The former Westlife singer chooses his favorite places to get tunes from his golf clubs.
I had my first vacation. A family trip to Spain when I was younger. Coming from Ireland, we had never been abroad before, but we flew to Spain for a week, in search of sun, sea and sand, and it rained six times in seven days. To make matters worse, it was the warmest week in 30 years in Ireland, so when we got back we all looked like ghosts!
My favorite golf vacation destination. There are many that come to mind, but I want to say that Marbella is one of the best. It has a great environment throughout the year with excellent food and overnight stays. Golf is also great, and one of my very favorite courses, Valderrama is located there. I tend to go there a few times a year and each time I fall in love a little more.
My favorite is the UK golf course. Brabazon course at Belfry. It’s not the most pleasant of the venues, but I get this beautiful feeling every time I play there. I guess it has to do with the history of the place, it has a long relationship with the Ryder Cup. I usually prefer more manicured American-style courses, including large waterfalls and lakes, to explain why I like Belfry so much.
I’m lucky enough to play some of the best link courses in the world, but I find it hard to catch up with them. When I first played Carnoustie on Dunhill Links, I absolutely hated it, but over the years I have come to realize its challenge, and although I will never love it, I will always respect it.
My ideal holiday would include four balls … Tiger, Rory, and, if you can get him back for one more round, save.
I had the best round ever. Last year’s Danhill Links Sunday in St. Andrews. Robert Rock and I shot a combined score of 14 under par to be second – it was amazing. I think I had six or seven birdies. It was one of those days when every shot you hit was found in the middle of the green and every put went into the hole. A lot of people don’t get a chance to play Old Course on Sundays, so it will always be a special memory for me.
My most embarrassing moment on the golf course … I played Justin Rose’s first charity golf day in Wentworth in 1999, right after he became a professional, and a few months after he finished fourth at Barclays. I just started playing golf, and at least I couldn’t play properly. The West Course is tough enough at best, but playing with an experienced professional as a complete beginner, it was a complete nightmare. Fortunately, I’ve improved a bit since then!
My favorite golf resort. Costa Navarino in Greece. Not just for the hotel, but for the whole resort. The scenery is incredible – I love that place. I’ve been here twice this year already. It has two great golf courses and I think two more are being built.
The hotel I’m staying at is …Trump Turnberry in Scotland. Politics aside, it’s pretty spectacular, and golf courses aren’t bad either.
My favorite city in the world is … Toss up between Sydney and Los Angeles. I’ve lived in many cities in my life, but these two are definitely my favorites for a variety of reasons.
The golf course I want to play is …Augusta National. I know this will probably never happen, but playing a round there would be an absolute dream. I was supposed to play TPC Sagras with Roger Chapman a few years ago, but my plans changed that day, so I had to fly home. I was absolutely disappointed.
Here’s my top travel tip. Always bring a stick!