Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Golf... Time to Get Planning

Weather be damned... golf is golf... so consider some of the competitions and offers which will be in play over the Christmas and New Year period. There are plenty of them... here is a mere handful of just 8 clubs.
If you want to find out what's on near you, take a look at the Open Fixtures tab on

Monday, December 11, 2017

Golf Gifts for Christmas 2018

Christmas... I only ever address Christmas once December arrives. The stores that have 'Christmas sections' in August or - worse - play Christmas Music in October, should be pilloried and black-balled for all eternity.

Buying golfers gifts for Christmas can be fraught with difficulty, especially if you're not a golfer. And for those non-golfers tempted to purchase some golfing novelty item, a word to the wise... DON'T. There's plenty of rubbish out there but you'll never go wrong

Video Killed the Armchair Star: New R&A Video Protocols

A working group led by The R&A and the USGA has unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of protocols for video review when applying the Rules of Golf.

And about time too! These armchair pundits, who watch their 60 inch TV HD screens almost praying that a Pro will cock up so they can report it, are now being forcibly retired. So please, please stop and just enjoy watching the bloody game.

I’d like to take credit for this new approach – seeing as the new protocol is one I had

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Carne's €100 Winter Golf Offer

Carne Golf Links introduced its Winter Deal a few weeks ago... and it's a seriously fabulous offer. Play Carne as many times as you like, from now until March 2018, for €100.  
To quote Tom Coyne, author of A Course Called Ireland, "In any string of words I might pen over the rest of my life, I might never write a more true sentence than this: Carne is absolutely brilliant. Front nine,

Monday, December 4, 2017

Volunteers Needed - Biggest Amateur Golf Tournaments in the World, at Carton House

 The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU) will host the World Amateur Team Championships (WATC) 2018 in late August and early September 2018, in Ireland. The two events will be staged at Carton House, where players will be tested on the world famous O’Meara and Montgomerie

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Golf Rush... to Ballyliffin

Next week on Tuesday (Dec 5), in the Irish Examiner, there will be an article (click for link) with lots of golf gift ideas for Christmas. One of the items on that list will NOT be a special deal for tickets for next year's Irish Open at Ballyliffin. It came through a touch too late for my Examiner piece... but it fully deserves to be included, so here goes: 

Following the huge success of this year’s event at Portstewart, the 2018 Dubai Duty

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Question of a Captain’s Courtesy

Did anyone see the TripAdvisor review of Worplesdon Golf Club, in England, left by the Captain of another club? It's a few weeks ago now and if you use TripAdvisor, more fool you as the site is so easily and frequently manipulated that you could turn up at a "4 star hotel" and find it more closely resembles a horse stable.

The Captain's letter (see the link in the Comment below) once again demonstrates how idiotic golfers can be and how we - as golfers - are all made to look like stuck-up jerks as a result.

The scenario is simple: a Captain of a south west English club decided to play three golf courses in Surrey. He makes the calls to arrange the rounds and looks for ‘courtesy’ (i.e. a freebie) of the course for himself. Of the three clubs, two grant him that courtesy… but one doesn’t. So he goes on to TripAdvisor to rant about how disgraceful this is.

First question: what’s your immediate reaction to this?

There are generally acknowledged protocols that club Captains – Presidents, too – have access to courses on a courtesy basis in the year in which they are Captain. Sometimes, due to the workload on a Captain in his special year, that courtesy is moved to the following year… thereby allowing him/her the opportunity to take advantage. But – and this is an important ‘but’ – such a courtesy does not have to be extended. Expecting it is presumptive and plenty of clubs have their reasons for not offering such a courtesy. Imagine how many freebies a top rated course would end up providing to visiting captains. There are other considerations, too, and if you read Worplesdon’s General Manager’s well reasoned response (they are more inclined to give free rounds to charities) you’ll get the gist of the volume of ‘freebie’ requests that golf clubs can receive every year.

So the Captain is aggrieved at this perceived snub and rants on TripAdvisor about how he’s the Captain of a ‘Top 200 club’ and that the tradition of offering courtesy rounds to visiting captains must be ‘anathema to Worplesdon’. It came across as sour grapes, egotistical and childlike petulance... maybe he’s Donald Trump.

Or maybe he’s not… since he has since apologised on the site and withdrawn his comments. 

Which leads to my second question: do you even know what the courtesy policy is at your club?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Powerscourt Golf Club and 20 Years

There are lots of Irish golf clubs celebrating anniversaries this year… six are seeing in their 125th… but the age matters little to the clubs who have cause to celebrate. Ten years, 20, 25, 50… these are all opportunities to revel in a little bit of history.

This was on full display at Powerscourt a couple of weeks ago when the club launched a very impressive hardback book celebrating 20 years.  The book is not inconsequential in size, stretching to 248 pages, with hundreds of photos and contributions from many involved in the club’s evolution. It is a comprehensive piece of work. The launch, hosted by new member Craig Doyle, took place in the clubhouse with dozens present, including the Slazenger family. Indeed, the book is dedicated to Dr Michael Slazenger, the man who started the club on the grounds of the Powerscourt Estate. As speeches were made the sun lit up the two courses outside the windows, showing off the autumn colours and where the trees felled by Ophelia had long since been cleared away. This is a strong club with both courses embraced by ancient trees. Ophelia managed to snatch just five and will merit only a mere mention in a future chapter as the club looks forward to its next 20 years.

This is a major piece of work involving dozens of people and contributions from every sector, every age, every aspect of both the golf club and the estate itself. One of the members, Colman O’Neill, a stalwart from the earliest days, has amassed some 3,000 images of the club and roughly 70% of the images in the book are his.
Other clubs celebrating 20 years in 2017 include Esker Hills, Galgorm Castle, Newbridge, East Clare, and – hard to believe – Old Head. Clubs which have reached the quarter of a century milestone are Roe Park, St. Margaret’s, Waterford Castle, Charlesland, Castle Barna and Slieve Russell. 
Charlesland celebrated their anniversary with a series of golf events… but, more telling, the year also saw the completion of a €1 million investment in the course which saw a short game academy introduced and two new holes.
Views up the Powerscourt East 10th from the clubhouse
No clubs are celebrating a centenary in 2017, while the 9-hole Dunmore, in Clonakilty, is the lone club with 50 years to its name.

Congratulations to all at Powerscourt Golf Club and on the publication of 'Celebrating 20 Years'.