Here at Leadingcourses we’re all about the golfer. Back in the day (2007 to be exact) we seen the need for a service that provides information on the best courses to play all around the world. We weren’t talking about the usual, over-produced reports on the same top 10 golf courses that you hear from every Tom, Dick and Harry. We wanted real insights from real golfers. Golfers that play the inconspicuous, ordinary and unknown golf courses of this world. The courses you didn’t even know you wanted to play… but you do! Our site is built on the reviews and insights of golfers like you, that play their local course, tell others about it, and put it on the radar for other golfing fanatics.
This series of blog posts is aimed at getting to know the Leadingcourses ambassadors and getting insights into why they play the game of golf. We also hope to give you some fun stories and hidden gems along the way. These lads and ladies have developed a love of the game, after years of playing, so there are no better people to answer the question “Why should you play golf?”.
Without further delay, we’ll continue with our next ambassador; The Slicing Slovenian, Sasa Nemanic!
Name: Sasa Nemanic
Years playing golf: 18
Home Course: Royal Bled
When did you start playing golf and why?
Golf has always fascinated me, even when watching it on TV. One day I went down to the driving range by myself, and I just started hitting a few balls. I was hooked from that point on, it was that simple! This was around 2002. I took my first lesson at the end of 2003 however, after my knee surgery. I had to rest for a season from my motocross racing. I then started playing in 2004, and eventually gave up the motocross for golf. I think I had a better swing then, than I have now!
What is your favourite thing about playing golf? Your least favourite?
Because it is so damn hard and technically demanding. It is so rock’n’roll and so corporate suit. It’s so calm yet full of adrenaline. It can be rewarding in one moment and so frustrating just a few minutes later. It really intrigues me when I have one of those days when I feel like I am a handicap 24 player (or even worse)!
Besides these ups and downs, it is one of those rare sports where you can really enjoy nature and the good company on your flight while still doing something good for yourself. Then there’s always the “apres-golf” – good food and drinks!
Do you have a favourite course/why?
Wow, I have played too many beautiful courses to name just one. So it would not be fair…
What’s your favourite golfing destination/why?
What is the best golfing trip you have ever been on? Why?
Last year’s trip to Ireland was quite up there as I got to play Royal County Down, Lahinch, Ballybunion, Trump Doonbeg, Hogs Head, Waterville, Portmarnock and Spanish Point all in the one trip. Quite an impressive list for 5 days of golf!
What is the strangest thing that has happened to you during a round of golf?
That would definitely have to be my two hole-in-ones! I just suck at Par-3’s and have done for a while now, so they were very strange indeed. My friend was actually hitting first on the beautiful 14th hole at Praia D’El Rey. He took an excellent shot that landed about 1 meter from the pin. Needless to say he was super happy. So as a joke, I just said “I can hit it closer!”. I took my shot, and holed it for my first hole-in-one ever!
There are many other interesting stories. One of my friends lost a club while playing in the rain. As he was hitting a shot close to the woods, the club slipped out of his hands and flew into the trees. We searched and searched but could not find it. It wasn’t until about 6 months later, when the leaves were gone, that he finally retrieved it!
Do you have a favourite type of course? Why? (Eg. links, heathland etc.)
Not really to be honest. I like courses which are a bit different from the rest and that doesn’t matter if it is links, desert, parkland, etc. In general I like the unconventional courses which are not “the same” as the thousands of other courses out there. Something like Prestwick, Lahinch, Ballybunion, RCD or some lesser known courses such as Noria in Morocco.
What is the toughest course you’ve ever played?
Black River Golf Course – Bernolákovo near Bratislava. This one is really something else, trust me!! Ko’olau in Hawaii is right up there too, once known as the toughest course in the States. I actually started really well there with quite a few pars but then it all went south. It’s a real test of golf especially if you only play it once.
I’ve actually managed to play very well on courses like Bethpage Black, TPC Sawgrass and some other really tough courses . But we all know that golf is a strange game.
The Conservatory in Florida from the tips is a monster. With 7776 yards it was the longest course in the state back then. We couldn’t even reach the fairway with our drives! We then moved to the second set of tees which wasn’t much better. Finally, about 6 holes later we cut our losses and started playing from the third set of tees – which was exactly what the starter recommended to us when he asked us about our game. It was still a challenge! Bare in mind that you play at sea level there so the ball does not fly too well.
What courses are on your bucket list? What golfing destinations are on your bucket list?
This must be a rhetorical question, right? Definitely Pine Valley and Cypress Point! Followed by National Golf Links of America, Ardfin, Morfontaine, Tobacco Road and Augusta National. Not necessarily in that order!
My top destinations would include Big Cedar Lodge, Bandon Dunes, Vietnam, New Zealand, Argentina, Northern France and Singapore.
What is the best price/quality destination for playing golf?
Wailua Municipal Golf Course on Kauai, Hawaii was $30 for a spectacular round. It’s got a great layout and an amazing seaside location. The same goes for Spanish Point in Ireland. It might be the best 9 holes of my life for only €10! Of course you can always play some exceptional golf both in the States or UK & Ireland if you are not too obsessed with the need to play the “Top 100” courses.
Regarding value for money I think it is quite hard to beat Turkey’s “all-inclusive” golf packages.
I still think that Moscow City was my most expensive round at $150 for 9 holes. This was about 10 years ago, for an average golf course in poor condition. It was an absolute robbery. Not many of the world’s best courses were more than $250 for 18 holes back then.
Who is your favourite course designer and why?
By now you probably already know my astrological sign … and yes it’s Libra! I like old school and “different” so designers such as Harry Colt, Old Tom Morris, Alister MacKenzie and A.W. Tillinghast all fit the bill.
You can’t pass up on Donald Ross or Seth Raynor either. In recent times I would have to say Tom Doak, Robert Von Hagge and of course the Coore & Crenshaw duo are doing great job too. There is probably no one better than Robert Trent Jones Sr. when it comes to parkland layouts.
In general, I’m not a fan of “championship” golf courses. I prefer beauty, joy and excitement over toughness and length. I think most new courses are just too long for the average player. But that’s an argument for another day.
How did you find Leadingcourses? Why should people join?
I initially heard of Leadingcourses through the KLM/FlyingBlue newsletter many years ago. I think every golfer who plays regularly on different courses should use LC. It is the most updated evaluation/review site in Europe and I hope soon globally. The more we use the app, the more information about the courses we will have. In turn this will make our decisions on where to play next, much easier. Not to mention the possibility of tee-time bookings.
A special thanks to Sasa for chatting to us and for all his help over the years. You can read all of his reviews on his profile here.
Find some great courses and hidden gems by following Sasa’s activities: