Thursday, July 24, 2008

Portadown and Silverwood

There aren’t many clubhouses where you walk in at 5pm to find SpongeBob Squarepants on the television. Yet here I was at Portadown, the day after Padraig’s monumental British Open victory, with the TV blasting cartoons at me. The audience of two girls under the age of 10 was entranced. [Photo: Portadown Par 5 17th]

As a golf club, Portadown has an easy pace, with one very flat section in the middle of the course. As a clubhouse it has some interesting quirks, with a variety of buildings scattered about. It’s easy to navigate but it’s just different.

I often find that marker distances can drive me batty. On the third at Portumna I hit my second shot 160 yards, clear over the back of the green. According to the distance marker it was 150 to the centre and I was hitting a 9 iron. Granted, it was slightly downhill, but that’s way out of my range. It happened time and again, so either I’ve beefed up or the distances are wrong, and I’m pretty sure I know which it is.

[Photo: Portadown Par 3 6th]

The afternoon took me to Silverwood. Restaurants may serve surf ‘n’ turf, hairdressers may offer cut ‘n’ snip, but how about ski ‘n’ golf? Silverwood has a par three course, an 18 hole course and a ski slope right alongside. This is a pay and play facility and it is brimming with potential. It rolls all over the place, in and out of woods, up and down, hillsides, doglegging around big trees.

[Photo: Silverwood Par 4 10th]

Yet the clientele are of the thrash ‘n’ bash variety, at least that’s what I thought until I reached 9 where I met a whippet thin teenager from Lurgan Golf Club who chatted away happily as he birdied the hole like he did it every time.

[Photo: Silverwood Par 5 1st]

With all the slopes and hillsides, this course is crying out for Christy O’Connor Junior.

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