In our quest to bring golfers everywhere the thoughts and experiences of not only golf and travel insiders but those among us who play the game as a respite from every type of work, “Talking GolfGetaways” co-hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch continue their Australia-themed series with a conversation with the husband and wife team of Michael and Carol Beard of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who’ve recently returned from a month-long journey to both Australia and New Zealand.
Michael, executive director of the assisted-living Myrtle Beach Manor facility, and Carol, a certified nurse anesthetist and head of the operating room at Waccamaw Hospital, both love to travel for golf, and this particular itinerary to Australia and New Zealand proves how much.
Michael begins the podcast with a description of a fully-loaded golf itinerary and details the yearlong preparation that went into choosing courses, lodging and airline flights, all with the help of New Zealand-based Eighth Wonder Travel. Michael shares info on why they chose Eighth Wonder and how the tour operator helped (immensely) in the process of securing every facet of the trip (including tee times at exclusive clubs like the Tom Doak-designed Tara Iti).
Michael then details his favorites among the many courses he and Carol played, including the beautifully manicured Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne; the Alister Mackenzie-designed New South Wales Golf Club outside Sydney; and the spectacular trio of Kauri Cliffs, Cape Kidnappers and Jack’s Point in New Zealand. His descriptions will make you want to start your trip now. He then shares his choices for lodging, both in New Zealand, with the elegant, historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel in New Zealand heading the list, followed closely by the art deco Masonic Hotel in Napier City.
Mitch and Darin then bring Carol into the discussion, who describes how she and Michael met at a golf simulator in the spring of 2004 and were married a few months later, beginning their common love of golf journeys around the world. Carol describes her philosophy on playing golf (“Play your own course” being the key component when asked what the golf was like for a woman on the trip), and details her highlights — walking the courses, the Sydney Bridge, seeing wallabies on every course, eating Aussie meat pies, helicopter rides in New Zealand and river rock beaches are all part of what made this a most memorable trip for Carol and demonstrate the incredible variety of options available.
Finally, Michael and Carol offer some great tips for golfers planning a similar trip. Michael wants more of New Zealand, to play more rounds at Kauri Cliffs and other courses, and try to do more (although we’re not sure how that’s possible). Carol wisely recommends taking less clothing and would like to spend more time in Australia. Clearly, this is a golf-travel partnership that has all its bases covered — and a “Talking GolfGetaways” episode that will start you dreaming about Down Under and beyond.
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