Monday, 11 September 2023

All 18 holes golf courses in Mauritius - plus bonus golf courses on view here


A quick snippet of where you could play golf when you visit Mauritius 

Where would you play - any questions, just ask.

We spent 10 weeks assessing and playing all the golf in Mauritius, plus we spent a long time discovering and enjoying this beautiful tropical island, as shown on more detailed videos - take a look if Mauritius is on your bucket list.

Friday, 1 September 2023

Alpine golf - Verbier, Switzerland

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Plenty more golf and lifestyle adventures to come from the global golf couple.

Sarah & Steve


Wednesday, 23 August 2023

Where to golf in the Alps - Verbier

Best known for its ski heritage, Verbier is opening it’s doors to the wider sporting tourist community, with golfers being on the hit list.

But golfers aren’t the only ones Verbier is attracting.  With 21 marked running routes, 668km of mountain bike trails and 500 km of hiking trails, coupled with the fresh Swiss Alps air and a location already tried and tested as a visitors paradise, there really is something for every outdoor body.

Getting there from the UK is a short airplane ride, then you’re into the throes of the super efficient train network, which waits for no-one. Stepping off the train at Le Chable, you can choose either the scenic gondola ride or a taxi.

Verbier is located in the Swiss alps, the road leading to the town is as winding as Stelvio Pass, with its hairpin bends and not so gradual ascent.  Once there, stereotypical Swiss buildings - wide, wooden, shallow pitched buildings dominate the hillsides with flowers dripping from their abundant flower boxes.  

Wide open roads means you don’t feel closed in and there is an overriding feeling of cleanliness about the town.  Eateries are plentiful, from staying at the hotel for dinner to eating at the clubhouse and many options in between.

Located in the centre of Verbier, is the newly renovated Hôtel de Verbier.  As ‘swiss chalet’ as they come in its external appearance.  The small reception area gave way to various rooms with our’s being a compact cosy room overlooking the main square. 

La Nonna is the Italian restaurant in the hotel, and after meeting on the terrace, a large amount of tasty food was consumed - another hazard of the fresh mountain air, we think!

As our room overlooked the square, any thoughts of noisy late night revellers were quickly dispelled as this healthy nation clearly went to bed early.  I can’t vouch for the level of the noise in the ski season, but then I guess you could always close the windows!  On the summer stay we had, the windows were wide open with the fresh mountain air helping us along our way into a deep comfortable sleep.

July 2023 marked the 30th anniversary of the Verbier Music festival.  With a cast of musical artists returning to mark this special anniversary, Im sure it set the hills alive!  Whilst conversely this years Palp festival celebrates a rather more taboo topic; that of death.  Wandering around the host village of Bruson, death didn’t exactly prevail more acknowledged.  In some cases celebrated in weird, unique and wonderful ways.  Bruson itself is what you might term as a typical Swiss Alps village, crooked wood buildings perched high on slabs of stone, clinging to the hill.  With seemingly few foundations, its a wonder the village manages to survive the ravishing harsh winters the Alps must dish up.  And whilst so very quaint, it has opened its door to showcase death - and peoples interpretation of death.  I’m not talking sordid gallows and dripping blood, this is a far more arty affair, and I will be honest, one which was a bit lost on me.  Mind you, I did like the quirky library.  Almost a throwback from something out of Roald Dhal’s mind, angular shapes greet you as you journey around the mind of a cubist, stacked with books all at odd angles, anyone not into reading, is sure to be after visiting here.

Verbier has arguably two golf courses, but really there is only one.  The main one being a par 69 18 hole full course and the second being another 18 hole par 3 course which zig zag’s up the hill. 

The par 3 course, Les Moulins is crafted out of a strip of land which rapidly climbs the hill  The golf holes make their way up like a reverse marble run game, to come quickly down for the few closing holes.  It is in amongst the houses, some sunken tee boxes and the ever present lupins adding shape and texture to the strip of land.  A fun course, which could be used to hone your skills of the short game or one you could learn to play golf on - lets face it, if you can cope with a steep climb like that and still score OK, you can cope with most courses!  A fun little course which is sure to cause lots of bragging rights in the pub that night.

The main course, Golf Club Verbier, is higher up the mountain climbing to about 1750 meters above sea level.  A buggy/cart is a must for the first is a short hike and will challenges you from the outset.  A stream dissects this opening par 3, 98 to 160 meter hole.  When I say stream, we’re not really talking babbling brook, more a torrent which has gathered speed and picked up more water as it carves its way downhill, and through the golf course.  We met with a lot of water on the front nine particularly!  On the day we played there was plenty of water coming off the mountains, so if your ball went in, it is likely to be at the bottom of the hill before you can get to retrieve it!

It is like few others I've played.  Clambering up to start the game then coming down through clearings in alpine woodland, with the course owning the space during the summer months.   Often we talk about golf course views, you can only but imaging James Bond on his ski’s swishing his way down the hill through the narrow cut fairways between the alpines.  From a golf hole perspective, it added not only height and distance vista views, but of course the downhill, the woodland and if you’re lucky some water too!  Certainly a pretty course with Mont Blanc in view -well not on the day we played, as it was a bit misty!  

You could be forgiven that as skiing is the main pull for the area that the golf course was a little neglected - not at all.  The sometimes large shapely greens didn’t really conform to one size or shape fits all, they took the shape of the natural flat areas, often perched high, and usually with a great view.

The red flag fluttering in the wind was a pleasing sight.  As a artist might paint, the red, green and blue golf palette offset the white snow capped mountains in the background.  Despite the June weather the snow was still in view on the higher mountains, with seemingly streams of icing sugar snow dripping down the crevices.  But it wasn’t cold on the golf course!  

Dining out in Verbier is as diverse as you’d like it to be.  We we invited to experience 67 Pall Mall Club, with an extensive wine menu to match the ever so tasty courses being served.  I’ve got to admit, I always love a wine/food experience, there’s always more to learn.  W Hotel, on first appearance looks like a corporate hotel, but is really one that allows space and comfort at every turn, albeit a bit quirky with the odd unexpected art instalments to get the brain boggling.  Amazing food served in a restaurant with a view and a half.  And of course we ate at the clubhouses too, both fantastic and both readily accessible for good variety and taste experiences on the alps.

When checking into the Verbier accommodation, you are given a Verbier Infinite playground pass, which gives you access to the gondolas and a variety of other things in the area to enjoy.  We also took the opportunity to go cycling in the alps -  on e-bikes.  I've been on an e-bike before, but these were serious machines, but of course making the whole experience much more enjoyable - with less resistance than a regular bike, but with all the enjoyment.  There really was quite a heavy drizzle by the time we got on the bikes, so meandering around the woods uphill was as good as an umbrella.  A quick stop in a cafe for the obligatory hot chocolate, and square of
toblerone before the easiest bit of all, cycling downhill and back to the hotel.

If you’re after a healthy break from the norm, if you like golf but also like to experience what a country can offer in a small geographical area, then Verbier could well be on your list - we would definitely go back.

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Tuesday, 11 July 2023

Paradis Golf club, Beachcomber resorts, Mauritius

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Sarah & Steve

Thursday, 6 July 2023

Paradis Beachcomber golf course review

 A wonderful cool wind greeted us as it swirled off the ocean and we entered the Beachcomber Resort, Paradis.

The Blue Marlin restaurant with its picture postcard table views, offset by the thatch and wooden roof was where we had lunch before golf.  Quite incapable of ordering a light lunch, we settled on tuna - I’m not talking the tinned stuff which comes out as a grey matter mush, this is the real deal tuna - cooked to perfection with a sight hint of searing around the edges.  Steve had white fish, with artistic foam carefully balancing the fresh green salad and small tomato squares.  A couple of scoops of ice cream later and we were fully charged ready to get on the golf course, which was a very short walk away.

A traditional looking clubhouse with full views of the practice putting green, driving range and Le Morne rock set against the blue sky was a view that was difficult to tear away from.  Inside the clubhouse is a well stocked pro-shop, trendy with its bright lights and bright displays, in contrast to the rest of the building which had adopted a more muted natural decor.

The statuesque Le Morne rock, whilst not in play, stands proud and tall as it overlooks the golf course.  A pinnacle point of the course, it added yet another layer to the design.   

Hole 4, was a little stunner - although in my opinion, best appreciated when looking back from the green to the tee boxes.  In view from this angle was the water inlet which created a pond adorned with a fountain and beyond that the harsh grey Le Morne in the distance.  Couple this with he blue sky, the palm tree lined fairways and the lush green and you have an image which can only be described as false in its perfection.   But you’ve got to play it to appreciate it!  Le Morne didn’t really come into full view in play but on hole 6, a par 3 100/120 meter hole, it ran along the side of the rock, to appreciate and embrace its full presence.

The Indian Ocean however, was never far from the golf course, in fact water came into play on a number of holes.  Hole 8 had a sway of water to cross over for the second shot to the green.  Hole 9 wrapped itself around water on the inside right with the  gradual darkening of the water colours as it got deeper and away from the edge.  Holes 11 and 12 were the road holes, with 12 taking a sharp left to get away from the intrusive tarmac surface and deliver you back into paradise with a nice green gently being lapped by the ocean.  There were a lot of holes that encountered the Ocean, in one or another, and not all of them were too difficult as a result.

Hole 13 started to get interesting as the inlet sneaks into the fairway from the right.  With the fairway some way over the water.  Water right, bunkers left and trees beyond that, a big hitter might think twice before reaching for their driver, instead favouring the joys of fairway golf.  To be honest, there was space on the reasonably wide fairway, but anything slightly off is severely punished as Steve can vouch for as he played off the beach - twice, on the same hole.

With the continued and relentless wave movement, almost in a spa style sing song was as relaxing as the warm sunshine on your face.

16 was another test of accuracy as the fairway once again took a sharp turn right, putting the water inlet in play off the tee.  Huge hitters had a very small landing area, with water being on the far side of the fairway too, a risk and reward shot, which requires accuracy.  However, all you really need to do is get it to the bend then play over the small stream joining the ocean and the pond.

Hole 17 in itself wasn’t much to write home about.  A 112/128 meter par 3 - but, the location of this hole made it special with the sea running all the way down its right side on the other side of a splattering of trees for shade.  Watching coloured boats bobbing around on the sea reminded us how windy it really was!

Closing on 18, the drive takes on a smallish pond before it turns around the trees for a dog leg right and an elevate green to finish.

With our critical hat on, we have to dig deep to find any fault.  The roadside holes are a bit bland and noisy but its only one or two holes then you’re turned back towards the ocean again - so a temporary blip.  I guess a couple of the greens were a bit scrappy, the bunker sand was a little inconsistent in depth, but that is us being super critical, as really none of these things factored into the game that much. 

As the sun sets on the afternoons golf, we yearned to go back and play again - without the cameras, so we did - but took the drone for another delightful game at Paradis.

First date played 14th March 2023

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Saturday, 10 June 2023

Foursomes Folly - Anahita Golf & Spa Resort Review

A villa is a villa, right?  Oh but you’d love the individually presented ones at Anahita.  Varying in size, some are privately owned rentals and provide a home from home feel, as individual as you and I.  But that’s not all, there are also 254 junior and 70 prestigious suites.  So whether your time at Anahita is for yourself, you and your partner or the extended family, there will be accommodation to make your stay as special.

We stayed in a junior suite overlooking the pool area, nicely obscured for privacy by a tree or two.  One of two pools we found, so slightly off the beaten track and therefore somewhat quieter as bathers loll about in the Mauritius heat enjoying their holidays.  The junior suite had a small kitchenette, sitting room, separate bedroom and ensuite - everything you might need for a short or even an extended stay.

Modern in its straight line appearance and decorated in whites and neutral colours made for a relaxing stay, and importantly a cool relaxing place to get away from the intensity of the sunshine, when needed.  There was an efficient buggy transfer service from your room to the main area where restaurants, bars and shops were located

Being met with a basket of fresh fruit was welcome too.  We noticed there were fewer 3 pin plugs for UK users in the room, but plenty of European style plug sockets - so you might want to consider an adaptor?

The golf

18 holes of Ernie Els design will more than satisfy your golfing needs.  The on-site 18 hole golf course - long in play but weirdly not so in length - or maybe that was how we played it!  It teases you around the beautiful bay beyond which you can see Ile Aux Cerfs.  We started our game as individual stableford, but after 5 holes decided to switch to foursomes.  A nice little format when you’re trying to capture the essence of the course and one that gave us the chance to enjoy our golf a bit more too. 

Needless to say, I did put Steve in number of bunkers so we can talk with conviction when we say the bunkers were nice and gritty - none

of the ones I put him in were particularly deep, so I’m not too sure what all his complaining was about - and he got the ball out easily each time - so foursomes worked a treat - for me!

A nice big easy start as the course takes you away from the clubhouse inland until thrusting you onto hole 4, a Par 5 377/517 meter hole that tantalises as each shot gets closer to the green before easing you seaward and back into the tropical ocean blue scenes Mauritius is best known for.

The course had undergone its maintenance and therefore the cut and scarified grass was left to dry and go brown just off the fairway, sadly this did give it a shabby appearance, but digging beyond that temporary facade, it was it really good condition. Tining, aerating and cutting of the grass is just one of those things - which every golfer would rather see than not.

The par 3 hole 5 kept the ocean in view with its palm trees swaying offsetting the greens, blues and off white of the sand.  A good hole to take a 360 on, with mountain views and ocean views you are a little spoilt for choice.

Hole nine was in interesting nugget of a golf hole, with its snaking man-made water trench dissecting the fairway as it wiggled along almost the length of this par 4.  At some stage it comes into play. But you can chose when that might be by going either left,  right or straight off the tee.  Naturally I put Steve in the dry ditch - not a nice reward for a good drive, short right of the green.  He only needed to flip it over to a green, a green like most of the others which didn’t hold the ball, no matter how shallow or steep the shot on was.

Two loops of nine with a welcome half way drinks station splits up the course nicely.

Hole 14 was another one of interest.  As playing in the Cotswolds, there was a wall running almost the length of the bottom part of the fairway.  It could come into play and again a hole that gave you choices, depending on your ability.  This par 4, SI8 319/419 meter hole is one to think about.  I was slightly distracted by a dog mum and her puppies as I cooed at their fluffy cuteness instead of focussing on the game.

Dogs aplenty on hole 15 too, as we ‘inherited’ a couple of pooches who clearly knew there would be goodies in the buggies as they chased us in a non threatening way along the fairway.  We decided not to feed them, so they soon left us alone.

The par 3 hole 17 86/144 metres and the photo opportunity all instagramer’s would love. Huge Hollywood style letters to stand by as you snap away at yourself posing in front of this wonderful backdrop.

Closing on 18, like many with a wide fairway this had a sight dog leg right as it neared the clubhouse and skipped along the waters edge as a nice gentle par 5 closing hole.

We did love the way the course design allowed you to catch glimpses of the other holes framed through tropical planting and relished being able to play the course twice.

You could dine in the clubhouse as it overlooks the 18th, as we did for lunch.  But for dinner we were treated to a fish buffet in the Origine restaurant,  Being a buffet, of course there was something for everyone.  Rainbow displays, of pretty much everything to get you salivating.  Origine is the same restaurant we dined in for breakfast, with its cool ocean side tables.  Topical discussions with other diners over our individually made pancakes which can only be described as art on a plate

Anahita is in a lovely location on the East side of Mauritius, a place for all, a place for seclusion or a place to party.



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Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @TravelLifestyleGolf (Golf Guru Group)

Connect with me on LinkedIn @Sarah Forrest or @Steve Forrest

This You Tube video and the related social media information has been produced as our honest and unbiased opinion on the day. Golf Guru Group trading as Travel Lifestyle Golf (TLG) did not receive payment for this review, but were hosted to some degree by the venue. TLG can take no responsibility should your experience differ to ours in any way.

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Course critique - Gymkhana Golf Course, Mauritius

No matter what label you give a golf course - the longest, the hardest, the best - there is one label that Gymkhana will never have taken away - the oldest golf course in Mauritius.  Like so many of the older overseas courses, their build and original design has been formulated out of a desire to play golf by military personnel of yesteryear.  In truth, the world is littered with ex-military golf courses, some still in existence, some not.  

Gymkhana has not only survived but flourished into a respected members club too.

Check out how we scored Gymkhana GC on TLG You Tube

Established in 1844, the course as it plays today is, well, complicated!

Without being given some direction, and with little signage, it would be very easy to play the wrong hole.  It felt like it was split into sections, which criss crossed around the available space.  It wasn’t uncommon to leave the green and think - where next?

Keeping your whits about you was paramount on this course, if only to remain on track.  In truth with the design not being particularly cohesive, it also did lend itself for playing fewer holes than 18, which is actually a positive in this day and age of time being tight.

Testimony to the tight space was the practice area - which doubled up, much to our amusement, as the second fairway, a par 4, handicap 7, playing 328/373 meters.  One lady having lessons didn’t seem perturbed by us smashing balls past her as she ducked into the side as the teaching pro waved us through. 

Essentially a tree lined parkland course, it could so easily be overlooked in favour of the bigger punchier names for golf in Mauritius.  But if you relish the history and the can cope with a course layout resembling a dachshund sitting down, its one not to be missed.

Built next to the army barracks, it wasn’t unusual to hear the firing range ‘next door’  A tight course it did have all sorts of reasons why you should not play there - but in truth, we can’t think of one that really put the kibosh on us going back again.  Sure there was road noise, the gun squad practicing, and the course was higgledy piggledy, but it did have some of the better greens we had played in Mauritius.  

There were fewer huge dominating trees, but there were plenty of trees in play.  There was very little change in elevation which made it a good walking course, even in the heat of the day.  It also had something other golf venues on the island lacked; atmosphere - not just from the golfers, but those choosing to dine in the restaurant, even if they didn’t play golf.  

Every table was like a family reunion, and we were embraced as part of the Gymkhana family.

Some holes to note. 

The first hole had something that actually worked quite well, and was pleasing on the eye too - a tree in the middle of the bunker, on its own little grass island plonked into the middle of a sea of sand.  Such great contrasts.

Hole 7 is a dog leg right, knowing your length is key here as too long and you’re OOB left, too close to the inside tree lined dog leg and you’re snookered for the shot to the green, but once round the corner, all is revealed. Before leaving the green note the tee box number 8 is almost turning back on yourself.

After hole 12, you cross over the road to play 13 to 17.  Hole 15, a par 4, handicap 4 measuring 385 to 405 meters, actually wrapped itself around the boundary wall and watchtower turret of the resident army compound.  Typically I’d gone too far right with my tee shot settling close to the wall. This meant I had to take on the turret to get around the corner - or play it safe - I took on the turret with a modicum of success and a bogie ensued.

Gymkhana isn’t as easy course, lots of bends and twists means its much more of a technical course than some, that said its a good way to focus on your distances and skill as opposed to thumping it a country mile.  The tee boxes and fairways were good, although some fairways did take on a seabed effect as you walked up and down, the bunkers were rubbish, but the greens were in really good condition.

We liked hole 17 as it gave us both an opportunity to shoot par’s and we both did; in totally different ways.  This par 4 handicap 4 hole had a gap through the trees which took the ball left for the approach shot as the fairway did a near 90 degree turn right.  Or option two, go over the trees visible from the tee, and have a shot in that way.  I went for the gap, Steve went over the trees.  I was further back than he was for the approach, but got the ball on in regulation.  Steve’s tee shot had overshot the right bend on the fairway and he played a shot from the rough again getting on in regulation.  We both had two putts and halved that hole. 

A cracking example of a golf hole to suit all abilities.

Hole 18 was back over the road - a fairly straight hole with a larger green to help you finish in a flurry of excitement before taking advantage of the not too fussy but very tasty food in the clubhouse, whilst sitting outside under cover enjoying watching other golfers.  

Despite its apparent challenging space, Gymkhana has allocated a space for endemic trees to be grown in an mini arboretum which you can wander through.

Managed by locals for locals, managed by locals to offer an authentic Mauritian welcome to visitors.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @TravelLifestyleGolf (Golf Guru Group)

Connect with me on LinkedIn @Sarah Forrest or @Steve Forrest

This You Tube video and the related social media information has been produced as our honest and unbiased opinion on the day. Golf Guru Group trading as Travel Lifestyle Golf (TLG) did not receive payment for this review, but were hosted to some degree by the venue. TLG can take no responsibility should your experience differ to ours in any way.