Why Choose Your Next Golfing Holiday With Chaka Travel?

If you’re thinking about booking your next golfing holiday, we think you’d be foolish not to book it with us. We’ll take care of your every need from the moment you talk to us to the moment you return (when of course you’ll immediately want to start planning your next trip!) Here are the top reasons why you should choose your next golfing holiday with Chaka Travel for the trip of a lifetime.

  1. First-hand knowledge and experience

The reason we can advise you with confidence about our holiday destinations and resorts is that our staff have travelled to and spent time at many of them. We’ll advise you in everything from local customs to what the golf club expects you to wear when playing, so rest assured we can answer any question you might have before you book. We also love what we do, and our enthusiasm shows in everything, from hand-picking new hotels to playing golf ourselves on many of the famous courses at our resorts.

  1. Protection & peace of mind

We know you want to book your holiday with total peace of mind, which is why our booking process aims to take as much risk out of the process as possible. We’ll never ask you to pay for your holiday online, instead we’ll send you an invoice which you can pay by cheque, bank draft or credit card over the phone. Many of our holiday and travel services are financially protected by the ATOL scheme – ask us if you have questions relating to this about specific elements of your holiday.

  1. Completely tailored holidays

If you’re planning a special birthday or anniversary trip, perhaps a honeymoon or even your wedding we can help tailor the perfect holiday for you from start to finish. We’ll take care of everything, from your itinerary to your flights. Find out more about our tailor made holidays on our website.

  1. Trusted by clients for years

A lot of our business comes from referrals from happy customers who have recommended us to friends and family, and we’re also delighted to have so many of them leave us positive reviews about their experiences with us. You can read our happy customer reviews collected by third party review site here to get a feel for who we are and how we like to treat our customers.

  1. Over 30 destinations

We offer holidays to over 30 destinations, from the exotic and far flung destinations, to spots closer to home if long haul travel isn’t your thing. This allows you the widest choice possible and we’ll happily recommend resorts and activities for each location. Take a look at our extensive destinations list to start getting inspired for your next trip.

  1. Fantastic special offers

Here’s another great reason why you should choose your next golfing holiday with Chaka Travel – our incredible deals and offers. We’re always updating our deals with great new resorts, so make sure to check it out regularly here for the best price to your favourite locations.

Chaka Travel sponsor Matt Mumford at Aldwickbury Golf Club | Jamega Tour

Chaka Travel sponsor Matt Mumford at Aldwickbury Golf Club on the Jamega Tour check out his report from the day

This week I set off to Hertfordshire to play Aldwickbury Golf Club on the Jamega Tour.

What a fantastic course and a pleasure to play.  The green-keepers had the course in top shape and the greens were some of the best we have played on all year.

Day 1 at Aldwickbury Golf Club

A late tee time for me, off around midday, and I didn’t get off to the best of starts as I made bogey on both of my two opening holes.

Better was to follow though, as I sent my iron into a couple of feet on the par 3 3rd for a birdie 2,

which was quickly followed by another 2 on the 7th and when I made another on the 8th for back to back birdies I had brought the round back and was out in -1 under par 35.

Back nine was very steady golf of one bogey and one birdie to end the day still on -1 under par 70.

Day 2 at Aldwickbury Golf Club

After missing out on pay cheques in the previous weeks, I was considering whether I should try to hang on to my -1 score,  or do I push on and try and move up the leaderboard.

Of course, only one thing to do, try and make a push up the leaderboard.

What came next even had me shaking my head in amazement.

I started with a steady par 4 on the first, onto the second and great approach shot next to the pin and a tap-in birdie 3 was mine.

Another par 3 followed before my next birdie on the 4th.

now -2 for my round and in great shape, on the par 5 5th I hit the green in two which left me two easy putts for another birdie!

And when I made another birdie 3 on the 6th I was now -4 for the day and -5 for the tournament.

Coming up the 9th I just needed a steady hole to see out the front 9 but when I sent in another shot to the pin I tapped in for another birdie 3.

Now just to recap on my front 9 holes I had made 6 3’s , I was round in -5 under par 31,  just on my front nine alone, my lowest 9 holes as a pro.

Onto the back nine I did feel a little bit nervous as I learnt I was now only 1 shot off the lead.

The back nine was not as lightning as the front and was made up of 3 bogeys and 1 birdie to finish the round on -3 under par 68 to go with the score the day before and I had finished the tournament on -4 under par and a tie for 7th place.

Great feeling to be back in the buzz at the top end of the tournament and another top ten finish for the year, plus nine holes I will never forget, but soon hope to repeat again.

As always, thanks for the support and good luck with your own games

Matt

Here’s my scorecard for the two rounds

Golf Holidays in the Caribbean

Golf Holidays in the Caribbean – the latest addition to our golf holiday portfolio

We all dream of holidays in the Caribbean; for the weather, beaches and the laid-back vibe. But the Caribbean is a golfer’s paradise with amazing golf courses, designed by some of the world’s most renowned golf architects. Quality golf courses range from coastal courses to inland courses set amid tropical flora. Many are beside or within the resort grounds and whether you are a low handicap golfer or holiday golfer, there are golf courses to suit all holiday golfers across the Caribbean islands.  We recommended the following Caribbean resorts and golf courses:

Golf Holidays in the Dominican Republic

For serious golfers, we suggest the Dominican Republic which in terms of both quality and quantity is the undisputed golfing capital of the Caribbean. Home to some 28 golf courses created by a host of leading designers including Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Senior, Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman.

For a wonderful golf resort experience, we recommend the Casa de Campo in the southeast of the country. This plush gated villa community occupies an amazing 7,000-acre site where Pete Dye had created three distinct courses: the oceanside Links; Dye Fore and the must-play Teeth of the Dog course which is ranked number 1 in the Caribbean. Non-golfers are equally well catered for at Casa de Campo, with boutique shopping, beaches and cafes by the marina, plus boat trips departing from Casa De Campo to Robinson Crusoe-style islands.

Teeth of the Dog Caribbean Golf Holiday Dominican Republic
Teeth of the Dog Golf Course

And if three onsite courses are not enough for you, there are two further golf courses nearby. Puerto Plata has Playa Grande at the Amanera. Recently enhanced by Rees Jones, 10 of the holes stretch along the clifftop above the Atlantic Ocean. Around the coast in Punta Cana are the equally dramatic oceanside holes of Punta Espada at Cap Cana, close to Eden Roc.

A great option in Dominican Republic for golfers seeking an all Inclusive adults-only resort is the Sanctuary Cap Cana with access to four golf courses; La Cana, Corales, Punta Espada and Teeth of the Dog.

La Cana Caribbean Dominican Republic Golf Holiday
La Cana Golf Course

Stay and Play Golf in Jamaica

For stay and play holiday golfers we would recommend you base yourself in the Montego Bay area, staying at the Half Moon Resort. Half Moon Jamaica is a golf resort elegantly set amidst 400 tropical acres in magical Montego Bay and just 10 minutes from the airport.  Half Moon Golf Club provides a relaxing holiday game off the forward markers or a serious golfing challenge from the back pegs. Just four minutes away from Half Moon are the White Witch and Cinnamon Hill golf courses. We can also arrange for golf in the north of the island at two great courses; Negril Hills and Jamaica Golf and Country Club.

Exclusive Golf Breaks at the Green Monkey at Sandy Lane Barbados

Sandy Lane in Barbados is renowned as the ultimate luxury golf resort and offers some of the best golf in the world. This prestigious resort has three golf courses: the Old Nine, the Country Club and the world-renowned Green Monkey.  For exclusivity, tranquillity and elegance the Green Monkey at Sandy Lane is one for the bucket list as only those staying at this iconic resort get to play the course. The other two of Sandy Lanes courses, the Old Nine and the Country Club, are open to non-guests.

Green Monkey Golf Course Sandy Lane Barbados Golf Holiday
Green Monkey Golf Course

To start planning your Caribbean golfing getaway speak to the golf experts at Chaka Travel

A Review of Golf in Sicily by Mark McGowan of IrishGolfer.ie

Review of Golf in Sicily by Mark McGowan of IrishGolfer.ie

If you haven’t considered golf in the Mediterranean then it’s time to…

You may not have considered Sicily as a destination for your golf trip but on a recent trip to the island Mark McGowan from Irish Golfer Magazine discovered some fabulous golf courses, wonderful resorts and outstanding cuisine.

Why golf in Sicily?

When it comes to Mediterranean golfing destinations, Sicily may not be the first to spring to mind, but basking year-round in the sun, the island is an ideal destination as the nights get longer and the temperature drops on domestic shores.

A long history of invasion and conquest, beginning with the Phoenicians in the first millennia B.C., through the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Vandals, the Goths, the Moors, the Normans, the French, the Germans, the Spanish, and even the British, make modern Sicily a cultural cocktail.  Italian is the official language, of course, but Sicilians regularly switch to a local dialect barely recognisable to that of the mainland.

Geographically, Sicily’s most southern point is more equatorial than most of the North African coast, virtually guaranteeing sunshine all year long, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months. Sandy beaches can be found around the entire island, and the warm Mediterranean Sea makes for ideal bathing.

Sicilian golf consists of five resorts, which boast seven courses between them. Golf is a relatively new activity on the island, with the oldest course, Il Picciolo), not even 30 years in existence. The newest resort, Verdura, has two courses and is situated on the South-West side of the Island. Donnafugata, on the South-East coast also has two courses, while Monasteri, Le Saie and Il Picciolo each have one course and are all situated on the East coast.

Golf in Sicily at Verdura Golf & Spa Resort

Verdura Golf and Spa Resort is the undoubted jewel in the crown. Most easily accessed from Palermo airport, a short detour which might be of interest to fans of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola is the village of Corleone, whose name was adopted by the legendary (if fictional) mob boss in the Mafioso classics. Although affiliated by name only, in a rare example of life imitating art, in the 1980s and 1990s, the Corleonesi became the most powerful sector of the Sicilian mafia in spite of relatively modest resources.

Set on an expanse of coastal land, the Verdura luxury resort is modernist to the core, and boasts one of the Italy’s leading spas. Two courses, the East and the West, offer a demanding challenge of championship proportions along the picturesque coastline. Host of the Sicilian Open in 2012 and 2017 (the event wasn’t held in the four intervening years) on the European Tour, Álvaro Quirós and Thorbjørn Olesen will both have very fond memories of their visit to Verdura.

Beautifully manicured and conditioned, both courses are playable by golfers of all standards with a variety of long and challenging holes to suit the longer hitters, and short holes where accuracy rather than power, is key. The short par-3 6th and the par-4 18th on the East course are the signature holes, with the latter requiring a nerve racking drive along rugged cliffs with a watery grave below for errant shots.

In terms of cuisine, the resort offers a variety of options and locations to ensure guests are never bored at meal times. The main hotel restaurant is formal, and rather upscale, but this is offset by a traditional Sicilian Trattoria close by, and an Italian Pizzeria by the golf club. Additionally, there is a seafood restaurant by the shore behind the sixth green which is open April to October.

Golf in Sicily at Donnafaguta Golf & Spa Resort

Located close to Verdura is the historic city of Agrigento. Founded by the Greeks in the sixth century, B.C., Agrigento is home to the Valley of the Temples. A ridge, rather than an actual valley, upon which stand the Temple of Juno and the Temple of Concordia and an hour’s drive East of Agrigento lies Donnafugata Golf and Spa Resort. In the shadow of the historic castle of the same name, Donnafugata offers two different challenges in its Links and Parkland courses. The Links Course – although not a typical links by Irish standards – is an undulating journey through an inlet valley just off the Mediterranean Sea. Largely devoid of trees, the Links Course offers breath-taking panoramic sea views and a challenge to suit golfers of all levels. The Parkland Course is designed by Gary Player, and hosted the Sicilian Open in 2011 when won by Raphaël Jacquelin.

The Parkland course is vastly different from the Links course, as you may expect, and occupies the opposite end of the resort where the fertile soils surrounding several of the resort’s springs facilitates the growth of carob and olive trees, and many holes feature traditional stone walls – a surviving token from the estate’s agricultural past. Dense scrub punishes errant drives on most holes, and water comes into play on five of the eighteen.

A hot and exceptionally dry summer – most of the island hasn’t seen rain in six months – has left the course in need of a drop of rain, however, being overly critical would be unfair, and the resort itself is incredibly impressive, and affords a certain sense of intimacy in spite of its expansive layout. Three restaurants – the highlight of which is the open-air bar and grill area – serve up a host of Sicilian specialities, composed entirely of locally sourced ingredients, and cooked to perfection.

The city of Ragusa in Sicily

Not far from Donnafugata, and a little further inland, is the hillside city of Ragusa. A city of two halves, Ragusa’s lower half – Ragusa Ibla – was destroyed by the large earthquake of 1693. Subsequently, Ragusa Upper was constructed on the other side of a canyon and the two sides were only connected in 1926. Ragusa Ibla is home to a number of Baroque-style cathedrals, reconstructed after the earthquake, showcasing the grandeur of the Catholic Church in all its splendour.

Allegroitalia Siracusa Golf Monasteri

A 90-minute drive east of Ragusa is Allegroitalia Siracusa Golf Monasteri, on the outskirts of Siracusa, one of the oldest Greek settlements on the island. Monasteri is, as the name suggests, a former Benedictine Monastery that has been converted into a Golf and Spa Resort. Combining the modern elegance of a spa resort with the rustic charm of a traditional Roman farm, Monasteri is set within an 86-acre orange, lemon and prickly pear plantation, all of which are features of the 18-hole golf course on site.

A 6,520 metre, par-71, Monasteri golf course is a fascinating blend of expansive, wide-open holes and devilishly narrow driving channels. Suffering a similar plight to Donnafugata in terms of an extended arid spell, Monasteri was a little under the weather when I visited. Most unusual was the wealth of prickly pear cactus trees – a most unusual sight – that lined the fairways on several holes, most notably the low indexed, par-4 sixth, where the cacti stand like sentries on both sides of the fairway, making an errant drive both a fearsome and painful thought.

The course itself features a number of very good holes, and is set to undergo some small renovations. The restaurant is spacious, with a large outdoor fireplace ideal for late night gathering in late autumn and early spring. The rooms are contemporary, and very impressive, and the spa, whilst considerably smaller than the two previous resorts, is ideal for relaxation and tranquillity.

Forty minutes north of Siracusa is Le Saie Golf Club. Opened in 2014, Le Saie is Sicily’s youngest golf course. Featuring water hazards throughout, and beautifully kept fairways and greens, Le Saie also boasts a three-tier driving range. Annexed to the course is the Le Saie resort, which is still under construction. Due for completion in mid-2018, the resort is enormous – capable of accommodating 1000 guests.

Argentario Sicily Italy

Il Picciolo – Golf at Sicily’s oldest golf course

Last, but by no means least, is Il Picciolo – Sicily’s oldest golf course – part of the Etna Golf and Spa Resort. The name is of course derived from the active volcano – Europe’s highest – in whose shadow the course lies, and whose rich, fertile volcanic plains make Il Picciolo an entirely different golfing experience from the island’s six other courses. Tree lined, and beautifully manicured, it is most definitely a course you must think your way around. Spectacular views of a smouldering Mount Etna, along with visible lava stone on the 16th and 17th holes make for a unique acquaintance.

Interestingly, the local town, Castiglione di Sicilia, is twinned with Killarney and Il Picciolo twinned with the incredibly picturesque Dooks golf club in Glenbeigh.

Unlike Dooks, however, the park surrounding Il Picciolo is a haven of lush Mediterranean vegetation, including vineyards, orchards and, of course, the olive trees that are synonymous with the entire island. The four-star hotel is elegant and benefits from cooler temperatures mid-summer due to it being almost 500 metres above sea-level.

Apart from Etna itself, which is of course a major attraction, the nearby coastal towns of Taormina and Giardini Nexus are major tourist attractions due to their ancient Greek heritage and some of the artefacts and archaeological findings that have been uncovered. Perhaps most interesting is the Ancient Greek Theatre in Taormina, built in the third century B.C., and is still used for concerts and operas to this day.

Although it may fall short of the sheer quantity of golf courses of the Algarve or the Costa del Sol, and the sheer quality of golf courses of the British Isles and Ireland, Sicily provides something entirely different. A relaxing family getaway, or a romantic excursion with some golf to tip the scales. Soak up the sun, immerse yourself in the culture, the conviviality and the cuisine. Enjoy the wine, and a little pampering. And above all else, don’t call them Italian…

If you wish to discover Sicily’s fabulous golf courses, wonderful resorts and outstanding cuisine for yourself, Chaka Travel can tailor-make your golfing trip to Sicily. See our suggested Sicilian golf holidays here.

Matt Mumford at the end of Winter season Tour Championships 2018

Chaka Travel Sponsor Matt Mumford at the end of Winter season Tour Championships. Check out his report from the event.

Make it a double!!

So after my runner-up spot at Crews Hill on The Thomson Tour, I was invited to take part at the end of Winter season Tour Championships

This was to be a 36 hole one day shootout held at the Bedford Golf Club on the 24th April

Round 1 of the Tours Championship 2018

A nice early tee off of 7:40 am and I was underway

I could not have go off to a better start when I made a birdie on first two holes and quickly moved to -2 under par for the day

A string of pars, followed by one bogey and another birdie and I was through the front nine still -2

Back nine was made up of 8 pars and just the one birdie and round one was complete in -3 under par and I signed for 68

In for lunch to get ready for the PM round and I learned I was lying in spot just two shots behind former European Tour player Simon Lilly

Round 2 of the Tours Championship 2018

Off like a rocket again with birdies on the first two holes, I continued in great form to go on and birdie the 6th, 8th and the 10th hole to move to -5 for my round and -8 for the tournament

In my head I thought I have to be leading at -8 just keep it steady and see what happens could this be my first victory!!

The predicted wind and rain arrived with just 5 holes left to play and made the finishing holes play so much longer and harder.

I kept it together the best I could but unfortunately I dropped three shots coming in to finish the round with a -2 under par 69

Great back to back rounds under par of 68 + 69 and my total was -5 for Tour Championships tournament

Now in the clubhouse and fingers crossed to see how Simon finished

Well all I can say is wow!

When I heard the news that Simon had gone out in the afternoon and shot a new course record of 64!!

His total for the day was -11 under par and that just showed his European Tour pedigree, which is where I hope to be one day

So for the second in two weeks I had finished runner up.

I now move on to the main season and await for the start of The EuroPro and Jamega Tours to begin

As always, I hope you enjoy your golf and thank you for your support

Matt

Matt Mumford plays on the Thomson Tour | Sponsored by Chaka Travel

Close but no Cigar – Matt Mumford on the Thomson Tour

Sponsored by Chaka Travel

With EuroPro qualifying out of way, there is a break of around 3 weeks before the EuroPro /Jamega Tours get underway. I had one event left to play on The Thomson Tour a rearranged tournament that was cancelled from earlier in the year due to snow.

So on the 16th April, I headed off to Crews Hill Golf Club in Enfield, North London. Playing the course blind no practice round I got underway with a bogey 5 on the 1st before another followed on the 5th hole

I soon got these back in great style after I hit the par 5 6th hole in 2 shots and rolled in the EAGLE to get me back to level par. A couple of bogeys on the remaining holes and I reached the turn in 2 over par.

Onto the back nine and a stream of steady pars and one more bogey and I was now at +3 for my day – I didn’t get down though and went onto make 2 birdies in my next 3 holes and got back to +1 for the day.

A very shot 18th left me with a good birdie chance so I went for the green with my tee shot, unfortunately, I just pushed it right and ended up behind a tree.

I chipped out, chipped onto the green and two putts for a bogey my round was complete and I finished with 72 (+2)

I was pretty happy with my round, but soon was kicking myself over my missed chances when I found out my 72 was good enough for 2nd place and a 71 would have given me a tie for the lead!

One shot away for the first win, but it’s getting closer!