Ultimate Gift Guide 2014: Island Greens
If golf is the most international of sports, then golfers are easily the most international of sports enthusiasts. From the seasoned pro to the high-handicap amateur, the devout will willingly travel halfway across the globe just to walk an unfamiliar fairway. It is this itinerant itch that fuels this Ultimate Gift, an around-the-world
jaunt—arranged by TCS World Travel, a Seattle-based specialist in private-jet journeys—for 50 diehards on a custom Boeing 757 that will circle the earth and touch down on eight golf-happy islands.
The private jet, which is outfitted with 50 flat-bed seats, will meet the group on Hawaii’s Big Island, where the guests will stay at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Before heading to Hawaii, each participant will be fitted for custom golf clubs by Cool Clubs at one of the Arizona-based company’s 14 studios worldwide. The driver-to-putter sets, which can be built with heads and shafts from just about any major manufacturer, will be delivered to Hualalai in time for the guests to tackle the resort’s Jack Nicklaus course and the many other top layouts on the itinerary.
From Hawaii the group will head to Fiji and the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. This three-day visit will include golf on the Natadola Bay Championship Course, a past Fiji Open host that affords views of the Pacific Ocean from 15 of the 18 holes. The Pacific is also on spectacular display at the journey’s next stop: the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs on New Zealand’s North Island. The resort’s Kauri Cliffs golf course, number 39 on Golf Digest’s top-100 list, is a breathtakingly beautiful track set along high cliffs that afford sweeping vistas and heart-in-the-mouth shots.
On the Indonesian island of Bali, the trip’s next destination, the Greg Norman–designed Nirwana Bali Golf Club straddles the ocean and cliffs and moves through magnificent gardens and rice paddies. Guests will stay at the nearby Alila Villas Soori, which is set within a UNESCO World Heritage site. From Bali, the group will head to the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius, residing at the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita and golfing on the property’s Ernie Els–designed course.
The jet will then make its way to the Mediterranean, where the 5-year-old Verdura Resort will be home for three nights. Set on the southwest coast of Sicily, the Rocco Forte–managed property features three scenic golf courses designed by the architect Kyle Phillips. The famed architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the course at the trip’s next destination, Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in Ireland’s County Limerick. The nearly 200-year-old neo-Gothic manor house offers a luxurious complement to Jones’s lush parkland layout.
The trip’s final stop will showcase an emerging golf destination. Cabot Links resort, located on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, opened two years ago with a true links golf course set along the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The group will play the property’s original course, as well as its soon-to-open Cabot Cliffs. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the Cliffs course is scheduled to make its debut this summer.
Throughout the trip, the group will be escorted and assisted by TCS World Travel’s dedicated staff. The staff will include a veteran air crew, a tour director, luggage handlers, expert local guides, a private chef, a physician, and, of course, a golf director, who will ensure that this private-jet pilgrimage is a perfect fit for every passenger.