Opportunities to play courses such as Pine Valley are few and far between so it was an immediate Yes when my Argue Mate Marcos Gunn a member at Pine Valley invited me to a few days in golfing heaven with 2 other good mates Giancarlo and Horácio.

Pine Valley was ranked No 1 course in the USA and the World for 5 years between 2010 and 2015.

To whoever I mentioned I was off to Pine Valley the remark was «wow lucky you and make sure you take tour A Game

Pine Valley «is frequently alluded to as the most difficult course in the world, and this reputation is justified. To my way of thinking, it also possesses more classic holes than any other course in the world.» Johnny Miller

There are no weak holes. Every single one is a masterpiece. There is a surprise around every corner, 18 unique and beautiful challenges.

Pine Valley is indeed a very difficult golf course. There are no rakes at Pine Valley; the sandy areas and bunkers found throughout the course are true hazards.

We went up a Thursday checked into the Lodge very comfy lodgings for this 3 night Golf dream. A practice 10 holes on the short course was in call and gave us a good idea of what was install. I had drawn up R&R do the rounds ahead based on stableford and points for closest to the Pin etc – so game was on.

The course prides itself in being one of the toughest challenges in all of golf, with a slope of 145 from the blue tees. Pine Valley’s trademarks are the par three 5th hole, which requires a well-placed 220 yard slightly uphill drive over a lake into a small and sloped green, Hell’s half acre a barren wasteland on the par five 7th hole which is probably the largest non sea-side bunker in the world. The devil’s asshole» (an extremely deep bunker on the par three 10th hole . And I could go on – needless to say the opening 3 holes are crucial to a solid round especially hole 2!

Steeped in tradition The Club itself was magic – pre dinner drinks in the Bar , Coat & Tie Dinner , Great food , and that want to pinch yourself at the privilege of just being there ! It was indeed a unique 3 days where deeper friendships were forged between the 4 of us while we are forever grateful to Marcos for inviting us to golfing heaven though I must say it felt like hell here and there ! We played and walked 36 holes a day and added on to that 2 rounds of the short course ! The body mind and liver were tired I promise after all that.

In pure competitive terms it was tight – I held the lead going into the last 18 only to lose the 4 ball thanks to a 24 ft putt by Marcos on the 17th which saw us go uno the short course final round with Horácio in the lead by a small margin and Marcos in 3rd with Gianca bringing up the tail.

Well Marcos played those last 9 holes lights out and stole the Pine Valley Challenge from under my nose !!! Well done mate ! What a great few days we all had – Gracias !