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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.
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.
Written by Edward Kiersh (Photos supplied by properties)
It was a mystery that went unsolved, at least for this one day in Paradise.
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.
Situated on the Moroccan offshore, Fuerteventura is well-known as a plebiscite for wind and kite-surfers but rarely golfers. With four golf courses spread over the second biggest island of the Canary Islands, it would be a sliced shot landing out of bounds to avoid it during your next exotic golf getaway. Moreover, the climate is close to perfection, granting the golfers 365 days of golf. All of the golf courses are situated on the south part of the island. Fuerteventura Golf Clubs, Las Salinas de Antigùa, Las Playitas or La Jandìa, which one you will go for?
Belleair Country Club, Florida’s First Golf Club
By Mike Dojc
“That’s Donald ‘F’ Ross for you,” playfully grouses my playing partner while shrugging his shoulders. He tacked on the fictional middle initial, voiced with emphasis as a pejorative, after one too many times of his approach shots failed to hold one of the golf architecture great’s vaunted plateau greens. When it comes to slipping off the dance floor at Belleair Country Club, my new buddy is in excellent company.
Arnold Palmer, a frequent sight on this Tampa area course back in the day, had also been known to fall prey to the left side, right side, green side fandango. The good-natured way he took his comeuppance on hole No. 11 on the West Course, (since revamped), a par 4 toward an elevated green on a plateau with nothing around it has since become the stuff of club legend. The King got off to a great start, hitting his tee shot just shy of the green complex. But then his fortunes changed.
By Edward Kiersh
Here in November golf is a distant memory but there is Julia Ceasar, bars teeming with young people, edgy art galleries, and if all else fails, a windswept stroll along Lake Champlain. Julia and her two cohorts were found in an art gallery blasting Southern rock, and enchanting radio listeners all the way to Canada and southern Vermont. Their soulful music was enough to make one forget what was happening in the halls of Washington D.C. power, and their innocent smiles were radiant enough to search for their podcasts.
Burlington is a hub of artistic activity, a place to visit even if the golf is miles distant. There are dozens of inviting restaurants here, and the University of Vermont is a picturesque expanse that is certainly worth a visit.
Written by Bo Turocy. Photographs by Hannah Fontenot Mentz.
The 11th annual U.S. Hickory Open hosted by the Society of Hickory Golfers just wrapped up on Halloween. The 36-hole stroke play event was contested across the 1926 Donald Ross layout at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC. This club may sound familiar to you. The PGA Tour plays the Wyndham Championship there each year. Brandt Snedeker made fame by shooting a record setting 59 in the opening round of the 2018 Wyndham a few months ago. The U.S. Hickory Open was originally scheduled to be played closely following the tour event, but Hurricane Florence forced a month-long postponement.
I had already played in the two previous championships with mediocre to average results, finishing something like in 15th and 12th places (or so) respectively. Obviously I am the only one proud of those results. It was Walter Hagen who would always boldly announce he was playing solely for first place and it mattered not if he finished as runner up or in last place since nobody ever remembered. Also, the legendary Ricky Bobby of infamous Talladega Nights fame learned from his father that if you “ain’t first, you’re last.” I was ready to make my move into the arena of national spot light success. Besides, I’ve already enjoyed a brief, but splendid international stardom with a massive defeat earlier this year at the hands of the Europeans in the Freedman Cup matches, a Ryder Cup style tournament for hickory golf.
as published in the November 2018 issue of Planet Golf Review.
San Josè del Cabo Mexico – It’s just after eight on Saturday morning. The hotel is quiet at this time of day with only a few people on the beach catching some early rays. With cafe in hand, I thought this would be a great spot to sit and quietly make notes, but I no sooner got settled into my lounger when I spotted a whale spout and then another and another. It was game on as they arched and breached and cavorted along the ocean’s surface before making a deep dive that signalled they were moving on to entertain another group of onlookers. What an awesome way to start my morning! I figure it was nature’s way of reminding me that you’ve got to do more than just sip the coffee, you’ve also got to savour the moment, wherever you are.
Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with one of the most gracious chefs I have ever met and a man with a vision. Twenty two years ago Enrique Silva decided to move from “the front of the house” to the kitchen when he opened the Tequila Restaurant in the historical district of San José del Cabo, and despite the challenges, he’s never looked back.
Before becoming a restaurateur, Chef Enrique was an agricultural engineer which perhaps is the reason he gives “farm-to-table” a whole new meaning. In 2003, he bought a 17-acre farm on the edge of town where he grows organic produce to supply not only his restaurant and others in town but also his outdoor café and cooking school Los Tamarindos.
by Edward Kiersh
Go back in time. Way back in time, over 1000 year to the days of feudal defense systems, medieval castles, and to a serene, undisturbed setting near the Po River in Italy that still epitomizes all the glories once enjoyed by noble families.
All this awaits those explorers who want to combine discovering a Golf Eldorado along with famed culinary delights in this Emilia-Romagna part of Italy, a region where the legendary prosciutto is as glorious as the scenery.
The jumping off point for this golfing/culture adventure is the Antico Borgo di Tabiano Castello. Built on the ruins of an 11th Century Roman settlement, this painstakingly-restored village/boutique hotel, while once the center of the struggle between Vatican and Imperial forces, is now a citadel of calm.
So indulge, be rejuvenated, whether that means a spa treatment, a long dip in the pool, visiting a few other nearby castles, or enjoying some famous Parma ham. But then comes difficulties, the tough choice. In this valley of rolling hillsides and dairy farms, which of the 9 nearby courses (all within 1 1/2 hours from Tabiano), will be tackled?
It was extremely difficult, even painful to leave Aloxe Corton. A petite, charming village on the Côte de Nuits, the wine-producing communes in Burgundy, France known for elegant and affordable reds, this town near Beaune boasts five exceptional vintners offering daily tastings.
But another delight was on the horizon—a stay at the Hôtel Golf Château de Chailly, a 16th Century castle with an 18-hole championship golf course.
Opened in 1990, amid natural streams, lakes and a glorious variety of century-old trees, this 6,737-yard, parkland course 30 miles from Dijon has several challenging water-riddled holes that demand pinpoint accuracy. Over a dozen, well-bunkered, elongated and sloped greens exponentially increase the tract’s difficulty.
Paris was bustling with fashionistas, and that was to be expected since it was Fashion Week, a time to celebrate Dior, Armani, Hermes and Tom Ford. Not a time to celebrate the Ryder Cup which was more my fashion—so I decided to leave Paris for one more day in Burgundy—to drink great wine and to decompress from all the pastries and rich food I was eating.
Bourgogne and its amazingly remarkable small towns like Noyers and Vezelay were certainly more my style. But with limited time before my return trip home I drove to relatively nearby Chablis.
Packing my clubs for another day, and after negotiating many small roads, I ultimately arrived at a vineyard named after owner Clotilde Davenne, a small winery not far from the magical towns of Irancy and Vezelay.