Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
It is a tale of loss and regret... and no, not the latest Chick Lit by Cecelia Ahern (about her Dad, probably. Plenty of loss in that story, to the tune of billions)... this tale of loss concerns a virus wiping my desktop and consigning photographs of 30 Northern Ireland courses to the ether. Ballycastle, Dungannon, Gracehill, Roe Park, Moyola Park were among them, as were the three greats of Castlerock, Portstewart and Royal Portrush. There there one minute; gone the next.
Still, 4000 photos is probably a record - of some kind.
And with 70 courses still to go, there are lots of reasons to keep playing golf across this beautiful island of ours.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
I played with a great bunch of guys who flew in this morning from the US to begin a pilgrimage west, playing some of the most exhilarating links we have to offer, from Royal Portrush across to Carne. I am seething with envy at the courses they have yet to play. I hope the rain stays away, the sun is a constant companion and the wind is little more than a guiding hand. Good luck fellas.
I shall write more in due course but I am toast and need my bed. Here are a few photos that show off the beauty of the links, and the not-so-beauty of my playing companions.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Take a look
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Yourgolftravel.com are taking the world by storm it seems. Everywhere I look there's talk about them, promotions by them, emails in my inbox, retweets on Twitter...
They're savvy, that's for sure, and this current promotion is a no-brainer. All you have to do is fill in the entry form at http://www.yourgolftravel.com/cleveland and you're in with a chance to play golf with McDowell and Lowry, right after the Irish Open at glorious Royal Portrush.
What Yourgolftravel will do with the info I don't know, but what does it matter if you get a few mailings... it's worth it for the opportunity, right!
And that's not the only prize - this is from the website:
Your Golf Travel has teamed up with Cleveland Golf and Srixon to offer a very lucky golfer the chance to play golf with Graeme McDowell & Shane Lowry on Monday 2nd July 2012. This once in a lifetime experience will start with being whisked away to watch the final day's play at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, accommodation on the Sunday night, followed by playing with the 2010 US Open Champion and former Irish Open winner Shane Lowry. Also if that wasn't enough the lucky winner will also get a set of Cleveland Irons and Wedges to be custom fitted at their Centre of Excellence in the UK.
I'm not about to quibble (I entered yesterday), but it doesn't indicate when the closing date is, and I'm not 100% convinced about how much golf you'll be playing with the two Irish stars - it says a 'round of golf' which would be incredible... or will they be standing on different par threes, demonstrating their prowess to you and every one else who's attending that day (as happens so often at sponsors' days). If it's the former, is that not the prize of a lifetime? And a hell of a lot better that a two week prize to the Bahamas or a sports car... for a golfer at least. Your non-golfing spouse might be less convinced.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
A few months back I wrote a blog on the different Irish Golf Challenges that take place around this great island. Some go back 30 – 40 years, while others are much younger. I played in the inaugural Atlantic Coast Challenge in July 2011, and it was three days of pure bliss. Carne, Co. Sligo and Enniscrone are among the best links in the country… if you happen to have my book, look up the scores… and easily make my top ten.
Yes, there are other Challenges, but here you’re talking about three supremely exciting golf courses, each as good as the other two and in beautiful locations.
But on this blog you might not even have to pay that, because the Atlantic Coast Challenge organisers have given me a FREE line, worth €405, to give away to one lucky winner… you can even choose what time to play (subject to availability).
How To Enter
All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog, with your name.
So click the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of this blog and choose the ‘Name’ option, so you can leave your name! That's all.
If the prize isn’t claimed within two weeks, another winner will be selected. Please note that there is no cash alternative.
Links to Websites
If you’re flying in from Europe, Knock Airport is very close by (County Sligo) and flies to 11 destinations in Great Britain and a further 20 in Europe. Check out the map here
From the US, it has to be Shannon or Dublin.
Cars can be hired from all three.
These are general recommendations and pulled from a Failte Ireland search. I have stayed in only a couple of them, so dig around and you’ll find everything from self-catering to 4 star hotels.
Ballina (Between Carne and Enniscrone)
Ice House Hotel is close to the centre and very fancy indeed
Something v. special: Mount Falcon
And drop in to Murphy's pub on the River Moy for a superlative pint and atmosphere (it’s also on the way to Enniscrone Golf Club).
Belmullet (i.e. Carne Golf Club’s home town)
I stayed at the Broadhaven Bay hotel which is just before you get to Belmullet itself and 5 minutes from the golf course.
Several years ago I stayed in a self-catering cottage in Enniscrone and it’s a good solution if there are several of you.
The big town and therefore has the most choice – here are just a few:
Sligo Park Hotel is a few minutes out of town and was a very comfortable venue when I stayed here a couple of years back.
And there’s the Radisson Blu
The Glass House is in the town centre
Where to eat?
All three clubhouses serve good food and last year we found that a big breakfast and a late afternoon, post-round meal was more than sufficient… and left room for a couple of pints later on.
So what are you waiting for? Enter away, and be sure to tell your friends (on the condition they invite you, of course).
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I mean, think about it! You bring your other half… and even your family… and you leave them to explore the market, all that organic food, live jazz, a great bite to eat… and you go off and play a superb golf course. Quid pro quo. You’ll even get to wave to your family as you sail by in your buggy on the way to the 10th tee. Hey, it’s Easter Sunday – it’s all about family.
[Photo: approach to the 18th green]
Yes, that was my plan… until I discovered that the Food Market was last Sunday, and not this Sunday.
So, I’m scuppered… but if you’re looking for somewhere to play this Easter weekend, be sure to consider Macreddin. Let’s forget that it’s a quality course, designed by Paul McGinley… in a beautiful Wicklow-wooded-valley-distant-views-and-picture-perfect-river location… with some of the best holes in the country (try the 5th and the 12th). No, let’s look at the green fees, which are at a special price for the weekend.
A fourball will cost you exactly €80 – so €20 per person. For an extra tenner each you can get a buggy, which is probably recommended. And if you don’t have a four, it will work out at €25 each… hardly an enormous increase when you consider that for twice the price you can play courses half as good.
And if you don’t choose to play Macreddin… well, wherever you end up playing this weekend, I hope you enjoy it.
By the way, the Macreddin market is on the first Sunday of every month.