Interview on The Women of Golf – Podcast

Interview on The Women of Golf – Podcast

The Women of Golf – Podcast

It was great fun to be interviewed by Ted Odorico. We covered such an incredible range of topics — a very important one being The Golf Heritage Society (GHS), of which I am a board member. We are certainly excited about the GHS Annual Convention coming up October 11-14, 2023 in Lexington, KY. Ted’s questions allowed us to explore my journey as a writer, and touch on the fact that I am also a golf tour operator with my partner, Kevin McGrath.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST 

(If interested only in the 2nd part of the podcast – my interview – please forward to 31 minutes)

Official Launch of Terroir of Golf

Official Launch of Terroir of Golf

Celebration of authorship and friendship

We had the official Terroir of Golf book launch event on Sunday, May 7th at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the perfect setting, with the view of Pinnacle Peak right out the window beyond the lush, green practice range.

The event was fun and festive with a special group of friends and fans of my writing. The celebration was shared by many who have been with me on my writing journey for a long time. While I was talking we had a rolling slide show of more than a dozen spectacular photographs from inside the book running on the large flat-screen TVs in the dining space we call The Roost. It was a privilege addressing this joyous crowd who mingled and created such a celebratory atmosphere.


I started by thanking many people who were important in getting the book published. First of all was Cori Brett, who upon hearing just the title — Terroir of Golf, A Golf Book for Wine Lovers — said, “There is great synergy between golf and wine. You are onto something Taba!” Mind you, I hadn’t written a single word yet. I also wanted to point out all the other authors in the room,— starting with Cori — there were at least half a dozen who have published books on a range of topics.


I wanted to acknowledge my partner, Kevin McGrath, with my profuse thanks since this book would never exist without him. We shared so much travel, golf and wine tasting experiences — I could not have done it without him.


Once I got down to the business of signing books, there was a steady stream of people wanting one, two, three and even four books inscribed, not merely autographed. And we all wanted a photo together to memorialize the moment.

Thank you for joining me and sharing your first impressions!

 

Everyone in this room is here because they love Taba and are thrilled to celebrate her success. She held center stage while generously thanking others who had helped the process along the way. People who intended to purchase a book suddenly thought of friends and family who would also love a copy – signed by the author of course – and the supply quickly dwindled.

Taba is a superstar who connects two of the world’s finest historic pursuits – the elegance of wine and the prowess of golf designers – at their shared birthplace, the “terroir.” The clever juxtaposition of golf course designer and winemaker – both operating in the same arena – stuns and delights me. One of the most satisfying things about Taba’s books is that she never leaves me hanging. Descriptions are always complete with all the details my curious mind craves. I find myself rereading paragraphs just to make sure I got it all. There are layers to discover and enjoy.

~ Cori Brett

Thank you for sending the book so quickly. I love it! It’s a jewel of fun stories and so much “inside the ropes” information. I enjoyed seeing how many photos you took! I did a quick glance through it the first night and have now started to savor the wide variety of entertaining chapters.

~ Mary N.

Your book will certainly have international appeal. I’ve been reading the book, and have enjoyed it. I like the “travelogue” aspect and the personal stories. Your book could be the foundation for an interesting Netflix series… I haven’t read the interviews yet which I will when I read it cover to cover.

~ Bill K.

Taba my dear, what an amazing book! Beyond my expectations. You are so talented and on the road to great success. Thank you for being such a great friend. I can not wait to read the whole book!

~ Kathy H.

I continue to move through the Terroir chapters and find each very educational. I have always had this fantasy about going to the Hebrides so your mention of such faraway places holds real interest for me. Terroir is a terrific read for armchair travelers, especially with a glass of wine at the elbow!

~ Michael S.

New Book by Taba Dale

Terroir of Golf

A Golf Book for Wine Lovers

It all begins with the land. True for both golf and grapes. From the pure links courses of Scotland to the vineyards of the old and new worlds, in Taba’s new book you will discover the fascinating synergy between golf and wine.

SOLD OUT

What is the book about – is it about wine? Is it about golf? Turn the page and enter Taba’s world –sophisticated, informed and deeply entertaining — as the synergy between the two is gently revealed. Sipping a glass of wine on a clubhouse balcony will never be the same idle gesture. You have become an insider.

~ Cori B.

With lively prose, an intriguing premise, a sweeping sense of history and rich detail, Taba Dale takes us on a journey in Terroir of Golf. Dale leads us to an understanding of what golf and wine share, namely, that they both derive their unique characteristics from the land itself.

~ Sally J. S.

Photos by Tasha Coast

I was intrigued by the title because playing golf and drinking wine are two of my favorite activities. And, I had never considered the connection of the part terroir plays for both. But now your book has enlightened me. I really like the way you have laid out the book and the way you present each chapter differently. I like reading the interviews the way they actually occurred; it gives life to the book.

~ Patty M.

Just finished reading your wonderful book. I learned so much and loved The Claret
Jug history. Did you know that there is a Claret Jug plant? I just saw it this morning at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and made me think of your book.

~ Deborah B.

Pointing out such a profound connection between golf and wine, while educating and entertaining golf and wine lovers alike, Terroir should be a coffee table fixture in every golf club that prides itself on their amazing golf course and serving great wine.

~ Nat K.

New Zealand – Part One

New Zealand – Part One

Starting at the Top

Our epic golf trip began when we landed in Auckland on February 4. In spite of the flight delay out of Los Angeles, missed connection on Qantas, and due to the kindness of strangers when Kevin and I were hopelessly lost, we were able to make our tee time at Kauri Cliffs on February 5.

Nothing like starting at the top—in more ways than one. Our first golf adventure took us to the northernmost region on the North Island. We were heading to Kauri Cliffs, which is currently ranked #37 by Golf Digest Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the World.

When we traversed the long, winding road to our destination we pulled into the carpark at the same time as another couple, we decided to join up with them. Michael and Lindsay Forgash were from Philadelphia and happened to be members of Merion and also mad keen Eagles fans.

 

Reading about and seeing mouth-watering photographs in glossy magazines is not the same as being there. Enthralling? Yes!

The David Harman layout thrilled and challenged at every turn. We were grateful to have carts to get around this “muscular” course. No shortage of jaw-dropping beauty. Creating 18 holes in this mountainous, heavily forested region had to tax every resource of the architect, shapers, and the visionary developer, Julian Robertson.

There is no shortage of golf nuts like us willing to travel a world away to score another exotic golf experience.

 

Here you can read New Zealand Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

New Zealand – Part Two

New Zealand – Part Two

Te Arai Links

We have barely begun to adjust to our new exotic environment of New Zealand and we are on our way to Te Arai Links. If I did not know this course was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw I could have worked it out. The fact that it is so walkable, the excellent routing, the short distance from green to next tee, maximizing the beauty and all the natural features of the site — all their hallmarks are present.

The local Māori meaning of Te Arai is “the other side of the veil” and the terrain of trees, sand dunes and coastal views are all unveiled as we play our round. Coore and Crenshaw use the heaving sand ridge landforms and meandering valleys to create drama. Like a symphony, there are soft passages and then crescendos of beauty unfolding like when we see the stunning, white sand surf beaches. We also took the time to view their handsomely-appointed on-site suites. It would certainly be great to stay there when the new North Course, designed by Tom Doak, opens in October 2023. There is great fun to be had at Jim’s Folly, the 2.5 acre putting green.

You might have heard of Tara Iti Golf Club, opened in 2015, and also designed by Tom Doak. We saw a steady stream of helicopters, possibly from Tara Iti, shuttling golfers and perhaps prospective buyers to look at the exclusive housing lots being released on the Te Arai property. Quite a busy corner of Mangawhai.

 

Lake Taupo — our restful home for a couple of nights

We loved being around this gigantic crater lake, created by a massive volcanic eruption that occurred about 25,000 years ago. The lake is obviously a popular holiday spot, especially for trout fishing. In the town of Taupo I also discovered a French themed salon called Creme Brulee, where in the capable hands of Cheyenne (her Kiwi mom just loved the name), I could tidy up my disheveled hair.

We found great eateries like Victoria’s Cafe Kitchen Bar, serving all day breakfast/brunch and the Thai Delight Restaurant where we indulged in Prawn Cakes (minced prawn and pork with plum sauce) for a starter. They also had excellent wine choices like the Brookfields Sauvignon Blanc from Hawke’s Bay, which we found had a high evaporation rate!

From our base by Lake Taupo Kevin and I zipped over to The Kinloch Club. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, and opened in 2007, we were amused by the “Irish drop rule” printed on the scorecard: Any lost ball can be treated as lost in a water hazard. One shot penalty at point of entry. Very handy for me on this difficult course, where I often noted on my card: “Very tough hole.” No problem for Kevin though, who plays off a 6 handicap and relished the stern test.

Tom Long, the Director of Golf, PGA Golf Professional, graciously met us on his day off to provide the essential Course Guide and point us in the direction of the first tee. Other than the grounds crew, we had the place to ourselves. The gorgeous scenery included distant views of the deep blue lake. It was fun to learn that Tom is a fellow writer and contributor to a New Zealand-based magazine called THE CUT GOLF.

Harrie Geraerts, Manager of Kinloch Manor & Villas showed us around the luxurious accommodations, which were fully booked months in advance. The main building, modern with eccentric touches here and there, featured a comfortable great room with magnificent views, a quirky bar area and a spacious dining room. Abundant vegetable gardens graced the lower ground, framed by heaving hills where cattle grazed.

At The Kinloch Club, we also learned about Treetops, a sister property, that is a Wilderness Retreat, nestled in the rural hills of Rotorua. It sounds like a fabulous place to unwind and restore.

 

Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary

Although we did not play a round at Wairakei, we enjoyed learning about the bird sanctuary that is part of this property outside of Taupo. The ambitious project is the brainchild of owner Gary Lane. The course is immersed inside a wildlife sanctuary, where around 25,000 native trees and five thousand exotics have been planted to encourage bird life and further improve the park-like surroundings.

Pheasants, guinea fowl, and fallow deer have also been released on to the property. Wairakei has become home to many kiwi chicks now that there is a kiwi egg incubation facility at the sanctuary.

There has been a noticeable increase in insect life, tree seedlings and native birds like the tui, with its distinctive white throat tuft, which is part of the Wairakei emblem.The sanctuary eagerly awaits the two kārearea (New Zealand falcon) that return annually to nest.

 

 

Here you can read New Zealand Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4

New Zealand – Part Three

New Zealand – Part Three

New Zealand: Extraordinary Natural Beauty, Heavenly Wineries, and World-Class Golf

After traveling through miles and miles of natural beauty and ancient rainforests, we settled ourselves for a couple of nights in the coastal town of Napier.

After a massive earthquake (registering 7.9 on the Richter scale) in 1931 Napier was rebuilt with many buildings designed in an Art Deco style with unique Maori motifs.

Considering Napier was completely leveled by New Zealand’s deadliest disaster, it is now a thriving place in the renowned wine-producing region of Hawke’s Bay.

We enjoyed our time strolling along the waterfront promenade called the Marine Parade. We discovered an excellent Indian restaurant — Rasoi — where we were lucky to get a table.

Kevin mainly picked this spot for two reasons — the first so we could be close to Craggy Range. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region and has over 200 vineyards, 76 wineries and 38 cellar doors. It could have been a tough decision where to go, but not for us.

Our wine adventure at Craggy Range was an exceptional highlight of our trip. This family-owned winery produces iconic wines from grapes grown on estates in Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough. Before (and after) our sumptuous lunch of Eye Filet Steak for Two, prepared by Head Chef Casey McDonald, while strolling around the grounds, I discovered the stunning bronze sculptures of a Charolais family — a bull, cow and calf — by Paul Day.

I was blown away. Some of you know about our darling next door neighbors in Liscannor — they are Charolais cows — and I have written lots of stories about their spirited conversations. Yep, they talk (to me).

But here, with the stunning Te Mata Peak framing the whole property, were these monumental cattle. They were commissioned by Terry and Mary Peabody, owners of Craggy Range Vineyards, and created by Paul Day. Day, who lives in Dijon, the capital city of the historical Burgundy region, drew his inspiration where he is surrounded by these magnificent creatures.

The second reason for staying in Napier was to be close to Cape Kidnappers. Owned by Robertson Lodges, the same family behind the Bay of Islands’ Kauri Cliffs Lodge & Golf Course, Cape Kidnappers is the second working farm started by Julian Robertson.

The Cape figures in Maori mythology and its name immortalizes the first visit by Captain Cook in 1770. It is seaside golf but not links. But oh, is it grand. What a canvas Tom Doak was given to work with. And boy, did he deliver. Only if you enjoy playing heroic shots played over challenging and beautiful terrain, that is. Somehow, this intoxicating blend of New Zealand golf ingredients combined to produce my best round of our entire trip. It was, without a doubt, my favorite.

But one more enchanting occurrence made it so — just as we reached the carpark we stumbled upon a couple of blokes who were tracking some of the 70 Kiwis that nest in this spectacular corner of New Zealand. Although we did not get to see the iconic, flightless bird in its natural habitat, there was a well-preserved, shaggy example encased in a display case in the pro-shop!

 We had one more segment of our itinerary to experience. We traveled to the capital city of Wellington, situated on the southernmost point on the Cook Strait.

Here we were ensconced in the thoroughly modern and luxurious Bolton Hotel. From our perch in this very sophisticated high-rise we had quite a view of the bustling city that was originally established by British settlers in 1839.

Other than positioning ourselves here so we could fly to the South Island, we had booked a round at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. Kevin described it as “an old-fashioned members-club.”

From the very first tee shot I was often wondering “where am I going?” It was the closest thing to playing a course like Lahinch in Ireland where there are lots of blind shots. I didn’t learn until much later that the course was designed in 1949 by Alex Russell, Paraparaumu hosted 12 New Zealand Opens, won by such notable players as Peter Thomson, Corey Pavin and Michael Campbell.

Kevin and I played as a twosome behind another twosome who were obviously members. They did not need to consult the modest tri-fold course guide like us.

On the back nine, when we came to a halt behind the guys ahead of us and had time for a friendly exchange, that is when we learned that this was the only course Tiger Woods ever played in New Zealand. One factor was his longtime caddie, Steve Williams, grew up learning to play golf here. And he made his professional caddying debut at 13 years old, carrying Peter Thomson’s bag in the New Zealand Open.

But in 2002, the world number one, at age 26, struggled on the course and almost missed the cut. By the end of the tournament, Woods only managed a share of sixth, while Australian Craig Parry claimed the title.

From Wellington we’ll be flying to Queenstown on the South Island. This puts us in proximity of winemaker Andrew Keenleyside, who is profiled in the Terroir of Golf chapter called “Winemakers Talk Terroir.” Then we will also be able to visit The Hills — featured in the “Golf Clubs Around the World with a Strong Wine Culture.”

The Hills came to my attention long before I began writing this book. I had heard of this extraordinary place that is essentially a sculpture park, while it was originally conceived of as a private members club by Sir Michael Hill.

Young Michael created his first golf course at age 11 on the lawn of his family’s house at Whangarei. He mowed little circles for greens and used baked bean tins for holes.

 

Here you can read New Zealand Part 1Part 2 and Part 4