Monday, June 23, 2008

Nenagh blasts from the past

[Photo: par 3 6th]

I arrived in Nenagh around lunchtime. I was sitting in the camper having a sandwich when I noticed a man walking past with his clubs, giving the camper a good once over. He was parked a few cars away. I carried on and shortly afterwards I was getting my stuff ready when he walked up and said hello. His name is Tom O’Connor. He is a young man (younger than me anyway) interested in the camper van as it was something he was mulling over for future holidays. We started talking, as you do, and I told him about the book. Then he asked where I played. When I said ‘Greystones’ a slow smile spread across his face.

“Do you know my dad, Louis?” he asked.

Everybody knows Louis!

Turns out that Tom grew up playing golf at Greystones – as did I – but our paths never crossed. We know the same people but he’s a few years younger than me. He also used to live down the road from where I grew up. Small, small world.

Tom had already played eight holes but came out and played the full 18 with me. Now Tom’s the kind of guy who hits the ball a mile down the middle of the fairway, but when he misses you can hear air raid sirens in neighbouring counties. That amazing ‘swoosh’ tears off the ball as it takes flight. I tried to emulate him a couple of times and lost two balls in quick succession. Nenagh is not a place to be thrashing the ball about and it’s a pretty, country parkland course that moves easily over the gentle hills, with plenty of variety and interest. Interestingly it was designed by Merrigan, who also designed Greystones (before Kirby’s redevelopment), and the bunkers felt very familiar.

We were going to grab a bite to eat but Tom got a message from his wife and had to scamper home to look after their two very young kids.

[Photo: par 5 12th dogleg left]

The clubhouse is of the older variety, a little worn around the dges and a fresh lick of paint would make all the difference. But since showers came up in my last post, the ones here actually hurt. They’re so hard it’s like being stabbed by needles. Perfect.

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