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CARLY FROST
Editor
Ladies Golf Today

Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
February 07, 2014


To contact Carly, send us your news or air your thoughts, click here...

Rain, rain go away if not I want to head to Spain to stay!

I guess like me you are thoroughly fed up of this never ending winter of rain. If you are lucky to not be tied to the office or the home with kids, then you are probably busy trawling the internet for last minute offers to escape the rain and find some sunshine. I know I would be if I could! I've uncovered a couple of cracking offers if you can head abroad right now, including one to the very popular La Manga club at an unbeatable price. See my story below. In the meantime if you have any suggestions for golfing destinations that you'd like to know more about please do email me at carly@golftodaynetwork.com and I'll do my best to enlighten you on the places to stay and courses to play.

TOUR NEWS

Webb gunning for ninth Volvik RACV Ladies Masters title

Australian great, Karrie Webb is gunning for her ninth Volvik RACV Ladies Masters this week however it won't be an easy task on the RACV Royal Pines Resort layout.

The likes of American Jessica Korda, former world no. 1 Yani Tseng, Swede Caroline Hedwall, South Korean Chella Choi and South African Lee-Anne Pace will be trying to spoil her party.

Korda, had a change in equipment and coach over the off-season, which brought her immediate success when she won the opening LPGA event of 2014 in the Bahamans two weeks ago. The talented America has in just a couple of years on tour has risen to number 24 on the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. "I changed the shafts in my irons, made them a lot lighter."

"The difference was huge, especially on my body. I didn't have to be taped up and I wasn't so tired after each round and my swing didn't leave me after the second round. "

"I don't feel sore all the time and the best part is my wrist and my shoulders don't hurt."

When asked about spoiling Webb's party, she responded, "I'm going to try my best, it's hard to beat Webb where she is really comfortable. Last year I played with her and she holed a chip on one of the par 3 on 14 th and then I think on the 16 th she hit this unbelievable chip shot, she hit it to like a foot and all I could do was just stare at her, I was so amazed."
"Throughout last year I played with her a lot and I think she is one of my biggest idols."

For the eight-time champion, she spoke about why this tournament is so special to her.

"Well it's in Queensland to start off with, it's always been close to home and I've always had a lot of friends and family come out so that's always been fun."

"It's where I won my first event in Australia so that you know, up until I won, I think I had been a pro for three years and you guys thought that was taking too long to win! So it's a special memory that you know I felt like I got that pressure off my back when I won in Australia."

"It was the first time that my family and friends had really seen me play so you know ever since then, even before that as an amateur I played well here. I really can't pin point what it is about the course but maybe it's just the relaxed atmosphere of the Gold Coast and the resort style here, that has made me come in here, really not putting a whole lot of pressure on myself but just enjoying the golf."

Pace, is the leading LET player in the field this week. The three-time winner in 2013 has been working on getting more distance over the break.
"We, my coaches, have worked on getting a little more distance off the tee and also my irons. I changed clubs also and I have more distance on my driver, which I'm happy with. I am working on a squat move which is difficult to get if my timing is not quite there, but once it settles in, it will be really good," Pace said.

When asked about the course, she replied: "The course is playing a little longer, a little tougher. The changes made have made it a better layout than previous years, more competitive."

The South African will be looking to get off to a quick start in 2014, she is known for not getting out of the blocks too quickly.

A quick catch-up with four of golf's great lady players who will be key contenders 'Down Under' this week...

Karrie Webb

Q. 2013 started great in the first half of the year, the second half maybe not so terrific, what position is your game in now?

A. Well I don't know the position my game is in now, I've been in North Queensland for five weeks, practicing a little bit but I haven't put any scores together or anything so I don't think I'll really know that until Sunday, I'll probably have a better idea on Thursday but yeah 2013 overall I would say was a good year, I won three times around the world and I won again in the US so that's always a top priority, trying to win on the LPGA. I would say I felt as though I didn't finish the year off as well as I would have wanted to and I don't really have any reasons why. I missed the cut at the British Open which was a big shock to the system because I had just won the week before. So generally when lose a cut I know what's coming but I wasn't expecting that one so that was disappointing and probably just stopped the momentum a little bit.

Q. You said you had 4 or 5 weeks break, do you feel at this stage in your career that those breaks are advantageous to your game?

A. I think it's just too long of a year starting tournament golf in the middle of January. You know I was working fairly hard up in north Queensland, I don't really have, well the courses were in pretty good shape for this time of the year but there's no point trying to put scores together, the greens are a bit slow. I was working a little bit, I took a bit of time of in December but I've always done it, it's not something that's new. I've always had to decompress after the season and get away from it all so yeah, I enjoy those breaks more and more every year and yeah it was nice to be in North Queensland for five weeks and spend time with the family and catch up with some mates and stuff like that.

Q. We know there have been lots of articles about it but can you beat Sam's record?

A. Well I hope so, you know I think my record has proven I have a good shot this week before I even tee off but you know, it's just a matter of getting myself into contention and it's nice when I start here and I don't quite know where my game is, coming here I have good feelings and even my practice round today as relaxed, you know I just don't put a lot of pressure on myself.

Q. And a lot of your family coming down like they usually do?

A. Yes we have quite a crowd coming down over the next couple of days, so it will be fun to have them here.

Q. Karrie, what will it feel like to accomplish something that no other golfer, even the greatest couldn't do?

A. Well obviously it would be very special, I didn't even know about the record until Saturday night before the final round last year that I had a chance so I've obviously known about it since then, and Tiger Woods has tied the record since then as well so it would be very special, I guess to be the first to do it would be special - I can't imagine Tiger not winning one of those two events again for the rest of his career so it'll be nice to be the first to do it.

Q. Just wondering why this tournament is so special to you, you've teed of here so many times and given the weight of supporters, is there something about it or the event personal that keeps you coming back?

A. Well it's in Queensland to start off with, it's always been close to home and I've always had a lot of friends and family come out so that's always been fun. It's where I won my first event in Australia so that you know, up until I won, I think I had been a pro for three years and you guys thought that was taking too long to win! So it's a special memory that you know I felt like I got that pressure off my back when I won in Australia. It was the first time that my family and friends had really seen me play so you know ever since then, even before that as an amateur I played well here. I really can't pin point what it is about the course but maybe it's just the relaxed atmosphere of the Gold Coast and the resort style here, that has made me come in here, really not putting a whole lot of pressure on myself but just enjoying the golf.

Q. Karrie, lots of the younger players on the tour are having success, Jessica Korda, only 20 won in the Bahamas, you look around the landscape of women's golf, you've commented on it before, but just how good are the young players out there?

A. Yeah, there is a bunch of great young players. Jess is definitely one of the talented ones and one to watch out in the future. I think that the win at Royal Melbourne came as quite a shock to her, but the next one was definitely long overdue, so I think you'll see a lot more of her in the years to come. But there is a bunch of young girls, and it seems, like you take Lydia Ko, they're ready to go when they are 13 or 14 now, I think Lydia could have turned pro years before she did, but she turned at 16 which is amazing to me, to think that anyone can be ready for the world stage at that age, but she has proven ten times over that she is good enough to be out here. I think it's still a very small percentage of kids that are ready, my fear sometimes for the Australian kids to think at 18 that they have to be ready on a world stage, I keep trying to tell them that is they're not ready until they 21, 22 or 25, it's okay you know you can play the game for such a long time and to not feel like they are not behind their generation because they're turning pro later. The worst thing you can do is turn pro too early and go through really, really tough times and you may never recover and reach your full potential after that as if you were to stay as an amateur and learn the game a little bit more and develop. At the time most people develop you can reach your full potential.

Q. You've talked about the great unknown this week as you've talked about your preparation, but that hasn't been unusual has it, sometimes a bit of rust to get off your golf clubs and you do it quite quickly here?

A. Yeah even last year there was rust, but I practiced in Florida, I guess I just have more of a routine, in Florida, you know I have my trainer and physio and massage therapists, chiropractors, I just have more of a routine there. When I'm home in north Queensland and part of the reason I like being home for a couple of weeks is that I get to spend time with my family, especially my young nephews and nieces. So, it's not as much about me, or it is about me because I want to see them but I'm not as much concentrated on my schedule, like I fit my practice in but I don't go and work with a trainer and then go and get a massage later and that takes up 8 hours of my day. So, when I come here its more unknown when I'm practicing in Queensland, only because I haven't been as routined and only thinking about myself for weeks. So that's why it's a little bit than if I had been in Florida for a month.

Jessica Korda

Q. I saw your interview when you won your tournament recently. You said it was harder to win the second time than the first time, is that because the anticipation and the time you had to go through?

A. I don't really think so; you know it's tough going out on the LPGA tour, there are so many good players out there and the scores are really low week to week. 19 under and I barely won by just one, it's really hard to win out there and I'm just happy that I did.

Q. And your game must be in great shape coming here?

A. I didn't really get to practice too many days when I was at home because we had really bad weather but I tried to do as best as I could, really taking advantage of those early mornings.

Q. I don't think your form towards the end of last year was all that good, but obviously the win in the Bahamas...was it something that you did over that three week Christmas break?

A. I changed the shafts in my irons, made them a lot lighter.

Q. Was it a noticeable difference?

A. Huge, especially on my body. I didn't have to be taped up and I wasn't so tired after each round and my swing didn't leave me after the second round. Because my first two rounds were really solid and then the third and fourth, well they were alright but you know the consistency in my body has changed a lot. I don't feel sore all the time and the best part is my wrist and my shoulders do not hurt.

Q. So who came up with that idea, was it something you thought of yourself or your coach?

A. Well I changed coach as well so I went through a lot of changes this off-season. I actually came up with it with my dad because I spent a lot of time on tour and I was talking to Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen and they are all solid ball strikers and I was kind of going through their golf bags because my bag didn't show up until the end of the tournament and I was like 'Oh, what are you using, oh, what are you using, man my shafts are so heavy; I don't understand why.'

Q. What were your shafts and what are they now?

A. They were X100's and yeah I don't actually know what they are right now, but the same as Suzann's.

Q. Which tournament was that where they didn't turn up?

A. It was Suzann Pettersen's pro challenge in Norway.

Q. Your form over the last two years has been very, very consistent, like it was four missed cuts from 41 titles?

A. Oh I don't know, I know I didn't miss a cut last year which was really nice.

Q. Your form has been good but you haven't been winning.

A. There's this one step I feel like I've been cut and missing and I don't know what is was but I felt like I was playing well, and I was practicing well but something was always missing, I was always injured or I didn't feel well or you know, there was just that one step that I always needed to get to and you know definitely kind of changing my swing a little bit has helped me.

Q. You mentioned that your dad had a little bit of influence?

A. Well both my sister and I have heavy irons and we first tried it on her which was a nice change because everything is usually tried on me first, but she had really good feedback with it and so when I got to ... which was the final test when I changed everything and I felt a lot better already, playing there, nothing hurt and then I went to Taiwan for swinging skirts with the same irons and I felt really good again so you know, it's a learning process. That's what you're doing the first couple of years out there: you just have to find something that suits you. I thought that I like heavier clubs but then it affected my swing, my health and it's just not something that will work for me, so you always try and find something better.

Q. Do people still ask you a lot about your dad, or has that sort of worn off?

A. I feel like it's more, every time I come to Australia, but no it's starting to slowly wear off, but yeah I like him here, it's nice to talk about him.

Q. Is he a golfer?

A. Um, he used to golf a lot right before he caddied for me in my first year, now he plays tennis with my brother.

Q. Jessica: are you aware Karrie Webb is shooting for the record of most tournaments won - 9 wins in the masters?

A. Yeah I am. I played with her here last year, so I was very well aware of that last year.

Q. Are you going to spoil her party?

A. I'm going to try my best! It's hard to beat Webb where she's really comfortable. Last year I played with her and she holed a chip on one of the par 3s, on 14 and then I think on 16 she hit this unbelievable chip shot, she hit it to like a foot and all I could do was just stare at her, I was so amazed. Throughout the year I played with her a lot and I think she is one of the biggest idols for me to watch and learn from.

Q. Who is your coach now and who's caddying for you this year?

A. My coach's name is Grant Price, he is a Golf Coach at the IMG Academy in Florida, I've known him since I was 15 years old when he came over on about a 5 month trial session from Austria, he's a good guy, I have all the respect for him in the world. He's motivating me to be not only a better person but a better golfer and I couldn't find a more positive person and my caddie is Kyle Bradley; he's from Augusta, I'd never met him before and we were on the phone and I really liked his southern accent. I was like, man, I like that and so I asked him to come and caddie for me in the Bahamas for just like a week trial and we got on really well. I think we have very similar golf games, he's also a really good golfer so we always agreed on the lines and feel it out the same way. I had a blast with him.

Laura Davies

Q. Have you spent the winter in England?

A. January, February and March I'm normally somewhere down here.

Q. Do you think about getting a place here?

A. That's always a possibility, yes.

Q. You have a new caddy this year?

A. Yeah, Tanya: she's married to Mike, Karrie Webb's caddy. I've known Tanya about 13 years now.

Q. Karrie has such a phenomenal record here, how do you go about competing against someone who is so comfortable on a particular course?

A. You just know that if you're going to win this tournament over four days you've got to shoot in the 20s under par and you know that whether it's Karrie winning it or Yani, or Jessica - who's probably going to be the favourite this week after winning over in the Bahamas. But it's a really strong field so you know if your 10 - 12 under par you're playing for a top 10 finish probably. You know that so you just go out and try and make as many birdies as you can.

Q. Have you ever won an event 9 times?

A. No, the best I can go is 4 years in Phoenix? Three English Opens, but no, eight is extraordinary. She would have to be one of the top favourites to win this because she's obviously still playing well and why not.

Q. It seems like most players that have come in here have started working with a new caddy, what is it between the player and caddy that's most important?

A. Well I haven't had that many caddies over my career, my average caddie is 6-7 years. You get on so well with them, normally they are your friends before they become you caddie so that's the way I've always had it. Karrie probably has the longest standing caddie with Mikey, they've had about 13 years together now. It just so happens my caddy wasn't well last year and we just decided we were going to get someone else to do it because I obviously want to try and play more in America. It's almost like a marriage really because you spend so much time together, so you've got to get on, simple as that. It's a really interesting dynamic.

Q. You mentioned you're going to play more in the States than the LET: is that your plan?

A. That's my hopeful plan because my ranking isn't that good. But if I can have a good Australian Open and then do well in Phoenix and San Diego tournaments, then I'm definitely in, but I'll have to adjust that if that doesn't happen, but the plan is to play in America.

Q. You played on the Legends Tour last year?

A. Yeah, I played the Legends Tour and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I looked at the list and they all seem to be up against LPGA events this year so it's just one of those things. I would love to play both tours, it's just a shame they don't fit in the gap so you can go to LPGA and to the Legends Tours.

Q. Regarding Rolex World Rankings...

A. Well if I don't get into any tournaments this year my ranking will drop even further. It's getting to the point now where I have to have a good round or tournament to re-establish myself and high enough to get into every event. You can't compete in seven events a year when the rest are doing 25-30. It's at the point now where I have to put some good numbers on the board or I will get left behind, which is obviously not what I want. I will probably get into 10-11 events this year purely because of field strength but it just makes it obvious that you can't pick and choose.

Charley Hull

Q. You were in New Zealand last week, and this is your first time in Australia?

A. Yes.

Q. How did you find the journey over?

A. It was alright, I slept the whole flight from England to Singapore and then the whole flight from Singapore to Sydney, so yeah I slept quite well.

Q. How did your Dad do?

A. No, he didn't sleep.

Q. Until you're 18 you have to have somebody with you, that's the rules of the tour, is that true?

A. Yeah, that's what the tour says so I have to have a guardian with me.

Q. It's been quite an illustrious start to your career, playing in the Solheim Cup. How did that feel?

A. Yeah, the whole season went so fast, I think that was in the end of March (I started), so I still haven't played a whole season yet, but it all went so fast, even from then to now. It was a great year, I can't really remember that much, because you are so focused and it just sort of flies.

Q. You're playing here this week and then after that do you know what your plans are?

A. Yeah, I'm going home for three weeks. I'm not going to play China, so I'll play Morocco instead.

Q. And your Dad: is he quite a good golfer?

A. Yeah, he's alright. I just kind of picked it up from him when I was younger. My next door neighbour Ben, he played, we were both about two years old and we used to bat balls around the garden. We used to aim for bats in the trees and hit plastic bins.

Q. And what's happened to Ben, he's not on the tour anywhere?

A. No Ben's not in golf, he would have been a really good golfer but he's into football instead.

Q. Did your success in your first year come as a shock?

A. Well at the beginning of the year I went to America to practice at The Concession so I got to work on my game, especially my putting and everything, it used to let me down a couple of years ago but then it kind of flipped this year. I've been working hard at my short game. Last year I didn't really know what to expect because it was my first year as a professional and but I started off with five second places so it's started pretty fast and your expectations get higher and you just go from there.

Q. After those five seconds did you sit back and think, this is going to go somewhere?

A. Yeah definitely. After my second in Turkey it makes you think you don't have to press in the first round.

Q. Does it make it easier that there are so many young girls playing on the tour at the moment, does it make you feel more comfortable?

A. I think it's really good, because the future of golf is going to be really good. But at the end of the day I don't really take much notice, I just go out there and play, and look up to the players. When I play with Lydia, I feel like I've been looking up to her for ages, because she plays so good but it's good to have them.

Q. You just recently started playing with a caddie, what was the decision, what changed?

A. I walk kind of fast on the golf course. I get a bit ahead of myself so he just keeps me back and keeps me on the lead. And sometimes I want to go for every shot and he tells me no, your shot isn't good enough to get up and down here so that kind of helps. The first five tournaments I didn't have a caddie because I thought I knew my own game enough and I wanted to learn from my mistakes, but then I decided I wanted a caddie. In India, Mark didn't have his visa and then in the final round I was right up there in contention and I thought I wish I had a caddie because I thought I may have won that.

Q. What's your view of Karrie Webb and her standing in the game?

A. Yeah it's good, I played in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters with her last year and Laura Davies. The first time I played with Karrie Webb I had an eagle and I think I shot a 4 under and a 6 under so it was pretty good.

Q. She's got a phenomenal record here, what is it coming against someone with that record on this particular course?

A. It's inspiring in a way because she's still got a great chance. She's one of the best players here this weekend. It's pretty awesome because you can look up to her and see what she is doing; she knows the course very well. I'm not playing with her this week but it's awesome to be on the range with players that you look up to.

Yani Tseng

Q. Is Australia a place you like to visit?

A. Yes I'm always very happy to be back, it's like another hometown because when I was an amateur I played here and now I'm back again, I am very appreciative to be here and really looking forward to it.

Q. This year you went on a bicycle caravan trip of 430 km or miles, is that right?

A. I was going to go but the weather was bad to we couldn't ride but next time.

Q. Is that how you practice, do you do a lot of cycling and exercise in the off season?

A. I do, I love to do other exercise in the months off I don't play any golf, hanging out with my family and just doing some crazy exercise and just go away from the golf.

Q. What is your golf game like at the moment, do you feel confident with your game?

A. I do feel confident, I work with ... in Orlando and I was there last week and we worked on my swing a little bit. We changed a little bit and just try to get me used to it to have my best win out there, to make me more comfortable and confident with my swing. I think I'm almost there, it's not 100% but it's good to doubt yourself because it keeps you working harder. This time I know the golf course so I'm not worried too much, I just want to go out there and have fun and do the best I can do and swing the best swing I can swing.

Q. You've had a lot of injuries for 2 years now, what's mostly cause all of those?

A. I got my elbow injury before the Q School. So it's actually been for about 6 years on and off and never 100% perfect because before Q school I was working really, really hard practising for Taiwan and the States, so that's what cause my elbow tricep tendonitis but now it's almost 100% there. I work a lot better and stretch and do ice and a lot of massage so now I feel little pain. I feel my body is good, just have to keep stretching and icing to try and contain my body for as long as I can.

Q. You've dropped down in world ranking over the last for years, how much has it cost you in rankings?

A. Not much at all in world rankings really, I just try to do the best I can. I think my goal is to just do my best and try and win in the tournament and if my world ranking goes up, it goes up. If I play good, I don't really worry about it that much. It's really tough to ... I just focus on ... try to make it better.. my swing, my show game, my putting and my long game and my physical so I don't really worry about ranking or winnings. Everyone wants to win the tournament and everybody wants to be on top but I've been there before and it would be nice to get back for sure, but now I focus more on the best that I can do then on the results.

Q. Karrie has a fantastic record here, she always scores well here, what does it take to beat her at a place where she is so comfortable?

A. I've won here once, so you know. Everyone on this golf course makes lots of birdies, so this week my goal is to go out and make as many birdies as I can. If I get a bogey that's fine, just try to do the best I can this week. There are a few tough holes out there but you just need to be patient and try to make birdies on every hole

Q. Talking to your caddy Jason Hamilton, tell us a little bit about the change from Gary to Kevin and also changes in your equipment?

A. I played in Taiwan and won the tournament so it gave me a lot of confidence to come here and we haven't changed much, just tied to change back to when I was my best in 2011, what was my swing like and what's it like now. Now I try to feel me comfortable on my swing because I know this swing is when I play my best. Wee keep it very simple, we don't really try lots of new stuff. With Gary and Kevin we were working on lots of things the same which makes a lot of difference for me because it's easier to keep hearing one thing. I am very comfortable with my new equipment too, I play all 14 clubs in Callaway and Odyssey putter I feel very comfortable right now.

Q. Yani, the injuries that you have had in the past, do you expect them to bother at this event?

A. No, I mean if my heart feels happy and I feel fresh then my body isn't going to affect anything. This is a beautiful city and I'm very happy to be back here, it's more like a vacation. I'm very lucky to have this opportunity coming back here and playing so I feel very appreciative.

New gear

POWAKADDY launches a new push trolley

Powakaddy might be best known for its high-tech range of electric trolleys but the company has just launched a fancy new push trolley that is just as innovative.

The Powakaddy Push Cart Twinline 4 has a lightweight, robust aluminium frame with a quick fold system, making it quick and easy to set-up.
It has a really stable base for golf bags, with convenient adjustable straps and PowaKaddy's very own Key Lock system to securely hold the golf bag in place.

Quick release sporty wheels make set up even easier and with the user-friendly foot brake and front wheel adjustment, the TwinLine 4 can be adjusted to fit varying ride height requirements. A Soft touch ergonomic handle with adjustable height is the perfect location for all your golfing essentials, with ample storage spaces for golf balls, tees, drinks bottle, a dry space and an essential scorecard holder. Rounding off the market-leaders' newest product category is an umbrella holder which comes as standard.

The TwinLine 4 is available in two stylish colours options; Arctic White and Granite Black with a recommended retail price of £169.99. For further information on PowaKaddy's extensive product range, please visit www.PowaKaddy.com

New Tour Preferred golf balls from TaylorMade

TaylorMade has made big strides in the golf ball market over the last few years and with an ever-growing stable of Tour professionals to cater for it is no surprise that their latest golf ball release is tailored towards the better player.

The TaylorMade Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X is the result of over a decade of Tour testing and conversations with the world's best players. These conversations have led to the introduction of breakthrough technologies including low drag aerodynamics for ultimate wind resistance, a five-layer construction for superior control with every club in the bag and now TaylorMade's softest and most durable ever cover.

Key to the performance behind the Tour Preferred golf ball are the following technologies:

- REACT Core for greater ball speed on all shots for increased distance.

- Spin Mantle designed to deliver precise and consistent spin rates on given shots throughout the bag.

- Low-Drag Performance Aerodynamics. A 322-dimple pattern designed to minimise distance loss on low spin shots and also maintain a penetrating ball flight into the wind.

A new technology featured in the golf balls is Soft Tech, TaylorMade's softest and most durable cover that provides an even softer feel around the greens than previous TaylorMade offerings. The Soft Tech cover will also provide higher resistance to shearing and will last longer.

What separates Tour Preferred and the Tour Preferred X from each other is spin. The Tour Preferred is designed for players who want more spin in the mid-to-long iron shots. The additional spin will also promote a higher trajectory on approach shots.

Tour Preferred X maintains the same spin and trajectory into the green as its predecessor Lethal. Unlike Lethal, Tour Preferred X promotes better green side control because of its new Soft Tech cover.

Emerging LPGA star Jessica Korda played the Tour Preferred X in her season-opening win at the Pure Silk Classic.

Both balls are priced at £44.99 a dozen. For more information, please visit www.taylormadegolf.com

COURSE NEWS

The amazing new membership from De Vere that lets you play six courses!

The UK's leading resort operator, De Vere, has unveiled an all-new headline membership that will be introduced at six of its marquee properties.

'The Country Club' brand is a new form of leisure membership available at Mottram Hall, Slaley Hall, Oulton Hall, The Carrick on Loch Lomond, Belton Woods and Dunston Hall.

The membership is all-encompassing and includes a host of luxurious benefits, giving members the opportunity to live life unlimited, revelling in the award winning amenities at each of the renowned resorts, from spa to leisure and golf to fine dining.

A series of high profile investments made by De Vere across its portfolio have paved the way for 'The Country Club', which allows members to enjoy luxury experiences alongside world class service and comprehensive leisure facilities.

TRAVEL SPECIAL

ESCAPE THE RAIN WITH A BARGAIN OR LUXURY BREAK TO SPAIN...

LA MANGA CLUB HAS RED-HOT DEALS

Golfers are being offered the perfect way to banish their frustration at one of the wettest winters in living memory by heading to Spain's La Manga Club - with three nights' bed and breakfast including three rounds of golf available from just €243 per person (approx £200).

While courses across the UK have been left saturated over the last two months by an endless series of storms and torrential rain, La Manga Club in Murcia has enjoyed temperatures of up to 21 degrees, seven degrees above the seasonal average, making it the ideal place for a golfing getaway.

Visitors to the luxury venue can take advantage of fantastic value when they stay in 2014, with accommodation including 18 holes on one of its three championship courses available from only €81 (approx £67) per person per night.

As well as golf, the eye-catching daily rates include half-price buggy hire, accommodation in La Manga Club's fully serviced, four-star Las Lomas Village apartments, breakfast and access to the luxury spa featuring fitness centre, indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms.

Golfers seeking a touch of luxury during their visit can stay in the resort's five-star Principe Felipe Hotel and enjoy the same privileges from €292.5 per person (approx £245) for a three-night stay.

And if guests fancy taking a break from the course for a day, they can exchange their session for another activity including a 45-minute tennis lesson or two hours' tennis court hire, a selected spa treatment or dinner.

Prices for the Best Golf and More packages include VAT and are based on two people sharing a twin or double room and green fees.

Offering outstanding sports and leisure facilities including three 18-hole championship golf courses - all of which were named in the latest list of the Top 100 Courses in Spain - La Manga Club has established itself as a firm favourite with visiting golfers since opening in 1972 and is widely regarded as Spain's flagship resort.

As well as three 18-hole championship courses, the venue boasts unrivalled facilities as a sports and leisure destination including a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and more than 20 bars and restaurants.

For more information about the resort and to book a break, call 00 34 968 17 5577, email reservas@lamangaclub.com or visit www.lamangaclub.com .

KEMPINSKI'S NEW LUXURY GOLF BREAKS IN SPAIN

Golfers across the UK are being offered the experience of a lifetime and the chance to play a collection of Europe's finest golf courses with the launch of an exciting range of five-star Spanish golf breaks for the start of 2014.

Kempinski Hotel Bahía, Marbella-Estepona, has unveiled an array of packages providing access to the Costa del Sol's most famous venues - including the world-renowned Valderrama, host of the 1997 Ryder Cup.

Located in the heart of the golfing Mecca, Kempinski Hotel Bahía is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel is situated within easy reach of more than 50 courses including Finca Cortesin, the setting of the Volvo Match Play Championship from 2009-2012, European Tour venues San Roque, Sotogrande and La Quinta, as well as new emerging stars such as La Reserva and Almenara.

Until March 31, 2014, golfers can take advantage of a range of exclusive three and five-day packages while staying at the luxury hotel. Three-day breaks are available from €710 per person. (approximately £590)

Golf Weekend prices include 18 holes of golf with buggies at Valderrama, La Reserva and San Roque's New Course - host of the 2006 Spanish Open - as well two nights' bed and breakfast accommodation in one of the hotel's deluxe rooms and access to its five-star spa and fitness club facilities.

Visitors seeking longer stays can enjoy a four-night stay featuring golf with buggies at Valderrama, San Roque (New Course), Los Flamingos, Alcadeisa Links and Valle Romano, as well as the same hotel privileges from €995 per person (approximately £830) with the Golf on Top package.

Players aiming for an experience they will never forget should look no further than Kempinski Hotel Bahía's Golf for a Lifetime five-day break. Starting at €1,232 per person (approximately £1,025), guests can take advantage of four nights' luxury bed and breakfast accommodation and play a round of golf including buggies at Valderrama, Finca Cortesin, Sotogrande, La Reserve and San Roque's Old Course.

Only a 45-minute drive from Malaga airport and 30 minutes from Gibraltar, Kempinski Hotel Bahía is the ideal base for visitors to discover the myriad golf courses in the region, as well as the many cultural delights aside from the fairways.

With a dedicated golf desk, hotel guests benefit from personalised packages and reduced prices at more than 20 golf venues including : Alcaidesa Healthland and Links, Alferini, Aloha, Almenara, Atalaya (Old and New), El Paraiso, Finca Cortesin, Guadalmina (North and South), La Quinta, La Reserva, Los Arqueros, Los Flamingos, Los Naranjos, Marbella Golf & Country Club, Parador de Golf, Rio Real, San Roque (Old and New), Santa Maria, Valderrama and Valle Romano.

Located three kilometres from Estepona and 20 minutes from Marbella, Kempinski Hotel Bahía includes 128 spacious rooms and 17 luxury suites, featuring terraces and balconies with garden or sea views.

The hotel offers a variety of excellent Mediterranean cuisine created from freshly-collected produce from the hotel's private organic garden. In addition, it also features a luxury spa, fitness centre and beach club.

For more details, or to book a golf break at Kempinski Hotel Bahía, Marbella-Estepona, please email golf.estepona@kempinski.com , phone +34 952 809 500 or visit http://www.kempinski.com/en/marbella/hotel-bahia/overview/golf-desk/golf-packages/

 

 

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