Challenge Tour blog: An Eastern Odyssey

9/12/2013 7:43:00 AM
A snapshot of the 3D course map of Superior Golf and Spa Resort  (EuropeanTour)
A snapshot of the 3D course map of Superior Golf and Spa Resort (EuropeanTour)
By Neil Ahern,

As the great and good of the Challenge Tour traverse eastward for a two-week adventure in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, our press officer on the ground brings you all the action from behind the scenes…

Superior course comes to life with 3D map

Of course we would never suggest that our Challenge Tour players would be so lazy as to avoid scoping out the new course this week at Superior Golf and Spa Resort prior to the Kharkov Superior Cup, but if they were so inclined they could have explored it from the comfort of their cosy beds.

That's because a locally-based online development company DCtology have designed a novel 3D course map which gives viewers a first-hand look at the ins and outs of this beautiful links-style track.

Players and fans alike can survey the view down the first while a glance at the infamous final four holes, one of the toughest home stretches on the tour all year, is enough to make any player shake in their pyjamas.
A birds-eye view of the course can also be enjoyed in the online feature which can be found at the hotel's official website Alternatively, here is the direct link to the 3D map -

We think you will agree that it is an exciting development and is sure to grow as modern technology continues to make an indelible mark on the the game of golf.

Otaegui makes a splash in Kharkov 

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui was given the opportunity to do some-fin really special as the Challenge Series, the Challenge Tour’s very own TV magazine series, threw him right into the deep end on a trip to Kharkov’s famous dolphinarium.
The 20 year old was the second most accurate driver on The European Tour last year so he is not used to finding the water, but he made a real splash with the dolphins as he was given the opportunity to play with the friendly marine mammals and watch them perform some tricks.

While he unfortunately couldn’t dive in for a swim, the talented young player did not blubber about it and admitted he had a whale of a time with the fascinating creatures. 
“They are so beautiful,” said the San Sebastian man. “It is great to get away from the course for a while and see this beautiful town and visit this place. It was an amazing experience with the dolphins.”

Who knows, maybe the rising star has found a new porpoise in life! (OK, we’ll stop now…) 

The Sheva Show

The build-up to this week’s inaugural Kharkov Superior Cup has been dominated by one name and one name only, that of football’s 2004 European Player of the Year Andriy Shevchenko, who makes his Challenge Tour debut this week after turning his attention to golf in the wake of his retirement from the day job.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker commands headlines wherever he goes but that interest is taken to a whole new level on home soil and a media maelstrom descended upon Superior Golf and Spa Resort on Wednesday to catch a few words with the Ukrainian sporting hero.

The many national media representatives present couldn't help but indulge themselves a little either as they removed their journalistic shackles and asked the 36 year old to pose with them for photographs, no doubt making for an enviable Facebook profile pic.

Shevchenko was drawn with American Brinson Paolini and Frenchman Victor Riu, both winners on the Challenge Tour this year, for the first and second round.

Bizarrely, and perhaps conveniently, neither player is a big football fan, with Paolini admitting he didn’t know much about Shevchenko but was still excited to play alongside a sporting legend.

Riu’s lack of football knowledge, meanwhile, was kindly uncovered by his friend and compatriot Guillaume Cambis to the public on Twitter as he announced that: “Victor Riu does not know the difference between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Or Zidane and Ibrahimovic....”

We can only imagine the introduction on the tee box...

“Hi, I'm Victor, Challenge Tour winner.”

“Hi, I'm Andriy, four-time Ukrainian league winner, three-time Ukrainian Cup winner, Serie A winner, Coppa Italia winner, FA Cup winner, Champions League winner, six-time Ukrainian Footballer of the Year, and one-time Ballon d’Or winner.”

“Er, nice to meet you!”

Model Behaviour at Superior Resort

We all know golfers like to look good on the course, and there are definitely some more fashion-conscious players than others on our great tour, but never have we seen such interest from golfers in the catwalk than when a Miss Superior show took place during the Pro-Am dinner prior to the beginning of the Kharkov Superior Cup.

In what was a highly glamourous occasion at the Superior Golf and Spa Resort’s clubhouse, delicious food and sublime wine was served to the amateurs and professionals after a hard day out on the links, but then came the centre-piece occasion of the evening.

Around a dozen stunning local models took to the catwalk to strut their stuff and showcase a plethora of dresses and casual outfits, leaving the players agog. 

Certainly, the clothes (including one wedding dress) were fine examples of top-quality high street fashion, but the fascination from some of the players in the garments truly went beyond the norm.

Refreshing to see such interest in the, ahem, work of those gifted fashion designers…

Instead of Golf Monthly or Golf World, we’re fully expecting a few of our Challenge Tour stars to be engrossed in the latest edition of Vogue on the plane to Kazakhstan.

TD pulls pen out of the hat

Our esteemed Tournament Director this week, former pro Gary Butler, is well known around the golfing scene as a hugely talented magician, pulling out mind-blowing tricks and illusions regularly to entertain the guests at Pro-Am dinner parties.

But the Englishman pulled off one of his greatest tricks yet when, in the wake of the aforementioned fashion show, a raffle took place with the main prize a beautiful shiny new pen. 

All and sundry placed their names in the hat at the Pro-Am awards dinner before a winner was drawn from the glass bowl. And, lo and behold, the first name out was that of the Challenge Tour’s tournament organiser.

Now we know that the Ukrainians have been very welcoming this week, but there is no way they could have set this one up to appease Bulter, so we can only assume that this was some form of new age David Copperfield-esque magic.

Or else, well, pure luck!