Southwest France Golf Travel- Bordeaux

I feel at home traveling in Europe.  Every step you take, you wonder who had stepped in those footsteps centuries ago.  Europe is steeping with history and flavor.  This must be why my heart races with the simple thought of going on my annual ladies golf trips in Europe every year.  This year we started our golf trip in Bordeaux, France.

ImageA Chateau owned by Chanel?  Yes, please.  Harvesting season in Bordeaux?  Yes, please.  Food that keeps getting better with every restaurant?  Yes, please.  Golf that delights?  Yes, please.  You can find all of this in the Southwest of France.

Image

We were lucky enough to include some wineries in the Margaux region of Bordeaux.  The picture above shows how beautiful the wineries are behind the doors.  Did you know those beautiful barrels run $700 euro a barrel and they are only used once?  No wonder an average bottle of red wine runs around $100 euro.

ImageIf you haven’t been to Chateau Kirwan, it is a must stop on a trip to the region.  It is classified as one of 14 third growths in the historic Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.   Classification never changes in this area, so to be classified is a real privilege.  We were also privileged to have a wine dinner hosted by the owner herself, Sophie Schyler Thierry.  The dinner was one of our favorite activities on the itinerary.

ImageGolfing at Golf du Medoc includes wine bottles to indicate the 150 yard mark, or as everyone but an American would say, 135 meters.  Each hole was named after a local Chateau.  The design was welcoming for our first round of golf.   It was a good mix of difficult and very playable.  Most of all, I enjoyed that carts (buggies) were few and far between.

Image

Accommodations at Golf du Medoc were spectacular.  Upon first arrival to this hotel, you would assume, “Uh, oh, I should have stayed in Bordeaux.”  That is until you walk into the hotel.  The lobby is modern and large.  Someone from the front desk is read to assist with luggage and they speak English.  Each guest room is equipped with an extra large storage area for golf clubs and equipment.  The storage made the room very comfortable for our 4 nights.  Another pro for this hotel is the free wifi that can handle Skype calls back to the United States.  A large challenge for travelers overseas is figuring out how to call home during your trip.

ImageThe food at this hotel was outstanding.  Look at the presentation of their hamburger.   Hash browns for a bun, creative!  It looks so nice that I didn’t want to dig in. For a hotel that is far from any other hotels, our expectations were blown out of the water.  My group of women golfers were even able to organize a ‘Bachelorette Party’ for me in the restaurant one night for dinner.  They accommodate our every need.  There is also a nice gym and spa.

ImageSt. Emillion

ImageBordeaux

ImageTypical Macaroon store in Bordeaux.

ImageMoliets Golf Course.  Any course that has characteristics of a links course tops my list of favorites.  The Robert Trent Jones golf course had elevated greens that challenged every golfer. I don’t know what I would have done without my Bushnell Slope Edition.  It was truly my saving grace.   The fairways were narrow.  The course tested a golfer’s ability to play good course management.  I love the topography changes that felt like you were in the woods, then to the beach, then into a residential neighborhood.  The scenery stayed picturesque.  Perhaps I am biased to this golf course, for it was the day I shot 71.

Stay tuned for PART 2- Biarritz and Northern Spain

Lose the intimidation factor when playing golf with strangers

From a teaching professional to a recreational golfer, here is my advice on how to play with anyone you meet:

1. Dress the part. Ok, so I am woman and speaking to all other women out there, dressing the part if half the fun.  For everyone else, if you look like a golfer, you think, act and play like one, too.  Most importantly, dressing the part gives you the extra confidence you need for the next four hours.

2. Introduce yourself to your group and start a conversation.  I’m not suggesting that you be the golfer that won’t stop talking for the next 4 hours, because everyone finds that annoying.  But I am suggesting to ask the basics (where are you from, do you play often, did you see the recent golf tournament?) A quick, simple conversation will make you and your playing partners more comfortable playing with one another.

3. Identify a favorite club in your bag.  The most important part of the game is confidence.  If you have a favorite club, you can always use it when you are nervous on the golf course.  It is the easiest way to get yourself out of a slump, rather than calling your local teaching professional.

4. Keep up. Have you ever heard the term, pace of play?  In case you haven’t, let me introduce it to you.  Every golf course expects that a group play nine holes in two hours and fifteen minutes for nine holes and double that time for eighteen holes.  If you are struggling on a hole, pick up your ball, and take double par (6 on a Par 3, 8 on a Par 4 and 10 on a Par 5).  Most seasoned golfers will be impressed with someone who knows when it is time to pick the ball up and move on.

5. Prepare for your shot in advance.  Preparation helps to be a faster golfer.  Many times when I am playing with amateurs, I see someone leave their cart behind as they walk up to hit their ball 50+ yards in front of them.  This is not proper preparation because at the conclusion of the shot, the golfer is required to walk back to get the cart.  It is much faster to leave you cart as close to the green and flagstick as possible.  Also at the end of each hole, make sure to drive to the next tee box before writing down a score or starting a conversation with your group.  This will also help maintain your pace of play.

 

The next time you are thinking of going out to play as a single at a golf course, don’t be intimidated.  Use these tools to gain the confidence you need to play with strangers. Who knows, that stranger may turn into your best friend.

How to Prevent the Sway with a Doorstop

Swaying occurs when your body moves laterally towards the back foot on your backswing rather than coiling around a central axis.  Most often, swaying causes the weight to shift to the outside of the back foot (the right foot for all right-handed golfers) on the backswing.

 Many people will try to correct a sway by preventing their weight from shifting at all.  Keeping the weight towards the front foot (the left foot for all right-handed golfers) prevents a full hip turn and unnecessarily restricts the backswing.

To prevent swaying, make sure ample pressure is maintained on the inside portion of the back foot, which will help you coil your body around the central axis as you swing the club back. An excellent drill to feel the pressure on the inside portion or instep of the back foot is to place a doorstop under the outside portion of the back foot.  As you swing the club back, the doorstop will force your weight to stay to the inside. 

 

TRUE Linkswear Golf Shoes Review

Recently, the Biltmore Golf Course got in a shipment of TRUE Linkswear Golf Shoes. My Director of Golf was the first to try the TRUE linkswear and raved about the product.  I should preface any more of this review with, I am a teaching professional who spends all day, 6 days a week, standing on my feet at a golf course.  

I probably have 25 pairs of golf shoes at home, but I felt like it was time to purchase a new brand. Over the years of teaching I have had FootJoy, Ecco, Walter Genuin, Aero Golf Shoes, Callaway, Nike, etc. You name the brand and I have probably tried the product.  I find being fashionable a top priority, so any brand that exemplifies a ‘cute’ product is one that I will try.

Upon first glance, the TRUE Isis is not a very ‘cute’ shoe.  In fact looking down at the shoe, it looks very much like a ‘spaceship’ as I heard one customer put it.  The wide toe box of the TRUE is anything but slimming, but the purpose behind the toe box will make you a believer.   

The TRUEs are built on a barefoot platform which means they have a wide toe box to allow each toe to function individually and they also have maximum surface area contact with the ground which is proven to improve balance and traction. The TPU “ergo-traction” sole has been designed to work with your body during the swing and while walking between shots. Because they are closer to the ground than other golf shoes, TRUE linkswear ensured that the upper was built from 100% Full Grain Waterproof Leather paired with a seam sealed water proof membrane with Outlast lining. 

I chose the TRUE isis in White/Prosecco because of the neutral tones and the ability to pair with any outfit.  The other color options are Black/White, White/Pink, White/Electric Blue, and White/Charcoal.  The company has done a nice job of giving the fashionable female golfer options.  Looking at their website, http://www.truelinkswear.com/index.php/, the men have a lot more color options than women.  

I have now been wearing the shoes for a month and I have to admit, I don’t want to wear anything else.  Prior to the TRUE isis, I had recently acquired 2 pairs of beautiful FootJoy LoPro golf shoes.  I was guaranteed a complement every time I wore the shoes, but my feet were tired at the end of my lesson days.  With the TRUE isis, I am finally able to teach all day without any discomfort.  This is a TRUEly great product!  

If you live in the Miami area, the Biltmore Golf Course has a wide selection of the shoes in stock.  If you live anywhere else, go to the TRUE website link above and experience the most comfortable shoes in the market. 

 

Happy Shopping,

Renee

Image