Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Bleed Golf - A New Breed of Golf Website

There are plenty of people out there who are mad passionate about the game of golf… but there can’t be many interviews that start like you’ve arrived in time for an AA meeting:

Hello, my name is Steve, and I am a golf addict.”

I first heard about Steve’s I Bleed Golf website (or IBG as it is often now referred to) last year – via Twitter. At the start it was a personal golf adventure but the site rapidly gained momentum in the latter half of 2012. I asked him about IBG’s evolution.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Free Tralee Golf Experience (worth €400)

Arnold Palmer
Just Treats are making a push into Munster with their golf deals. Leinsterites have been enjoying all of the offers being made by this young Irish company - from heavily discounted green fees to golf lessons - so it seems only fair that Munster golfers get to benefit too. And what a way to tee it off!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Irish Golf and The Gathering

The Gathering is here for the year. 

Despite Gabriel Byrne's public misgivings on Today FM last year, and Leo Vradaker's idiotic 'he appeals to women of a certain age' comeback, The Gathering has built up some impressive momentum. 

Vradaker's comment leaves me wondering whether our Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport thinks that 'women of a certain age' are more or less likely to come to Ireland following his bizarre comment?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

LPGA Australian open: Kangaroos and Spiders

So much was made of the kangaroos that interrupted the LPGA Australian Open, on Thursday, that the news about the Black Widow spider barely made a ripple. I'm sure if it had been Karrie Webb who'd been bitten, the tabloid editors would have had pun-induced raptures, splashing it all across the back pages. But no, it was a golfer by the name of Daniela Holmqvist, a 24 year old Swedish rookie who was bitten.

The Black Widow - or Redback as it's known is Australia - injects neurotoxin latrotoxin into its victims. What does this venom do? Oh, not a lot. A headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, renal failure, coma, death. 

From what I've read, if it was a female that had bitten her, things would have been far more serious as its venom is three times more potent than the male's. 

That said, I doubt Daniela was in the position to ask what sex of spider was biting her when it attacked her leg on the 4th hole.

No spider was hurt during the taking of this photograph.
What did Daniela do? She grabs a tee and uses it to dig out the venom.

"A clear fluid came out," Holmqvist said. "It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever done but I had to get as much of it out of me as possible."

Holmqvist was checked out by medics who cleared her to carry on playing.


Friday, February 15, 2013

GolfDotz - Bringing Colour to the Game

I love new things in golf. There are people who use a little imagination and come up with novel ideas that make you think: Wow, that's cool. Why didn't I think of that? Golfdotz is one such idea.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Golf in the Algarve - Just Treats

I don't usually go plugging golf in other countries - I do after all believe that there are more than enough golf experiences on this little island to keep anyone happy for eternity - but I fell in love with the Algarve last year, courtesy of Martinhal Resort, and the offer put out today by Just Treats was simply too good not to mention. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mount Juliet - Winter Into Spring

Mount Juliet are astoundingly consistent. They've got a constant stream of events going on and they're all priced at €60. And each round rewards you on the 10th tee with a Burger. And lest we forget, Mount Juliet burgers are fairly legendary at this stage. No horse jokes please. That would be in very poor taste... unlike the burger. 

So here are the four events:

13th February (yes, tomorrow). 4 person team event, €60pp including Burger on 10th Tee

27th February (Wedn). 4 person team event, €60pp including Burger on 10th Tee

The par three 3rd green
18th March (Mon). St Patrick's Weekend Open Singles, €60pp including Burger & Pint of Guinness Mid-Strength on 10th Tee

1st April (Mon). Easter Monday Open Singles, €60pp including Burger on 10th Tee

I might even bump into you on April 1st!

For online bookings follow the link, You can also book by phone on 056-7773012 or by email via

Monday, February 11, 2013

Best Par Threes in Irish Golf

A guest blog today... from a man who likes par threes almost as much as me. Here he picks two of his favourites, both of which just happen to make my top five.

Two of the Best Par Threes in Irish Golf
By Connor Shields

I have on occasion been know to hit a wee white ball around about 180 acres of land.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Druid's Glen Package for £95 - YGT

Your Golf Travel are advertising a special deal at Druid's Glen Resort at the moment. It's aimed at GB golfers coming to Ireland (the offer is in £ Sterling), but Irish golfers can benefit from it too.
Druid's Glen. Par three 11th hole - green to tee (above the cross)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slow Play - Golf's Curse (Part 3)

We've all seen what slow play has done to the Professional game of golf. Five, six hour rounds are not unheard of and, after the furore that arose a week and a half a go when Tiger won (and played the last 9 holes in over 3 hours thanks to those ahead of him), the USGA are now 'actively' looking at ways to improve pace of play in the Pro game.

But what about the amateur game? Unfortunately the news is little better. The website conducted a survey last year and published its results in November. It's not happy reading. Lots has been written about slow play in the amateur game... see my Part 1 Here and Part 2 Here for starters... but what can you, as an individual golfer, do about it?

Plenty. And here's what you need...

Thick Skin
It takes a thick-skinned individual to approach other golfers to ask them to move along or stand back and let others play through. More often than not you're at your home club, which makes these people acquaintances and sometimes friends. You do, however, have right on your side, so it comes down to three things: having the balls, how you approach the guilty party and what you say to them.

There's nothing new in my advice so apologies if I'm teaching you to suck tricks or learn new eggs.

Approaching the Guilty Party
First give them a chance to pick up their pace. Something you didn't see may have happened, so wait a hole or two just in case things improve.

If that doesn't happen, make the decision to ask them to hurry up or to let you play through, i.e. don't just bitch about it to your playing partners. Pick an appropriate spot where you can have the conversation - holes that go back and forth are good, as is a par three. Don't holler at the lads 200 yards ahead. You may know you're in the right, but such antics make you look like a pillock. Ideally catch them as they're leaving the tee - it's hard for them to ignore you when you're that close behind them. Failing that, ask one of your partners to take your bag and go on ahead to chat to the slow players.

Always be courteous. Chances are the conversation may get confrontational but stay calm. Never give the group an opportunity to claim later that you were aggressive or rude. For one thing they can use it as a Get Out of Jail Free card; and for another they can use it to make you look bad.

Have your spiel ready.

What Do You Say?
Stating the obvious and telling them they're slow, that they've lost two holes and they're holding you up probably isn't the best approach... these are not words any golfer likes to hear. So be delicate and have your rationale ready so you get your point across clearly.

"Lads, would you mind if we played through. I'm off to the game this afternoon/I have my daughter's party/I need to get a pacemaker fitted before I have a heart attack from the boredom of watching your abysmal golf."

Use names if you know them.
Because sometimes things move faster in a graveyard than on a golf course!
Don't argue, prepare for their wrath or, more likely, their smart remarks, and figure out how to deal with it. Diffuse the situation if it starts to get ugly by bringing in the other golfers. Be prepared to be forceful, point out their pace of play and report them if necessary - a tough step but it is your right and they are not following proper etiquette, or showing respect for that matter. Hold the high ground and no one can ever say you got bad tempered.

"I Will In Me Arse!"
Some golfers will moan but let you play through. Others will promise to speed up (and race away for about 10 paces before reverting to type). I've never heard of a golfer actually saying 'No, you can't play through,' (although I did once hear of the above) but if that was to happen I know I'd back off, finish my round and then make sure everyone in the clubhouse knew about it. Arrogant twits like that need to be named and shamed. It may be the only way to get them to realise it's unacceptable behaviour.

If a slow group was constantly challenged over weeks of play, they would probably speed up or learn to be more accommodating. At least that's what I like to think. Or print off articles offering tips on how to speed up pace of play and hand them to these golfers as a gift (see links below).

What You Must Never Do
Do not tee off when they're within range and then shout Fore! If you hit them you could be in serious trouble. Do not get aggressive. Do not be sexist or ageist or rude. Stay in control.

One final thought - if you are concerned that maybe it is you who is the slow golfer, or you'd just like to  read some suggestions on how to speed up your pace of play, try here... and part II.

If you have any slow-play-in-golf stories to share - whether you were on the giving or receiving end - let's hear them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ireland's Top 5 Luxury Golf Resorts

I wrote a piece recently for A Luxury Travel Blog... about luxury golf resorts in Ireland. I picked what I considered to be the Top 5, which is always fraught with difficulty because there's always someone at the back of the class looking dejected at not being picked.

If you want to find out which ones they are, visit the Luxury Travel Blog website... but before you do, list the five that you think would make the cut and in what order, then see how I match up. [A couple of photos below might give you a clue.]

Oh, and if you feel inclined, I would be most grateful for a Tweet and/or Like on the Travel Blog's page. Thanks.

Luxury golf resorts in Ireland - we have plenty to choose from don't you think!