2015 Royal Trail Golf Tour Grand Finale
DAY 18 - Our group enjoyed a tourist day in Edinburgh before begining their journies home or on to exciting new destinations. Overall the tour was rated a huge success by all.
DAY 17 - Our final round (Round 10) on tour was a fitting finale on the PGA Centenary ourse at Gleneagles. This Jack Nicklaus design was purposely built to host tournament golf and as host to the 2014 Ryder Cup our group thoroughly enjoyed the layout, countryside views and presentation of the course. Best scores on the day was Janet (aka The Queen) who went on to win the overall tour ladies division. Best daily scores for the men was Colin. Overall mens winners in a tie was Greg & Rob.
All three took out The Open Championship fun prizes presented at a celebration dinner in the private dining rooms of Gleneagles Hotel. This was of course after watching a thrilling finish to The Open with Zach Johnson wining the Claret Jug.
DAY 15 & Day 16 - We arrived in Edinburgh from Turnberry to stay for 4 nights in the cultural capital of Scotland. Saturday and Sunday, the group travelled out to St Andrews to watch The 144th Open and to support their favourite golfers. With play delayed on Saturday due to high winds many walked the course to see first hand this Old Tom Morris masterpiece. With not much golf many spent the day happily in corporate hospitality but we were back out on course early on Sunday to watch the drama unfold. While a little disappointed, the final round will be on Monday the anticipation of our final round at Gleneagles stirred our group on.
DAY 14 - A highlight of our 10 course tour was Round 9 on Turnberry Ailsa GC. With its famous lighthouse on the 10th hole and wild Scottish coastline with Ailsa Craig on the horizon, this course is on many's bucket list. Typical Scottish weather prevailed on the day with a very strong wind or 'wee breeze' as the locals would say. Winners on the day were Janet B & Mark.
DAY 13 - Our first game in Scotland at Prestwick GC, the birthplace of The Open back in 1860. Many enjoyed this wonderful old course that while no longer used in The Open Rota was still a great links challenge with its huge sand dunes and bunkers. Winners on the day were Craig and Polly. In the evening we all dined in style in the dining room of the Turnberry Resort with much discussion about Donald Trump's plans to renovate Turnberry!
DAY 12 - A travel day from Liverpool across The Lakes District (via lunch at the infamous honeymoon capital of Scotland Gretna Green) into Scotland to stay at the wonderfully luxurious Turnberry Resort Hotel.
DAY 11 - We saved the best of our '3 Royals' to last! playing Royal Birkdale, host of the 2008 Open and which will again host in 2017. We had a perfect English summer day to play Royal Birkdale and scores reflected the great playing conditions. Winners on the day were David and Marion with Lauraine also scoring well. The group enjoyed dinner in the art-deco clubhouse overlooking the 18th green with sun setting. Many will remember Royal Birkdale as one of their favourite courses on tour.
DAY 10 - We awoke to yet another grey day. Royal Liverpool was going to be a challenge in the rain! But even the rain could not dampen the excitement of playing this magnificent links course where Rory lifted The Open trophy in 2014. With its huge sand dunes and wind swept fairways, scores on the day were competitive with Janelle and Rob coming out winners. Both were presented with their prizes in front of the club's extensive collection of golf memorabilia.
DAY 9 - A rest day to explore the sights of Liverpool. Many of us were surprised by its significant contribution to architecture and the development of port trading in England back in the 1700's. Of course most visited The Beatles Museum and Slave Museum along with enjoying the dock area which has recently been redeveloped.
DAY 8 - Leaving Windsor, we headed off northwest to Liverpool and to sample some of England's best links courses on the Lancashire Coast - the '3 Royals'. Royal Lytham & St Anne's was first, home of our very own Sir Bob Charles Open win 1963. Today was our first experience too of wet and windy conditions which made for extra challenges getting around this course with its narrow fairways and 207 bunkers. Winners on the day were Jenny and Richard with Greg also putting in another great score. The 'least amount of bunkers' challenge on the day was won by Phil.
DAY 7 - A welcome rest day and the chance for our group to play tourist around Windsor. Rumours were rife the Queen would be in residence over the weekend so many headed for the Castle for the Royal Tour, 200 year Waterloo Exhibition and Changing of the Guard.
DAY 6 - While staying in Windsor right opposite the Castle we played Round 4 at the spectacular Sunningdale Golf Club. Built by Willie Park Jnr in 1901 this is a real 'golfers' course and wonderfully welcoming golf club. The club will host The 2015 Senior Open Championship later in July.
Our group enjoyed breakfast and a sumptuous English buffet lunch at Sunningdale as invited guests. Winners on the day were Helen, Jill and Mark who shot 75 off the stick so he will remember Sunningdale as one of his favourites.
DAY 5 - Off back into London to play the exclusively private and legendary West Course of Wentworth Golf Club, our 3rd round on tour. The Wentworth Golf Course, designed by Harry Colt in 1926 is considered by many one of the premium tournament courses hosting the World Matchplay Championships and BMW Championship along with near to a 100-year history of premier professional and amateur events.
We were treated like royalty being hosted in The Ryder Cup Room for a full 3-course lunch then off to play golf on this superbly manicured course with a country club feel! It was a special experience for our golfers to pay the course in heavily wooded parkland surrounded by multi-million dollar mansions including Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn. Winners on the day were Margi, Greg and Eric who were presented with their souvenir Carry-on shirts in the Burma Room.
DAY 4 - Round 2 on tour was played at Princes GC, another wonderful links course located beside Royal St Georges. Built in 1906, as the demand for longer courses grew with the invention of the long distance Haskell golf ball, Princes GC hit the limelight hosting The Open in 1932 with Gene 'The Squire' Sarazen taking out the title. Princes GC and Royal Portrush GC in Ireland are the only courses to host The Open only once.
During our round we were again blessed by the continuation of the English summer but a brisk offshore wind threw in its challenges to scoring. Winners on the day were Lauraine (59pts) and Jim (57pts).
DAY 3 - Our first golf day and the English summer just kept coming with a light breeze off the North Sea and brilliant sunshine. Dressed in our 'Royal Purple' Tour shirts we entered the hollowed grounds of Royal St Georges to play this magnificent links course host of 14 Open Championships and a candidate for the 2017 or 2019 Open.
The course proved to be a tough challenge and scoring was difficult but with local caddies our golfers learned a great deal of inside information about this course's history. After golf we enjoyed a formal lunch in the Dining Hall with Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding (Yum!). Winners on the day were Lynne (45pts) and Graeme (52pts). Both were presented with special edition 'Carry-on-Golf' shirts.
DAY 2 - We journeyed from London to the South East to the village of Sandwich visiting the cathedral town of Canterbury along the way. Unfortunately the archbishop was not in town having a prior engagement to christen Princess Charlotte in Sandringham. We booked into The Lodge at Royal St Georges with great anticipation of playing this famous course as our Round 1 on tour.
DAY 1 - After enjoying the highlights of London in record temperatures and staying close by to Kew Gardens our group enjoyed a Welcome Dinner in a traditional English Pub with traditional English fare. Our Royal Trail of England and Scotland's best courses was underway.