Canada Golf Tour, May 2008
The Canadian tour was probably the best ever. Ten of the group returned home after the golf part of the tour and the remaining 22 did an Alaskan Cruise on board the Mercury. The Mercury is a 77,000 ton vessel with all the facilities, several pools, a gym, 5 or 6 restaurants, numerous bars and shows every night.
We were lucky with the weather on the golf tour, the occasional wet day was restricted to travel days. Our matches against local clubs was once again a highlight. The Smugglers Glen Course near Kingston, put up the New Zealand draw sheet and it filled within two days. Pont Neuf members (near Quebec) turned out in force in beautiful weather. The course now has 36 holes, 9 more than when we played it in 2000. Olympic View members on Vancouver Island also hosted us as did Banff Springs.
Predator Ridge was all set up for the Skins, we played it the week before and found it challenging but fun.
I have to thank everyone for the fun time we had, the rapport amongst members of the group was outstanding.
Special thanks to Bruce Robinson and Barry Insley, Bruce for operating the teams competition, 5 teams of 6 battled it out to the finish with the Huskies pulling away with super rounds on the final day. Colleen Smith's 12 under her handicap clinched the free dinner for her team.
Barry attended to the handicapping, another time consuming job, Colleen was the only golfer to retain her NZ handicap at the end of the tour. There were no hole-in-one's but Dick Lawson went around the Nicklaus North Course at Whistler in PAR. ROY SKUSE
Rafting trip on the Turkey leg of the World Masters trip in 2007.
The World Masters Track and Field Championships, Riccione, Italy, 2007
The World Masters Track & Field Championships in Riccione Italy were a huge success with over 300 New Zealand & Australian athletes competing. The delightful resort town of Riccione is situated on the Adriatic coast. Successful day trips were taken to The Republic of San Marino and Venice. The after tour with two buses was by ferry to Turkey where everyone enjoyed the stark breathtaking beauty and unique historic sights of this wonderfully friendly country whose history leaves you speechless.
The tour ended in Istanbul the exotic city where East meets West. We explored the Underwater Cistern dating back to the Byzantine era, The Blue Mosque and Palace, the tantilising Spice Bazaar and the Grande Bazaar. Turkey is a must do if traveling overseas.
UK Tour 2006
Golf Tour to Brunei, Kota Kinabulu & Vietnam 2007
The Golf Tour to Brunei, Kota Kinabulu and Vietnam was thoroughly enjoyable. Accommodation at the Empire Hotel 6 star was divine and the Royal Brunei Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus was challenging and picturesque. Golf at Sutera Harbour built on reclaimed land was designed by Graham Marsh. The highlight here for me was the flight to Sandakan to see the Orang Utan Centre set up in the bush where the endangered Orang Utangs were being repatriated.
Vietnam was totally fascinating with its bustling population cramming 4 onto a motorbike with no crash helmets!! Loved the friendly helpful people and the golf courses and caddies were all wonderful. Dalat Palace Hotel was old worldly and beautiful overlooking their golf course. At Phan Theit the Ocean Dunes course designed by Nick Faldo was also one of Vietnams finest. Accommodation here was right on the beach at Novotel where food and rooms were lovely. This tour was exceptionally enjoyable and very reasonable with accommodation all being of a very high standard.
The World Masters Games, Edmonton Canada, July 2005
Edmonton was an ideal city for this event, excellent facilities and the volunteer force of 5000 officials made the event memorable. Online Sports Tours group comprised weightlifters, swimmers, athletes, cyclists, tennis players & golfers. After the games, the group enjoyed two nights in Jasper, then on the Skeena train, overnighting in Prince George and Prince Rupert on the coast for three nights. Excursions included flights to the wilderness park to see grizzlies and kayaking amongst the offshore islands.
We then boarded the ferry to travel along the inside passage to Vancouver Island with two nights in Victoria.
Highlights at the games were Marion’s, gold in the weightlifting with world record lifts, Fiona with NZ records, Sid, golds in swimming and Helen’s golds in athletics, there were many others in the group who carried home silver & bronze medals
World Masters Track & Field Champs, San Sebastian Spain, August 2005
Online Sports Tours Group totaled 98 people, evenly split between New Zealanders and Australians. The majority met in Bangkok where the group was assisted by Colleen. Having an athletic track alongside the Pathumwan Princess Hotel was great for last minute fine tuning. On to Madrid for two nights, Roy was waiting with the bus, he had come direct from the US where he had been arranging ground details for the 2006 golf tour.
San Sebastian was a top venue, good facilities and great beaches, our Australian and NZ sprinters were superb but medals were won at all distances and in the field events.
The after champs’ tours were fun, being birds of a feather everyone was great company. Stan & Wilma’s group travelled through France and Italy. Three days in Carcassonne, a marvelous walled town, Narbonne on the Robina canal and Juan Les Pins on the French Riviera. On to Italy staying at Baveno in a lovely little pub on Lake Maggiore followed by Venice for two nights, the tour finished with two nights in Milan. Pity the driver could only speak Portuguese!!
Roy & Colleen escorted the group through Spain and Portugal, Salamanca, Porto, Lisbon, Seville, Gibraltar, Ronda and Grenada ending in Madrid, sightseeing was complimented by bullfights flamenco, fado, wine & port tasting etc.etc.
Great to have people already asking about our tours after the 2007 World T&F Champs
REVIEWS OF TOURS IN 2004
Our first group went to the World Masters Swimming Champs, Riccione, Italy
The group of 40 arrived in Riccione two days before the start of the champs. The Antibes Hotel provided us with dinner bed and breakfast for 12 days with a swimming pool out front, 100m from the Adriatic Sea and 800m from the venue. Our group, which included several Australians, performed well with many medals and personal best performances.
For the after champs tour Colleen and I were the drivers for our two mini buses. Our group of 14 spent three nights in Stressa on the magnificent Lake Maggiore, a night in San Remo, two in Juan Les Pins and then on to Carcassonne. We spent two nights here before boarding our self drive canal boats for seven nights on the Midi Canal. What a marvelous week we had, sampling wines at the many vineyards. The French food was great but we had some superb cooks on board and the memories of the cuisine and the camaraderie will long be with us.
Golf Tour through Italy and France.
We had a three day stop at Chiang Mai on the way to Italy with two rounds of golf and sightseeing, elephant rides and bamboo rafting. The Thai massages were a scream 20 male and female golfers lined up on mattresses side by side with 20 masseurs working energetically on our mature bodies, everyone trying to be brave!!
In Europe we followed our tried and proven programme which includes golf with the group, and golf challenges against clubs. Golf at the Roma Aquasanta Course dodging 2000 year old ruins was a good start, then off to Rimini on the Adriatic. We had a match against the Rimini golf club who presented us with a giant silver cup. Several castles looked down on us as we played, including San Marino.
We played Modena and Bologna courses before arriving in Stressa on Lake Maggiore.
Our highlight was a match against the Il de Borromees Golf Club, from the 8th hole we could see Milan and Switzerland. The Lake Maggiore ferry stops at three islands, two with palaces and gardens, a must to visit.
We played the Castelconturbia Course on our way to the French Riviera. Our Hotel at Juan Les Pins was great and here we played a match with the Cannes-Mandelieu Golf Club. Many of the members had their luxury yachts in the marina.
Carcassonne was our next stop followed by a week on the Midi Canal, on 4 x 42ft luxury boats to Narbonne. Golf again at du Cap d’Agde and Saint Thomas Courses before heading for Paris with a two night stop at Les Bordes Golf resort, a superb but demanding course once owned by Bic the guy who invented the pen.
Oceania Track & Field Champs Rarotonga
Our group of close to 200 athletes and supporters from New Zealand and Australia spent 8 days enjoying the athletics and the local hospitality. Twenty four of the group went on for a few days to Aitutaki.