Friday, March 24, 2017

New Portmarnock Links Professional

The Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links (PHGL) has been making significant changes in the past two years. Large sums of money (€10M) have been pumped into the golf course and the hotel, improving and revitalising what was an already impressive golf product, and now the next stage in the resort's evolution is taking place.

Conor Russell has been appointed head professional by PHGL. This is the first time that PHGL has appointed a professional.  Conor comes to Portmarnock from Sutton GC (not far to travel, so) where he has been the professional since 2005. In his new role he will work closely with PHGL’s Director of Golf Moira Cassidy to maximise the potential of the golf offering.

From a member perspective, as well as enhancing the reputation of the golf course, a new Pro

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ladies... You're On The Tee

After last week’s plug in the Irish Golfer Digital+ magazine for the Dooks Father & Son tournament (and similar events) on 21st April, it seems only fair to give the ladies a share of the limelight.

With women’s golf growing more popular it makes sense that more events and opportunities should be dedicated to lady golfers. Ladies can play in plenty of Open events and the Atlantic Coast Challenge has certainly attracted a good crowd… but what about something a bit more focused?

1. Wild Atlantic Way Open (Carne Golf Club)

The outrageously brilliant Carne is hosting the Wild Atlantic Way Open Ladies Four Ball Championship. This inaugural event will be played on Saturday 10th June. Competitors can play a free practice round on Friday or a free follow up round on Sunday. Given that Belmullet is a little farther away than most clubs and that this is a beautiful part of the world it makes sense to take advantage. Besides, your Carne experience will really benefit from a second round.
Views over the 14th green at Carne
The event is open to lady golfers with ILGU handicaps. There is an early bird entry rate of €60 up until the 31st March. Thereafter it is €70. Accommodation packages are also available at the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, with 2 nights’ B&B costing €170pps, and 3 nights costing €210pps.
Contact: 097 82292.

2. Ladies Golf Retreat at Lough Erne

This is the 6th year of the ‘retreat’ and it is becoming a regular fixture for lady golfers who want to combine golf coaching and tournament golf on the Faldo course with the five star luxury that Lough Erne offers. The package also includes a gala dinner, lunch on arrival and a prize presentation.

Lynn McCool PGA – and Director of Golf – alongside a guest professional will run the event over four different weekends, for golfers of all abilities. This is about improving your game, fun and camaraderie.

18th & 19th April
14th & 15th May
23rd & 24th July
22nd & 23rd August

2017 also sees the first Couples Mixed Retreat, on 10th and 11th September.
Stg £220 per person sharing.
Contact (from ROI): 048 6634 5766.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Arise Rathsallagh

The resurrection of Rathsallagh restored my faith in Irish golf last year. The work done to get it back to its best was and continues to be the big story for this Co. Wicklow golf course. It was always too good to disappear for long.

There have been numerous debates about how golf will evolve in this country and the closure of nearly 20 courses in the past decade is a sign of the times. If I’m honest, I’m both surprised and disappointed that it isn’t more. For golf to thrive we need a strong membership base… not one that sees golfers switch from one club to the next, following the best low price deals. 
The 18th green and clubhouse.

It just means that a majority of our clubs are left in limbo, never quite sure what’s coming next, and struggling to make ends meet. Remove another 30 golf clubs from the 400+ stock we currently have and those remaining courses have a much better chance of survival.

Anyway, I digress. This month’s Course Feature in Irish Golfer Magazine is on Rathsallagh. Here’s the link (or pick up a copy in a golf club or newsagent near you). It doesn’t take long before you appreciate how much I like this Co. Wicklow parkland.
The par five 6th approach.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St Patrick's Day Golf

Maybe it's just me, but this year there seem to be an awful lot more Irish golf clubs running open events on St Patrick's Day (and over the weekend). Is that because it's a Friday? Is it because St Patrick's Day is becoming the traditional day that fair-weather golfers come out of hibernation? Or is it because clubs have realised that they can open up their course to visitors and - without being cynical - they can generate some cashflow?

Or is it because some of these events will be the first of the year to affect handicaps. Given that this is the GUI's month of #TheFairWay campaign it is worth noting that for every golfer who

Friday, March 10, 2017

The GUI Handicap Cheat Debate #TheFairWay

There's an impressive debate going on at the moment as the GUI's dedicated #TheFairWay campaign runs throughout March. Aimed at targeting the handicap cheats we all have a role to play in making our game fairer... every club... every golfer.

Here's an article I wrote on the matter for the Irish Examiner.

It is no easy challenge and this is undoubtedly the first step on a long path... but it's a step. If you want to take part in this debate why not leave a comment and suggest some ways to counter the (very small percentage of) cheats who are having far too much impact on our game. Come on, how do we stop them?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Matter of the Masters - Six Irish Golf Events

Sun kisses the 18th hole at Esker Hills at last year's event.
What golf nut isn't already thinking about the Masters? What golf nut isn't contemplating how they'll play their regular weekend round while ensuring they still get to watch every thrilling minute of the year's first and, for many, best Major?

May I steer you in the direction of a number of themed events, starting with From Esker Hills to

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Double Whammy for Wexford Golf

This is a short blog post. Not much more needs to be said about the front pages of our two local newspapers this week - a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Each front page centres on a depressing story about a local golf course. What is bizarre, however, is that the two papers which come out on the same day focus on a different golf course.

The par three 18th at Courtown... it's the other end of the
course that is at risk from erosion.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Irish Golf Expo... One Day Left

Shane Lowry 'playing' Pebble Beach's famous par 3.
The Irish Golf Expo is on right now – today and tomorrow (Sun 26 Feb). It’s out at Citywest Hotel, with free parking and a whole blaze of golf enterprises. I was there for three hours this morning – Shane Lowry even timed his visit to ensure that I’d be there – and a good early morning crowd gave the place a strong buzz.

For those of you havering about whether to go or not… go! Pretty