Despite the fact that I am from Fife, ‘The Home of Golf’, I am by no means a golfer. Even a round of crazy golf or putting usually ends in some sort of incident. Take the last time I played crazy golf in Blackpool, not only did I lose by a huge margin, I fell in the decorative river – twice – whilst setting up my shot. So why on Earth was I voluntarily going along to a driving range in Greenwich? Basically, I hate being defeated especially by something that everyone else seems to be good at, so thought this might be a good opportunity to speak to an expert and work out what I was doing so wrong.
Located at North Greenwich I had an easy on bus journey, until someone passed out into my arms; getting over the mild medical emergency, and after waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I made the short walk to N1Golf at GreenwichPeninsula Driving Range where I was greeted by the lovely Gemma from Talented Talkers along with a much needed glass of prosecco.
One thing about all the drama overshadowed my usual pre-event anxiety and I settled in quickly, chatting away to blogging buddies old and new. Also if any of you follow me on social media you may be interested to know that this was also the day that #squibbink went from a hashtag to a real life meeting between myself and Haydy.
Heading up to the second floor of the driving range we surrounded golfing professional Mark as he walked us through the basics before we were trusted with our very own club, and headed off to our bays in small groups. I was sharing with Hannah who was much more successful than me at mastering her swing, saying that, I do feel like my skills improved as I was actually able to hit the ball by the end of our time-slot.
N1 is an amazing location right on the Thames; sandwiched between Canary Wharf and the O2 it is a postcard style view to enjoy whilst the sun set. Looking across the river at the shiny sky scrapers I couldn’t help thinking that repeatedly hitting a ball after a hard day at the office would be a great stress reliever.
The reason why Monarch gathered a gaggle of bloggers in such a location was to celebrate their flights to golfing destinations. Another surprising fact about me is that I have been to a few holiday resorts aimed at golfers, such as Golf del Sur in Tenerife, and though I never picked up a club I did enjoy the surrounding benefits of a golfing hotel including great pubs, quiet days around the pool (because everyone else is golfing) and of course a little sunshine. Seeing the twinkling lights of planes flying across the skyline on their way to London City airport, I was very tempted to book another one of these relaxing breaks.
Shaken awake from travel day dreaming by the announcement we were to gather to see who could hit the longest shot (the winner came in at a massive 144 yards). I did not take part and instead opted to hit a few more balls, drink wine and chat with some fellow bloggers.
After burning at least a few calories, and feeling a little chilly, we made our way down to Vinothec Compass restaurant where were were treated to tapas style sharing food (with vegetarian versions for me) paired with a Spanish beer and wine tasting.
Each dish devised by Basque head chef Idoia Guzman is inspired by Iberia, light, made from fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients and deigned to be paired perfectly with the wine and beer – which was expertly selected by the restaurant’s founders: wine connoisseur Keith Lyon and founder of Bedales wine bars, Arnaud Compas.
Barley, Quinoa, Boston Hearts, Pomegranate Salad
Baked Devon Crab, Basque Style
Rib Eye, Béarnaise, Seasonal Vegetables
Sea Bream, Bilbao Style
Grilled Tuna, Cavolo Nero, Ginger, Soy
Neal’s Yard Cheeseboard
and, finally, Dark Chocolate Cake.
These were just a few of the dishes we got to sample but I feel they show the diversity of food which was on offer.
As we dined Keith talked us though a selection of Spanish wines and beers.
Unfortunately, I could not take full advantage of the tasting as I had an early start the next day, however just returning from Spain I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their locally sourced alcohol.
If this was a taste of what a golfing holiday has to offer I might seriously consider practicing my swing and booking myself a trip.
Are any of you keen golfers or would you prefer relaxing with a glass of wine and tapas?
*I was invited along to this event and provided food and drink complements of Monarch via Talented Talkers however as always all opinions are honest and my own.