Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
There are (at least) two such events going on at the moment. If there are any more, please let me know.
The first is Topgolfer.ie which kicked off back in March and runs until September. You can play an individual event, in the hope of qualifying for the grand final at Druid’s Glen on 1st and 2nd October, or you can play as many events as you want. There are 45 in total (a bunch have already been played) and they cross the country from Westport to Arklow and from Fota Island to Enniscrone. Add in the spice of the K Club and Dromoland and the choice is, in a word, excellent
[Photo: Arklow's par four 4th]
There’s an Order of Merit, too, so if you play multiple events – as many do – you can see how you’re doing against the rest of the field (and it’s another way of getting to the grand final).
- A great range of national courses to choose from across a wide range of dates.Reduced green fees.
- Player pack stuffed with goodies.Event Prizes.
- A grand final at Druid’s Glen over 2 days.
- Only that the competition is restricted to handicaps of 9 or better (and by ‘better’ I mean lower!).
- It’s strokes, but to single handicap golfers that shouldn’t be a bother.
[Photo: Bunclody's brilliant 6th hole - a dogleg left]
Pitched as the ‘Three Majors’, there are three events that take place over the weekends of this year’s remaining majors. You can play in each one or pick the one/s you prefer. They are:
Knighstbrook on Friday 17th June (US Open)
Bunclody on Friday 15 July (British Open)
Cost: €40 Euro
Old Head of Kinsale on Thursday 18 August (US PGA)
Cost: €75 Euro
If you’re in the top three, as well as winning prizes on the day, you qualify for the final which is held at The Heritage on Friday 9 September… win that and you’re in for a serious treat:
A two night stay for four people in the La Manga Club Hotel (two twin/double rooms), including breakfast with two rounds of golf per person and two shared buggies along with VIP access to the Spa.
[Photo: par four 2nd at Old Head - it's all water left]
- Three very good courses, with Old Head being the spectacular pick of the bunch.
- You were probably planning to take the time off to watch the majors anyway.
- Reduced green fees.
- Event Prizes.
- A grand final at The Heritage in Co. Laois.
- The grand prize of Spain for three days, for four people with two rounds of golf.
- Stableford, so it’s good/open for everyone (as long as you’re GUI/ILGU/CONGU).
- €75 might sound like a lot for Old Head, but compare that with the regular €200 green fee and it's worth it for one of Ireland's most remarkable golfing experiences.
- It's getting booked up fast!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Scrabo Golf Club
Par 4 404 yards.
[Photo: Scrabo's 1st. Beautiful views to your right and a beautiful hole straight ahead]
Wherever you go there’s a certain expectation when you walk up to the 1st tee. You want to be amazed and thrilled. For many, Portstewart ranks as the best opening hole in Ireland, with its stunning views out to sea, Mussenden Temple in the distance and the amazing dunes into which you're about to head. Portstewart promises the most delicious opening drive in Irish golf, from a high tee down to a flat fairway that whips right (Sorry, no photo!).
But it is not, in my opinion, the best 1st hole.
Scrabo's 1st is awe-inspiring and terrifying. You get to see the entire hole rising above you and to fully appreciate the hole play from (or at least walk back to) the back tee. There are glorious views (better than Portstewart's) and your drive rifles up a hill flanked by razor-sharp gorse. At the top sits Scrabo Tower and the green. It’s Index 1 and it’s a brutal start that introduces you to one of the toughest inland challenges Ireland has to offer. Two mighty shots required... beware golfers firing over you from your right as you approach the green (they're playing the 3rd)
[Photo: Doonbeg's 1st on a wet day]
Other excellent opening holes:
Doonbeg's straight par five, from right in front of the bar/clubhouse, with the ocean to your left, has a green sitting dwarfed beneath a giant dune. You'll receive some very friendly (and very useful) advice from one of the Doonbeg boys as you're standing on the tee.
Ardglass's par four tees off in front of a line of canons and heads up into a pulpit of rocks beside the sea. You almost drive over the sea (to your left), so if the wind's coming in you need to have some serious guts to aim out over the water.