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Top 10 Golf Courses in the Alps

For an unforgettable round of golf, it’s hard to beat teeing off with the Alps in the background. Snow-capped peaks, lakes and ancient forests create the ideal backdrop in which to explore the lush fairways, challenging undulations, and stylish clubhouses.

With a little help from the pros, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 golf courses in the French, Austrian, Swiss and Italian Alps.

Golf Eichenheim

Kitzbuehel, Austria

Set in the mountains of the Kitzbuehel Alps, this 18-hole Championship course was designed by Kyle Phillips—the man behind Kingsbarns Golf Links in Scotland. The Wilder Kaiser mountain range provides a breathtaking backdrop and the course itself is lined with oak trees (Eichenheim translates as ‘home of the oaks’).

Pro golfer and Honorary President of the Austria PGA, Hans Lumpi, has been playing here for 10 years and believes it is well desereving of its place in the top 10.

“We have the fastest greens in the area and challenging undulations—number three is our signature hole with a drop of 60 metres so the ball is in the air for a long time,” Lumpi said. “You have to play smart—play strategic golf—as you’re fighting against the course.”

SOURCE:  On The Snow

Legendary Architect Kyle Phillips: “Only the Course Matters”

Interview by Richard Wax

Kyle Phillips was fascinated by the game of golf ever since his early childhood. He graduated in landscape architecture an specialized in golf course design. After over ten years as architect and Vice President of the California-based Robert Trent Jones II practice, Kyle Phillips created his own Company. Phillips is at the forefront of the next generation of leading golf course architects world-wide. He has devoted much thought to how the game can develop in  the years to come to enhance the enjoyment of golf connoisseurs on the five continents which are seeing his remarkable work. His first contract was at Kingsbarns, only ten kilometers from the “Home of Golf” in St Andrews. The resulting course was acclaimed universally and attained the top 50 course ranking in the world where it has remained ever since.

Richard Wax:  Why did you chose to become a golf-course architect?
Kyle Phillips:  I love my work and did not become a golf architect for the financial return but because this is what I just love to do. I am overjoyed to drive such immense pleasure from having a profession which is exactly what I love doing – designing golf courses! Read More…

Sicilian Open 2012 Comes to Verdura Golf & Spa Resort

From 29th March to 1st April 2012, Verdura Golf & Spa Resort will host the prestigious Sicilian Open 2012. As part of the PGA European Tour, the resort’s championship links will welcome the defending champion Raphael Jacquelin along with 143 other professional players who will compete for the honour of becoming the Sicilian Open champion, winning both coveted Ryder Cup points and points towards the “Race to Dubai ” cash prize.

The 45 holes at Verdura are made up of two 18-hole, links-style golf courses and one 9-hole par 3 golf course, all designed by leading golf architect Kyle Phillips, who has earned a reputation for developing design solutions that work in close harmony with the landscape. Sir Rocco Forte, a keen sportsman with a lifelong passion for golf, entrusted Phillips with the project of creating links-style golf courses in an area that is totally different from the Scottish coast in both temperature and landscape. Embracing the challenge with great enthusiasm, Phillips created superb links.

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort will provide a unique golf experience for both players and spectators alike. The latter, whether resident or not resident guests will enjoy free unlimited access to watch the 4 day Golf tournament. The courses, featuring undulating fairways and deep bunkers, are set amid olive and orange groves, and despite both tracks being built to the same standard and occupying similar ground, the East and West courses provide different journeys and game experiences for golfers to enjoy.

Challenging golf courses with outstanding views, pleasant temperatures and gentle sea breezes from the south -west Sicilian coast make the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort a unique location for the Sicilian Open 2012.

Source:  Verdura Golf Resort

Yas Links named in Top 25 Courses

Yas Links has been named one of the world’s top 25 by American magazine, Golf Digest.

A voting panel of experts ranked the two-year-old course 24th in the world, making it the best new golf course outside America.

Designed by one of golf’s most innovative designers, Kyle Phillips, Yas Links is a testing par 72 that measures 7,414 yards off the back tees and boasts one of the game’s most spectacular finishing stretches, sitting opposite the Yas Marina Circuit F1 race track and in view of the iconic Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park.

The combination of Yas and the emirate’s other two championship-ready courses – Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club – create a distinct and differentiated golf experience.

“Much like he did with Kingsbarns 10 years ago, Kyle Phillips has created a golf course from scratch that feels and plays like a completely natural site he just happened to stumble upon,” said Robbie Greenfield, editor of Golf Digest Middle East.

With six clubs within a 90-minute drive, Abu Dhabi has a wealth of golf offerings – from parkland to beach and links courses – for all types of player.

Source: Golf Monthly

Del Paso C.C. To Host 2015 U.S. Senior Open

The 2015 U.S. Senior Open at Del Paso Country Club will be the first USGA championship for the Sacramento, Calif., club since the 1982 U.S. Women’s Open. (Courtesy Martin Miller of Miller Brown)

Far Hills, N.J. – The United States Golf Association today announced Del Paso Country Club, in Sacramento, Calif., as the host site for the 2015 U.S. Senior Open Championship. This will be the fifth USGA championship held at Del Paso Country Club. The dates of the championship are June 25-28.

“The USGA is pleased to continue its friendship with Del Paso Country Club and the community of Sacramento,” said USGA Vice President and Championship Committee Chairman Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. “Del Paso and Sacramento have embraced the spirit of this national championship and will be great partners with the USGA in producing what we are confident will be a successful championship and community event.”

The most recent USGA championship at Del Paso was the 1982 U.S. Women’s Open, when Janet Alex won by six strokes for her first professional victory. Del Paso has also twice hosted the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In 1957, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, at age 18, won the second of her eight USGA championships by defeating Anne Casey Johnstone, 8 and 6. In 1976, Donna Horton posted a 2-and-1 victory over Marianne Bretton. Del Paso also hosted the 1964 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, with Loma Smith capturing the first of her back-to-back titles by one stroke.

“Del Paso Country Club is very pleased to bring the 2015 U.S. Senior Open Championship to our club and the greater Sacramento community,” said Dan Spector, 2015 Senior Open championship chairman and past president of club. “We look forward to hosting this prestigious championship and sharing with the rest of the world the club and community of which we are so very proud.”

Del Paso Country Club was founded in 1916 on property that was part of the original Rancho Del Paso, a historic 44,000-acre area used by 19th-century settlers as a pathway through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The course, which is located 10 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento, was designed by Scotsman John L. Black. It was redesigned and renovated by architect Kyle Phillips in 2006.

The U.S. Senior Open Championship was first played in 1981. The championship is open to any professional and amateur golfer 50 years of age with a USGA Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4. In 2012, the U.S. Senior Open Championship will be played at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, in Lake Orion, Mich., from July 12-15. The 2013 championship will be played July 11-14 at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club, and the 2014 championship will be played July 10-13 at Oak Tree National Club in Edmond, Okla.

Source: USGA

Ralph Lauren Magazine: Global Golf

Yas Links (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

He is credited with creating some of the most enduring and iconic golf courses, places like Kingsbarns in Scotland, Verdura in Sicily, and the Grove in England. Now, American architect Kyle Phillips has trained his gaze on the Middle East, designing Yas Links, a course that is being lauded as one of the world’s best. Featuring a collection of memorable holes, including a pair of waterside par 3s on the back nine, this demanding, 7,394-yard par 72 made Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Courses in the World for 2011. Stretching along three kilometers of Persian Gulf coastline, with nine holes fronting it, this course boasts more than 100 bunkers and endless links-style panoramas.

A longtime contributor to RL Magazine, Farhad Heydari is the international managing editor at Centurion and Departures magazines for Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.


Restoration of Honor


By John Reitman
South San Francisco, Calif.

Sometimes, credit is the other side of blame. Consider Thomas Bastis, superintendent of the California Golf Club of San Francisco.

A $13 million restoration by architect Kyle Phillips in 2007-08 might be responsible for launching the Cal Club onto the Golfweek’s Best Classic Course list in 2009, at No. 60. But it’s Bastis who looks after the retro-look layout that keeps the Cal Club moving up the charts — to No. 54 last year and an eye-popping leap of 19 spots this year, to No. 35.

“It’s so fresh and different from where it was,” Phillips said. “Thomas has done a great job at keeping the course firm and fast. It’s a happy story; the kind you want when you get involved in a project”. Read More…

Finding New Fairways

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Sicily

Kyle Phillips, who designed Kingsbarns Golf Links and Dundonald Links in Scotland (both regular visitors to our Platinum List), has worked his magic on the southwest Sicilian coast on 36 holes (plus a nine-hole par-three track). Many wend right to the Mediterranean Sea, which is never out of sight during play. If the clubhouse interior is an appropriately Venetian stucco, the windswept course suggests Scottish links play, with the anomalous sightline of distant olive and orange groves.

The West Course has slightly edged the East in some recent rankings; others say a composite routing of all the seaside holes is best. We say play ’em all, and then indulge yourself at the spa of the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, which includes four Thalasso pools in graduated temperatures, varied densities of salt and minerals, and a plethora of jets and waterfalls.

The 570-acre resort opened in 2009, part of The Rocco Forte Collection but the first built in Italy by the luxury hotel company, all on a splendidly private 1.1 miles of coastline.
by Thomas Bedell
Celebrated Living

Yas Links the best of the best

The UAE has made relentless progress as a golfing haven ever since the Majlis Course made its breakthrough in becoming the first Asian venue for a European Tour event – the Dubai Desert Classic in 1989.
Emirates Golf Club was out on its own in those days in more ways than one as it provided expatriates based all over the Gulf region with their only opportunity to swing a club in anger on a verdant rather than sepia surface.
Twenty-two years later the rivals are stacking up for the trendsetting Majlis. In my opinion, several are comparable to what was labeled on its birth as the “miracle in the desert” and one can claim to be even better.
Here is a personal appraisal of the top 10 courses in the country listed in order of a 17-handicapper’s preference.
No 1: Yas Links
Take a bow Kyle Phillips for your masterpiece which on the coldest of winter days could possibly be mistaken for one of the warmer British Open venues.
Within earshot of Yas Marina Formula One Circuit (it’s one detracting feature on race days) its penal rough to catch wayward drives from a variety of tee boxes provides a demanding test for golfers of all abilities and offers stunning coastal views from many of its holes.
Yas hosted the first of what is sure to be a series of professional events in January when the Al Naboodah Invitational moved there from its previous Dubai Creek home. Read More…

The Verdura Golf and Spa Resort in Sicily

Spending time in the warm Mediterranean waters of Sicily might normally be enough to result in a tourist’s jaw to drop… but the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort could very well leave visitors too lightheaded to even speak.

A luxurious getaway is what awaits those traveling to this island escape. Located near the town of Sciacca, miles away from the historic city of Agrigento and its Valley of the Temples, and an hour from the International Airport in Palermo, Verdura occupies a land unto itself, complete with all of the splendor Sicily has to offer.

Verdura Golf and Spa Resort is the 13th property in the Rocco Forte Collection in which Sir Rocco has truly outdone himself. Forte has designed hotels all over Europe, such as Hotel Savoy in Firenze, and The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, but number 13 has proven to be a very lucky one for its guests. Verdura offers 203 ocean view rooms and suites with private terraces overlooking 1.2 miles of private coastline, as well as six tennis courts, a 43,000 square foot spa, fitness and yoga center, four extravagant restaurants, a private beach, 55 private villas and two championship golf courses which are a “must play” for any golfer.

When asked about golf getaways in Europe prior to Verdura, Forte stated “there wasn’t anywhere in Europe that offered the kind of golfing holiday I was after”. So, he created one that changed the European resort golfing experience as we know it. The first task was to find a designer for the job. Kyle Phillips, whose work includes ‘The Kingsbarns Links’ near St. Andrews, and ‘The Grove’ outside of London, was chosen for this project. Phillips created two championship courses known as the East and the West, along with a 9-hole Par 3 course and a full practice facility. Both the East and West courses are Par 72 at just over 7,300 yards each, with many challenges awaiting golfers of all skill levels. Read More…