10 Things You Might Not Know about the PGA

Bowood are extremely pleased to have recently become an elite member of the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association). As a branded property of the association, we are now a PGA Golf Course and PGA Academy.

The hard and accurate work of our dedicated team across all areas of the hotel, not just on the golf course, has led to our affiliation. And that goes hand-in-hand with the loyalty of our members and guests, whose attendance and feedback has all come together to help us achieve such a prestigious status.

Despite our excitement, we understand that not all our hotel guests and members will be familiar with the PGA.

So, to clear up any uncertainties and to share this new-found success with our loyal members and guests, we’re unveiling everything we think you ought to know about the PGA.

So, what does PGA qualified mean? And how do we expect it to enhance Bowood and what we offer?

Here are 10 things you might not know about the PGA:

#1 The PGA is recognised as a global professional golfing association

Being part of the PGA gives Bowood global recognition within professional golf. Our course is now seen to be on the same level as some of the best golf courses across the world.

To put it simply: We’ve become part of world class golfing elite.

We expect that those with a keen interest in golf will want to travel to Bowood to indulge in the superior golfing opportunities we offer. No matter where they live.

The fact that other PGA accredited golf courses are based in Kenya and Spain proves the sheer prestige of this accreditation, and its rarity in the UK.

Of course, we’ve been lucky enough to be making the most of our fantastic course for a number of years. It’s not changing drastically as a result of the affiliation- but it is becoming more recognised.

So when it comes to preferred professional golfing venues, we’re very much on the map.

#2 There is a difference between a PGA Golf Course and a PGA Academy

And we’ve gained status as both.

As we’ve mentioned above, being recognised as a PGA Golf Course makes us one of the top choices for golfing facilities in the UK and worldwide.

Bowood is now regarded as a superior golfing venue, considering the course itself, as well as the hotel’s brasserie, accommodation and spa.

As a PGA Academy, we’ve demonstrated that we can enhance golf skills in our players, through high-level coaching from trained professionals.

Our Pro golfers are PGA professionals with over 50 years’ experience. If you’ve played on our course before and experienced some coaching, you’ll know the skill level of our coaches and also their ability to progress beginner, intermediate and even “expert” players.

The PGA has recognised Bowood’s facilities to cater for golfers of all ages, genders and abilities, which means that we are proven to provide an excellent hub for learning new techniques and enhancing existing skills.

Who knows…perhaps we’ll be the home golf course of the next Tiger Woods? We’ve already developed a number of international level athletes, so training an elite-level sports person is not out of the question.

The bar is set high. And all of our guests, members and visitors to our hotel can benefit from our high-standard of coaching- that is sought-after on an international scale.

#3 Bowood is not the only PGA golf course in the UK

Golf enthusiasts will, no doubt, have heard about the legendary golf course The Belfry.

The Belfry is the UK’s PGA National Course. It is well-connected and easily accessible by Birmingham Airport and Birmingham city centre.

The course is famous for its 500-acres of superior Warwickshire countryside, as well as it’s high-quality accommodation and facilities in the hotel.

For Bowood to be part of the PGA and valued on a similar level to The Belfry is an absolute honour and an exciting prospect for our hotel’s future.

Note that The Belfry has a superior partnership status with the PGA, so we’re not quite on the same level as that.

# 4 There are just 8 PGA Golf Academies to date

We may not be a partner of the PGA, however, to get to grips with how superior our accreditation really is, it is helpful to know that Bowood is now one of eight (yes that’s right, just eight) PGA golf academies to date.

We are listed as one of the best places to develop golfing skills and learn from the professionals, along with the following locations:

  • PGA Golf Academy, Carus Green
  • Laguna Golf, Phuket
  • PGA Golf Academy, Bayhood No.9
  • PGA Golf Academy, Mission Hills
  • PGA Golf Academy, Formby Hall
  • PGA Golf Academy, Close House
  • PGA Golf Academy, University Limerick

Being classed alongside the magnificent locations above is just another of the reasons why the PGA association is so beneficial for our hotel.

#5 The PGA partners the Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is arguably one of the most famous awards in the sport. The PGA has been involved with the Ryder Cup since it began in 1927. And it still plays a part nowadays.

For those that are more familiar with Pro golf, the PGA is a partner in the European Ryder Cup LLP, as well as the European tour.

And if you’ve seen what the Ryder Cup looks like, donated to the sport by Sam Ryder himself, you’ll have noticed the 17-inch figure on the top. That figure is Abe Mitchell. One of the most famous members of the PGA and Sam Ryder’s personal coach.

#6 The PGA is affiliated with huge brands

Not only is the PGA supported by legends in golf like Abe Mitchell, it is also affiliated with massive brands.

Some of these brands are:

  • Coca Cola- soft drinks manufacturer.
  • Gleneagles- 2014 Ryder Cup venue and renowned golf resort.
  • FJ- footwear manufacturer.
  • The Belfry- hotel and golf resort. Home to PGA Headquarters.
  • Optical Express- Leading eye laser surgery provider.
  • Glenmuir 1891- club embroidery.
  • BMW- Title sponsor of the PGA Championships.
  • Prostate Cancer UK- official charity of the PGA.

Just by looking at the size and calibre of these brands, it is clear to see what a big deal it is being part of the PGA.

We hope to expand and improve our facilities at Bowood, in response to this excellent accreditation.

#7 PGA professionals are highly trained, often to degree level

In order to become a PGA affiliated professional, it takes time and hard work. Our Pros have undergone extensive training to get where they are today.

Many of the PGA Pros are educated to degree level. They are trained with the most recent expertise and skills in the sport, to ensure they provide the best and most relevant standard of golf to date.

A professional qualification with the PGA involves:

  • Full or part-time higher education
  • First aid certificate
  • Work experience in a golf environment
  • ASQ Level 1 and 2 certificates in golf coaching
  • Experience in playing professional golf events
  • Child protection certificate.

#8 The PGA runs over 700 annual tournaments

And here at Bowood we’ll be hosting the final of the PGA Championship in July 2019.

We couldn’t be more excited.

The Championship invites various golf societies to play on our hotel grounds and the course will provide a testing ground for 144 talented players.

We’re looking forward to watching and receiving feedback on their experience on the course.

Our Head GreenKeeper and his team are already working hard to ensure the course is at optimum condition in preparation for the Championship event.

If you’d like to play on this iconic course as a member, then why not join us as a member here at Bowood?

#9 The PGA works closely with golf bodies

The PGA works with golf bodies such as the UK Golf Course Owners Association and the Home Unions and Golf Club Managers’ Association, as well as various golf club committees.

This means that the credibility of the association is extremely high. If you’re looking to start your golfing career (and by that we mean amateur players too), then by choosing a PGA accredited venue like Bowood, you can be confident you’re learning in the most reliable way.

#10 #WeLoveGolf and the WPGA represent women in golf

Golf is not just a sport for men. The campaign #WeLoveGolf is the PGA’s modern campaign to get more women playing golf.

The WPGA is the section of the PGA dedicated to women. Set up by the epic female golfer Vivien Saunders in 1978, she gifted the name WPGA into the safe hands of the PGA in 1998.

So while the association is run overall by men, there is a continued effort to get more women involved in golf.

Women who join the PGA automatically become members of the WPGA.

We welcome female members here at Bowood.

Bowood and the PGA

Bowood’s new status with the PGA gives our hotel spa and golf resort global recognition on the professional golfing scene. We want to share the prestige of the PGA with our guests, members and anybody thinking about coming to stay with us.

We’re looking forward to welcoming more local golfers, as well as making continued developments to our world-class golf course.

Join us today for what is set to be one of our most exciting years in golf to date.

What's On at Bowood - The New Year's Edit

With the shenanigans of Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations behind us, many of us will look towards health and wellness this winter, and of course, any exciting plans we’ve made for the year ahead.

Here at Bowood, we have events happening throughout the whole of winter to keep our spirits up, even though it may well be quite dull and grey outside.

Whether 2019 is your year of marriage, fitness or perhaps you’ve pledged to yourself that you’ll take more time out this year for relaxing, you’ll find an exciting opportunity awaiting at Bowood.

Steam, Sauna then Swim

Soothe tired bodies and take some time out from the rush of daily life in our spa at Bowood. It’s only been a week or two of January and, no doubt, we’re already feeling an increase in tension behind our neck and building up of knots in our muscles (and that’s in addition all the socialising with family and in-laws at Christmas).

Our spa days at Bowood offer you the chance to utterly relax. Enjoy our premium facilities including the infinity pool, jacuzzi, crystal steam room, rock sauna and technogym (gym), and perhaps gift yourself a pamper treatment too.

Swimming for just 30 minutes once a week is a method of reducing stress and enjoying some “you-time”. At Bowood, along with our steam and sauna facilities, you’ll no doubt want to spend much longer in our pool and health suite.

Relaxing in the spa can help you feel good. It could help reduce your blood pressure and is a great way to get moving.

If a weekend break at Bowood including time to kick back in the spa is one that tempts you, then you’ll be pleased to learn that our membership offers all of this at a discounted price.

Argentinian Wine Dinner

If you have yourself down as a bit of a connoisseur (or perhaps you simply love a glass of vino), then you’ll be pleased to learn that we’re putting on a fantastic Argentinian Wine Dinner for guests and members of the hotel.

The evening will be on 30th January and is taking place in our Shelburne Restaurant. What’s more, we’re lucky enough to have attracted the company of Tim Atkin’s Young Winemaker of the Year in 2016, Matias Riccitelli.

This wine dinner is set to be spectacular.

Burns Night at Bowood

We may well be in Wiltshire, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t join in the Scottish Burns Night celebrations.

Warm the cockles with a night of whisky, haggis and January jolliness…

Bowood will brighten the depths of winter this January with a traditional Scottish Burns Night in the Shelburne Restaurant.

Expect delicious Scottish traditional food and a choice of Scottish whiskys.

Reciting Burns’ poetry may happen too.

Valentine’s Day

We all know the day is coming. And if you want to treat that special someone in your life, then we have just the thing in our Shelburne Restaurant on 14th February 2019.

Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner, cooked by our talented Head Chef, Ed Fortune and expect a glass of fizz on your arrival.

It must be love.

Indulge in Eminence Organics

Take a fresh edit to your beauty regime. Celebrity style.

Eminence Organics beauty products have been put to the test by our Spa Assistant Manager at Bowood, Amesha Llewellyns, and have successfully reduced her acne scars.

There is no better time to really trial beauty products than during the winter when skin becomes drier than ever. The cold water and false indoor heating don’t help.

Members of Bowood can purchase Eminence Organics from us at a discounted price.

Used by celebrities like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Eva Longoria, Victoria Beckham and Chris Hemsworth, Eminence Organic Skincare is, without doubt, a sought-after product with proven results.

Winter Golf Coaching

Get ahead of the game, ready for summer, with our Winter Golf Coaching. We’re currently running 18 Holes of Golf with a delicious one-course lunch for £45.

Whether you are a complete beginner or are wanting to hone your skills, you’ll benefit from the knowledge and teaching from our PGA professional golfers.

And if you are a member? You’ll get a discount on your lessons too.


Personal Training

Have you pledged to get fit for the new year?

Do you feel a bit out of your depth at your local gym?

Bowood is a welcoming place for new gym goers, as well as those with more experience. Our personal trainers will consider your current fitness and work on your strengths and weaknesses.

The mission? To get you in better shape for 2019.

Make that New Year’s resolution to get fit a success with Six Personal Training Sessions at Bowood for only £150 until the end of March.

Sign up for a run

If you are already fairly fit and want to take your fitness to the next level then why not sign up to Bowood’s 10km fun run?

It’s a perfect run if you’re thinking of taking on a half marathon or marathon in the future, the Bowood House 10km is in its 31st year.

Wedding Showcase

On a slightly different note, engaged couples may choose to make a booking for our Wedding Showcase in February.

Come and visit the hotel and see if we have what you are looking for to create your perfect wedding.


Bowood House and Garden Season Ticket Holder

With beautiful gardens and an adventure playground for children, it is well worth considering purchasing an early bird season ticket for Bowood House and Gardens.

Early bird sale ends on 31st January 2019.

Become a Bowood Golf Member

If you want to enjoy the best winter yet, then become a member of Bowood this January. You can enjoy all these fabulous activities and more, all at a discounted price.


Get in Touch

Interested in any of the above goings-on? If so, drop us an email and we’d love to count you in.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Bowood's PGA Golf Course

We’ve joined an elite few courses including Gleneagles and The Belfry as one of the top PGA courses worldwide…


12 Interesting Christmas Facts – Top Dinner Table Trivia

Christmas is coming! And with that, so is mulled wine, mince pies, Santa hats, presents, Christmas trees and more.

There are so many traditions associated with Christmas and if we’re not making the most of them, we’re a Baa Humbug.

But as we order our Christmas turkey and put the lights on the tree, it’s interesting to think about some facts of Christmas that we don’t know.

In fact, we’ve collected 12 interesting Christmas facts (12 being the number of the 12 days of Christmas!) for you to indulge in.

The pleasure is ours. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all.

If you want to be the winner of your dinner table trivia, read on for our 12 interesting dinner table trivia facts about the (oh so magical!)…Christmas.

Fact #1

Let’s start with the most iconic Christmas tree in the UK…the Christmas tree of Trafalgar Square.

Most of us have had the honour of seeing this Christmas tree in its full glory in the centre of London and have probably made a special visit to see it in December.

The interesting fact about this significant tree is that it is donated every year by the people of Oslo in Norway to the UK for the country’s support in World War II.

And it is not just any old Norwegian tree…

It is a 50 to 60 year old Norway spruce that is HUGE at over 20 metre tall.

It has been displayed in Trafalgar Square since 1947 and is put up at the beginning of December and taken down on 6th January.

So, yes, we do have our incredible ancestors to thank for this generous gift from Norway. The ultimate Christmas gift of remembrance…

Fact #2

Does your home become tinseltastic at Christmas? Or are you a fan of a subtle smattering on your Christmas tree?

Whatever your answer, it appears that tinsel is a legendary Christmas decoration. And it has been around since 1610!

It was initially made in Nuremberg in Germany of actual shredded silver.

How glam!

Fact #3

Santa was first used in a promotional advert by Coca-Cola.

And this advert shaped the appearance of the “Santa” we’re familiar with today.

Before Coca-Cola started using Santa in their advertisements in the 1920s and 30s (Most significantly, their advert in 1931). Santa was depicted in a number of ways.

In 2001, Coca Cola animated Santa for their advert too.

Fact #4

The alternative name for a Christmas Tree is a Yule-Tree.

We’re not sure we’re going to be using the alternative version though…

Fact #5

Hallmark cards have to be one of the most well-known Christmas cards and they have, in fact, been around since 1915.

The company was founded only 5 years before by Joyce Hall and is located in Kansas City, Missouri in the US.

Hallmark cards weren’t the first Christmas cards though. The first Christmas card was, in fact, sent in 1843 by John Calcott Horsley for a friend.

Fact #6

When we refer to “Christmas” as “Xmas”, apparently the “X” comes from the Greek meaning of “X” of Christ.


Fact #7

The first Christmas stamp was introduced by the US in 1962. It was green and red and apparently featured a wreath and candles.

Fact #8

This fact is one about Japan and takes us from the interesting… to the downright weird.

Apparently, for Japanese people it is a tradition to spend Christmas Eve at KFC. And this is so popular, they need to book their seats a couple of months in advance.

Over 3 and a half million Japanese people flock to KFC over Christmas to indulge in the brand’s fried chicken.

Wow. And there we were thinking the Victorian Bird was a festive treat.

Fact #9

Want to know the best-selling Christmas song of all time?

Well, here it is.

“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

Well, it is a few years ahead of Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” after all.

Sales of  “White Christmas” have reached over 50 million.

Fact #10

A King was crowned on Christmas Day in 1066!

Said King, being King William I of England.

Now if that fact doesn’t win your Dinner table Trivia, we’ll eat our (Santa) hats…

Fact #11

HOH OHO is the actual postal (zip) code of Santa. And it is based in Canada.

Many children will get a reply too!

In 2012, over 1 million children sent a letter to HOH OHO.

Fact #12

The first Christmas was celebrated in 1539 in America.

And it most certainly wasn’t a white Christmas. In fact, it happened on the sandy beaches of Florida!

It was not full of the festive traditions we’re used to nowadays, it was more of a religious service or gathering.

Most like a Christmas Mass that can be attended nowadays.

No Christmas Trees. No presents.

We’re glad a bit of festive cheer has been thrown into the occasion!

Christmas at Bowood

In fact, we love festivities here at Bowood and go the extra-mile when it comes to the most wonderful time of the year!

We are proud of our luxury Christmas breaks, festive dining and Christmas Party Nights.

And, of course, we don’t do things by half!

Whether you are looking for a Pre-Christmas break, a Twixmas getaway or a New Years Eve party, you’ll find the perfect Christmas celebration for you at Bowood.

From relaxing in our infinity pool and Xmas food indulgence, to late-night dancing and Champagne bubbles, we’ve got Christmas cheer for all tastes.

5 New Year’s Resolutions and How to Stick to Them

We’re not far from the beginning of the Christmas festivities (we’re guessing you’ve probably been thinking about putting up your Christmas decorations in the next week or two).

And at the moment, all we’re thinking about is indulgence. We want to enjoy the last month of the year. Not waste it.

And how will we enjoy ourselves? We’ll eat mince pies, toast with Prosecco, sip mulled wine, share chats over coffee and christmas cake and, of course, tuck into endless Christmas turkey dinners.

Here at Bowood, we’ve already got the Champagne-on-tap for various Christmas events (don’t worry, not literally!).

In fact, our resolutions for December look a bit like this:

Challenge: Tuck into at least one roast dinner a week leading up to Christmas?

Answer: Child’s play. Bring it on.

And when we’ve got so many social occasions to attend. Why not? Christmas is our favourite time of year! It’s time to dig out our favourite glittery dresses and black tie attire, roll our sleeves up and enjoy our favourite alcoholic beverages.

One too many? Not to worry. It’s Christmas!

It’s true, we can drink all we like, with the peak/pinnacle/top of the chart being New Year’s Eve.

However, as soon as we reach New Year’s Day, reaching for the paracetamol and orange juice, wiping leftover mascara from our eyes and wondering how we made it home last night. That’s when we start to make our (dreaded) New Year’s resolutions.

Not at Bowood Hotel though, we’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions already. We want to actually achieve our goals this year and not write them off after a couple of months attempting them.

So while we’re all up for letting loose over the festive period, let’s put forward some New Year’s resolutions that we’d all like to achieve. And how to really stick to them.

5 common New Year’s resolutions

  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight and eat more healthily
  3. Learn a new skill or hobby
  4. Spend more time with family and friends
  5. Drink less alcohol

The first error often made when setting New Year’s resolutions is to list them all in your head (without taking pen to paper) and then not exploring how you are going to achieve them.

So, here goes…

Get a pen and notepad, and let’s tackle our demons, one by one…

Resolution #1: Exercise more

A New Year’s Resolution bound to fail: I don’t really like the gym, but I am going to sign up and go there to exercise for at least an hour everyday before or after work.

How to make this achievable: Firstly, pinpoint exercise/activities you actually enjoy. If it’s the gym, great! But if not, perhaps it is netball, walking, running, swimming, yoga, etc. Once you’ve decided on the activity you enjoy, aim to participate in the exercise once a week. When you’ve started to become more active, you’re more likely to want to increase the activity you’re doing.

You can’t just suddenly expect yourself to bounce out of bed every morning at 6am to squeeze in your morning workout, when usually in the morning you take 10 minutes over pouring your morning coffee.

Be realistic.

If you’d prefer a couple hours walking out in the fresh air over a 45-minute sweaty workout in the gym, then go with your preference. You are much more likely to repeat exercise you enjoy!

And if you are much more energetic at 5pm than 5am, make evening exercise your thing.

Resolution #2: Lose weight and eat more healthily

A New Year’s resolution bound to fail:  I am going to follow a strict diet for the whole of January. No guilty indulgences. I will have juice for breakfast and a dinner with no carbohydrates.

How to make this achievable: Honestly, it is surprising how many people actually make the resolution above. To the initial eye, it seems absurd. No carbohydrates for dinner? That’s not healthy. Juice for breakfast? What about when we’re hungry at 10am?

Losing weight and eating healthily actually go hand-in-hand. In order to achieve a healthier diet and shed a few pounds at the same time, it is best to follow a healthy, balanced diet.

When it comes to it, a few ‘treats’ a month won’t hurt.

To succeed? Decide a date when you would like to lose weight by, for example, ‘my best friend’s wedding’ and follow a healthy, balanced diet until then, monitoring your weight as you go. That way, you’ll see if you need to be tweaking eating habits as you go.

See, you don’t need to get on the fad diet bandwagon and become vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, no carb, paleo etc. to be healthy.

Follow the Eatwell Plate and you’ll, well, um…be eating well.

Learn a new skill or hobby

A New Year’s resolution bound to fail:  I have always wanted to learn to play piano. I think I’ll have a go this year.

How to make this achievable: I will enrol in some weekly piano lessons and practice playing the piano in two hours of my free time a week.

Spend more time with family and friends

A New Year’s resolution bound to fail:  I will talk to my family and friends more often.

How to make this achievable: I will make sure I call my parents every Saturday whilst I am cooking dinner. I will phone my friend on the last Sunday of every month to arrange a ‘coffee and a catch-up’ for the following month.

Drink less alcohol

A New Year’s resolution bound to fail: I will consume less units of alcohol each week.

How to make this achievable: I will limit myself to four units of alcohol each week. I will spread these units across a Friday and Saturday night. I will not drink alcohol on a weeknight unless it is a special occasion.

Okay, sounds like some weird sacrificial vows but you get the jist…

And the best way to make sure you are ready to achieve your New Year’s resolutions?

A New Year’s Party at Bowood – the final let loose before the resolutions begin.

Wiltshire is a beautiful county at the edge of the South West Peninsula.

Wiltshire is a beautiful county at the edge of the South West Peninsula. Its landscape is contrasting, with woodlands, river valleys and clay vales – but often it’s known for having open chalk hills – known as “downland” – such as Salisbury Plain. Famously, Salisbury Plain is home to one of the most historically important places in the world. That is, of course, the World Heritage SiteStonehenge.

Wiltshire is a place of significant ancient history, and it’s worth visiting for this alone – but it’s also a modern cultural hub. There’s always lots to do, and Christmas in no exception. To save you some googling here’s a round up what’s on in Wiltshire this Christmas.

Bread Making, Devizes – 1st Dec

The aroma of bread baking is the loveliest in the known universe. Then again, are there aromas in space? There’s no air, so…

Moving on.

Bread is one of those things that defies seasonal shifts and time. This means it’s not, not Christmassy. Kneading dough and baking bread are also warming activities perfect for dark, wintry afternoons.

If you fancy learning the basics why not try this course.

Hartley Farm Christmas Market, Bradford-on-Avon – 1st Dec

Alongside producing superb quality Aberdeen Angus Beef and fruit and veg, Hartley Farm helps supply its own farm shop – with a butcher, delicatessen and a vast choice of wines and craft beers.

The Hartley Farm Christmas market is a fine way to while away a couple of hours with a glass of mulled wine, some delicious Wiltshire produce and Christmas performances.

“You bought how many artisan cheeses? 26?”

The Christmas House, Salisbury – 24th Nov to 23rd Dec

Christmas through the ages, all under one roof.

For this year’s festive season, the National Trust are decorating the rooms in Mompesson House to reflect Christmas in different eras. This brilliant idea will have you walking between a Regency Christmas in the dining room and a 1950s one in the library, as you snack on a mince pie or two.

Crop Circle Exhibition – until 31st Dec

Apologies, this isn’t festive at all. It’s intriguing, impressive and downright weird though. If you’re interested in crop circles or think you could be – this is your moment.

Are they created by farmers with planks of wood, for a laugh – or as geometric representations of the thought processes of an extra-terrestrial intelligence?

This multi-media exhibition, first created for the Wiltshire Museum is a comprehensive lowdown on crop circle history and latest news.

For more info – please click here.


Festival of Light, Longleat – 9th Nov to 6th Jan

The Longleat Estate made history, becoming the first place outside of Africa to have a safari park. It’s also the focus of the BBC TV series ‘Animal Park’, hosted by Ben Fogle and Kate Humble – that’s been running for almost 20 years.

Longleat’s ‘Festival of Light’ is 1,000 lanterns in the dark, illuminating parts of a fantastic journey through time and space, spread over 30 acres of parkland.

Intrepid visitors will stumble across brand new creatures, worlds and awesome structures on an epic aeronautical adventure.

For more info – please click here.

Mistletoe & Merriment, Fisherton Mill, Salisbury – From 25th Nov

This year’s exhibition at Fisherton Mill, is about giving your Christmas shopping a fresh sense of curiosity and wonder.

The exhibition will feature a range of contemporary arts and crafts, designed to be playful, make you think and baffle you – including optical illusions.

“Is the cat inside or outside the toy box and is it actually a box anyway, or a flat wall panel?”.

This is a direct quote from the website, and it sounds hilarious – in a good way.

Why not check out the website.

Twilight Tower Tours, Salisbury Cathedral – From 3rd Dec

Salisbury Cathedral is iconic, and not only has the highest spire in the country (at 123 metres) but also the most intact of the last four remaining copies of the Magna Carta.

If you’re ready to climb 322 steps to the top of the tower, with breaks, you’ll be able to look out onto the night-time city scape of Salisbury and the multi-colour illuminated art installations in cathedral close.

Look out for the neon display “I will turn darkness into light”.

A twilight tour of Salisbury Cathedral tower is a lovely way to end a day spent wandering around the Salisbury Christmas market.

For more info – please click here.

Salisbury Christmas Market – 29th Nov to 23rd Dec

Now in its sixth year, the Christmas market is a wonderfully atmospheric addition to the ancient streets of Salisbury. It follows a German lead and has 70 wooden chalets with all sorts of Christmas treats – from handmade furniture to luxury food and drink.

It’s a perfect accompaniment to a festive shopping spree in Salisbury.  Plus, everything is unique, desirable, made in Britain and intended to support our home economy.

Read more.

A Fairy tale Christmas in Wiltshire

Christmas at Bowood, in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside is a magical experience. Our boutique hotel, spa and golf resort is nestled within 100 acres of pristine, landscaped gardens – which are beautiful when tinged with winter frosts.

If you catch a chill whilst exploring our grounds, why not settle by a crackling log fire with a glass of something, or enjoy a festive afternoon tea? You could also visit our spa for a revitalising treatment. Golf warms the cockles too.

At Bowood, we love Christmas. That’s why we’ve filled our festive calendar to the rafters. Here’s a handful not to miss –

Spa Christmas Shopping Evening

Golf Pro Shop 30% Off Christmas Shopping Day

Family Christmas Carvery

Christmas Day Carvery

Up for a festive knees up? We also have party nights throughout December. In advance, we wish you a merry Christmas!

Thanks for reading.

We’ve all experienced great wedding music and of course, the not so remarkable. Here’s our guide to ensuring your wedding music tops the rest…

The wedding entertainment starts, and it feels more like a school disco than one of the most important days in a couple’s life. The DJ is over the hill and thinks an endless stream of 1970s “floor fillers” will do the trick. Not only this, but he forgets he’s played “Night Fever” – so plays it again. This isn’t an affront on disco music (or DJs) – there’s a time and place for it. However, unless you’re a super fan it probably isn’t going to be a part of your wedding.

You want class, style and of course music that everyone will love. Good music. No clichés, no garish white suits – just exceptional musicianship. But what to choose? These days, there’s choice galore when it comes to wedding music. DJs have upped their game, and live music is more popular than ever. To save you unnecessary head scratching, here are some wedding music ideas to start you off…


Funnily enough, after Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s stunning performance at the recent Royal Wedding, the demand for solo cellists has skyrocketed. And rightly so – this uncluttered, cleanness of sound is a wonderful way to provide a breather at busy, and possibly noisy wedding.

The thing not everyone appreciates, is that a wedding with classical music isn’t condemned to be formal, and stuffy. It follows the lead of the musicians. Modern classical music can be fun and diverse, with a finger firmly on the pulse of popular culture.

Quartets and classical groups have the instrumental breadth to create beautiful compositions of songs in any genre. Take your pick.

At Bowood, we’re big fans of classical music and can put you in touch with some sublime musicians. For a start, why not have a listen to one of our popular solo violinist – Lizz Lipscombe or solo harpist, Katie Saloman.


Fancy a Gatsby wedding? Well, a good place to start would be with the music. Vintage American swing, with a modern twist is becoming a go to choice for weddings.

Bands like Postmodern Jukebox are fuelling a new wave of swing. Rather than covering songs from the 20s and 30s they go for unlikely modern hits and enthuse them with a jazz era* cool.

Have you ever heard a swing version of a hip-hop song? You’ll be surprised in the best possible way.

*It was also the era of prohibition. Authenticity at your wedding is great, but this is perhaps too much.


One of the best things about acoustic bands is they don’t need electricity to sound great. Plus, this means they’re not tied down to a stage. Stages are overrated.

Acoustic music is something born in the pubs, front rooms, parlours, fields and around the campfires of the land. It’s raw, passionate and doesn’t have to be dressed up.

Having a band roam around your wedding is experiencing music in a chilled and natural way – and it’s always nice to be able to chat with musicians without the formal divide of stage.


It’s summer, and you’re in a crowd with thousands of other people. The sun has fallen, and now hangs just above the horizon – giving the light a bronzed, ethereal quality. It’s like a dream in real-time. Your favourite band starts playing the first notes of your favourite song.

The crowd around you erupts into verse, a storm of voices carrying a beautiful melody. The feeling of euphoria sends shivers skittering down your spine.

There’s nothing quite like a music festival. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t capture it in miniature for your wedding.

Festival style bands are brilliant at warming up crowds with toe-tapping summery songs – perhaps some George Ezra or the Lumineers. Then, after a low key start they can switch to electric and play their own headlining act.

Your guests will appreciate the diversity – it’s like getting two bands in one.


Although the great folk revival of the early 2010s may have run its course, the fast rhythmed, foot-stomping legacy of Mumford & Sons is still alive in the wedding scene.

There’s something sincere, and unfussy in folk that sets it apart from other forms of music. When played with heart and energy, it never fails to get people dancing.

Folk music is atmospheric too and reminds us of cosy winter nights by a fire, as much as it does summer nights – spent camping in the woods or at a festival. Feel good music at its finest.


Moving well away from disco music, modern DJs can give some diverse and outstanding performances. One of the trends right now is for DJs to have a live vocalist or percussionist join them. This was popularised in big clubs around the world. It’s the perfect meeting of the transcendental sounds of a superbly mixed set and the stage presence of a live musician.

The best of both worlds.


If you want the heady rush of a DJ’s build up, and the ignition of excitement that comes with a meticulously executed drop – but also want a live band, here’s a compromise.

Mash up bands are very impressive. With exceptional talent they can mix together your favourite songs (albeit they can’t play electronic dance music!) and get a crowd going much like a DJ. Also, it’s a lot of fun trying to guess the song, as it creeps in at the end of another.


The Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is a magical wedding venue, deep in Wiltshire countryside – surrounded by endless views.

Not only is Bowood an undeniably beautiful place to marry, but all the finer details of your wedding can be taken care of – from delicious food to stylish décor and everything in between.

At Bowood, we offer bespoke weddings that reflect your wildest dreams and for ease, carefully thought out packages with all budgets in mind. All those fantasies about your wedding day? At Bowood, we’ll breathe life into them.


(You’ll not be able to resist)

Golf fever is mounting with only a few days left until the world’s best golfers tee off for the 42nd Ryder Cup.

Arguably the most exciting golf contest of the calendar sees golf fanatics from across the Atlantic and Europe descend upon the Albatros Course of Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, a suburb southwest of Paris on the outskirts of historic Versailles, France.

Most people have heard of the Ryder Cup but do you know the history, how teams are picked and anything about this year’s course? We’ve put together 20 Great Ryder Cup Golf Facts to educate and amuse, and hopefully whet your appetite for the game fondly referred to as ‘…a good walk spoiled’ – Mark Twain.


1. The Birth of the Ryder Cup

There were two unofficial matches between professionals from Great Britain and the United States before the birth of The Ryder Cup in 1927, both won by the British. The first was played at Gleneagles in 1921 but the second of these, held at Wentworth in 1926, was undoubtedly the most significant for among those in the gallery was a man called Samuel Ryder.

2. The Trophy

The Ryder Cup competition is named after English businessman Samuel Ryder who famously donated the gold trophy for the competition in 1927. However, Ryder is not depicted on top of the trophy, but his golf instructor Abe Mitchell. The Ryder Cup is now one of the hottest contested trophies in sport.

3. The Teams Weren’t Always Europe and USA

Nowadays the Ryder Cup matches pit the United States against all of Europe, but that was not always the case. From 1927 to 1979 the International opponents to the USA were only made up of players from Great Britain. It was decided to open the team to all of Europe in 1979 with the aim of making the matches more competitive as the USA won all but one of the matches from 1935-85.

4. 28 Years Undefeated

Europe had to wait a staggering 28 years to win the cup from the USA in 1985 after an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole by an emotional Sam Torrance for a 1-up victory at The Belfry, Warwickshire. Legends such as Sandy Lyle, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and Bernard Langer joined Torrance in celebrating the win with Europe team captain Tony Jacklin.

5. Most Ryder Cup Points

Sir Nick Faldo holds the record for the most Ryder Cup points with an astonishing 25. Faldo competed in 11 Ryder Cups with a record of 23-19-4.

6. The War Intervenes

If you run your eyes down the list of past Ryder Cup results you will notice a 10-year gap. That’s because from 1937 to 1947 no matches were played due to WWII.

7. A Family Affair

The European team have seen 3 sets of brothers compete: Charles, Ernest and Reg Whitcombe, 1935; Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt, 1963E and Eduardo and Francesco Molinari, 2010.

8. How the Teams are Picked?

The European and US teams have 12 players each chosen by a captain. It’s up to the captain to decide who he wants to play in the 28 matches that are played over the three days of the competition.

The 2018 European Team will comprise:
  • Captain Thomas Bjorn (non-playing)
  • First 4 players from the European Points List
  • Leading 4 players from the World Points List
  • 4 wild cards (Captain’s picks)
The 2018 US Team will comprise:
  • Captain Jim Furyk
  • The top 8 in the points rankings
  • 4 wild cards (Captain’s picks)

Points and new regulations have changed slightly this year, so for a full explanation of how players qualify, visit the official Ryder Cup page here: How the European and American Teams are picked for the Ryder Cup.

9. The Captain’s Don’t Actually Play

Did you know captains don’t actually play? The last playing captain for the Europe was Dai Rees in 1961, and the last for the USA was Arnold Palmer in 1963, from then to now the captains just pick the pairings and watch the golf!

10. What is Match Play?

Match play is a scoring system for golf in which a player, or team, earns a point for each hole in which they have bested their opponents; as opposed to stroke play, in which the total number of strokes is counted over one or more rounds of 18 holes. Match play encourages more aggressive play as players are looking to win the hole outright. It’s all about beating your opponent!

Lou Guzzi at PGA.com demonstrates it perfectly in this short video and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) provide a comprehensive guide to the Rules of Golf and Golf equipment.

11. Ryder Cup Play Format

Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of four-ball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day sees 12 singles matches.

12. Match Scoring Explained

Each match is worth one point. If a match ends in a draw, each side is awarded ½ a point each. The first team to reach 14 ½ points wins the Ryder Cup. Should the matches end in a 14-14 draw, the team holding the Ryder Cup gets to retain it.

13. Albatros – The Ryder Cup 2018 Golf Course

Designed by architects Hubert Chesneau – read his account of the inception of the Golf National here and Robert Von Hagge, in collaboration with Pierre Thevenin. The Albatros course is home to the French Open – the oldest national open in Continental Europe and is actually one of two courses found at Le Golf National. The course opened in October 1990 and has experienced significant renovation in preparation for the 42nd Ryder Cup in 2018. There are few trees reflecting the architects’ understandable reluctance to wait decades for the course to mature. As part of the renovations in preparation for the Ryder Cup, 17 new bunkers have been built, 28 original ones reconstructed,  two new lakes constructed and four new pro tees added.

14. Course Manager Alejandro Reyes

Golf Courses and Estates Manager, Alejandro Reyes, has been tasked with creating a Ryder Cup landscape using the 7,331 yards of The Albatros course. The past year has seen him testing supplements to ensure the course is in tip-top condition and doesn’t suffer the same affliction as ‘baked and bald’ Carnoustie did for the British Open and overseeing the huge drainage project of 2017. Watch this great Turf Matter’s interview with the charismatic course manager.

15. Unique Course Layout

The incredible ‘stadium finish’ consists of the last four holes, set in a bowl circled by stunning lakes – and yes, dyes are in the water to enhance their looks.  A dream setting for the roaring Ryder Cup crowds to enjoy climatic classic match play golf. The unique undulating layout of the Ryder Cup course also favours spectators who can get an enviable up-close view of play pretty much anywhere along the course.

16. The Sealed Envelope

So what happens if a player gets hurt during the competition and can’t compete in the Sunday singles matches? Well, before play begins, each captain puts one name into a sealed envelope and in the instance that there is an injury on the opposing team, the player inside that envelope sits out. Thankfully, the envelope has only been used three times in the history of the competition.

17. Draws

The Ryder Cup has ended in a draw two times, both in 1969 and then 20 years later in 1989. As previously mentioned, on a tie, the team that previously won retains the cup.

18. Not Just 3 Days of Golf

When you think of The Ryder Cup, no doubt the first thing that comes to mind is three days of consistent match play golf. This is undeniably golf’s greatest team contest, but there is much more to a Ryder Cup Week than you may have realised with a whole host of events including celebrity matches, past Captains matches and the Junior Ryder Cup that lead up to the play we see on tv.

19. Junior Ryder Cup

The Disneyland Golf Course is hosting the Junior Ryder Cup on September 24th and 25th with the 24 most talented young golfers of their generation. It’s Europe versus the USA, just like its big sister a few days later, and brings together the best golfers under 18 for two days of incredible competition. Led by French captain Maïtena Alsuguren, the European team will try to win the cup back from the USA this time round.

20. Ryder Cup 2020

Preparations are already in place for the 2020 Ryder Cup which will be held Whistling Straits, Wisconsin. The course graces the shore of Lake Michigan and has played host to three PGA Championships (2004, 2010 and 2015). Although Ryder Cup tickets for 2020 are not yet available,  you can register your interest to ensure you’re first in line!

Golf Breaks at Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort

Arrange your own championship golf tournament…

Enjoy superb pat lay on a stunning 18-hole championship golf course closer to home. Set amidst a beautifully landscaped English country estate, Bowood is the No.1 golf course in Wiltshire. Golf at Bowood is open to visitors, members’ guests and hotel residents throughout the year.

With many events across the calendar including our Into the Dark Night Golf Challenge and Seniors Invitation Golf Day in October, booking a tee time couldn’t be easier with the Bowood online tee booking system. For those wishing to stay a little longer and take advantage of the boutique style hotel and spa there are a range of Bowood Hotel Golf Breaks to choose from too!