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The Up and Downs of a Life in the Sky: 2022 - A Year Better Than Most

15 February, 2023
Alex Frolish

Alex Frolish has been a pilot for approaching 20 years and now travels to all corners of the globe in his role as a commercial airline pilot. His passion for flight is only equalled by his passion for golf and golf travel. Having picked up a golf club over 35 years ago when aged just 3 years old, Alex has played over 550 courses across every continent on planet earth furnished with a fairway. Over the next few months you’ll be able to follow Alex’s golfing travels as he brings you anecdotes of his life both in the air and on the course.

2022 - A Year Better Than Most

Life as a commercial pilot can seem chaotic when viewed from afar. In 2022 I flew a little over 280,000 nautical miles, crossed 800 time zones and drank approximately 100 litres of tea. Jet lag is an ever present companion and weekends at home are a novelty rather than a formality. But amongst the madness there are many benefits, the greatest of which is an ability to plan a never ending golf travel itinerary.

In 2022, I played a little over 90 rounds of golf on 72 new courses. Those courses were located in 11 different countries across 5 continents. Some of those were bucket list occupying world top 100 courses, others were £20 municipal tracks that had peeked my interest in some way. But what stitched all of these rounds together was the sense of adventure and anticipation for a new experience enjoyed.

California Golf Club of San Francisco, photo credit: Patrick Koenig

There were too many highs and lows in 2022 to possibly highlight them all. The experiences at Cal Club in San Francisco and St George’s in Toronto were utterly memorable. The twilight round amongst the towering redwood lined Mackenzie crafted holes at Northwood GC in Northern California and the dawn tee time at Sentosa in Singapore as the morning mist stirred across the Straits of Mallaca, vie for the most atmospheric. And my visit to my 500th new course at Dumbarnie Links was possibly my most significant golf travelling milestone.

However, for all of the wonderful experiences and plans fulfilled, there were those that didn’t quite go to plan. I had dreamed of a visit to North Berwick’s West Links for many years, and to arrive at the starters hut to be greeted with the news that the greens had been heavily punched the day before, was a particularly crushing blow. An unexpectedly frosty morning in South Wales resulted in a round at Pennard being played to all 18 temporary greens (which would subsequently be opened moments after we left the final hole). And due to my tuktuk breaking down en route to the course and the subsequent 40 minute sweaty walk and difficulty in renegotiating my tee time, Cosmopolitan Golf Club in Chennai, India was added to my list of clubs that would require a second attempted visit.

Pennard Golf Club, photo credit: Larry Lambrecht

The end of the year was particularly unsuccessful in respect of plans fulfilled. In December I arrived in Buenos Aires on the morning of the football World Cup final. The ensuing three day party put paid to my plans to visit Jockey Club and San Andrés Golf Club for long anticipated first time visits, but immersing myself in the plentiful celebrations softened the blow somewhat. Heavy snow and low cloud in the UK meant that the run up to Christmas was one punctuated by cancelled tee times and wistful looks through the clubhouse window. And a final trip of the year to Santiago in Chile was disrupted by public holidays that I had failed to take account of.

No plans are bulletproof and in the ever evolving world of golf travel planning, there will always be days and itineraries that don't quite work out. However I like to look forward to what lies ahead and the coming weeks are filled with plenty of planned air miles and potential rounds in the diary. I have visits to California, Oregon, India and Dubai and at home, a first time visit to Royal St George’s to come before I will write my next update. Until next time, I wish you many straight drives, well negotiated four footers and happy rounds.


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