|Practice putting green and the grand old clubhouse|
County Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point), Carne and Enniscrone are worth anybody's time.
My friend Finbarr was back from New York for a second bite, and Ronan was making his first appearance. There were familiar faces around the clubhouse at Rosses Point, too, emphasising the event's popularity with those who have played it before. Two years ago there were three ladies behind us; last year they were in front of us; this year they decided they didn't like the look of us and moved forward several tee times. There are English and American accents, and I know the guys who run an American golf site (Fore Linksters) are also here. This is all good for Irish golf and the day was happy to play along. To call it benign is an understatement.
|Ronan drives off the 7th hole at Rosses Point, straight at Ben Bulben|
The format for the event has changed. Last year there was a Singles element as well as a Team (of three) element where all cards counted. This year it's the best two scores on each hole. It makes it more enjoyable and makes it move faster too, or maybe that's just a coincidence. The last two years have seen a round taking five hours plus; this year it was closer to four and a half. At a guess, I'd say we spent 20-25 minutes looking for golf balls but we rarely lost touch with the group in front and we had to wait 10 minutes on the 17th tee.
|Ball in flight as Finbarr pitches in from 40 yards short of the 8th green|
|Bogey man. Ronan gets away with murder on the 12th|
|The drive on 18, above the 17th green|
|Avoid playing the par three 4th from the green tees.|
Tomorrow (i.e. today) we're playing Carne, over in Belmullet, and we're staying in the Talbot Hotel. It's most definitely'boutique' and extremely comfortable. It also has a great bar where we spent many hours last year. True, there was a problem with the booking - we got two rooms, each with a double bed (and not the twin as booked) - but seeing as I got a room to myself I'm not too fussed what the boys get up to. As long as they play good golf, how they spend their free time is up to them!