Course designers' reunion

Thomas, Alliss and Huggett meet at Merbella, Meribel opens new nine...

Bob Warters's picture
Mon, 12 Feb 2007

Course designers' reunion

Dave Thomas trio
Peter Alliss (left), Brian Huggett (centre) and Dave Thomas at the inaugural Dave Thomas Classic - (photograph courtesy of www.eat-golf.com)

Any discussion about UK players who have made an impact on golf in the last 50 years would inevitably include the names of Peter Alliss, Brian Huggett and Dave Thomas. But it would be rare to find them in one place.

However, here casually perched on the balcony of the Marbella Club Resort for a recent reunion, are the trio whose achievements are woven into the fabric of the golf - nearly 50 European Tour titles between them, 18 Ryder Cups, several high finishes in Major tournaments, and 150 golf courses designed around the world.

Their get together was heavily mixed with nostalgia and good humour at the inaugural Dave Thomas Classic when thousands of pounds were raised on behalf of Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research.

Possibly one of the most scenic courses on the Costa del Sol, this is one of Thomas's favourite designs, where accuracy off the tee and an ability to plot your way around the 6,121 metre par 72 lay-out are crucial.

Water is a feature of half a dozen holes, together with ravines and severe slopes. It's a real treat to play backed up by first class service from the professional staff in the lovely clubhouse.

Meribel golf resort
New holes at Meribel

There's a little piece of Britain in the French Alps which has recently been given a facelift with some re-modelling of its golf course.

A new nine holes has been added to the par-71 Meribel resort perhaps better known as a winter ski destination for Britons, just south of Annecy. It was opened with a pro-am and exhibition match featuring Barry Lane, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jean-Francois Remesy and Costantino Rocca.

Meribel nestles in the heart of the renowned Valley des Allues, part of the Three Valleys skiing country, an all-year-round resort including 14 villages and packed with restaurants, bars and hotels.

With its short par-4s, tempting par-5 and spectacular par-3s, the tree-lined course demands accuracy off the tee precision iron play into many elevated greens. Popular with families of golfers buggies are essential unless you're really fit.

With its stunning backdrop of the French Alps the green fee is good value at 55 euros for 18 holes in low season (65 in high season) with discounts for couples, juniors and seniors.

Work on revamping the top nine holes of the course by Hugues Lambert, started in 2004 to iron out some of severe slopes and make more use of water features and the scenery. Pick of the new nine is from the 11th to the 13th with lakes and water features clustered around greens The 16th is a cracking par-5 while 18 is a classic finishing hole, reachable off the tee but dangerous to attempt .

Pembrokeshire golf
St David's City course

Rugged Pembrokeshire, with its eight golf courses has launched a promotion to attract golfers to this spectacular corner of south west Wales.

Links courses at Newport and Tenby (Wales’ oldest registered course), mature parkland designs at Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and South Pembrokeshire, challenging nine-hollers including Prissily Forest and St Davids City and Trefloyne, opened near Tenby in 1996 are fast gaining reputations for quality and friendliness.

Now hotels and bed and breakfast properties are hoping to get in on the act to help put Pembrokeshire on the map, including the newly refurbished St Brides Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot, the Lamphey Court Hotel and the Celtic Haven apartments, near Tenby, which also has its own 9-hole academy.

A recent convert to the area is snooker legend and golf fanatic Steve Davis. "There are some real hidden gems off the beaten track in Pembrokeshire." he said after visting Trefloyne and a handful of other courses with fellow cuemen John Parrot, Mathew Stevens and Willie Thorne.

Carnoustie, which hosts this year's Open Championship in July will also stage the 2007 UK finals of the International Pairs over the Championship and Burnside course from October 16-17.

The Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) has given Turkey's booming golf economy a boost by branding Antalya Golf Club's David Jones-designed championship course the PGA Sultan.