Sunday, May 18, 2008

Skibbereen and Monkstown

I played Skibbereen at 6.30am, before the regular Sunday competition started (all the greens had been cut and they were superb). Not surprisingly there were no other cars in the car park. When I finished at 9.30, the car park was almost full, apart from the left hand side – empty but for one car. It was obvious why: an errant drive off 18 could easily reach. I laughed when I noticed that the lone car had a Dublin number plate – clearly not someone in the know.

A while later in the bar, some of the members were teasing Pat Murphy, who had proved my theory and sent a ball straight through the car park. At this moment in time I have yet to return to my camper van, so I’m hoping there are no new holes. [Photo: the brilliant par four 13th at Skibbereen]

The previous evening, as I approached the clubhouse, I politely asked two ladies standing outside where the locker rooms were. One pointed round the side, telling me that the men’s room was open, but the ladies’ was locked because “they heard you were coming.” I was appalled: usually I have to be in the clubhouse for 20 minutes before I get such a reaction.

Saturday had been a big match day for the ladies, with three teams in action. The two teams from Ceann Sibéal (Dingle) had come a long way, and both had lost. The ladies from Monkstown, decked out in yellow jumpers, and with good support, had won. I was talking to them afterwards, discussing their course and Bandon. I have put up a Bandon blog, but I overlooked Monkstown where, bizarrely, I met my publisher as he came in after a Classic event. Con is not really a golfer so it was very odd to see him there.

I played Monkstown early the following morning (Friday) and played the 18th with two older gents who had caught up with me. They complained about the threeball in front of them, who hadn’t let them through for several holes and only did so when they were asked – or ‘begged’ as one of them put it. As we waited on the 18th, watching two women who had cut-in look for a ball for at least five minutes, oblivious to what was behind, I empathised.

I ended up in the bar with another older gentleman, Derry, talking golf, the demise of Harbour Point and other important things – namely that the best shower at Monkstown is the third on the right! The clubhouse is fantastic with good changing rooms and a big, comfortable bar and restaurant. The course is not as ‘big’, being on the short side, but it is colourful and a lot of fun. And the downhill 3rd hole [Photo: across the 3rd fairway to Cork Harbour] is a nightmare waiting to happen if you haven’t played the course before.

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