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Sault Ste. Marie – Simply Superior

Published October 31, 2019 in Canada , Ontario - 0 Comments
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 - 0 Comments
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 - 0 Comments
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 - 0 Comments
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 - 0 Comments
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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Bawaating Sault Ste. Marie

Published June 30, 2019 in Canada , Ontario - 0 Comments
Whitefish Island

Spirits Rising – Bawaating – The Heart of Turtle Island

By Jane Finn

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. Nestled between two sections of the St. Mary River, 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 to make a change and make a difference.

The crane is a powerful and auspicious totem in almost all cultures. Crane is a harbinger of long life and success. They are protective, wise and generous. They pick their battles carefully, choosing quiet wisdom and privacy over aggression. When he chose Bawaating, he chose well.

A Wood Duck welcomes us to Whitefish Island

In 1997 this significantly historical land site was transferred back to the care of the Ojibway people of Batchewana. Under their stewardship, it remains a natural oasis within an urban landscape, a safe haven accessible to everyone who wants to learn, explore or heal and respect the land. A place where you can feel into the culture and the tradition and learn how we can partner in the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation.

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Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Published May 3, 2019 in Michigan , USA - 0 Comments
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa Golf Clubhouse

Northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

by Dave Finn

The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa First Nations offers a relaxed northern Michigan lifestyle with some excellent golf. Central to the property is the clubhouse where three championship courses and a Dave Peltz Golf School. The resort also offers more than 585 rooms, suites and condos and another 120 rooms at their sister property, Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel a 9-minute shuttle drive away.  For those who also enjoy soaking up the sun, the nearby miles of sandy beaches Traverse Bay make this resort a premier Mid-West destination.

Traverse City Beach

Traverse City Beach

TripAdvisor voted the Grand Traverse Resort as one of the 15 Best Golf Destinations in America (2018).  and Golf Digest (2017-2018) designated The Bear as #78 in America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.

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Ecuador Guided Tour

Published April 9, 2019 in Ecuador , South America - 0 Comments
Galapagos Ecuador

Soul Searching in Ecuador

Jane Finn finds Ecuador is more than a destination, but a calling of the heart and soul

As published in the April 2019 Issue of Planet Golf Review

The allure of Ecuador is undeniable – four continents in one; all within easy reach of the average tourist or the intrepid traveler.  There are coastal towns, pristine beaches, and of course, the Galápagos; world heritage designated UNESCO cities like Quito and Cuenca, teeming with life and brimming with possibilities. For those of you that prefer cooler climes you can head to the highlands and the mountain cloud forests, and if you have a truly adventurous soul, the Amazon awaits.

Ecuador, for the most part is largely undiscovered. Traveling within the country by air or bus is easy, affordable and surprisingly efficient. Ecuadorians are hospitable, proud of their heritage and traditions. Respect for people and the environment is the cornerstone of Ecuadorian tourism.

Life here centres around family. It’s a heart-based culture – simple and uncomplicated. Nowhere will you encounter long queues or hordes of tourists. Perhaps that’s the reason why you won’t find the most idyllic spots listed in the guidebooks. It’s only through conversations with the locals or fellow travelers that the best kept secrets are revealed. Here are just a few highlights of our incredible journey.

To read Jane’s entire article on the Galapagos and Ecuador in the the April edition of Planet Golf Review visit pages 9 to 13 at  https://planetgolfreview.com/PGR-planet-golf-review-magazine-issue-12.pdf or click below.

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Venerable Venice and Veneto

Published March 19, 2019 in Europe , Italy - 0 Comments
San Michele Island Italy

Seductive Venice and Veneto 

By Edward Kiersh

Sitting alongside the Grand Canal outside the Grand Hotel Monaco, a glass of sparkling Prosecco in hand while watching the gondoliers ply through the dark water, it’s easy to understand why Venice is such a fabled city. It’s frenetic, throbbing with energy, a city on the brink of environmental disaster due to the surging lagoon, but still a place of mystery, surprises and seduction.

Vaporettis in Venice Italy

Vaporettis navigating the canal

Go to any bar in the non-touristy Cannaregio district or away from San Marco Square and enjoy a giro d’ombra, a night crawl between cafes to savor plates of cicchetti, small fried fish dishes that come with prosciutto, olives, cheeses and other wonders.

Drink a Bellini at the tiny and romantic Harry’s Bar.

Stand on the Accademia Bridge to watch the vaporetti navigating through the Canal.

And for dinner head for Vini da Gigio, a small family-run trattoria owned by two incredibly-friendly owners who have been serving Venetian fish dishes for 40 years. Here the pasta with crab is a must, as is the squid in black ink with polenta.

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Mystery of Menaggio and Cadenabbia Italy

Published January 11, 2019 in Europe , Italy - 0 Comments
Menaggio and Cadenabbia

Where is George Clooney?

Written by Edward Kiersh (Photos supplied by properties)

It was a mystery that went unsolved, at least for this one day in Paradise.

Menaggio and Cadenabbia

Palazzo Del Vice Re

No one in the inviting Menaggio and Cadenabbia clubhouse knew where their most famous member was, so the speculation grew. Was he off shooting a movie in Sardinia? Or just lying low in his villa on the shores of Lake Como, away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi?

Amid these swirling questions about the fame and fortune of George Clooney—the club’s 12-handicap golfer who everyone described as “just a down to earth regular guy”.  Playing this heavily-forested, stunningly-beautiful hillside test of precise drives, painfully-narrow fairways and dramatically-contoured greens often becomes an afterthought. The shaded outdoor terrace, along with the cozy library, stocked with the second largest collection of golf publications in Europe (1200 volumes) is that relaxing.

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