Thursday, 12 April 2018

PGA Level 1 - tick

So pleased to announce I have passed my Level 1 PGA Coaching Award.
You may ask why have I done this at my age, what am I hoping to achieve, the simple answer is two fold:

  1. I have been in the golf industry for nearly 10 years and events for even longer and I just want to give something back to the sport I love and what better way to do that than to encourage others get into the game 
  2. Working for myself I don’t get the opportunity to go on in-house company training courses, this is a way I can keep not only my brain active but also show a continued commitment to Golf.


Everyone can achieve so much given the right set of circumstances, it just means sometimes you have to create you own set of circumstances


Friday, 9 March 2018

Listen to my interview on Blogtalk radio in Florida

I am incredibly humbled to be on Blogtalk radio with the impressive Ted Odorico to talk about ladies golf on the Women of Golf Show and especially the International Ladies Golf Tournament we are running this September.
But you listen and let me know what you think??
Should I stick to writing!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/womenofgolf/2018/03/06/women-of-golf-with-special-guest-sarah-forrest-ceofounder-golf-guru-group

I missed not having Cindy Miller, but she was busy with other golf related things, so good luck to her.

Not signed up yet to join us for the ILGT?
Why?
Message me and we will get you in!


Friday, 16 February 2018

International Ladies Golf Tournament- How to get involved

We have 16 in-country partners selling this unique event, each partner has been carefully chosen to represent us in selling golf to the ladies around the world.
The ILGT is open to all club handicap ladies, if you don't see your country listed but would like to come, please don't let this put you off, just email me on sarah@golfgurugroup.com

Countries and agents selling:
United Kingdom - Paul - email pgreenhill@dpandl.co.uk
Italy - Paola - email paola.ferro@greenvelvet.it
Ireland - Patrick - email patrick.aiken@thegolfpa.com
Ireland - Fintan - email fintan.ward@golfvoyager.com
Spain - Paula - email paularojals@ladygolf.es
Poland - Katarzina - email kbobinska@travelandaction.pl
Australia - Steve - steven@cgegolf.com.au
Canada - TJ - email tj@golfawaytours.com
Hungary - Krisztina - email kbatta@golfutazasok.hu
South Africa - Allison - email allison@louis57travel.com
India - Arif Ansari - email  arif@alcgolf.com
France - Cyril - cyril.prigent@teetravel.com
Tunisia - Abdelkader - email directionevt@gmail.com
Portugal - Jose -email jose.valente@ingolf.pt
Norway - Kristin - email kristin.moe.krohn@gmail.com
United States of America - Ann-Sophie - email ann-sofie@elitegolfexperiences.com
Austria - Maria - email -maria@elitegolfexperiences.com

Dont hesitate to contact me or one of our excellent agents to book your place.

Excellent value for money and the ease of buying in your own country - what could be easier?



Wednesday, 7 February 2018

International Ladies Golf Tournament



Ladies from all over the world are welcome to join us in this amazing country team and individual no stress competition.  We have local in-country agents in the majority of countries so easy to buy in your local currency and join other ladies from your country to make a team, or come as an individual and we would welcome you.  Contact sarah@golfgurugroup.com if you want to join us and I will let you know your local agent, or if you want to act as our in-country agent email me sarah@golfgurugroup.com
Exceptionally good value and all bases covered.
Interested?


Friday, 2 February 2018

Golf in China at its best


Golf in China is growing at a huge rate, especially on the island of Hainan, which is home to Mission Hills Haikou, the world’s second largest golf complex with 10 golf courses, and the spectacular Sheraton Dunes. Sarah Forrest details her visit.

Flying via Hong Kong, China is surprisingly accessible. After a short add-on flight to Hainan Island, you find yourself at Haikou airport, the most southerly holiday destination part of China. A two-hour transfer south to Shenzhou Peninsular enables you to really embrace the Chinese landscape during the journey. Expecting to see paddy fields at every turn, I was surprised by the lush tropical flora of this part of China and, despite the large population, that it wasn’t overcrowded in the slightest.

Arriving at the Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula Resort we were greeted by lined-up smiling staff, a cool drink and a beaded necklace, before being huddled into reception where efficiency reigned over the check-in process. A large hotel which retains its charm is a tough nut to crack, the hotel has areas sectioned off for the bar, the reception and of course the variety of restaurants all available on site.


A Far Eastern beachside hotel with 36 holes of golf, the Sheraton doesn’t disappoint with warmth oozing from the staff and from the building itself as it uniquely embraces each visitor.


The Sheraton Dunes East and West courses are so called for the enormous dunes, where you can ground your club – but if you’re that wayward, being able to ground your club is the least of your worries as these courses, while narrow in places, have large welcoming greens of a great standard, and readable putts. Or you could just rely on your caddy – they are trained specialists on both courses, they certainly know the lie of the land and will beat themselves up if you miss your putt. Dedication to the job is paramount to these people and while English is relatively off the radar for some, most caddies are worth their weight in gold.


Both 18-hole golf courses sit on site for this resort hotel, both with views across the South China Sea, a beautiful 5* hotel with every food available under the sun, cooked perfectly, on offer, what could anyone else want from their golf holiday?

Next stop Mission Hills on Hainan Island (not to be confused with the other Mission Hills – Shenzhen – the world’s largest golf facility with 12 courses). Preparing myself for the unexpected, I was not disappointed. Being likened to Disney, this quirky golf resort has golf courses in which the design has been influenced from the best around the world. Designer Brian Curley has not been lazy in the approach; building 10 golf courses offering 44 miles of golf in 18 months is some feat of engineering. Couple this with the 5* complex itself, with restaurants to tantalise the taste buds from various parts of the world, six restaurants with local delicacies including freshly made wontons in front of your eyes – a treat for the eyes followed by a treat for the tastebuds as these freshly prepared snacks are devoured in quick succession. A man-made beach with an array of colourful floating devices to entertain the children and adults alike, a beach with a bar, is a great location for a barbecue for the perfect tropical experience.


The best known golf course is Blackstone, location of PGA championships and a course not to be missed. Quite tough, with narrow target fairways in places over ravines and greenery beguiling the drop down into the abyss. Cart paths weave themselves around the course with ease with an agile caddy ready to jump into the vegetation as your ball careers towards the menacing yet beautiful flora to engulf your ball. Large greens in good condition are in order and the caddy once again comes into her own and lines you up to perfection.

‘Golden Caddies’ are one step above the regular caddies, they have earned the right to teach and mentor other caddies as they join Mission Hills, taking pride in their work, are willing to please and are wonderful advocates for golf at Mission Hills. Despite their lack of wealth, they often buy for the client local delicacies and are more than happy to share their lunch boxes with you too! However, they do have one failing – chocolate! Chocolate is a currency, not that I’m saying you can tip them in chocolate, of course you can’t do that, but once they know you have a hoard to share with them, they will love you forever. But they don’t take their hoard of chocolate back and stash it away, they share it with their room mates every night, being the kind, gentle people they are.
Stone Quarry golf course is a quirky feature of Mission Hills, with suspended train carriages part way up, broken rail tracks as the mining carriage are about to fly off the rails just at that moment the pause button has been pressed. Sandbelt trails replicate the sandbelts of Australia, and the Vintage Course, home of LET events and with unusually square shaped bunkers, ensure a double take glance as you stand on the tee thinking: ‘this looks weird, but why?’ Shallow lines of bunkers one after the other in Terracotta Warrior fashion are barely wide enough to get in and take the shot out. A relatively tough shot with no sand to play with, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see the ball come cleanly out of one bunker and land in the next narrow bunker strip just a metre away.

Volcanic rock dominates the whole complex, adding a black gold sparkle in the hunch weather with the sun dancing on the sparkles in between rain showers as you drive around the golf courses.

So if you’re looking for something different, something unusual, something quite spectacular, golf on Hainan Island offers you all of these – plus some. 



Published in The Golf Business February 2018

Sarah can be emailed via sarah@golfgurugroup.com



Thursday, 18 January 2018

PGA Merchandise Show Orlando

Who is going to the PGA Merchandise Show?
If anyone wants to connect whilst there, drop me an email sarah@golfgurugroup.com

Friday, 12 January 2018

Nearly - again!

As the holder of one hole in one already I wonder if I am getting a bit greedy and wanting more?

You may recall my post in May 2015 where I got another nearly?

https://redteebreaks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/nearly-hole-in-one-always-bridesmaid.html

Well I've only gone and done it again - another nearly - this time at the amazing Praia D'El Rey golf course in Portugal, a 109 par three stroke index 18 with a slight breeze off the sea on the left and a little mound on the right, I picked up my pitching wedge and knocked it slightly right, to maximise the mound. A clean shot, a touch right, a little bounce left and it started to roll towards the hole - closer and closer.
Love this picture of Sean jumping out my pocket!
At that time, what does go through golfers mind?  Is it oh no my bar bill will rocket with these fish I'm playing with?  Is it a little heart skip and I'm going to get a hole in one?  I can't honestly remember what I was thinking at that moment in time, but I do recall my playing partners were jumping up and down - the odd expletive was shouted at my ball, then it stopped - the shouting and the ball as my ball came to rest less than a balls width from the hole.
No amount of jumping up and down, blowing the ball or wishing for the infamous gust to wind is going to aid it along; it was simply not going to happen; it just sat there menacing in appearance as sadness and joy swept over me equally.
 
One never really appreciates how close the ball is to the hole until you get closer; how many times have you attacked the flag thinking thats pretty close only to find its at least a metre away and you're left with one of those tricky length putts to finish?  The same thoughts pop into your mind but in reverse when approaching a nearly hole in one, oh its going to be miles away, but gradually as you get closer the smile creeps across your face as you realise the next shot is a sure gimme.
Oh well, in another two and half years I'll give it a go again - or maybe even before, one never knows with the game of golf.
Good luck with your game of golf in 2018 and fingers crossed for a hole in one - for one of us at least!
Feel free to comment on this post.
Sarah



Tuesday, 9 January 2018

British Airways miss my customer satisfaction mark by a mile

My debacle travelling back from Lisbon at the beginning of December, and whilst I have got my bag back now - after it had been on a round the world trip it seems, I still have not heard a word from British Airways - sad thing is, I'm due to book some flights to various destinations for 2018 - and I'm not so keen to use BA - heres why:

4.6 square miles of plane spotting excellence was bought to a standstill yesterday (10th December) as chaos reigned over the stranded passengers trying to get in and out of London Heathrow, 10th December in a snow flurry.
On a flight from Lisbon my flight was delayed from its scheduled departure time of 1040am  by some 2 hours, despite being loaded on a quick-time fashion as the terminal announcement is made for the  final call for all passengers on BA flight 501 to London Heathrow.  Passengers scurrying along to make the flight - to then be sat for two hours waiting with only a half glass of water offered in that time.
Passengers waiting for hours to get off the plane at LHR
Finally air-bound and with joy we winged our way to London with ease, food was served by those wiling to pay airline prices or who were simply hungry having missed breakfast.
Arriving in London we made up some time.   Unusually we were on the left of the airport, a part of the airport the Captain didn’t know as he’d never been there before that snow clad day. 
Landing just after 3pm, we were met with news that the airport was full. London Heathrow is the third largest airport in the world with planes landing or taking off every 45 seconds and serving over 70 million passengers a year, with Atlanta and Beijing being first a second largest respectively.
Passengers from many destinations painfully watching the bags from previous flights get dizzy on the carousel, still no sign of their own bags after hours of waiting
Hour after hour passed, with the Captain occasionally saying he wasn't able to give us any further information but was trying to pull in all favours and even took to the gang plank aisle despite being asked pretty much the same question by everyone who stopped him.  Credit to the Pilots who did make appearances, who did share what little knowledge they knew, unfortunately one member of the crew was less helpful, as she rudely brushed past passengers stretching their legs during that arduous wait at Heathrow.  A passengers asked how much longer, her curt and unnecessary reply was ‘we’ve been on the plane longer than you have’   We had been on that plane since 1020 that morning, we had been given half a glass of water and that was all, grumbling were being made by passengers by about 7pm, some 4 hours after we had landed.  I noticed the front of the cabin had been given drinks, with some left over for passengers in the cheap seats immediately behind the business travellers. But they ran out and the rest of us were left gagging. So I asked for some drinks and they eventually bought us 150ml mini cans some just after 7pm.  The first bus arrived 715pm, taking less than half of the passengers to the correct terminal by bus to collect their luggage.  The rest were left standing, literally, until we were also transferred some 35 minutes later along with the crew in their own bus and taken back to Terminal 3.

Bags stacked for hours with no on to claim them
At 930pm I left the terminal, very tired and without my bag.  There are in excess of 70,000 people working at Heathrow, but that night, they must have all been on holiday; bags were strewn all over with none being taken off the belts and with no floor space to put the bags if they had been.  I had a 2 plus hour drive on top of my journey, I was getting tired, and I just  wanted to go home, I wanted to sleep!

I filed a report for a missing bag, and my messages back it is on it was to my destination airport, Newark…..

Update - 9th January - one month later - got my bag back after nearly 2 weeks - it clearly had a nice holiday in Newark, but I have not heard anything from British Airways - nothing at all about this claim.  So no, at the moment Im not particularly proud of my national airline - British Airways, you can do so much better than this - surely?


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Few hours to kill in Hong Kong

Killing a few hours in Hong Kong
With many international flights to the Far East connecting through Hong Kong what do you do with a few hours or an overnight layover to kill in Hong Kong?
On a recent trip to China, I had an overnight in Hong Kong, something I was relishing after an absence of nearly 30 years.  Arriving in the afternoon heat and after a quick shower and with comfy shoes on I was ready to explore this bustling metropolis.  In 1997, China took back the governance of Hong Kong from the British and I was looking forward to seeing the changes. 
I was in for a bit of a shock.  I expected it to be a bit tatty, teaming with loads of people and the “copy watch man” hounding you at every turn.  Not at all. Hong Kong actually seemed quieter than I remember.  I was no longer dragged along the street when stepping out of my hotel into a sea of people. I actually had control of where I was going and could make that decision without having to navigate round many bodies littering the street in ‘Shaun of the Dead’ fashion.  The air was clean, the atmosphere was vibrant and the “copy watch man” was almost nowhere to be seen.  In fact the only time we did see him was at the Temple Street night market, still an amazing place to visit, although it did seem somewhat smaller than I recalled?  He popped out occasionally from between buildings to gently hound you in a less brazen, almost in a sneaky underhand way before retreating back into his dimly lit gap between buildings, as a spy into the dark slinking away into the abyss.
Temple Street night market is the place to visit if you’re only there for one night. It is littered with local street food vendors but you’re guaranteed a good local meal despite possible cleanliness issues.  Napkins are by way of a small box of tissues provided by a quick toss onto the table in the fast pace restaurants where more than 2 sittings per table are not uncommon in one night. 
But, with just a few blocks of buzzing life, you get the feel for Hong Kong, Temple Street night market with its canvas covers protecting make-shift stalls being used to showcase their wares of cheap Chinese non CE or kite mark goodies on sale by the masses.  An exotic atmosphere with smells of waffles accompanies you as you bump along in a stream of locals and tourists alike in the centre of Chinatown in Kowloon. As you return to the sanctuary of your pristine hotel or back to the airport for your onward flight, you leave this exciting city with good memories and with self-made promises to return to explore more on offer in Hong Kong.

Break up your long haul trip, if only for a few hours in the vibrant and exciting city of Hong Kong
 



http://www.justabouttravel.net/2017/12/20/killing-a-few-hours-in-hong-kong/

Friday, 13 October 2017

Red Tee Tour 2017

Hello ladies, I am pleased to provide you with loads of detailed information about three amazing events we ran this year in aid of Breast Cancer Care



In our third year to support Breast Cancer Care, we had ladies come from all over to take part in this fun and friendly golf competition, the Red Tee Tour.  An 18 hole pairs betterball tournament playing off 90% handicap

Playing just over five and half thousand yards from the red tees the ladies were in for some cardio exercise as they meandered their way around the lush green golf course.  Lush and green as we had a drop of rain the day before, which in turn made for some slow putts, but otherwise the course stood up to the elements fairly well.

It isn’t the easiest of courses for ladies, it does undulate and give you a good workout but it also gives rewards and the ladies ‘lovingly’ regaled stories of how they made (or missed) the putt on…. after a glass of wine

Nearest the pin was played on hole 6, named stalkers walk a 133 yard par three with a clear view to the green enticing the ladies to go for it, and a number of them certainly did, before the winner of the nearest the pin, which apparently was very close and yes she did make her Two was Bridget MaCauley from Naunton Downs GC.





The longest drive was hole16, called Welcombe Run at 447 yards this par 5 was not an easy hole, with a stream to think about for the second shot and a tiered large green there was no option but to go for the flag.  The longest drive was won by Lorna Godwin from Study Wood GC.
The best thing about playing hole 16 is seeing the imposing lavish Jacobean hotel in the distance, dominating the landscape and offering some respite knowing that was where lunch would be served in two more holes!
Overall winners were Linda Sherry and Jane Petts from Northampton GC with a great score of 38 points closely nipping at their heels with 37 points were Lynda Pearce and Tina Lewis of Cotswold Edge GC who beat Katie Greenwood and Lois Price of Ross on Wye GC on count back for second place.  All prizes were donated by the Andalusian Tourist Board and the main price by the venue itself for a return stay with golf and food.





The host venue provided a very tasty and substantial hot buffet after play of three main dishes, a side and salads, which the ladies loved whilst enjoying the view over the gardens from the Nestfield Suite.  18 holes of golf and an amazing spa make Hallmark Stratford  a great place for a short golf break.

Linda gave an enthusiastic speech, thanking the venue and ourselves for the hard work whilst acknowledging what we are doing for ladies golf and were chuffed to have won the Red Tee Tour at Hallmark Stratford and of course really happy to be returning for their prize.







Series two and three of the Red Tee Tour was held at Murrayshall, Perthshire and Formby Hall near Liverpool


Perthshire is inland Scotland and arguably a beautiful area to attract lady golfers, especially those not so keen on Links golf but still want to experience the Scottish golf and hospitality.  Picking Murrayshall was a great move to partner with to host the second Red Tee Tour for 2017, the hotel is friendly and comfortable and the golf course, albeit a bit tough in places is right on the doorstep.  A golf course offering views across the county and beyond was well received by the ladies .  The nearest the pin on the 4th hole, aptly named ‘the pond’ leaving the rest to your imagination was won by Lesleyanne Tufft, one of our lovely regular supporters.  The longest drive was a bit of a monster by Morag Wardrop on the 13th Hole  a 366 par 4 hole- well done both Morag and LesleyAnn, both great achievements and well deserved prizes courtesy of the Andalucian Tourist Board.

Despite the wind blowing a gale and the girls being swept here, there and everywhere the golf course played well and the winners of the Red Tee Tour evert at Murrayshall were Catherine Gerrard and Ann Coleman of Loundon and Bonnyton Golf clubs with a very respectable 37 points.  Runners up from Dunbar and Peebles Golf clubs were Lorraine White and Denise Richards, former winners of the Northern ladies who put up a good fight with 36 points.










Lunch afterwards in the clubhouse was a relaxed affair enjoying the lunch of soup and sandwiches and a welcome respite after the windy game of golf the ladies experienced.  Soup and sandwiches didn’t really showcase the excellent food at Murrayshall, but the ladies who overnighted got to see the versatility and skill of the chef.
Winners Catherine and Ann won a selection of amazing goodies from the Andalucian Tourist Board and a voucher to stay and play at either Linden Hall or Cardrona Golf Hotel resorts part of the MacDonald chain.




Formby Hall bought a small but perfectly formed group of ladies battling it out for their event
near Liverpool.  A purpose built venue for golfers and spa users alike, with the hotel being a simple walk across the car park to the first tee.  The weather wasn’t the best as these ladies went about their business with a massive smile on their face and Im sure whisky or something similar in their water bottles?  The course did play tough, in fact all three courses in the series have been tough for the ladies, so I guess that pretty much makes it even!

A modern and friendly hotel and staff greeted the ladies with the spa being a hit for the ladies who overnighted the night before and sneaked in a practice round beforehand.  A lovely lunch of sandwiches and chips awaited the player after their games. On the day Lydia Brannan made the longest drive leaving a number of ladies quite a ways behind her tee shot on the 7th hole a par 5 428 yard hole off the red tees.  The nearest the pin was a tricky shot over the water on the 16th, a par three measuring 126 yards beguiling its actual yardage by a troublesome stretch of water to negotiate.  I am pleased a lot of the ladies made the green but the winner on the day was Jean Nanson.  Both Jean and Lydia won prizes donated by the Andalucian Tourist Board.
Winners on the day with 38 points were Alice Apel and Jean Nanson of West Lancs and Allerton Manor golf clubs.  Well done ladies for winning the great goodies from Andalucia and a voucher to stay and play at any UK Q Hotel.

The purpose of the event is for Breast Cancer Care and we have raised a whopping £863 which is made up of the charity donation for the prize draw of a Sun Mountain Golf bag and the committed contribution we made to the charity from the entry fees received.

The golf bag prize draw was done on the final day at Formby Hall by one of our winners on the day and the winner is Mandy Ellis who was actually present and a participant of the Red Tee Tour at Formby Hall, who took the bag with glee.

Thank you to the host venues : Hallmark Stratford, Murrayshall and Formby Hall; to our prize sponsors: Hallmark Stratford, Linden Hall/Cardrona and Q Hotels and thank you most of all to the Andalucian Tourist Board who helped us fill those great goodie bags and provided wonderful prizes for the ladies


Interested in playing any of the host venues, or taking part in the Red Tee Tour next year?



Please contact  sarah@redteebreaks.com