Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Adare Adare

I wake up and it’s raining. Two weeks of glorious sunshine are forgotten in a heartbeat. I’m about to play the Irish Open venue and it’s raining. In June.

I’m parked in Adare Manor Golf Club as Adare Golf Club didn’t want me parking overnight. No problem, as the clubs are a few hundred metres apart – in fact the 3rd tee at Adare Manor and the 15th at Adare are practically joined.

[Photo: view over the 14th green to the ruined Abbey on Adare Manor Golf Course]

Just to clarify the differences in name: Adare Manor Golf Club ( is the old course (1900), while Adare Golf Club, which is home to Adare Manor itself, hosts the Irish Open and is the ‘big’ course. Confusingly, the web address is [Photo: par 4 14th at Adare]

So I drive the 500 metres only to discover at Adare Golf Club’s Security Hut that I have a puncture. As a quick aside, this is my third puncture in under a week. I had one at Limerick Golf Club last Thursday, and when I replaced it with the spare I discovered that had a puncture too – a slow one. I ended up driving home to Wexford for the long weekend stopping to pump up the tyre every 40 minutes.

It was too wet to change the tyre at the clubhouse, so I left it hoping that things might be better by the end of my round.

I got to the tee just as three Scots teed off and they invited me to play along. I happily accepted, a) because they were Scottish, and b) because it was raining. They were in buggies and the course’s Starter, Pat, took my trolley and left it back in the pro shop. I might add that when he heard I had a puncture he said to get the pro shop to call a local guy, Tom, who would come and fix it. That’s what I call customer service. So I ended up playing with Tommy, Jamie and Ian, all members at West Kilbride Golf Club, 20 odd miles from Royal Troon on the west coast.
[Photo: Tommy tees off at the all-water par 3 16th... he didn't make it!]

Did you know that the word ‘Scotch’ can only be used when talking about whisky or those rather revolting Scotch eggs. Sadly, you can’t ‘go Scotch’, the same way you can ‘go Dutch’ at restaurants. And Scotch whisky leaves out the ‘e’ that you get with Irish whiskey. My old Geography teacher, Mr Lush, Sir, informed us that the ‘e’ is for Everything.

Back to the golf. Adare is a stunning, stunning course. It is also very tough. Yes it was raining and windy, but it is a brute if you stray into the rough because the ball just sits down in it. You could go anywhere, if you’re lucky enough to go anywhere at all. And when the water appears after four holes, it is big and dangerous. I put two in the lake at the 7th, and was too wet to play a third.

When the sun finally came out on the 10th, it showed off the course in a whole new light (no pun intended), not least because the Manor makes a big appearance on the later holes. As does the River Maigue. On 15 and 18, the fairway hugs the river a little too intimately and you can quickly tell why the 18th, a par five, is Index 2 (pictured). Tommy, who had played with the others the day before – one of their pals from West Kilbride now works at Adare and they had come over to visit him – showed me the exact spot where Richard Finch fell into the water on his way to winning the Irish Open a few weeks before. It’s not an easy hole to par, even if you play it sensibly.

It was a slow round as we were behind two other fourballs – the first one going in slow motion – so when we got back to the clubhouse I was already an hour late for my second round, at Adare Manor. And that’s when I remembered that I still had a puncture to fix. At least the sun was out. The tyre was ruined as I’d been made to drive it from the security hut to the clubhouse and the wheel rim had torn the rubber to shreds (€80 to replace it). So a personal thank you to the beareded prat in the security hut for being so unhelpful. In fact, scratch that, he wasn’t unhelpful, he was plain rude. I had to wait while he ‘made calls’ just to get past the barrier. I guess my 1989 camper van can do that to people. Fortunately, everyone else at Adare was brilliant – so thank you to Joe, Valerie and Pat and the gang in the pro shop, and also to Tommy, Jamie and Ian for the golf.

1 comment:

  1. You didn't tell me the Jobsworth had a BEARD - that explains everything!!!!

    Fabulous Admiring Motivator