Irish golf writer & photographer. Author of ‘Hooked’, the most comprehensive guide to all 340 18-hole courses in Ireland. 3rd edition published in 2015. My second book ‘Driving the Green’, is the story of my camper van-tales that happened along the way. Published by Collins Press. I write for golf magazines and websites… if there's something you want to know about Irish golf courses/travel, drop me a line. Honoured to be writing the 2015 blog for Carne Golf Links.
All in all, it has been a positive year for
Irish golf. The professional and amateur ranks have delivered impressive performances,
golf tourism is up, course maintenance is returning to its best and struggling
golf courses have found light at the end of the tunnel. Beaufort Golf Club is
back from the brink, St Margaret’s is thriving under new management,
Rathfarnham opened its three new holes (to make it 18) and Castlemartyr was
acquired by a British businessman… something that will benefit the entire Cork
Nineteen days, 920 miles, 26 golf courses… this
day last week I rolled home with Scotland’s
North Coast 500 under my belt… done and dusted… finished… never to be
forgotten. What started out as a golfing odyssey to play these courses (Royal
Dornoch and Brora in particular) turned into something so much bigger. The
landscape is majestic, the history haunting (the Highland Clearances have
refrains not dissimilar to
The nice people at Links Golf Ireland sent me this infographic a couple of weeks ago, while I was travelling... and seeing as it's all about Scotland - and what makes the country a must-visit destination - take a look.
I hope it shows up OK and is readable on your screen/device.
The only thing I'd disagree with is the number of courses. My 'research' indicates that there are 660 courses in Scotland. Tom Coyne played golf with a man who is playing every single one of them... expect a book, soon!
Monday (yesterday) was the last day of this
amazing journey. The North Coast 500 and the Scottish Highlands in their
entirety are an enchanting and – at times – mystical place. It’s not hard to
see why the NC500 route is already so highly rated. The scenery is stunning. As
I said a couple of days ago, it’s a great driving route… especially if you’re a
passenger. But the driver gets plenty to experience, too… you’ll just need to
be prepared to pull over time and again.
It is fitting, I feel, that it rained on my
final day. I stayed at a converted croft house (some 150
I played three holes of golf today. Well,
two and a half. When you hit your wedge and you get a faceful of water, mud and
moss in your eyes and nostrils you tend to declare a course unplayable. That
was Lochcarron Golf Club. I was still spitting out the moss and dirt on the 7th.
It rained during the night. Big, big rain.
I didn’t realise until I walked out of the hotel and the road was flooded. It
was so wet it looked like the road was part of the loch alongside. I drove the
half mile to Lochcarron GC and after assessing the
Travelling around the Scottish Highlands at
the beginning of November has its upsides and its downsides… the downsides are
that the weather will probably bring rain and that a lot of places are going to
be closed for the season: hotels, restaurants, museums, tourist offices and
tourist attractions – they’re hardly going to stay open for the one or two
people who might trickle through. Many of my stops have proved