Sunday, May 29, 2011

Staycation... the best golf in the world.

Biffo was at it a couple of years ago, and now Enda and Failte Ireland are at it too.

"Don't go on holiday abroad and spend your money," they cry - "stay at home and give our flagging, hopeless, doomed economy a boost."
So I'm doing my bit and suggesting to all you lovely Irish golfers out there, that you don't go to Spain, Portugal, Turkey or other high-fallutin' places - stay at home and get yourselves to some of the world's best courses that are, quite literally (thanks to the NRA's road network) just down the road.
[Photo: Now that's a smile. Who needs scantily clad air hostesses when
you could be looking at a smile like that]

Why risk the threat of volcanic ash clouds, the hell of Ryanair flights (and no Rosanna Davison to occupy your time, not even on the Ryanair calendar) and the ungodly fear that your golf clubs might be busted and broken while they're in the plane's hold, or being used for kicking practice by the ground staff. Or gone missing. Yes, that precious Odyssey putter, that brand new Taylormade R1 driver or those special, very comfortable shoes might never be seen again. What would you do? You'd shed a tear and spend a week moping about with golf clubs that don't love you back, with feet so blistered that you're screaming in agony from the top of your backswing to the 18th green. And are you really going to get a decent pint of Guinness away from these shores? Add to that the fact that you have to drive on the other side of the road and the drive back to the hotel after 15 pints of non-Guinness alcohol becomes a seriously tricky proposition.

What a waste of a holiday. And to think it could all be so different if you simply stayed at home...

Irish hotels are cheap (or cheaper at least), offering deals left, right and centre, or you can rent a house for the week if there's a gang of you. Here are two websites to get you started, but I'm sure someone, somewhere will know of a holiday cottage/second home they can borrow. You probably own one yourself!

And who knows, in no time at all you could be playing across the lush fairways of Adare, Lough Erne, Druid's Glen or Concra Wood, or through the dunes at Waterville, Doonbeg, Enniscrone, The European or Narin & Portnoo.
[Photo: views from the 11th green at Narin & Portnoo]

Oh, I know you're sitting there just waiting to play the 'weather' card. You reckon that trumps everything, don't you! But I think you've probably gathered that our weather patterns these days are, in a word, unpredictable. Look at April... not a drop of rain, and sunshine almost every day. June is shaping up to be a belter and I've arranged for perfect skies in July when I'm up in Sligo/Mayo. So forget that foreign stuff and take a golfing odyssey to some of our great, great courses, experience our glorious landscapes and enjoy Irish friendliness and a few pints of plain when you settle down at the bar. Trust me, Ireland might be a small island in a great big ocean, but even here 'what goes on tour stays on tour'... unless, of course, the girl sitting next to you at the bar is your best friend's sister's boss's neighbour's hairdresser. And we all know how easily that can happen!

So, as my contribution to Ireland's Staycation campaign, if you want some recommendations on where to go and what courses to play, I will give you my suggestions absolutely free. Yes, that's free, gratis, not one red cent. No wonder I was never a banker.

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