Saturday, May 20, 2017

All aboard... Portstewart Golf Club and The Irish Open

The 2nd hole - a short but daunting par four.
Wednesday last (17th May) marked 50 days until the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club... which tees off on Thursday 6th July.

The event, as part of the Rolex Series, has raised the profile of this Co. Londonderry golf course considerably. Set on the magnificent Causeway Coast, the golf club boasts three courses but

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What drives your golfing year? Try the Atlantic Coast Challenge

Approach to Carne's 17th hole. A tough, tough par four.
As a golfer what’s the one thing you look forward to most in the year? There must be something, right!

The hour going forward? The first day of The Masters? Your first tee shot, whether it’s January or June? That holiday abroad? Or the arrival of your new driver? More than likely, it’s a combination of more than one of these things.

For me, over the past six years, it has been the anticipation of playing in the Atlantic Coast Challenge (ACC). The three-day tournament (3-5 July) plays over Carne, Co.

Friday, May 12, 2017

ShopRite Twitter Poll... Philogyny or Phooey?

Sharmila Nicollet
Shopping around for the most attractive female golfers signals a new low.

In the first week of June, lady Professional golfers will play the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, in Galloway, New Jersey. There will be 144 Pros competing for $1.5 million.

As with most of these events there are sponsor invitations. The tournament organisers announced last week that they would give a slot to one of four ladies based on a Twitter vote. This is the first time a player has been selected this way.

Yes, I’m being serious. Forget merit, this is all about social media popularity.

How do you feel about that? Is it good for golf? Are we embracing the social media age

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Roar for Rory: Kids and the Irish Open

When Rory stuck his oar in to refresh the Irish Open, some three years ago, none of us realised quite how big a boat he was planning to row. The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is rolling into town in two months’ time and the expectations are high. In 2015 (Royal County Down) and 2016 (K Club) visitors and even those who were intrigued by his involvement, that of his Rory Foundation and the lead sponsor Dubai Duty Free, have seen a tournament go from strength to strength. It didn’t hurt that last year, when Rory won in such scintillating style, he donated all of his winnings to the charities being supported by The Rory Foundation.
2017 is the ‘biggest’ year yet. There’s a music stage, there’s a superb links course,

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Much Ado About Membership

A view of Mount Wolseley's 4th hole.
The level of doom and gloom in Irish golf is fluctuating. The hard hit, small courses - particularly those in the country - remain a bit down-trodden while the bigger courses, the resort courses and the links are seeing far rosier horizons. For those small clubs the decline in membership is a significant factor. They don't enjoy the same level of green fee visitors or corporate outings as the their bigger siblings, leaving it to golf societies to provide much needed additional income. At least the popularity of society outings is once again on the rise providing an important fillip for those clubs where membership has tumbled by 20-30%.

The membership dilemma is a tricky one. There are Pros and Cons to the argument... and I wrote a piece for the Irish Examiner earlier this week which lists 12 Pros and 5 Cons. There were actually 6 Cons, but one had to be removed as I do tend to waffle on! I've added this below. A link to the article is here (please click).
Bearna Golf Club, just west of Galway city.
Con 6. Lifestyle. Because of lifestyle and family/work commitments some golfers never know where their next round is coming from and that can make membership hard to justify. Similarly golfers in the 20-40 age bracket may find that their career takes them to different locations around the country (or world) so basing themselves at one club is not worthwhile.   

And if you are interested in membership... may I direct you to the mygolfmembership.ie website where you can get an initial grasp of what just about every club is asking for.

I have yet to see any 'summer membership specials' so if you know of any, please let me know.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Engaging with the Future of Golf for the Northern Ireland Open

Galgorm Castle Golf Club
In perfectly timed symmetry - and by sheer coincidence - Modest! Golf issued a press release that dovetailed with my rant against the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey, next month. Essentially the people running the US tournament have decided to issue one sponsor invitation based on a beauty contest. I'm not kidding. That is utterly the wrong way to promote golf. The right way to promote golf, on the other hand, is the Modest! Golf way and I applaud them for their approach. They will invite the leading Under 18 player to compete in the Northern Irish Open (10-

Friday, April 28, 2017

Scotland's Best Golf Holes - The Poll Results

The famous Postage Stamp at Royal Troon
It was smart work on the part of VisitScotland, Scotland’s tourism body… by appreciating what a sensational golf product they have, they decided to give golfers everywhere the opportunity to vote for their best golf holes. We all love to have an opinion about the best golf courses and golf holes so VisitScotland decided to put it to the test. Over 3,000 people responded, choosing holes in seven categories:

1 Best Golf Hole
2 Best Opening Hole
3 Best Closing Hole
4 Best Par 3
5 Best Par 4
6 Best Par 5
7 Best View

Each category came with a list of the usual shortlisted suspects, plus the option to

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Golfshake Podcast and Irish Golf

A couple of days ago I did a podcast with Golfshake, in the UK. The podcast is hosted by Kieran Clarke and Owen Davies and I had been invited on to talk about golf in Ireland – and West of Ireland Golf and the Irish Open in particular.
Portstewart plays host to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (6-9 July)
There were technical glitches at my end – my broadband dropped several times, including just as I was being introduced which left Kieran and Owen to fill in and then re-introduce me – but we had a grand chat about the state of golf in Ireland and the buzz around our national Open.

Co Sligo Golf Club is part of West of Ireland Golf.
There’s a few minutes of chat between Kieran and Owen at the star, regarding the tour wins this past weekend, and what’s interesting about that is Bernd Wiesberger‘s victory…  I reckon he is a great tip for the Irish Open.


What is Golfshake?

Golfshake is an online community of golfers who want to play more and play better. The online score tracker and mobile apps allow golfers & societies to track their scores, stats & golf handicaps to analyse and benchmark their game as well as providing an online resource of tips & tuition to aid them on their quest to play better golf.  The course & travel section provides a hub for golfers wanting to play more through use of the online search tools, reading independent reviews and accessing golf travel features and destination guides. Additionally Golfshake provides online news, reviews & features for all things golf.