Destination Golf - September 2016 * - Page 30

Peter Walton at NAC 2016 welcome reception with Thomas Pashley, President, Pinehurst Resort © Peter Ellegard DG: FOUR QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES: • What’s the difference between a Golf Professional and a Golf Tourism Professional? PW: About 24 strokes in my case! Ask any Golf Director at golf resorts around the world and nine times out of 10 they are lucky if they get to play 18 holes more than once a month. Golf tour operators usually play more but generally not as well! • What’s the most unusual golf travel request you have received? PW: A few years ago I got a call from Iron Maiden’s manager asking if we could arrange a round of golf for the band in Santiago, Chile, at the end of a gruelling South American tour. Unfortunately, most courses are closed on Mondays in that part of the world, but a couple of back-stage passes for the granddaughters of a golf club president and the course was duly opened! • What’s the best advice you have been given on a golf course? PW: Without doubt it was a while back in Madeira, when one of our IAGTO members recommended I switch to the claw grip. I have never looked back! What’s more, my game improved even further last month when it was suggested to me that I use it only with the putter… 30 Destination Golf .TRAVEL • What is your most memorable moment on a golf course? PW: I would have to say that it was playing in the company of Colin Montgomerie at the inaugural Star Trophy at Mission Hills Haikou in China. Being able to watch a top pro prepare for a tournament with his caddy at such close quarters was a real privilege. It was almost as good as being mistaken for a celebrity by Chinese school kids from Hainan Island who were lining the fairways in droves! DG: On a final note, in the age of the internet there is a mountain of information about golf destinations and courses but it can often be hard to sort the chaff from the wheat. How important are golf travel publications in disseminating that information and helping readers to decide where to take their golf holidays? PW: Some 70% of golf travellers are on the lookout for a new destination to visit but this brings with it the uncertainly of knowing whether or not the golf experience on offer is right for them. Golfers therefore seek out inspiration, information and reassurance before they book and this is what friends, fellow golfers, golf tour operators and golf publications can provide. An unbiased view of how a golf course or golf destination is today incredibly important to golfers planning a golf vacation, and that is why the work of golf travel writers and the publications, like Destination Golf, dedicated to telling their stories are a corner stone of the golf tourism industry!