Ok so it’s long but thats only if you’re brave enough to play off the tiger tees. Measuring in at a whopping 7,879 yards, you can easily find shorter courses but with five choices of tee boxes, you have the option to setup a fair game for all.
Set within 350 acres of established parkland, Rockliffe Hall is undoubtedly one of the UK’s top courses and a must play for anyone looking for a 5* facility in the North East. Situated just to the south of Darlington along the meandering curves of the River Tees it is in fact a young course, providing the backdrop to the beautifully restored 18th century Rockliffe Hall.
In fact golf isn’t the only round ball sport associated to this fabulous estate. Middlesbrough Football Club owner Steve Gibson who not only owns Rockliffe Hall, has his clubs training facilities discreetly over the wall so you’ll probably be bumping into your fair share of footballers.
Since opening in 2009, Rockliffe has been maturing into a real technical test of golf. Not only can it be long but the course setup does require good management due to the strategic positioning of traps and features.
With a generous sprinkling of bunkers, particularly around the greens, combined with lakes, wetlands and some tasty rough you’ll surely get punished if you bite off more than you can chew. Rockliffe is a great challenge, incredibly fun and interesting which is non more apparent than at the signature 5th where you play to an island green. You would like to think this is where the toughest test lies but you’ll know differently once you tee up on the par 3 15th for a 242 yard single shot. Let’s hope the wind isn’t into otherwise it might be a little too much even for most of our Sunday best, even if it does go straight.
With the course getting better every year and maturing wonderfully into one of the best new courses in the UK, Rockliffe Hall sits comfortably alongside The Grove, The London Club’s Heritage and Centurion making it a must visit. The off course facilities are already the finished article and as a combined package, the exciting course, beautifully restored hall and 5* facilities it does provide a brilliant corporate event venue for the money.
Brands looking for luxury golf events to intimate corporate away days, Rockliffe Hall should be on any businesses shortlist as a venue in the North. Just make sure you pack your long sticks and hope the rough isn’t up.
Images: Rockliffe Hall, DarlingtonIt’s just what corporate golf is looking fore?
Located just outside Watford and close to major motorway links, you’ll have to go a long way to find a better venue within the M25 belt. Comparing favourably with other courses in and around London, The Grove is perfectly setup for businesses and brands looking for a premium experience to host their guests.
From the moment you take in the extended driveway and approach the hotel, even the carpark is perfectly manicured. From the first hello at the door, the Grove’s staff go well beyond and you’re made to feel incredibly welcome by their friendly staff. With the hotel attached The Grove has a formidable and professional team to host variable sized events. From intimate group events where attention to detail and a one on one service is key, to large scale corporate days where you’ll want a slick oiled machine, The Grove’s team knows how to support your event.
Designed by Kyle Phillips The Grove sits among his impressive design portfolio, alongside International favourites, Scotland’s Kingsbarns and more recently, Yas Links in Abu Dhabi. The Grove certainly doesn’t let its self down, and since opening in 2003 it’s established itself as a top course known particularly for its impeccable condition. The land around Watford isn’t exactly spectacular but Kyle really has got the most out of the land and created what can still be regarded as a very interesting and enjoyable track.
The round starts off with a comfortable wide fairway opening par 4 which helps settle the nerves on the tee box of those big corporate days. In fact, due to the layout and condition it is a great venue for large mixed events where all levels of golfer might attend. It’s not the sort of course to beat up particular player so allows for a relaxed round and perfect to build relationships with fellow players and to do business.
The whole experience at The Grove is first class. The course might not have the distinctive personality of the UK’s finest courses but as an overall experience it certainly ranks highly, especially if you’re looking for a resort within the M25. If there was a requirement for a venue ideal for corporate hosted events in and around London, then The Grove certainly has to be on the shortlist.
Images: The Grove, WatfordDrive your event engagement further?
A question we get asked a lot by our clients at Clubs Away is how to create events or experiences that can open up conversations. We’ve probably all attended an exhibition, trade show or product launch and had experience of how a conversation can fizzle out pretty quickly, and the opportunity with it. If you’ve been the exhibitor you’ve probably been thinking why, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
So, why does this happen? Having seen this instance many times at the various events we deliver, it happens as a result of having nothing beyond your product or service to talk about. You believe in your brand and could talk about it all day but going in directly for the sales pitch can turn off your potential customer. If you are going to get someone interested in having a conversation about you or your brand, then that person first of all needs to engage with you on a level outside of what product or service you are offering.
We have always felt there are two essential elements to sales;
You can’t have one without the other, but there is evidence contrary to that rule but generally speaking it’s safe to say that to maximise on the success of your brand you need to have both those elements working flawlessly. Allow me to provide an example;
One of our clients is a top sportswear brand and it would be fair to say they are a dominant force in the market they operate in. Their sales would flourish just as a result of the sportspeople, endorsements and marketing alone. They could happily sit back and watch the online orders role into the company and without doubt would maintain a successful business as a result.
The reason they don’t is that a key part of their business focus surrounds their people, not just sales people. Their brand resonates throughout their business, from marketing to HR, its not just an outward facing approach, it starts from the core. They focus on people right the way through the business because they understand that having a relationship with their clients whether it be distributors, sales people, operational staff are all key to building their business to further success.
People, no matter who they are or where they come from are more likely to buy from a brand that they feel they have a relationship with. The better the people are within the business at creating and maintaining relationships the more successful the brand is likely to be – its that simple!
During 2018 we started researching ways we could make it easier for our clients to engage with their audience at a higher level. 2019 saw Clubs Away launch its Golf Simulator Hire service and 12 months on has seen huge results of engagement for our clients;
3 Product Launches
22 Golf Days
6 Charity Engagements
Golf Simulators have proved to be really helpful in unlocking those conversations for our clients and importantly given them the time to build a relationship with their potential customers. A big success has been the response of how a simulator can drive in all manor of customers, keen golfers and those who’ve never played, people just want to have a go. Due to this non intimidating setup it’s been a real hit for brands and provided considerably larger lead generation stats compared to when they’re not using it.
If a golf simulator sounds like a solution to you and your business or you just want to find out more, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org and look forward to helping you improve the engagement of your business.Yas Links, business or pleasure??
Sitting 6 miles north west of Abu Dhabi International Airport, Yas Links is only a 10 minute drive which is need given the flight time is twice that compared with many popular golfing destinations in Europe from the UK. That said, once you’re here you’ll realise that this isn’t like European golf resorts, and all the wives tales you’ve herd about the UAE, its time to throw them out the window. Yas Island, home to the Links is also home to Yas Marina F1 circuit, Ferrari world with the worlds fastest rollercoaster, Warner Bros World, waterparks, huge shopping malls, bars and clubs, not to mention a host of luxury hotels.
Being in Abu Dhabi makes Yas Links a perfect location for the end of the year when most of Europe is falling into a freeze, Yas will still be seeing heat most Brits would call positively barmy! This makes it not only a superb holiday getaway but due to its local surroundings its a perfect destination for intimate corporate events. From one to one meetings or smaller team sales events, Yas Links has a fine tuned private and personal approach thats symbolised from the first moment when you collect the keys to your personally named changing locker.
Open in 2010 Yas is a first class golf facility boasting a world top 50 course designed by Kyle Philips and a floodlit 9 hole academy course and practice area. With beautiful view of the Arabian Gulf to one side, Yas Marina F1 circuit, Ferrari Wold and probably your hotel to the other, its an amazing setting for an equally amazing golf course. Playing up to almost 7,500 yards its got five tee positions for those looking to adjust the difficulty making it perfect if you’re out on business as you’ll not want to talk a deal if the course is giving you a beating. The front nine plays wider and probably easier to score compare to the back nine which slowly tightens up to offer some real risk and reward golf, particular the final stretch.
With such a quality course there are almost too many standout holes to mention but an early favourite is the dogleg 3rd which hugs the coast-line for 400 yards with your approach shot to the eight bunker guarded green. Bunkers are something that you’ll have to get used to seeing at Yas Links with game management of the upmost importance, particularly if the wind wants to blow, things can get tricky. The 4th is a great long par 3 with an amazingly undulating green making for some testing pin positions. Its the 9th where things start to change, and from the off your first tee shot is a tight one over the water calling for great accuracy otherwise you’ll give yourself a tricky second.
The whole back nine slides down the strip of land besides Ferrari World and the Yas Marina circuit until turning back on its self, tightly hugging the waters edge. The 12th and 15th have a nice links double green touch so if you miss the serious bunkers guarding the green you could still be left with a lengthy put of some distance. It’s the closing holes that you’ll go home remembering, even if its because you left a few balls in the Arabian Gulf due to the typical head on wind. With small greens and thin fairways the 16th is a nervy test. The 17th is a majestic par three and with all the carry and a fair bit of wind it’s a good result to hold the green. Slightly right sided shots will end up in the dip leaving for a tricky piece of short play to get down for par. The the round is then topped off with an epic finish at the lengthy par 5 18th. You’ll be given a few questions on where to play before you even get to the green and will play really long especially if that wind comes in head on which it usually does.
Uphold your brand values on the fairway?
Yas Links is defiantly a venue worth traveling to, even if you’re visiting Dubai as its well within a two hour drive. At the end of the game you’ll need to freshen off in the rainfall shower even if you did take the cart guy up on a much need cool lolly and enjoy the Spanish style clubhouse. The food is superb and often supported by events, but if that not your thing then outdoor seating has a beautiful view across the back nine for a perfectly relaxing view with a beer. Just don’t forget your sun cream and plenty of water.
As a PGA Professional who hosts Corporate Golf Events and Holidays I have seen first hand that not everyone is aware of basic etiquette most of us take for granted on the golf course. With this in mind I thought I would put together my top etiquette tips so you know next time your out on the course, you won’t annoy your playing partners or letting your company brand down. Especially with corporate events it’s important that you represent the values of your business both on and off the course.
Pace of play;
It’s always important for you and your playing partners on the course to keep up with the group ahead. If you find yourself in a position where your group has lost an entire hole of those players in front, please let the group behind through if you are holding them up.
Stand still and in silence when other people are taking their shot;
This one is an important one if you want to keep on friendly terms with your playing partners. From the moment your playing partner is choosing their club it is etiquette to stay silent until they hit their shot. No player wants to be put off halfway through their swing as it’s hard to pull out and almost always results in a poor shot. The last thing you want is to be blamed for them mishitting a shot even if your chatting wasn’t the reason, they’ll still blame you, even if they don’t say it.
Repair the golf course;
It’s our duty as golfers to make sure we repair the damage we create on the course. How would you like it if you’ve hit your Sunday best only to find yourself in an old fairway divot. Even if you take the fairway divot and bits fly all over the place, just make it look like you’ve tried to fix it. These are a few of the most common:
• Pitch marks on the green
• Divots – Just not on tee boxes
• Rake bunkers
When to play your shot;
The person who is farthest away from the hole plays first. To speed up play try to prepare for your shot whilst other people are playing. The player who had the lowest score on the previous hole tees off first.
Etiquette for when you are on the green;
This is where everyone has to be a little more aware of where their playing partners are. Thankfully fully spiked shoes aren’t really worn anymore so the damage you can make to a green and accidentally sabotage your partners chances of holing a putt are limited. Still there are ways players will expect you to respect their upcoming shot and stepping across and on their line before their putt isn’t one of them. Other ways you can respect your playing partners around the green are:
• Mark your ball with a coin so the other players aren’t distracted
• Don’t stand in eye view of anyone whilst they are taking their shot
Lend a hand;
Who’s happy after hitting a poor shot resulting in them stomping through the trees or thick grass looking for a ball. Chances is they’re not so happy so if your partner finds themselves not being able to find their ball, then be on hand to help them find it – its always handy to have the favour returned should you need it!
Keep your cool;
We all know golf is a very frustrating game, but you need to make every effort for your playing partners sake to manage any frustration in as silent way as possible. Particularly when playing a corporate event you’re not only representing yourself but the business brand you work for. Your company no doubt works hard to portray a brand image and a culture, so it’s your responsibility that you try and uphold the business values at all times. Not to mention, it’s not the most pleasant experience playing with someone who loses their temper but whilst you are vocalising your frustration your playing partner might be trying to concentrate on their shot routine.Who is golf’s player of the decade??
As I try and think of content for the Clubs Away blog, I want to cover a range of subjects that I think is helpful for golfers and golf fans and something that they might find interesting, creating further informative discussion.
As a PGA Professional and huge golf fan, a subject that has come up in my mind at various times over the year has been the achievements of Rory McIlroy. He has achieved so much over the course of the year, winning the FedEx Cup and The Players Championship topped off with the PGA Tour Player of the Year award to name a few. Even so, with all these amazing achievements he didn’t really feature in any of the major championships with his best finish being tied 8th at the PGA Championship.
I recently watched an interview of Tiger Woods and his opinions of who is the player of the decade, and before he answered I paused the interview to try and think what he would say. There is no doubt Rory has to feature in the top 5 contenders but who would you chose of player of the decade given that there are so many who have achieved so much? Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka – would you also consider Tiger given his stint out of the game during the decade?
Given he spent most of the time recovering from multiple surgeries I wouldn’t consider Tiger for the award, but I would certainly say that he undoubtedly won the achievement of the decade after winning The Masters in 2019. With that in mind I wrote down the players that I thought should be contenders.
Whilst it’s impossible to not consider the likes of Brooks Koepka and Jordan Speith but When you start looking at the stats it is tough to conclude that anyone other than Rory is the player of the decade, although I’m sure there will be a few people that disagree with me. Brooks and Jordan have both had amazing stints at the top of the game, Brooks major record is just outstanding. But when you ask who the most consistent performer of the decade has been, all the stats point to Rory.
I’ll be honest and say that I find it frustrating watching Rory at times, especially given he ranks right up there in the best ball strikers I have ever seen. The stats would back up that statement ranking number 1 in Strokes Gained of the Tee, Strokes Gained Tee to Green and Strokes Gained Total but in the last few years there has been a standout issue in Rory’s short game. Whilst not there yet, Rory has clearly been working on Pitching, Chipping and Putting and has shown marked improvements in his numbers. With a win already in the 2020 season my excitement for watching the player of the decade is like no other and I predict that we will see Rory win a major in this coming 2020 season.
Image courtesy of New York TimesIs the Golf Course the Perfect Office??
It is extremely common for people to regale stories of important business deals being done whilst on the golf course, and it is widely acknowledged that golf days can be hugely beneficial to bonding within a team of co-workers or with current and future clients. There are huge potential benefits to be had when playing golf, not only to your physical and mental health, but you will also notice it within your social circle, and potential business opportunities. Taking a meeting, or hosting an event, out of the office in the peaceful confines of nature, allows for deeper and more beneficial relationships.
A typical round of golf will take approximately 4-5 hours, this gives you plenty of time to really get to know your playing partners in an space that is comfortable, serene and completely free from the constraints that surround a typical office based meeting. The fresh air and beautiful scenery make for a wonderfully relaxing environment, and the exercise and competitive nature of the game can bring out characteristics that would not surface in a restrictive office setting. Most people while in this state of mind, will be more open to discuss personal matters, quickly moving past small talk and any barriers they may have subconsciously or unconsciously raised. This makes it the perfect environment to really get to know your client, understand their wants and needs, and allows you to foster trust and subsequently build a long-lasting more fruitful relationship.
As mentioned previously, the hours spent engulfed in nature can really help new and existing relationships to flourish. This can be helpful from a purely sales and business perspective, but it can also be invaluable when it comes to team building and nurturing friendships both new and old. Staff well-being and happiness is incredibly important in today’s world, and it is widely acknowledged that a team with a strong bond produces much better results. A team golf day can be a huge step forward in building the necessary connections needed to establish the values that are essential for a team to be truly successful. People will get to know each other better in a fun, relaxed setting that will encourage them to let their guard down and be comfortable being themselves. They will also awaken their competitive edge, and test themselves in an environment completely different to that of the generic office. This could lead to people playing together of their own accord in the future, better relationships at work and general good feeling amongst staff, all of which are key contributors to building a happy and successful work environment. Of course this all applies to clients as well as colleagues, and it is a well-established fact that ‘people buy from people’. Getting to know someone on a personal level and building deeper connections will ensure you are at the forefront of their mind when the next business opportunity arises.
Anyone who has played golf before will testify to the fact that it provides a stern test of skill, character and self-control. What better way than to really understand someone’s character, whether they be a colleague, business partner or client than to play what is widely regarded as one of the most challenging sports available.
Golf can be incredibly frustrating as it is you and only you that can take responsibility for how you play. One minute you flush a drive down the fairway and feel like Tiger Woods at his peak, the next you hook the ball out of bounds and feel like giving up entirely. The up and down nature of golf really highlights how people manage their temper, deal with situations not going their way and can also be an accurate representation of their honesty.
Often you will see people on the golf course cursing, throwing tantrums and sometimes even clubs! How your clients and partners control themselves when they inevitably hit a bad shot can be a real eye opener to their personality and particularly their susceptibility to crack under pressure. These situations can provide more insight than years of working alongside one another or having meetings in a controlled environment where the boundaries are already well established and easier to stay within. Golf is a sport played wholly on trust with ample opportunity to cheat should someone be so inclined. Whether it be moving your ball out of a bad lie, dropping another ball when yours is lost or simply ‘miscounting’ shots it is another useful insight into someone’s character. Through observation you will be able to tell a lot about your playing partners’ integrity and sportsmanship and it may reveal some key things about them that you may want to bear in mind before entering into a business relationship. It is also worth remembering that you will be under scrutiny as well and your conduct on the course is a strong representation of how you handle yourself outside of a work environment.
If you would like to find out more about the golf holidays and events we offer, you can contact us here.Play Some of the Best Courses in the World?
Following the recent launch our innovative golf simulator, we wanted to give you a deeper insight into this fascinating concept, and let you know how it can be a real game changer when it comes to planning corporate golfing events.
The Clubs Away golf simulator is the perfect way to obtain a realistic golfing experience, whilst in an indoor environment. It is powered by Trackman, which is an intelligent state-of-the-art tracking software that enables you to gather data on your individual performance.
Recreate the physical motion and challenges of an outdoor game of golf, with stunning real-life, immersive graphics, in an indoor environment.
Bring your ‘A-game’ to the table with a golf simulator package from Clubs Away. From adding a little competitive atmosphere to corporate parties, to playing a couple of rounds of golf on your exhibition stand, we can create the perfect round to suit your requirements. Here are just a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
Create engaging social events from the comfort of your own club or hired space. Whether your guests are keen, experienced golfers, or just want to give it a go, the golf simulator is perfect for all abilities. With one of our PGA Pros on hand throughout the event, they will certainly give you added value with their expert knowledge and tips.
Are you bored of having the same old exhibition stand, with the usual branding and promotional materials like pens to hand out to prospective clients? Here is where our golf simulator really makes a difference. As well as providing an interactive opportunity, our simulator will help break the ice with your customers and get them on side nice and quickly.
By using a golf simulator for your launch event, you will create a product launch that will be memorable. Add a little ‘buzz’ to the room and provide an opportunity for your guests to really get to know you and your business.
By combining our golf simulator with Trackman, we enable you to play at some of the finest golf courses across the world, all from the comfort of your room or office. This truly is an out-of-this-world experience, which couldn’t be closer to the real thing. Engineered on one of the most powerful gaming platforms there is, the 3D graphics for each course are not only visually stunning, but extremely realistic too.
Here are some of the courses that you can experience for yourself using the golf simulator (many, many more are also available):
With a 4/5 difficulty, this championship course is set in the stunning Bahamas and ranks as one of the best courses in the Caribbean. It is home to one of the top PGA Tour tournaments and includes some strategically challenging water features for that extra difficulty level.
What more can be said about this Olympic venue?! Located within the Marapendi Natural Reserve, this newly built course was created solely for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Experience one of the most famous courses in the world, without having to travel anywhere.
Located within the stunning Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, this club is the home of the PGA of America. Play where the best have played, and soak up the beautiful backdrop too. Don’t forget to watch out for the iconic three-hole stretch Bear Trap.
Bringing it back to the UK, you can also play on one of the finest championship golf courses, where the 2016 British Masters were hosted. Combining great golfing traditions with the need for modern gaming techniques, this course really will get you thinking.
Another dreamy American golf course to tackle, Shelter Harbor contains some challenging approach shots as well as some wide fairways for the less experienced players. Do look out for the rustic bunkers and the velvet bentgrass on this course – a couple of super visuals.
One very important feature of the Trackman is that the software is used by many PGA Pros across the world, enabling you to join leading coaches and players and gain valuable insights into your golfing techniques.
Trackman is always on tour, meaning that pro players are continually sending feedback. This ensures the tracking and insights are always accurate and up-to-date, giving you the opportunity to fully understand how you can improve upon your skills.
For further information on our golf simulator packages, or to gain more of an insight into how the Trackman analysis software works, please do not hesitate to contact us. Here at Clubs Away we are always looking at innovative ways that we can make a difference to your business. The golf simulator is just the beginning… watch this space for more exciting things to come!The Health Benefits of Golf?
To the layman, golf is still often viewed as an ‘elderly person’ sport that is certainly not physical and, to some, would not even be viewed as a legitimate ‘sport’. This is of course a myth, as anyone who plays the game would testify to. Whilst golf may not carry with it the same physical exertion of some higher-impact sports, it is a lot more physical than may first seem apparent, and can actually be a key contributor to weight loss, longer living and improved mental well-being.
The average golfer has a club speed of 93mph. This is incredibly powerful, and many people often don’t realise is how explosive a sport golf really is. In order to generate these kinds of club speeds, the player must use several different muscles to great effect, especially if they want to hit it straight, with impeccable timing. Another factor that people often don’t take into account is the distance covered when playing a round of golf, the average course is 6500 yards which equates to approximately 4 miles of walking, often with a bag of clubs and balls on your back. When you consider these aspects, coupled with being entrenched in nature for 4-5 hours, breathing in fresh air and feeling relaxed it should come as no surprise that golf actually has some pretty significant health benefits.
As mentioned previously the average golf course is approximately 4 miles, however most people do not walk in a straight line when playing, they may also deviate from the route to look for their own, or help others, look for their ball. There may be a big distance between tees. This means that the average distance covered during a round of golf will probably more likely be around 6 miles. According to Golf Digest magazine, ‘fitness experts estimate you’ll burn roughly 1,500 calories during a four-hour round’ means the average golfer burns around 1,400 calories per round.’ Regularly walking this distance and burning so many calories will help reduce the risk of heart disease whilst significantly aiding weight loss. Paired with a healthy lifestyle some studies say that golfers can expect to add 5 years to their life expectancy.
Whilst golf is hugely beneficial to an individual’s physical state, it is not a high-impact sport like tennis or football that carry a much higher risk of injury, especially as people may get into their later years and find they are unable to run or twist like they used to.
Of course, people may suffer the odd sprain, or twist in a muscle, but as the golfer is in charge of the intensity of their swing, it is often easily managed and can be prevented before it becomes a real issue.
Golf is an extremely social sport, each game typically taking 4-5 hours to complete, giving you plenty of time to talk during the round, unlike most other sports which do not involve discussion during the game. Most people will have a social circle that they play golf with, and will develop friendships with people at their local club. This can have a hugely beneficial impact on mental health, especially for retirees who may otherwise be lonely and subsequently suffer from anxiety or depression, common among the elderly who may have lost touch with their old social circles.
Golf is easy to learn but incredibly hard to master. It involves full concentration during shots and often careful course planning in between. It is therefore extremely mentally challenging, both in terms of concentration and, due to its difficult nature, a good test of their temperament. Much like meditation, it requires the person playing to be completely present, and rid themselves of any negative thoughts, as they must focus to play well.
Another key factor to consider is the unquantifiable, but undeniable, health benefit of being surrounded by nature, inhaling fresh air and being surrounded by greenery. With courses all over the world in incredibly picturesque destinations, people can enjoy this sport surrounded by truly breathtaking scenery. According to Harvard Health, ‘research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.’
It is fairly easy to see how beneficial golf can be to both your physical health and your emotional and psychological wellbeing. Here is a therapy that has no known side-effects and is readily available to all who want to partake in it. If you hadn’t realised the far reaching benefits of golf before now, we hope this article encourages you to grab your clubs and get out onto your nearest course.