, with no dropped shots and I was out in another -3 (32) and -6 for the tournament through 27 holes

Even better to come as I made further birdies on the 12th & 13th now stood on the 14th tee at -8 under par!!

A little blip on the 14th as I found trouble and made a double to send me back to -6 but a strong finish of 3 straight pars before a birdie 4 on the par 5 18th and I was in the clubhouse and -7 for the tournament.

As the final group came down the last I ended up being pushed back to my final finishing place of 3rd , but with rounds of -3 (68) and -4 (67) for a -7 total I was very happy, so close again to my first professional win, two 3rd place finishes over the last couple of months.

With the season shortly coming to a close it was nice to finish so strong again and pick up another pay cheque.

I have a couple of charity days left to attend before the winter break where the hard work will continue of practise and training hard for the 2018 season

Next post will be my round up of the year so watch this space to what has been my most successful year to date

Matt

Chaka Travel sponsor Matt Mumford at Jamega Pro Tour

Chaka Travel would like to congratulate Matt Mumford on an excellent performance in the Jamega Pro Tour at Royal Ascot Golf Club. Take a look at his report from the day.

For the second time this year, the Jamega Pro Tour traveled back to Royal Ascot Golf Club, a lovely venue if you get chance to play it

Round 1

Very steady round for me today of +1 giving me a 71 to the par of 70

Front nine was a little bit scrappy with 4 dropped shots going out, but with 2 birdies on the par 5 2nd and the par 4 7th I was out in (+2) 37

Back nine a little more composed with just the one dropped shot. Again another two birdies on the 15th and 18th both the par 5’s and I had finished the day on 71

Round 2

Much more solid day today and off to a flyer with birdies on the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th. A couple more dropped shots and I was out in 34 (-1) for the card Back nine

Again off to a great start with birdies on the 10th and 12th. Only one dropped shot on the 13th. The back nine was also completed in 34 (-1)

I was very happy with this round 68 (-2) and now I was -1 for the tournament

Very happy to complete the tournament under par and my game is really going well at the moment, bring on next week

Enjoy your golf this weekend and thank you all for your support

Matty

For anyone who enjoys a group golf holiday, Chaka Travel run fun and sociable golf tournaments and golf tours led by a golf pro. Many of these include tuition and they are ideal for single golfers, couples, and groups of friends. Non-golfers are also welcome and we will make sure they have an equally good time!  If you are a golf pro and would like us to arrange a group tour, we would be delighted to help design your group golf tour at a destination of your choice.

Chaka Travel sponsors Matt Mumford in the EuroPro Tour at Wychwood Park

We at Chaka Travel are happy to bring another report from Matt Mumford as he enters another tournament. This is his report from the EuroPro Tour at Wychwood Park

A busy summer continues as I travel up to Crewe in Cheshire for the next round on the EuroPro Tour at Wychwood Park Golf Club

Started the week early with a practice round on the Monday followed up by the Pro-Am on the Tuesday

Great day in the Pro-Am playing with 3 great friends of mine, thank you Steve, Rog and Graham for the support. I hope you enjoyed the day, even if you found the course a little tricky 🙂

Starting on the 2nd tee in a shotgun start I got off to a flyer and with birdies on the 3rd, 7th and 8th found myself quickly at 3 under par

A bogey on 9 and I reached the turn in -2, another birdie on 11 got me back to -3 for the day before the tricky finish saw me drop shots to finish day at a solid level par

A good day though and a nice 6th place finish in the Pro-Am

 

Day 1

Really looking forward today as I had Pete from Kingsland Drinks coming along to caddy for me, and what a start I made as I made a birdie on the first hole

Bogeys on the 3rd and 6th were soon wiped out when I nearly holed my approach shot into the par 5 7th hole to leave a tap in EAGLE!!

A couple more dropped shots before a final birdie 2 on the par 3 17th and I was round in a +1   73 for the day

Thank you for today Pete, hope you enjoyed the experience of caddying for the day

 

Day 2

The projected cut looked like staying around the +1 mark so another steady round would do the trick

Got off to a rocky start with dropped shots on the outward 9 holes, but a couple of lovely birdies coming in on the 14th and 17th brought me back into contention

With my first round score of 73 and second day 74 I was +3 for the tournament

The cut did stay at +1 so agonizingly I just missed the cut by 2 shots

 

Although going home empty handed with the Pro-Am 72 and scores of 73+74 for the tournament –  I only dropped 3 shots in 54 holes so starting to now find some very consistent scoring

Here’s my scorecard for the tournament

Enjoy your golfing and until next…

Cheers

Matt

Check out Matt’s previous reports here

Chaka Travel sponsors Matt Mumford playing in the TP Tour at St Pierre Golf Course

Chaka Travel sponsors Matt Mumford playing at St Pierre Golf Course in the TP Tour 2017. Here is his report from that day.

A new one for me this week as I made my debut on the TP Tour playing at the lovely St Pierre Golf Course in Chepstow.

I have played the course a few times when I was a junior golfer playing in the junior Welsh open so knew my around very well

The only difference now is this time we are playing it from the very back, black tees so it added a few yards on!!

I didnt get off to the best of starts with bogeys on the 1st and 2nd hole before 3 pars on the spin steadied the ship.

A birdie on 7 and a couple of other dropped shots and I reached the turn in +3  (39)

Back nine much better 4 straight pars followed by a birdie on the long par 5 14th – a couple more pars before another birdie 3 on the par 4 17th

A nice par 3 on the very picturesque 18th and I finished with a +1 score of 73

Pretty happy with the score after the start, and when I found out this was good enough for 3rd place in the tournament and a nice little cheque not a bad day at all

Here’s my scorecard

Have a great week and enjoy your golf

Until next time

Matt