Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Curious Incident of the Putter in the Green

There is a golfing story from my teenage years of which I am greatly embarrassed.

You can look back and say… well, it was teenage angst… these things happen… it was a learning experience… but that doesn’t discount the appalling behaviour that took place.

If you are a Grange Golf Club member, please look away now.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Taking A Winter Break (here and abroad)

It is getting to that time of year when people start thinking about the drift into Autumn and the cold to follow. Having a holiday or even a short break to look forward to can give winter a deserving cold shoulder. If you’re trying to figure out where you can go and what you can do, here are a few thoughts:
The Entrance to Martinhal
  • Enjoy Luxury in the Sun
  • Golf in the Sun
  • Golf on the Irish Links
  • Northern Lights
  • Lazing at Liss Ard

Warning: Readers are advised that this article contains non-golf-related copy from the very start.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Free Membership - Ballesteros Course at The Heritage

You'll need to go onto Twitter for this offer (link below)... but it'll be worth it!

The 18th, with water along the left, all the way to the green

The Heritage, in Co Laois, is giving away a year's free membership. The offer/draw kicked off tonight and will run for a bit (3 to 4 weeks), but it is only available on Twitter.

This is the proud home of the Seve Ballesteros course (and Academy) - the only one in Ireland. It's a big, expansive course, laid out on the top of the Laois landscape. It is best known for its lake which separates the 9th and 18th holes. Terror territory, that's for sure.

The 8th hole, green to tee, showing off the Laois landscape
How do you enter... you need to Retweet and Follow. Here's their Twitter feed:

Good luck.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Volunteers required to play Adare - 12/10/13

Inside The Ropes – October, Saturday 12th, 2013

I’m looking for three volunteers to join me at Adare for a 9.00am tee time on the above date. As long as you haven’t played the course before, can swing a club and you enjoy the game, you’re welcome to throw your name in the hat. All you need to know is that you must force yourself to spend time in the very comfortable bar afterwards, filling in a two page questionnaire. You will also get to play one of the most stunning back nines in the country.

The 18th... what more needs to be said
To enter, please enter a Comment below.

‘Entry deadline’ is Monday 30th Sept at 2pm. Please check back then when the 'winners' will be announced. And please include your email when adding a Comment. I won’t publish your details but I can contact you if you’re picked. Alternatively, you can enter through

[The winners have now been picked (30/9/13 18.00) - Paddy 1234 (Boards), Webbs (Boards) and Gentle Soul (Blog). Thanks for the interest]

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Young Irish Golf Courses Evolving

The growth of Irish golf courses exploded between 1990 and 2008. The total number of courses on the island increased by 50% in that period... and only a handful of those were in Northern Ireland. Some of those courses have closed; some have been reborn. Many have struggled; a few have thrived.

The Castlemartyr clubhouse being built in 2008 and
how the wood has 'weathered' today.
Here are some photos showing how four of our courses looked in their early days and how they look today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fota Island: A Return Trip, A New Nine

View from 1st green to 4th green on Deer Park
Cork is Ireland’s largest county by size and one of its most beautiful. It also has over 25 golf courses. In other words, it does pretty well for itself. The Rebel County may not be too happy at the moment, having failed to beat Clare in the All Ireland Hurling Final (the replay is 2 Sundays away), but a quick visit to one of their golf courses should cheer up the natives.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Golf Cliches and How to Avoid Them

Golf has more cliches than you can shake a stick at. Some are naff, some are incredibly naff. Here are my top eight.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The New Book - Driving The Green

The manuscript has been sent, the deal has been struck and the contract has been signed. Come next Spring, my golfing travels will appear in a book entitled Driving The Green. It tells the story of the ups, downs and, more aptly, the side-to-sides of travelling around Ireland in a camper van. It takes a light-hearted view of Irish life, golf and golfers, and mixes it with history, Ireland's beauty, a suicidal old lady and a couple of Born Again Christians. Here's an extract, from a trip to Cork:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ireland’s Golfing Challenges – Dunmore East Classic

It’s that time of year when Ireland’s Golf Challenges and Classics start being launched for 2014. There are still some to be played in 2013, and the Carlow International Golf Classic starts today (9/9/13), but this is such a popular and great value way to play Ireland’s golf courses that getting the message out early makes all the difference. I genuinely believe that you have to try these Challenges at least once, simply to understand what’s involved and how much fun they are. There are over a dozen to choose from and the courses themselves are some of the very best that we’ve got.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

30 Shades of Green - an Irish Golfing Odyssey by Wesley Boudreaux

He arrived today, at Dublin Airport, with an ambitious - some might say crazy - goal in mind. To play Ireland's Top 30 golf courses over the next three weeks. Wesley Boudreaux isn't stopping there, though, as he's playing plenty of other courses while he's here. In total he will play 42 rounds of golf in 22 days, enjoying the best courses that Irish golf has to offer.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Golfer's Bucket List - Carne

It wasn’t long ago that I was extolling the virtues, the beauty and the brilliance of Carne… and not just me – the other journalists who were at the opening of the new Kilmore nine holes have been busy doing the same (check out the links on Carne’s Facebook page).

I never tire of talking about and promoting this piece of heaven. It is a beast. It is as raw as it is riveting, and as unforgettable as it is unpretentious. It is special in so many ways, and its location in the distant lands of north west Ireland simply adds to its charm and mysticism.