Monday, September 17, 2018

Golf in Vilamoura - the Dom Pedro Story

Who doesn’t revel in the joy of playing golf in Portugal? As our Aer Lingus plane banked and began its approach over the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which separates the coast from the sea, every golfer on board peered out a window, straining to see a flag, a green, a golf course. That is one of the joys of the Algarve: there are close to 40 golf courses along this southern stretch of Portugal and there’s a whopping great conglomerate of them not far from Faro.
Dawn flight on Aer Lingus
Vilamoura is one of Europe’s capitals of golf and the Dom Pedro Hotels and Golf Collection has a certain swagger to it as it boasts five golf courses in close proximity to

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Druids Glen Aviva Family Tournament

Views back up the par five 5th on Druids Glen
On Tuesday 28th August, a pair of family members could be playing the majestic Druids Glen, in Co Wicklow... in a tournament that will undoubtedly prove to be a big hit. This is the first year of the Aviva Family Fourball, but it's unlikely to be the last. This sort of format will be a huge draw as will the opportunity to play one of Ireland's best parkland courses.

The prize details, format (shotgun start), cost and contact details are all outlined on the poster below so take a look, think of that family member who you haven't spoken to in years but you know is a really handy golfer...  and give them a bell.

Everything about Druids Glen is fabulous and if you need to stay overnight, then the Druids Glen Resort has been enjoying a substantial makeover and expansion in recent years.

The famous par three 12th

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Arklow to host 2018 Mellon Educate Charity Event

The Mellon Educate 3rd Annual Golf Classic will be played at Arklow Golf Club on Friday 31st August. Tee times are available between 11.50am and 3.20pm.

I've played in this the past two years and the four person Scramble format makes it huge amounts of fun. The team I was in last year won the event with a ridiculous score of 13 under, but it was never less than a blast playing with a group of friends for a good cause.

The event is run by Darren Murray who volunteers for Mellon Educate and all funds raised go towards the charity. A team of 4 costs €120. The details, with some additional images, are below.

Arklow is an under-appreciated links course with some particularly good par threes and that naturally chaotic, bumpy terrain... so visible in the pic below of the 5th below. It also has some excellent bunkering... as seen in the image below that.

It's a great day out, there are plenty of prizes and you're helping a good cause. What more could you ask for!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Driving Through The Drought: Greenkeeper Challenges

The par four 15th at Dromoland Castle
It rained yesterday. Real rain. It didn't last long but it was something few of us had seen in Ireland for over 10 weeks. In this country that's a drought and the hosepipe bans introduced 3-4 weeks ago confirmed it.

People worry about their gardens, washing their car or taking a shower rather than lounging in a bath but what about our golf courses? Carnoustie was playing faster than any course in history, according to the

Friday, July 13, 2018

Open Weeks... Slieve Russell for €30

Of all the Top Tier Irish golf courses out there, Slieve Russell offers some of the best value going. And with Open Week starting this Sunday (15th July) you can play this Paddy Merrigan-designed beauty for just €30. That's an irresistible price - seriously!

Here are the details and some photos to inspire you to make a booking. The course opened in 1992 and has matured spectacularly over the Co. Cavan rolling landscape.

The full set of my Slieve Russell images is here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Greystones Golf Club Open Week 2018

The par three 1st - a surprisingly tricky start. (Photo
from Monday afternoon)
In my opinion, you won’t play on better greens this year. Yes, that’s a spectacular claim with the DDF Irish Open in full swing at Ballyliffin (and I played Ballyliffin’s Glashedy links on Wednesday), but I also played Greystones on Monday and the greens are running fast… scratch that… they’re like lightning. The current weather has given the course that crispy, dry feel but the greens here are always one of the club's key features, so it's not like the perfect putting surfaces are down to the recent weeks of sunshine.

And with Open Week only a few days away, you can experience my home club’s greens as well as the course where Paul Dunne played as a youngster and continues to play today.

It is a par 69 and while many think that makes it a short or easy course… don’t! Greystones will test you with its two different nines and its stand-out holes: 
Front Nine
Holes 4, 6, 7 and 8 make the front nine the more exciting and shapely of the two - the holes loop around Jones' Hill overlooking the sea and with views across to Bray Head and beyond. The picture below is of the 5th green, taken from the 6th tee. Look at those tiers! (And there will be a few tears on this hole, that I can promise you.)
Photograph from Monday afternoon
Back Nine
Holes 10, 13, 15 and 16 deliver the greatest impact on the back nine which is a more rhythmic and calmer routing through the trees. That said, I have always enjoyed the 17th (pic below) as it throws in a really tough hole late in the day. Water lies short of the shallow green and you need to be inch perfect to avoid that, as well as the bunker behind.
Ring 01-2874136 or check online at 

Entry fee is a mere €20 and this includes entry into the twos... and with five par threes you'll have plenty of chances!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lough Erne – offers and events this summer

The current issue of Irish Golfer Magazine includes an article reviewing Lough Erne. Three golfers joined me in April to assess the course and there were some interesting observations. Here’s a link to the article.
The walkway to the 1st hole at Lough Erne.

If you fancy some golf on a big and plush parkland (lakeland) course, the resort is running a variety of offers and competitions. Don’t say you don’t have ample opportunity… and the restaurant in the hotel is sensational - it really is something very special indeed.

2-BALL SUMMER OFFER- From only £99
4-BALL SUMMER OFFER- From only £195

Experience championship golf this Summer on The Faldo Course with a luxury overnight stay at Lough Erne Resort and indulgent breakfast the following morning with use of the

Monday, July 2, 2018

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Qualifier concluded

The battle is over... but the war has just begun! All 122 Irish Open hopefuls arrived at Rosapenna (Sandy Hills), looking for one of four berths to play in the main event this week... not to mention a winner's cheque for €6,000. They had perfect links conditions but the cream still rose to the top as Simon Thornton, Neil O'Briain, Colm Moriarty and Cian McNamara claimed their Dubai Duty Free Irish Open places.

PGA in Ireland regional manager, Michael McCumiskeyJohn Casey, Director,
Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort, Cian McNamara
Colm Moriarty,
Neil O'BriainSimon ThorntonRosapenna 2018 captain, Liam Breen.

Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) edged out Neil O'Briain (Old Conna GC) on the