Former Warwickshire and England fast bowler Gladstone Small is happy to have swapped the red ball for the white ball as he travels the world in search of great golf courses
My first overseas trip… was actually my first cricket tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1980. That highlighted how vast this world is and gave me a taste to explore it, which I haven’t lost to this day.
My most recent holiday was to… the Caribbean with Black Opal Travel for England’s tour of the West Indies, where I enjoyed hosting over 100 clients at test matches in Antigua, Barbados and Grenada. I also managed to fit in a bit of golf, so it was a win-win!
My favourite golf course is… Sunningdale Old Course. It just pip Kingsbarns, Woburn’s Marquess course, Loch Lomond, Royal Westmoreland in Barbados, and Wentworth West Course. I’m lucky to have played so many great courses, and they all hold special memories.
My ideal holiday fourball would include… Lee Trevino, as he’s so in love with the game. He seems so willing to share tips on his revered ball-striking skills, and is such a great storyteller; Nicolai Hojgaard, to see how far he can hit his drives pass mine; and my girlfriend Theresa, if she promises not to beat me! She plays off 13, so she often does.
My best ever round was at … Loch Lomond, where I shot 76. Don’t ask me how!
My favourite golf resort is … PGA Catalunya in Spain. It has two wonderful courses, with the Stadium course the stand out – it recently hosted a DP World Tour event – and with nearby Girona’s gastronomic delights coupled with fabulous Barcelona an hour away, it’s the perfect holiday destination.
I always travel with … an open mind to embrace the place, people and culture of wherever I am visiting.
The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in was… the Amangalla Hotel in Galle, Sri Lanka. It’s a wonderful hotel located inside the ramparts of the 17th century Galle Fort. Just outside the fort is Le Grand Galle which is a modern hotel with spacious, luxurious rooms.
My favourite city in the world is … Cape Town. The breathtaking Table Mountain backdrop makes it really special, allied to a very vibrant entertainment scene with many wonderful restaurants – also there are many superb golf courses scattered around the Cape, all offering spectacular mountain views, while the Winelands are also very accessible.
My most memorable holiday meal was at… Sea Shed in Barbados, a sensational beach bar/restaurant. We recently had a long lunch there where the food was plentiful and delicious, the alcohol flowed non-stop, and there was a brilliant atmosphere which had our guests dancing on the beach in the setting sun.
My worst holiday experience was in … Miami, Florida. It was a big disappointment. I didn’t see what the fuss was about at South Beach and the golf courses were a big letdown, particularly Trump Doral.
The golf course I’d most like to play is… Augusta National. It’s on every golfer’s bucket list and often remains there. I have never been, but I can picture every hole from my annual Masters television viewing, and I marvel at how the world’s best golfers try to cope with the challenges the course continually throws at them.
I’m planning a golf trip to … the Algarve in Portugal. I’ve been there many times, and have a few friends who live out there, so it’s always a fun social time mixed in with some great golf on courses such as San Lorenzo, Quinta do Lago South, Monte Rei and Palmares.
My top travel tip is … relax, chill out and enjoy!
Gladstone is an ambassador for specialist sports and golf holiday operator Black Opal Travel. To find out more about their range holidays, including Masters and Ryder Cup packages, visit www.blackopal.uk.com or call 0330 0414888.