On The Tee in Mallorca

In typical On The Tee fashion, we pick locations that offer more than just golf, and Mallorca fits the bill perfectly. This Balearic Island was a superb extension to our South of France and French Riviera Tours. The weather was perfect - sunny skies and warm days. Simply superb.

The golf was simply out of this world. The island has over 20 golf courses to choose from, no wonder it has become the ideal destination for European golfers looking for their slice of the sun. According to a number of the local operators, On The Tee is the first Australian golf travel company to host a group of Australian golfers in Mallorca, which is surprising considering that it ticks all the boxes for a super golf trip. It is definitely a destination that will stay on our agenda.

The courses we played were beautifully maintained, all had superb club-houses and excellent facilites. We chose three courses, Alcanada, Son Gual and Son Muntaner. Son Gual came with the additional sport of guessing the airline, as it was right under the flight path. You’d be surprised at the number of airlines we Australians had never come across before. You’d also be surprised at the sheer number of planes landing during one round of golf!

We spent some time in the historical village of Pollenca, before moving closer to the coast. Palma is an amazing city, with a long history.

The Cathedral is the city's architectural landmark. Its size is remarkable and with interior features designed by Antoni Gaudí and Miquel Barceló, it truly is a unique cathedral. We wandered from the cathedral along the medieval streets and public squares, stepping out of the way of the touristy horse-drawn carts that share the road with pedestrians. We could spend days exploring this stunning city with its mix of old and new.

The train and tram trip to Soller and to the port of Soller is a must. An exquisite day’s outing and opportunity to see more of this Balearic Island. As on our other two 2019 Europen tours, art was never far away. We enjoyed an unscheduled visit to the Picasso Ceramic Museum at Soller Station and viewed some extraordinary Picasso ceramics. The highlight for all was an afternoon on a motor cruiser, swimming, soaking up the wine and drinking champagne. That’s one of the reasons our customers keep coming back, we go that one step further to make our trips memorable.

Golf On The French Riviera

Our golf trip to the French Riviera coincided with the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, what a fantastic time to tour the playground of the rich and famous!

Golf

We loved the peaceful setting of the Royal Mougins Golf Club situated between the sea and the mountains. Designed by the late Robert von Hagge, the course stretches across a tree-lined valley surrounded by olive trees and ancient stonewall terracing. It has a real Provencal feel to it. Lunch with the well-heeled at Terrasse du 18 after golf was quite a treat.

We played the prestigious Cannes Mougins course. This private club founded in 1923 is well known for the quality of the fairways and the speed of the greens. For 14 years, the club hosted the Cannes Open. This flagship competition on the European circuit has included prestigious players such as Greg Norman, Severiano Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam among its winners.

The Gary Player designed course at Chateau de Taulane with its seven lakes in the heart of Gorges du Verdon was an outstanding course to finish the tour on. Our only shotgun start of the tour, in a full field of French golfers, made the round even more special. Definitely a course I’d like to play again.

French gastronomy

We seemed to stumble upon Michelin star restaurant after Michelin star restaurant. The food was simply outstanding. The tiny village of Mougin has produced more than its share of Michelin chefs - just the place for fine food lovers.

Places to see and be seen

La Promenade des Anglais in Nice is one of France’s most iconic seafronts and so very instagramable. Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild -the villa and gardens overlook the Mediterranean Sea and are simply stunning. We loved the charm of the stone architecture and the narrow alleys of Gourdon and St Paul de Vence. The genius of Henri Matisse is something to behold in the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence  in which he combined the artistic and the spiritual. Matisse considered the chapel his ‘masterpiece’.

The golf courses we played were all in superb condition, the resorts we stayed at were excellent, the Michelin Star restaurants did nothing to stop our expanding waistlines, the art was sublime, the tour guides superb and the company outstanding! On The Tee cannot wait to bring this tour back to the market in 2020.

Golf, Art and Good Food in Provence.

So much to see and to do.

Bonjour and a smile, goes a long way!

With no French, I had a few concerns about travelling with a group of golfers in Provence. I found that a smile and friendly “bonjour” went a long way. Some miming and charades along with a smile and somehow I was understood. Sure it’s much easier if you do speak some French, but it can be done.

Golf

Every course we played was totally different. We played the only Seve Ballesteros course in France, Pont Royal on a cool and windy day. The views of the Luberon and Alpilles were stunning. We expected a tough course based on the course rating but we were all surprised that it played easier than anticipated.

The Ronald Fream designed Fregate was a firm favourite - a challenging and technical course with extraordinary scenery and numerous viewpoints over the Mediterranean. We were all well prepared for the challenges of the Fregate course, having played a practise round on the Fregalon course.

Golf de Servannes was another picturesque and challenging course where olive trees tend to find wayward shots. The greens were fast and consistent, just the way we like them! The sixth hole, green pictured in the centre, was one of the stand-out holes.

Golf at the beautiful Domaine de Manville made for an exciting final round. It's the only course we’ve come across with a geometric theme - rectangular bunkers and greens of various geometric shapes. The tee-boxes had interesting and hard to find locations, some required climbing and orienteering skills to find.

Be prepared to eat well

It’s well worth losing a kilo or two before the trip as you’re bound to gain weight, rather rapidly! The food was truly magnificent, from the baguettes to the numerous Michelin star restaurants we ate at. More fabulous food than our waistlines could cope with. We should have taken notice, French golfers walk and either carry their bag or use a push buggy. No wonder they looked like they were fresh from a fashion shoot - stylish, fit and trim.

Markets

A highlight of any trip to Provence is at least one visit to the open-air markets and the explosion of colour, scents and sounds that await. They’re fun to explore even if you’re not there to shop. You’ll be amazed at the different cheeses, breads, chestnut creams, truffles, oils, olives - anything that goes in a picnic basket, really. And the fabrics, tableclothes, clothes and gifts and so much more.

Dogs

The French love their dogs. They accompany their owners to restaurants, shops and can even be spotted on golf courses. Some work for their treats, hunting for truffles! Somehow the dogs tend to match the owners - burly men with bulky breeds and stylish ladies with impeccably groomed tea-cup size dogs in tow.

Perched villages

High up on rocky crags, many with a castle and the remains of fortified city walls, you can’t miss the perched villages dotting the countryside. We wandered through so many narrow cobbled streets with stone-built houses, shops, a church or two, an art gallery or three, a trebuchet, a fountain in the square and pavement restaurants. Don’t be surprised to see famous art works in the local Musee, maybe a chapel designed by Folon or an art show projected on quarry walls. There is so much more to see and do than just golf!

See the calanques

Calanques? A series of rocky limestone cliffs and bays between the city of Marseille and the town of Cassis, which we saw from the sea. Basically inlets that have been formed in the limestone cliffs, leaving behind a series of beautiful little bays with clear water and secluded beaches.

Art

So many iconic artists are associated with Provence, Cézanne especially. We visited his favourite painting spot in Aix, and its spectacular views of his biggest love, Mount Sainte-Victoire - he painted it 87 times. Cézanne’s work inspired many later artists, particularly Picasso, who called Cézanne ‘the father of us all’. Saint- Remy is home to the clinic where Van Gogh was treated for depression in 1889, during which time he spent many hours painting. We followed his trail to discover the places in his paintings, like the Quai du Rhône which is in ‘The Starry Night’ and ‘Pont de Langlois’. We were especially fortunate to catch the Thannhauser Collection on show at the beautiful Hotel Caumont in Aix.

Truffle Hunting

We spend a brilliant afternoon hunting for truffles and drinking endless glasses of champagne and truffle treats. A winner with this group of golfers!

Truly the ultimate trip for golfers with a passion for the arts and a love of fine food. On The Tee trips are so much more than just golf - we aim for the complete experience each destination has to offer.

Get in touch if you’d like to join us in Provence in 2020.

info@onthetee.com.au

Course Tips - Yellow Tees at Jack's Point

Course Tips - Yellow Tees at Jack's Point

Course tips are generally available for most courses - but extremely rarely from a women's perspective. We've set about to remedy this, starting with Jack's Point.  When playing an unfamiliar course, its a confidence booster to stand on the tee-box and have a good idea about where you need to land the ball to get the most bang for your drive.

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