Custom Golf Travel

Local businessman & golf travel specialist, Jack Smith, in affiliation with Lazy Lizard Travel LLC, has launched Custom Golf Travel with a focus on Ireland and Scotland.

Mark James (Europe Ryder Cup Captain 1999) with Jack Smith - 2009 SAS Pro-Am

Mark James (Europe Ryder Cup Captain 1999) with Jack Smith – 2009 SAS Pro-Am

Jack’s attention to golf detail, intimate knowledge of Ireland and the Irish golf courses as well as his in-depth personal travel and trade contacts all help to ensure each golfer receives an excellence of service coupled with a unique golfing experience.

Mr. Smith graduated from the University of Oklahoma and served in the US Army as a Cavalry Troop Commander, attaining the rank of Captain. He is a Cary Town Council Member, currently serving his 7th four-year term.

Lazy Lizard Travel is based in Cary, NC and is committed to designing customized vacations to specific needs.  Their aim is to provide a highly personalized and specialized service to those who value the richness of travel.

“We are destination specialists focusing on key regions of the world.  Our expert local knowledge and strong relationships with travel providers on the ground place us in a unique position to give our clients a deeply satisfying travel experience.”

“We are delighted to be working with Jack and look forward to providing first class golfing vacations to not only Ireland and Scotland, but also to South Africa.”


There is something so delicious about this time of year!  Apart from the turkey and trimmings….. it’s a thing called love and family and sweet beginnings. Many a canny mother or dad seem to know to keep a special bottle of champagne hidden away for that “unexpected” occasion.  Champagne

We are going to the New Year’s Eve celebration of the NC Symphony again this year and I hope we are treated once more to another romantic evening.  Last time as we gathered for the second half of the concert the young girl sitting next to me, a total stranger, turned to me in sweet joy to show off her brand new engagement ring!  Her boyfriend had proposed to her during the interval and she was beside herself with delight!! A whole row of unassociated persons united for a few short minutes rejoicing, laughing and exclaiming with the happy young couple.

Yup, it’s the time of love, family and sweet beginnings.  Planning a wedding can be stressful and a somewhat daunting undertaking – but planning the honeymoon afterwards can be the easiest part if you turn to experts for help!  We have that expertise in romantic destinations.

This is the perfect time to try an exotic trip to Africa.  It’s surprisingly affordable.  Combine the elegance of the Cape winelands and the stunning scenery of the Peninsula with the thrill of a photographic safari in the bush.  Makoro canoeOr travel to the golden sands and pounding surf of the Indian Ocean and on to Big Five Wildlife in Zululand.  Glide on makoro canoes through the Okavango Delta, watch elephants splash and play in Botswana, marvel at the magnificent Victoria Falls and end your journey sipping sundowners as you watch the sun set from the top of ancient granite boulders. Marriage is a big adventure and what better way to celebrate than starting out with your own African adventure?

Do you dream of the sun-bathed islands of the Caribbean and see the two of you relaxing on white sand beaches, toes in warm aqua oceans while sipping something tropically colorful?  There are so many wonderful resorts to choose from on a bewildering array of islands, each with their own particular charm.  It makes all the difference to have expert assistance in picking out the one just right for you.

Perhaps it’s the time-drenched cultures of Europe that appeal.  A rambling wander through countryside dotted with castles, vineyards, olive groves or lavender fields.  Castle ChateauxJourney down a river on an elegant cruise, ride bikes or hike mountain trails, take a fast train or test drive a new Mercedes, focus on food or beer or art.  There are so many ways to make memories in Europe and what a special way to begin your life together!

Planning honeymoons and destination weddings are some of our most favorite trips.  It’s such a wonderful way to begin and as we celebrate our 33rd year of marriage – we think we know what we are talking about!  We’re looking forward to hearing from you in 2014 and beginning those plans.

INDABA 2013: Africa’s top travel show

INDABA 2013 meetingsTrip Report by Keith Holshausen, Lazy Lizard Travel LLC

Even though I grew up in Southern Africa, every visit ‘home’ is filled with excitement from the moment I step onto the South African Airways flight in JFK, to the first sight of the rising sun and that unforgettable orange glow as we wing southwards.  SAA is an award winning airline with three South African airports ranked the best in Africa which are also currently rated higher than any American airport (Skytrax survey).

INDABA is owned by SA Tourism and attracts some 13,000 delegates with 750 exhibitors.  At INDABA you can discover all the latest travel products available and window-shop for travel opportunities, as well as network in an industry that thrives on connections. I squeezed in 38 meetings in three days not to count the various ‘sundowners’ and cocktail events that go with the territory.  Show organization is top notch and the service and efficiency is undoubtedly ‘first world’ but with a delightful flavor of Africa.  May is a perfect time to be in South Africa as you get to experience Autumn at its best.

Numerous African countries are represented, including the hearty Southern African contingent of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique (not forgetting the host country, South Africa) to the East Africa clan of Tanzania and Kenya with a special contribution from the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion.

The South African Minister of Tourism was also visiting INDABA as tourism is a leading earner of foreign currency, even overtaking gold exports.  They say that one job is created for every 12 foreign arrivals in South Africa.

No visit to INDABA would be complete without a few ‘site inspections’ and the travel industry is always ready to showcase their splendors.  I traditionally visit the game reserves in the Kruger National Park area and my sightings of leopard at Mala Mala this year were breathtaking to say the least.  I then dropped in at Kapama Private Game Reserve which stretches over 30,000 acres and has four sophisticated bush camps.  In Cape Town the Table Bay Hotel on the waterfront boasts stunning views of Table Mountain and you are also pampered with exceptional service.  The scenic Cape Winelands have been described by many overseas wine experts as the most beautiful in the world.  The Cape wine industry dates back to the 17th century with the Dutch settlers and French Huguenots.  My wife’s ancestors were wine farmers and settled their Paarl estate ‘Den Soeten Inval’ as far back as 1688.

So next time you are looking at your ‘bucket list’, I strongly suggest you write in Africa and perhaps even write it in twice.

Hamba kahle….travel well.

Sleeping Partners

Keith Holshausen

Keith Holshausen

There’s an old saying that goes “let sleeping dogs lie” and while that may be true for dogs, sleeping partners, don’t!  For that I am heartily glad as my “sleeping partner”, financial backer and Number One Encourager joined the business full time at the beginning of the year.

Keith has watched and coached from the sidelines as the Lazy Lizard steadily became more of a Busy Lizard.  Satisfied clients, happy travelers and inroads into specialized Corporate Incentive travel have meant a steady stream of referrals, repeats and new work.  This convinced us that Lazy Lizard Travel needed someone to take on the growth and development of our business towards a glowing future.

Keith now comes on board full time to help grow this vibrant business, which has already become established as a well respected player in the travel industry.  With over 30 years of experience in running and managing businesses, Keith now looks forward to employing these skills at Lazy Lizard Travel.  His knowledge and understanding of the components involved in successful business operations include financials, business development, marketing and management and these combined with Keith’s attention to detail and personable nature will make him a valuable partner at LLT.

Keith has already added his expertise in the constructing of some exciting new trips that appeal to our golf, safari and wine enthusiasts and we’re looking at combining all of those interests in our future trips!  In the last six months, Keith has met with our suppliers on the ground in Southern Africa, Scotland and Italy as we take Lazy Lizard Travel to the next level.  Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for more fun travel adventures from us both!

It is with a large measure of excitement I welcome my new business partner who, far from sleeping like a dog, is rather wide awake and roaring like a lion, eager for the fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from a business well run and going places. 

10 Great New Year Travel Goals!

1)  Do not expect to find things as they are at home, remember you have left home to find a new and different experience.
2) Remember, if we were expected to stay in one place, we would have been created with roots.

3) Do not let other travelers get on your nerves.

4) Remember you are a guest, and that he who treats his host with respect shall in turn be treated as an honored guest.

5) Realize that unless all respect the frailty of the Earth and are willing to help in the preservation of its unique and beautiful destinations, they may not be here for future generations to enjoy.

6) Leave only footprints. Take only photographs. Do not take away “souvenirs” from historical sites and natural areas.

7) To make your travels more meaningful, educate yourself about the geography, customs, manners and cultures of the region you visit. Talk with and listen to the local people.

8) Respect the privacy and dignity of others. Inquire before photographing people.

9) Do not buy products made from endangered plants or animals, such as ivory, tortoise shell, animal skins, and feathers. Read “Know Before You Go,” the U. S. Customs list of products which cannot be imported.

10) While you are away, look around you and you will realize when you get home – just how truly lucky you are!

Travel is a natural right of all people and is a crucial ingredient of world peace and understanding.

With that right comes responsibilities.

My blog today comes with grateful recognition and thanks to Ya’lla Tours – Let’s Go!


Ya’lla Tours USA encourages the growth of
peaceful tourism and responsible travel.

Been There!

I had two comments thrown at me this past week that have given me much cause for thought.  Not rude or unkind comments.  Not at all.  But comments suspiciously close to some that I may well have made in the past…. Unthinking, and most definitely, ignorant.  What in part has caused my consternation is neither of the people who made these comments is uneducated or un-traveled. If anything, the opposite.  So what were they?  And why might I have had those same thoughts?
The first was in relation to my enthusiastic telling of our recent trip to Jamaica.  “Oh, we’ve been there and we didn’t much care for it.”  Was the response.  I replied, “Where did you go and when was that?” “On our honeymoon, in the late 70’s and we went to Montego Bay and tried to hire a car…. They were most unfriendly!”
The second comment, or series of comments, came as I was trying to help a client plan a trip to Europe.  As I listed several countries I thought they might enjoy visiting, the reply was most often “I’ve been there” and implied was the thought that to go again would be at best boring and at worst, a waste!
Life where I live doesn’t stand still and while I know that there are places where time does seem to move slower, I seriously doubt that things have not changed in these countries around the world.  Politics change, economics change, villages disappear, cities grow, even the seasons and geography change!  Not least, one’s own perspective and circumstances change.  Time to look again at those places you visited so long ago.
As for “been there-done that” approach to traveling…. That is about as much like corresponding via Facebook is to a hand written letter or like a smorgasbord is to a 5-course candlelit meal served by a white-gloved waiter!  Of course, there is some value to having “tasted” a country, hit the high-spots and have the photos to prove it, (especially when it comes to being one up on the neighbors) but I would suggest that now it is time to try a different kind of vacation in that country.  From my own experience, I grew up in one of the most exciting tropical safari destinations in the world and even though we took many opportunities to enjoy our own country, there remain places that I have yet to explore.  And many I long to return to!
Fortunately, I have other clients who have a different approach to their traveling.  They are the ones who see with their hearts as well as their eyes.  Whose ears listen for deeper sounds and who use more than one sense to taste and experience.  Like one, who on a second trip to Africa, looking forward to seeing the Big 5 again, suddenly became aware of the vibrancy and variety of birdlife all around.  She eschewed the enormous elephant in favor of the little bee-eater and has returned an avid bird watcher! Now she’s saving for a more powerful camera and better binoculars and of course, the next trip!


There is a process to any successful travel. It starts with an idea, some say inspiration, I call it dreaming. I dream and dwell on images of a place that appeals, then I ponder some more and pursue information, stories, and even more photographs slowly building a picture in my mind. Eventually this must lead to some decisions, usually involving some debating and discussions as to the possibilities, the timing, the cost, the gain. Then comes the planning and the dream has moved from ephemeral to something I can get my arms around. It becomes a goal and as I plan and pursue, it will become a reality. Never scoff at your dreams, they are as real as you are! Sometimes they will lead to the first place, sometimes a different place and often times a better place.


This new journey in my life began with a journey. We left our home, our land, our continent of generations (my ancestors had arrived in the Cape of Good Hope in the late 1600’s) and began a new journey in the United States. It was time for lots of new things – new foods, new words, new friends, new ways of looking at things – and for me, a new career. After years and years in the world of classical ballet, I embraced with increasing delight my passion for travel. To discover new places, new cultures and new ways of sharing that.

In time Lazy Lizard Travel was born. I’ve always had the “travel bug” badly, so it seemed poetic to choose some kind of creature and the lizard was the obvious choice for me! I always seek the sunniest patch wherever I find myself. I love to bask. And I love to watch and observe – and pretend I’m not. And just like the lizard can change (especially the chameleon) to suit his surroundings – I can too! I can don pith helmet and explore like the best of them but you might also find me dressed to the nines, champagne glass in hand and enjoying the latest live Production! The next best thing to experiencing that all myself is to send others to enjoy it. I love to excite them with the adventure of travel and being of curious nature and enthusiastic about learning and new experiences, that is exactly what I set out to do. I believe that all travel should not only refresh and recharge but also educate and enlighten. That is my goal as I plan all my travel whether for my own pleasure or yours!

And hence to this journey…. I love all there is about travel (well maybe not airports, but that’s for another post!), I love to help others plan their travel and I love to share that love with others. And so it’s time now to put “pen to paper” so to speak, and write about all the wonderful places we can discover in our wonderful world! I hope you enjoy these stories and accounts almost as much as you enjoy your own travels…..

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