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Mystical Maui Hawaii – Humpback Whales, Spinner Dolphins and Sea Turtles

Published August 4, 2020 in Hawaii , USA - 0 Comments

Mystical Maui

by Jane Finn, Photography by Dave Finn

As published in Issue 16 of Planet Golf Review

It’s 6:00 am. The sky is still inky black and the stars are just starting to fade. The mile of pristine beach stretching out below me is completely deserted and the only music  I hear is the sound of the surf.  Meanwhile, the clouds are silently rolling down along the sides of the mountains, like lava rushing to the sea and as the sun comes up the craggy peaks are illuminated with a mystical glow. This is the magic that is Maui, and I can’t help but smile when I think of the rainbows that greeted us when we touched down yesterday.  My pot of gold is having the luxury of knowing I have two whole weeks to explore this enchanting part of the world!

Hawaiians have a deep respect for nature, the ancestors, and the wisdom of their elders. The revitalization of their native language and the reverence they show for the sacredness of the land are intrinsic values that weave through the fabric of everyday life.  So, Mo’olelo, let’s talk story as I share a few tales of the people we met and the places we discovered on this journey.

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Oops – A Canadian Guide to Pandemic Golf

Published June 30, 2020 in Canada - 0 Comments

Par for Pandemic Golf

By Paul Knowles

We’re all familiar with the vocabulary of the golf course, which ranges from the congratulatory to the scatological and often profane. But this year, the most common utterance may be one seldom heard before on the links: “Oops!”

Today, that’s the go-too word every time we forget – or hopefully, almost forget but remember just in time – the new pandemic golf protocols that let us play our old familiar game that just isn’t familiar, any more. Reach out to shake hands… “Oops!” Touch the flagstick. “Oops!” Get in the wrong cart by accident. “Oops!” Walk into the men’s room and find one, just one, other guy in there. “Oops,” said while backing out apologetically.

The feeling that we’ve entered another, slightly off-kilter dimension starts upon arrival at our course. We proceed directly to the clubhouse, carefully distancing ourselves from anyone also on that same mission. We don’t bring our clubs – they stay in the trunk – we don’t shake hands or give the ol’ shoulder-chuck to anyone. We stand on designated spots, replete with posted warnings, awaiting our turn to check in.

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Boracay Phillipines Revisited

Published April 7, 2020 in Asia , Philippines - 0 Comments
Boracay - Philippines

Boracay – Paradise Reclaimed

By Jane Finn as published in Issue 15 of Planet Golf Review

It was almost fourteen years ago when I first laid eyes on Boracay, and it was love at first sight. To this day, the word I use to describe my first experience is idyllic. You see, I had been in Makati for over a month, working day and night in the nascent call centre industry, and desperately needed a break. At that time, Boracay was virtually unknown and certainly unfamiliar to me, but a poster enticed me to step inside a local travel agency.

Orchids Resort Boracay

The simple, laid back Orchids Resort is a two-minute walk to the beach

In the blink of an eye, I booked a flight to the Caticlan airport, passage to Boracay aboard a Paraw, and made a reservation for a modest room at the Orchids Resort, a backpackers’ haven that suited this solo traveller’s limited budget to a tee. What was even more astounding was the fact that within a mere six hours, I was checked into my room and found myself consulting with Lynn, the proprietor, to discover what this small island truly had to offer.

For the next few days, based on his sage advise, I sought to explore the nooks and crannies of Boracay and was never disappointed.

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Golf Europe by Eurail Train

Published February 26, 2020 in Europe - 1 Comment
Eurail Austro Hungarian

15 Rounds in 9 Countries and all by Eurail train – here’s how.

By John Dean

For most North American golfers, a trip over the ‘pond’ that is the Atlantic normally leads to Scotland, and rounds at St Andrews, Kingsbarns, and maybe a slice of Carnoustie.

But there is another way which I would like to champion, and that’s a golfing trip around Europe by train. OK, slip in a bit of Scotland if you must, and why wouldn’t you, but there is a great big golfing world to be savoured in what we Brits call Continental Europe.

As a Brit, and sometimes golf writer, I can be accused of being a bit UK centric, as between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, we are spoiled for choice – if not weather. But what with our recent political upheavals, and the environmental crisis, I have decided to step out and take the train to play golf around Europe.

So, what are my golf credentials for this trip? Well, back in the day, I helped launch a magazine called GolfPunk, which I believe did play some part in bringing golf kicking and screaming into the modern world. Sixteen long years on, and the brand is still going, but I am taking a break from it so I can focus on what I love doing most, which is travelling, playing golf, and writing about it.

I’ve therefore decided to travel through 9 different countries in Europe to play golf over the course of a whole month. And it will all be done by train, as I will use InterRail for my journey.

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Syncing in Scotland’s Golf Coast

Published January 21, 2020 in Europe , Scotland - 0 Comments
Dunbar Golf Club - by Foremost Golf & Sports Photography

It’s Not Just About Golf in Scotland’s Golf Coast

by Philip Murphy

It was April last year when my long-time friend Dave Finn asked if I would be interested in joining him for the WHO – World Hickory Open Golf Championship in Gullane. I had no idea what a WHO is let alone where to find Gullane. If someone would have asked, I would’ve guessed Ireland. Well, it’s on the north coast of Scotland, affectionately know as the Scotland’s Golf Coast, the last bastion of soil before the North Sea.

My first thoughts were, I had just gone through some momentous changes in my life and I wasn’t ready for a big trip like this. Too much preparation was in order. I didn’t even have clubs! Where do you start? Playing with hundred-year-old clubs was going to be a challenge but I knew this trip was about more than the golf.  It was about the camaraderie and pushing beyond my comfort zone. I knew I had to make this happen!

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Sault Ste. Marie – Simply Superior

Published October 31, 2019 in Canada , Ontario - 1 Comment
Simply Superior

SIMPLY SUPERIOR 

Exploring the Past, Experiencing the Present

by Jane Finn as published in the November 2019 Issue 14 of Planet Golf Review

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – In our technologically-driven society, we’re always on or at least we pretend to be, so when you need a ‘break from life’, I can’t think of a better place to reconnect with yourself and nature than Sault Ste. Marie.  Nestled along the banks of the St. Mary River, this friendly and diverse community of 73.000 people is the perfect gateway to Lake Superior, in area, the world’s largest fresh water lake and the pristine, rugged wilderness that surrounds it.

Whitefish Island – Sault St. Marie

After dropping our bags at our hotel, an easy stroll along the boardwalk found us crossing the narrow bridge atop the locks to Whitefish Island also known as Bawaating.  Legend has it that when the Chiefs of all the First Nations needed to find a meeting place to gather without boundaries, a place to exchange information, ideologies, trade goods, and socialize, they sent out a crane to find the perfect gathering space. He led them to Bawaating, the place where the fast water flows and he chose well. Hundreds of years later, it remains a place with no borders except those created by Mother Earth, a place to align mind, body and spirit and heal.

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5 Truly Unique Philippine Golf Courses

Published September 5, 2019 in Asia , Philippines - 1 Comment
Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club - Hole #7 Philippine Golf

Philippine Golf – as unique as the country

Looking for your next golfing destination? We’ve got you covered.

While the Philippines isn’t the first country that comes to mind when you think of golf, the country’s long history with the sport may surprise you. Made up of 7,107 islands, the Philippines is divided into three main regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It lies smack bang in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it accessible to neighboring Asian countries such as Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, and China. It is known for its spectacular beaches, lush mountains, and some of the friendliest locals. However, unbeknownst to many, the country also has a rich golfing history.

A feature published on the Philippine Star on golf history reveals that the sport was introduced to the Philippines in 1886 by the British, who were employed under the Manila Railway Corporation. The story goes that they built a three-hole golf course in the paddy fields of Intramuros, and the rest, as they say, is history. If this has got you interested, read on for our pick of 5 truly unique Philippine golf courses.

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Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn

Published August 23, 2019 in Asia , Thailand - 1 Comment
Amazing Thailan

An interview with Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn

I’ve just returned from two unforgettable weeks of golf and exploring Amazing Thailand and I’m so jacked to share my adventures, but these stories will have to wait for now.  As serendipity would have it, Jane and I were honoured this Tuesday to have a private interview with two of the best female golfers in the world prior to this week’s LPGA CP Canadian Women’s Open at Magna Golf Club in Aurora.

Ariya & Moriya Jutanugarn

The sister act of Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn have made headlines since they turned pro in 2013. Moriya (Mo) came onto the stage in a big way by winning the ‘LPGA Rolex Rookie of the Year’ and currently ranks in the Top 25 of the World.  Younger sister Ariya (May) is the reigning ‘LPGA Player of the Year’ and ‘Tour Money Winner’, a feat she accomplished in 2016.  This pair are the ideal ambassadors to promote golf in Thailand.

So, I’m sure that you can understand why I was a little intimated by these well-accomplished ladies. As best I could, I blurted out ‘Sa-wat-de Krub’ (hello) with hands palmed together – a respectful welcome in Thai culture.  I tried to say ‘Pood Pa Sa Thai mai dai’ (I can’t speak Thai) but it probably came out as ‘Pad Thai No’ since I got a blank stare and in unison they said: “We love Thai food”.  I would find out more about that later. Note to self, even though I tried, stick with yes (Chai) and no (Mai Chai) and of course, thank you (Khob Khun Krug) so as not to embarrass yourself.

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Fàilte – Welcome to Scottish links golf

Published July 25, 2019 in Europe , Scotland - 1 Comment
Scottish Links Golf

Scottish Links Golf – An Unforgettable Pursuit of the Holy Grail

by Edward Kiersh

My rain and cold weather gear were packed. So were six dozen Titleists, for there would be a lot of traipsing through ankle-deep gorse, all sorts of bedeviling hillocks, and unplayable seaside lies.

An adventure loomed, 12 days in the Cradle—pursuing Old Tom Morris’ spirit, confronting notorious winds along with other trials and tribulations—and just hoping to savor the unique pleasures of Scottish links golf.

Kingsbarns Golf Club

Craters, Hillocks, Gullies and TROUBLE at Kingsbarns 6th and 17th holes

So the prolonged terrifying jolts of turbulence punctuating my flight over the Atlantic served as a true portent of what was lying ahead. There’d be memorable visits to fabled Royal Dornoch and North Berwick, even some taming of sharply-contoured greens after hitting “heroic”—cum—gutsy shots over treacherous dunes and beachside ravines. But these glories would also be coupled with too many struggles in yawning bunkers and ensnarling grasses.

Plus, there was facing the Inevitable.

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Veneto & Venice Ventured

Published July 19, 2019 in Europe , Italy - 1 Comment
Veneto & Venice

The Many Faces of Veneto & Venice

Jane Finn discovers the cities behind the masks

As published in Issue 13 of Planet Golf Review

Despite the fact that I studied art history at university, after Rome and Florence, we were on historical and cultural ‘overload.’  We knew that like fine wine and great food, we needed a break to experience  ‘la dolce vita’ and not rush our Veneto & Venice experience. Firmly believing that the charm of the Veneto community extended well beyond the lagoon, we grabbed a rental car at the Maestro station and headed for the countryside before venturing to Venezia, reportedly the most visited city in the world.

Travelling by car was much easier then I expected since Italians drive on the same side of the road as North Americans and the GPS system made navigating a synch (well almost!). Gradually the urban landscape gave way to the rolling hills of the Vicenza valley, and 65 km later we were in the heart of the Grappa Mountains and Valboddiandene wine country.  With little effort we soon found ourselves meandering along the Prosecco Road, popping into small local vineyards to sample the region’s specialty before checking at the Asolo Golf Resort. As we headed to our guesthouse, we couldn’t help but notice the lushness of the golf course on one side of the winding drive and the orderly rows of grapes on the other – ‘nine and wine’ in total harmony. It was at that moment that our decision to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities was the right choice.

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