Monday, October 24, 2016

The Magnificent Six

Swans causing slow play at Rathfarnham... tsk!
It’s not often you get to visit six Irish golf courses in a day… the fact I was trying to make it to seven is beside the point… but needs must. And visiting Ireland’s finest is hardly a hardship. A 550 km tour from Wexford-Dublin-Baltray-Mullingar-Kinnegad-Dublin-Wexford.

Here are some photos from the tour:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Irish Golf News October 2016

Views to the MacGillycuddy's Reeks from the 17th
green on Killarney's Killeen Course
There have been numerous interesting developments in recent weeks as the summer/autumn golfing season begins to wind down. No question, we’ve had a great couple of weeks and for those lucky enough to have been on the golf course, many have been basking in sunshine. It should inspire the warm-weather golfers to keep going a bit longer.

Here are a few bits and pieces worth talking about:

Ryder Cup 2016... Questions and Blame Game

Who among us doesn't love the Ryder Cup? Seriously, if ever golf needed to stir passions all the powers-that-be need to do is look at and learn from the Ryder Cup. Every hole is a win or lose scenario... if only the Olympics would pay attention. This is the way to show the world what golf is all about.

True, a portion of the American fans proved PJ Willett 100% right, which is an omen of things to come. Those powers-that-be need to do something to stop the craziness because someone's going to get hurt. Stop serving alcohol at 7.30am perhaps?

I've written two articles in recent days - one for the Irish Examiner and one for the weekly online Irish Golfer Digital+. The Examiner piece focuses on the desire of the golfing world and media to generate a 'Blame Game' mentality. All the reasons for potential failure and who's to blame get lined up like dominoes... just waiting to be knocked down as soon as the winning putt drops.

The other article is more tongue-in-cheek and addresses some 'questions' which get me riled up about the Ryder Cup... such as WAGS, merchandise, slo-mos and mashed potatoes.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ryder Cup - an A to Z

I wrote a piece on the Ryder Cup for yesterday's Irish Examiner... it's an A-Z of facts and moments. It was fun to research and revealing too... who knew a replica Ryder Cup waterproof outfit by Galvin Green would set you back €900!

Here's the link:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ireland's 100 Best Golf Holes 2016

Yes, it had to happen... and happen it did in the current issue of Irish Golfer Magazine. A list of Ireland's Best 100 Golf Holes has been published and the nit-picking has begun. Is anyone surprised? No, of course not. Everyone has their favourites... which is as it should be.

The list was devised by Ally McIntosh (golf course architect) and me (gobby, opinionated golf writer) and after reducing over 7,000 holes to a mere 200 the real work began. It is frustratingly tough to get to that 100 number. Several of my favourite holes didn't make the cut for one reason or another - Druid's Glen par three 8th, Athlone's par four 13th,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cruden Bay Photoshoot - Day 2

The bar at the White Horse Inn, Balmedie.
A 5am start is bad enough without the hotel fire alarm going off at 1.30am.

We all sulked out of our rooms, muttering and then we waited for the fire brigade. At least they were quick (15 minutes) and in and out in another five. The lead fireman was none too pleased with the resident of the offending room.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Cruden Bay Photoshoot - the joys of Scotland

Five minutes… that’s all it takes to be immersed in the beauty of the Scottish countryside. Heather falls like a shawl over the shoulders of mountains, flooding between the pines as the road winds along the valley floor. Cairnryan Port is left behind, to the south, and now the five hour journey to Aberdeen begins.
The 4th hole at Cruden Bay - a gem of a par three.
It’s a long drive, especially with the additional three hours from Wexford to Belfast, but this is all about the beauty of Scotland… and the convenience of having your own car. An Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Aberdeen would have been simpler, no question, but the convenience of having your own car makes it worthwhile. Besides, I wouldn’t have fit the ladder on the plane.

This is a photography job – my first outside Ireland – and trying to figure out what to take and what not to take on the plane was doing my head in. The ferry was the obvious answer and the ladder fits easily in the car boot.
Approach to the par five 6th. Under 500 yards... but Index 1. Yep,
it's a brute to get at the green.
After the heather-strewn glens the road drops down to the ocean and Ailsa Craig makes its presence known… and that means only one thing… Turnberry is a few miles ahead. But that’s another story.

It was 7pm by the time I arrived at Cruden Bay Golf Club, north of Aberdeen, and the sun was out. I met Les Durno, the General Manager, and he took me out on the course, to the well loved 4th hole. There’s only one buggy here… for the Ranger... so do what you’re supposed to do on a golf course, and walk.
The panorama from the clubhouse bar - whets the appetite, eh!
"From June 4th we’ve had rain every day… for 66 days in a row,” he told me, pointing out the lush, silky fairways. “Golfers are complaining it’s too green!

As a photographer, I certainly wasn't.

My room for the night is at the White Horse Inn, in Balmedie, halfway between Cruden Bay and Aberdeen. The bar and restaurant are really rather chic  and funky. I’ll get a pic up on here tomorrow. For now – it’s a 5am start so I’m hitting the sack.

Concra Wood Winner

Gerard Doolan... you're the man with a shiny ball marker/medal coming your way. Drop me a 'Comment' with your address and I'll send it on.

Thanks to all who entered. Be sure to pay Concra Wood a visit in Co. Monaghan