The stand-up comedian and author has travelled the world with golf clubs in tow, but finds nothing beats a round with his boys at Coombe Wood

My first holiday was to… Pontins Holiday Camp in Wick Ferry, Dorset. We went every year, renting the exact same chalet and loved every minute.

They had a ballroom which in my head was incredibly glamorous. I entered a talent competition doing comedy for the first time. I finished second, which had a prophetic feel to it now.

I first picked up a golf club in… Too late is the honest answer – to be a good golfer, anyway. I used to caddie for my dad, who was a solid 24 handicapper. I hated it and always wondered why so many clubs were needed when none of them worked terribly well.

Recently we were discussing where we might scatter my dad’s ashes and Ealing Golf Club was mooted. I suggested in the rough, which I thought was funny, but my mum disagreed.

My favourite course in the UK… is Coombe Wood in Surrey, where I have been a member forever. It’s where I taught all my four boys to play the hardest game of all and, as it transpires, I am a better golf teacher than golfer.

In terms of signature courses, I think St George’s Hill is a gem and I’d also give a happy nod to Woburn’s Duke Course.

And let’s not forget Muirfield. I’ve only played the front nine, but it is where I set my golf-themed novel, Open Links, so I feel that I know it intimately. I loved writing the book, and so by association, I love Muirfield also.

Muirfield GC

My favourite holiday golf resort is… Boavista on the Algarve. It’s not fancy. Its ordinary in fact, but it’s where I played with my boys on holiday, so I have very fond memories of the place.

My hope is to one day for us all to revisit. My boys are all good golfers now, and it will be fun to see them conquering holes that used to torment them.

My ideal holiday fourball would include… I should say my boys, but to avoid repetition I will plump for Rory, Jack and Tiger. Only single names needed for these luminaries of the game.

Tecina Golf Club on La Gomera

My most memorable holiday round… was at Tecina Golf Club in La Gomera – an island off the coast of Tenerife, where my eldest son, Tom [Holland], was making a movie [In the Heart of the Sea] back in 2014.

The course clings to the edge of the island and has stunning views for all angles. Having paid the not inconsiderable green fees and hiring two sets of clubs, I was looking to make a saving on buggy hire, getting only one for my wife Nikki and Tom, with me walking.

My plan being to complete the first hole and then squeeze myself onto their buggy. But the pro saw through my plan and had other ideas.

I explained that I wanted to walk the course, but apparently buggies were mandatory as the first tee was too far away to walk to. I got another buggy and stuffed Tom 3up, which, come to think of it, was probably the last time I ever beat him.

My most memorable meal… My mum was an incredible home cook. She was a nurse but could have been a chef and so Christmas was even more memorable – but not the day itself. Boxing Day was when my mum wielded her culinary wand, making a pie with the Christmas Day leftovers – turkey, ham, giblets, vegetables, the lot.

It was the most delicious meal of the year. I’ve been lucky to eat in numerous high-end restaurants and usually struggle to reconcile the portion size with the lumpy bill. I prefer a hearty plate of tucker to a work of art. But that said, the best restaurant I have ever eaten is Grace in Berlin.

Grace, Berlin

My worst experience on holiday was… was a golf tour to Turkey with a bunch of friends. Following a messy night out, with too much food and drink, I got caught short on the course.

I found a suitable bush and took up my downhill ski tuck position, hoping my thigh muscles would hold out. They did. But someone thought it would be a hoot to loosen the strap holding my golf bag to the buggy.

My bag hit the ground and it was funny when I recovered my bag but less so on the next tee when I discovered that the shafts of my driver, 3-wood and hybrid had all snapped. I lost my match, and no-one shook hands with me afterwards – which was fair enough I suppose.

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in… is Gleneagles during the winter when they have the fires roaring and even the stone floors are somehow warm.

I was speaking at a big dinner in the ballroom, so the bill was thankfully not my concern. The place is sumptuous, and I slept even better because the audience had laughed raucously and in all the right places.

My son, Sam, worked here when he was training to be a chef, so it was lovely to visit him there and eat in the Strathearn restaurant, but we stayed elsewhere on this occasion as the tab was on use!

Gleneagles Hotel

Whenever I’m on holiday I always… panic about not working and not getting paid to be on holiday, which is the life of a self-employed person in a gigging career.

Boavista Golf Resort in Portugal

On my golf holiday bucket list is… a six-week tour to take in the iconic courses of the UK and Ireland – Royal Dornoch, Kingsbarns, Old Head. This will have to wait until I have sufficient cash reserves to not worry about not working.

This tour appears to be some way off, but I live in hope. I’ve played golf all over the world – including Dubai, Hawaii, South Africa, Kenya and Florida – but we have the best courses on our doorstep, and all with amazing places to stay and incredible welcomes to boot.


My favourite city in the world is… a toss up between Edinburgh and London. Edinburgh has been very generous to me, and where I bagged most of my breaks in showbiz. But London is where I grew up and live.

As I have travelled the world, I realise what an amazing place London is. The best place to live that I have encountered, despite the expense and the meddling of our hapless politicians.

My most recent trip was to… Marrakech. A truly must-visit destination. It’s a city teeming with life and vibrancy. It literally throbs with people who are all up for it and working whatever angle they can to make ends meet.

Everyone is either selling something, making something, or doing something. There are no free lunches in this so-called third world city and the place bounces as a result. I played golf at a local course – just 9 holes – and I parred a long-par 3 over water.

My top travel tip is… don’t bother bringing tea bags on holiday – it just creates false hope and disappointment because you can never recreate the cuppa you enjoy at home.

Dominic Holland is the author of OPEN LINKS, a novel charting the travails of ficticious tour pro Ricky Randal as he tackles the final round of The Open Championship. The book, which was first published in 2014, has been re-released this year to help raise funds for Anthony Nolan, a UK-based charity that works in the areas of leukaemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. To purchase a copy of OPEN LINKS on Amazon, click here