Monday, June 24, 2013

Dunmurry Springs - Society Outing

Keith drives on the excellent par four 8th
God has a sense of humour. Who knew! As 20 members of the Boards Society prepared to play Dunmurry Springs, he turned on the tap… then turned it off… then on. All day long he couldn’t help himself. Or maybe he was just sitting on the weather remote control while watching the Lions play the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Whatever it was, golfers everywhere were constantly caught unaware as rain raced in on the wind and sent us all scurrying for our waterproofs… which had been packed away only minutes before.

It made for a tough day’s golf over the hillsides of Co. Kildare, but Dunmurry Springs is maturing very nicely indeed and growing into Mel Flanagan’s design. No amount of wind and rain could hide that fact.
Gareth settles in for his tee shot on the short par four 3rd
David, Gareth, Keith and myself teed off in the rain. With the wind we were in for a low-scoring round of golf… with the rough up we were in for an even lower scoring round, and we had all visited the heavy stuff by the time we walked off the 1st green. It was a pertinent warning and one we mostly ignored. David at least managed to for a while... if only by visiting the bunkers.

Off the forward yellow markers, an iron off the tee should be sufficient for visitors. It is short enough to be played that way. Only if you know the course well enough can you risk big drives… something the guys (assisted by a ‘local’) behind us were using to great effect. On many of the opening nine holes they had to wait for us to reach the green before teeing off. Let’s just say that it made us feel rather inadequate.

Views over the par three 10th - across the course and to the mountains beyond
Dunmurry Springs plays as two very different courses depending on the tees you choose – the back blue tees add 700 yards, taking the length to 6757 yards and making it a sterner test on a day-to-day basis. In the wind and rain it was quite stern enough for us. The course has just been re-routed, cutting out a couple of climbs and reducing the time to play a round by 10 minutes. I’ve always liked climbs, because they’re usually followed by great views and tempting tee shots (Dunmurry Springs doesn’t disappoint), but apparently they were discouraging the 50+ year old brigade. The re-routing should make it easier, and the course still flows very easily with water features appearing at constant intervals and the stand-out holes (3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15 and 17) well dispersed.

David drives it straight into the wind on the par three 15th - it's all carry
As with most societies, there is a nearest the pin and a longest drive prize. We were the first group out, so all we had to do was hit a green and stay on a fairway, and one of us would get our name on the prize sheet. It turned out that our fourball managed to win both… and it was the longest drive that proved most entertaining of all. Keith, who would admit to a poor day off the tee, talked himself into a big drive on the 389 yard 18th and then managed to deliver. With the hard fairways and wind behind, his drive almost reached the water, shy of the green. As three of us veered left into the rough, he kept walking down the middle, a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. The smile grew as we passed the previous society’s longest drive marker, which had not one name on it. No one had found the fairway.

As we wrapped things up on the green we watched the group of big hitters behind us tee off. They clearly had the firepower, but it was the accuracy that counted most. There’s little doubt that two of the lads – including the aforementioned local, Ben – would have ended up in the water had they been straight, but with their tee shots finding the rough, Keith was still the leader – and so it remained.

The 18th hole, green to tee (the longest drive marker is
just visible in the middle of the fairway)
One of the great things about societies is that most people hang around after for the banter, a drink and to eat some grub. The food and hospitality at Dunmurry Springs were excellent. It just makes things that much friendlier, and shows the advantages of joining such groups of like-minded golfers. The Boards Society has been running for a few years and it has visited some greatcourses (next up is The Heritage). If you don’t have a society near you, or don’t know of any, why not sign up for

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