Travel Review: AGSI 2015 – ‘Eagles, zebras and pines!’

agsi 2015 logoHaving returned from the inaugural African Golf Safari International from the 21st to the 26th of February 2015 at Legends Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo province of South Africa I already can’t wait until the next one. It was an intoxicating (very!) combination of winter sun in the bush, beers, braai (bbq) and golf whilst making new friends from all over the world. Highlights of the week included my bunch from Northern Ireland roaring out the Wild Rover at every opportunity, my old mate Suresh calling a zebra a giraffe, helicopter golf at the Extreme 19th, glorious weather and making a 233-yard eagle on the risk and reward 18th hole! But the ultimate was the charming Aneta from Poland calling pine trees penis trees!

Many thanks to my good friend Scott Edkins from Ascot Tours who arranged the event, by far the best run event I have been to. His faithful sidekicks Werner and Jenna as well as the always smiling staff at Legends Resort couldn’t have done more to make the week go smoothly. Once we have details of next year’s event we’ll send them out and I look forward to many of you coming out and joining the fun!

 

Scott and Werner from Ascot Tours
Scott and Werner from Ascot Tours

The Event
The field included over 60 players from Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Poland, South Africa and the USA and I brought out eight Chaka players from Northern Ireland.

NI team enjoying dinner under the African starlit sky
NI team enjoying dinner under the African starlit sky

Our group flew in a day early allowing us a practice round and the opportunity to settle in in advance of the busy event that was to come.

On the first official evening we had dinner in the clubhouse and after that we went outside and were entertained by local African dancers and were able to view and enjoy stars in the clear African sky.

Having a practice round helped as after day one of the 54 hole, individual stableford competition three of my Northern Irish team were in the top five. After the round we sat back and had a few cold beers and took part in a fun putting competition with the opportunity to win a place to return next year.

Adam thought he'd won a trip back in 2016 in the putting competition
Adam thought he’d won a trip back in 2016 in the putting competition

On day 2 scoring became more difficult and Edwardo Juta played really well and was on top of the leader board. I finished with a birdie on 17th and an eagle on the 18th which helped make my score more respectable after a tough day at the office up till that point! Dinner was enjoyed with a an African sunset at the Extreme 19th sunset deck and enjoyed a superb variety of South African food.

The following day was truly memorable. We had an early start and went on a game drive through some stunning scenery and the highlight of the game viewing was seeing rhino in the wild. After the game drive we had breakfast al fresco before taken by helicopter up to the Hangklip Mountain tee box for the Extreme 19th Challenge. Playing this 430m par 3, with the green in the shape of the map of Africa, is a unique experience and was one of the highlights of the event. One of my team Glen Telford put his second and third balls on the green and made an excellent 5.

Helicopter to the tee box of the Extreme 19th
Helicopter to the tee box of the Extreme 19th

 

After lunch we played on the Par 3 Tribute course, which recreates 10 of the world’s most famous par 3’s. Petar Strnad from Czeck Republic won this par 3 men’s competition with 21 points and Marina Juta with 19 points won the ladies.

In the evening the 10th hole, which replicates the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, was used for the night golf “Hole in 1” event. After dinner all countries sang songs in their own language and a fun time was had by all. The non-golfer partners were kept busy with Big 5 game drives, a scenic helicopter flight over the Waterberg Mountains, spa treatments and trips to the wild life centre for endangered species. Lunch was served on the lake side deck and rounded off with a boat cruise on the dam.

Eduardo chipping in to win AGSI 2015
Eduardo chipping in to win AGSI 2015

The final day of the competition had 6 players still in the running to win including two of the NI team. Crowds gathered around the AGSI branded 18th green to welcome and applaud the winner. The champion was Edwardo Juta with a total of 114 points and he made a birdie on the 18th to secure his victory and he was heartily congratulated by Clive ‘Choker’ Irwin and the rest of the field. Lucie Kopecka from the Czech Republic won the ladies event with a well played 97 points. The band “India” provided lively music during the very festive awards ceremony, which ended this most enjoyable and successful event.

Please email us if you would like to be kept informed about next years event.

 

Legend Golf and Safari Resort
Legend Golf and Safari Resort

Cyprus and Cancun

Cyprus and CancunGolf-Chaka-Aphrodite-Hills-Cyprus

Sorry about the short delay in my update on Cyprus.

I had an excellent time in Cyprus, the accommodation, people, golf and especially the food where all outstanding!
The weather was excellent throughout my stay which made the golf even more enjoyable.
We managed to play two courses, Elea and Aphrodite Hills, both courses were excellent.
Golf-Chaka-Elea-Cyprus
Both courses offered different challenges but still remained very enjoyable.
We also got a tour of Minthis Hills course which will definitely be on my list to play the next time I return.
A new course is due to open in September called Secret Valley and we managed to get a sneak preview of it and it did not disappoint.
There are many great reasons to return to Cyprus and I could not recommend the destination highly enough!
My next trip is now upon me, this is my personal holiday when myself and 17 family member are going to Cancun, Mexico for two weeks!
I will definitely give an update on my return as I am sure there will be enough stories for an interesting blog 🙂
Take care and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings.
Best regards

Jets, Golf & Good Causes

Jets, Golf & Good Causes

Over the last month or so I have been lucky enough to attend a couple of great events which involved, golf, celebrities and good causes.

Jets-set-golf-Rory-McIlroy-Nailcote-Hall

At the beginning of July I played in the Celeb/Am day at the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship at Nailcote Hall. I was part of the Eurojet team and our celebrity for the tournament was no other than Willie Thorne. Apart from playing golf and winning one of the closest to the pin prizes (I will touch on that again later) I was mainly there to launch our new venture www.jetsetgolf.com! www.jetsetgolf.com is a new concept which brings the expertise of www.chakatravel.com and www.eurojet.eu.com together to create an amazing bespoke luxury golf travel experience. The launch at the event was a resounding success and our aim was to get a lot of chins wagging about www.jetsetgolf.com and we certainly achieved this.

The tournament itself was run superbly, the course, even though a par 3 was very challenging so it made for a great days golf and most importantly a great chance to practice the short game. Our 4 ball had superb craic during the round which added to the whole experience.

Jets-set-golf-Rory-McIlroy-Classic

That night we attended the Gala dinner which was hosted by our celebrity Willie Thorne so we had a prime position at the front of the room. The night was absolutely outstanding, excellent food, company and entertainment. Of course, the auction at the end contained some brilliant prizes and the pick of the bunch had to be ‘Private Jet for the day’ supplied by www.eurojet.eu.com. Now I will touch on the worthwhile cause that this was all arranged for. ‘Rainbows’ is a hospice for children and young people and they are based in the East Midlands. Rainbows works tirelessly supporting sick children and their families through difficult times so it was a breath of fresh air to see so many celebrities give up their time to attend and support an event like this.

You will remember I briefly touched on winning a closest to the pin prize during the day, well that occurred on the 7th hole on the course. To everyone’s astoniJets-set-golf-Rory-McIlroy-Classicshment, my expertly guided tee shot landed 2 feet from the pin. Now I have mentioned everyone’s astonishment and that is because they had already been put through the pain of watching my golf for 6 holes! Well, after all the laughs (mostly towards my golf) I was very proud to come away with a brilliant memento from the day and most of all it was presented to me by ‘Mr Charisma’ himself, Larry Laoretti who has been one of the most flamboyant and entertaining golfers to grace a course.

Just over a week later we were one of the sponsors at the Rory McIlroy classic which was hosted at Holywood Golf Club where Rory grew up and mastered his game. This was the second year of the event and it is organised to raise funds for the ever successful junior section at Holywood. This year’s event carried a lot more publicity due to Rory bagging his first major in 2011 so it was great to be involved. Credit goes to Paul Gray the general manager and all his staff for organising a super day and night which was enjoyed by all who attended.Jets-set-golf-Rory-McIlroy-Nailcote-Hall
A big thanks to Rory also who found time in his hectic schedule to make an appearance and present all the worthy prize winners. I would also like to thank him for signing a couple of autographs without hesitation, top guy and its brilliant to have a Major winner from my home club Holywood.
Finally, my buddy Stuart Cameron ran a golf day at Holywood on Tuesday past. This is a yearly event he organises through his ‘Really Teed Off’ society and each year they select a worthwhile cause to donate the money to. I met Stuart at the beginning of the year as he was a new member to Holywood and we hit it off right away. We have enjoyed many rounds of golf and most importantly many beers together to console ourselves after our brutal performances on the course. It is amazing how friendships can be forged through sports and I was extremely happy in supporting this excellent event which raised £1200 for another children’s charity, Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Society. What also amazes me is the generosity of people in these so-called hard times we are living in. My hat goes off to Stuart because it has never been more difficult to get sponsorship and prizes for these events and he did absolutely brilliant. He will hopefully read this and I hope he feels proud of his achievement and gives himself a pat on the back. P.S. Your halo is in the post! 

Well, that’s enough from me, once again thank you for listening and I will report back soon.

All the best