Sunday, July 21, 2013 at Grange Golf Club

The impressive clubhouse behind the 18th green
I played Grange a lot in my school years. We'd sneak down, cross the road and then slip under the fencing that separated Marlay Park from the Grange's 14th tee box. You can't do that today because the road we crossed back then is now the M50. Not easy lugging your clubs across six lanes of traffic.

But when announced its Junior Scratch Cup at Grange Golf Club in Rathfarnham, the opportunity to visit this old stomping ground was too good to miss. Good memories; top course.

The golf club starts with two par threes. It's a bit of a novelty, but certainly not an easy one... especially playing from the back tees. The 1st is 180 metres uphill and my playing partners and I watched as the groups ahead of us struggled to find the putting surface. How it's only Index 7, I do not know.


It didn't help that the day was baking. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining, it's just that it wears you out a bit and the legs were dragging as we took the woodland walk to the 17th tee.

There were no clouds anywhere, and by the time we teed off at 8.40am it was already in the 20s. When was the last time you played golf in Ireland and actively sought out the shade? Can you even remember such a time? From what Met Eireann have been saying in recent days, the last comparable summer was 2006, but we're talking about 17 straight days of sunshine at this point and I don't recall that sort of weather for a couple of decades. Obviously Dave didn't either because he had no cap and no sun screen.

Dave enjoys a shower by the 17th green
Dave, Chris and I found plenty of shade - there are lots of trees and our wayward hitting meant we were under them frequently - and on the 13th tee box we quite literally stood back, relaxed and had a drink. By my estimate I lost 2 lbs during the round... and 2 golf balls as well. have been hosting these events for a few years now, but I doubt they've seen anything quite like this. Their 'goody bag' supplies (water, Nature's Way, Kelkin Revive) must have been running out fast... and the tee times ran from 8am to 3.50pm.

They run a host of Junior and Senior Scratch Cups, and you can enter as many as you like. The Grange cost a mere €30, and you'd be hard pressed to better that at such a prestigious Dublin club. A full list of events is here.

The par three 6th
Grange GC

Grange is a mere par 68 with six par threes and two par fives. It's fairly short, too, but if you think that means it isn't challenging, you can think again. There are enough doglegs (some subtle, some less so) and more than enough trees (the course is over 100 years old so rest assured that the tress are big at this stage) to make accuracy the most important part of your round. Length is not important by comparison, so my suggestion would be to leave your Driver at home, as you don't even need it on the two par fives. Oh, and a hot putter would help.

The par four 16th shows off the scale of the trees and the requirement
for accuracy (Marlay Park is all along the right).
And on the first par five we had the added incentive of the Longitude Festival in Marlay Park next door. As we teed it up they were doing a soundcheck... with AC/DC's Back in Black belting out. If there was ever music to thump a drive down a par five, then Back in Black is it. It made for an interesting finish to the round.

None of us was showered in golfing glory. Chris, off 6, had his worst round in years, scoring in the 90s (not Fahrenheit), and Dave was 7 over after three. He fought back valiantly, but then succumbed on the back nine.

Dave and Chris driving on 17.
My final score was a depressing NR... or DNR as I prefer to call it: Do Not Resuscitate.

The Open Championship

(And not the 'British Open' as the ill-informed like to call it.) Inevitably our conversation switched to the Open... and Rory and Padraig. Dave told me that he had placed a bet on Mickelson at 40/1 to win the US Open... only to discover that he'd made a mistake and that his bet had been made on the Open Championship. As mistakes go, that's not a bad one to make. I didn't think to ask how much he'd bet, but 40/1 is a nice price when Big Phil delivers. Maybe now he can afford some sun tan lotion.

Click for a Photoset of Grange Golf Club

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