Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Social Media Open 2013 - Mount Juliet Action

The inaugural Social Media Open Irish Golf tournament came to an end on Sunday, April 14th, 2013. This blog is just a few months late! But that's due to Golf Monthly magazine who were kind enough to hire me to take photographs, which meant I couldn't release the shots until the mag was published... which it was a few days ago.

A Tragic, Timely Reminder... golf and the weather

On Saturday, 28th December, Dougie Johnstone was found dead on Hinckley Golf Club (Leicestershire, UK), the club where he was Course Manager. He had been hit by a falling branch while working on the course.

This is a timely reminder for all golfers that winter, particularly, brings its own set of dangers to the golf course. The UK and Ireland have been battered by winds in recent weeks leading to falling branches and entire trees. And while you're unlikely to be golfing in 150 km/h winds, please remember that the aftermath can be just as dangerous. The winds may have stopped but, combined with the rain, root systems might have been weakened and trees can still topple. They do so, silently.

And since we're on the subject of dangerous weather conditions, do you know what you should do if you're caught out in a lightning storm? Sheltering under the tallest tree is not the answer! Also, stay away from your clubs/trolley/buggy as the metal can conduct electricity... as can your metal spikes, so take off your shoes if that's what you're wearing.

Follow the link for the full Leicester Mercury story.

If you're on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or any of the other dozens of social media channels, please share this blog (buttons at end of this post) and/or the Leicester Mercury story... and help to ensure that we avoid any more weather induced fatalities/injuries on our golf courses. Thank you.

[Story/Link via Al Dunsmuir of http://www.golfclubmanagement.net]

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"The 10 Worst Golfers to Win a Recent Major Championship"

It's the type of title that makes you wonder 'who's the muppet who wrote this article?'

Evan Hilbert, apparently.

It's from the CBS Sports website (December 26) and not only do they list the golfers, they also rank them.

What exactly is the point of an article like this?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Irish Christmas Golf Quiz

Q. 24
Need a break from the family festivities? Fancy a few minutes of peace and quiet? Need time to digest all that delicious grub? 

Sit back and relax with this Irish Christmas Golf Quiz. Here are 30 questions covering the golfing year. The majority focus on Irish golf, but there are some with a more international flavour, too.

It's really just for fun, but I have a goodie bag of bits and pieces I've been given during the year if you want to leave your answers in the 'Comments' box at the end of the post.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Green Fee Winner For 7th Ranked Hidden Courses

Congratulations to Shane Cowzer who wins the free four balls to Rossmore in Co Monaghan and Corballis in Co Dublin.

A nice start to the Christmas festivities.

If you want to win a free four ball for Dundrum House in Co. Tipperary, see the blog below.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 6

Approach to the 17th at Dundrum House
(photo courtesy of Dundrum House)
We're almost at the halfway point of Ireland's Best Fairways Less Travelled. Ireland has 350 18-hole golf courses, so picking out 10 (the parklands especially) is extremely difficult. I have no doubt that people will now be thinking about their favourites which should make the top five - I have no doubt some will be disappointed. In the meantime, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

You can win four balls to one of these 6th-ranked courses, while the two free fourballs for the 7th-ranked courses can still be won up until 6pm on Monday Dec 23rd (follow the link below). 

Parkland: Dundrum House
Links: Royal County Down (Annesley)

For the 7th-ranked, click here 
For the 8th-ranked, click here
For the 9th-ranked, click here

For the 10th-ranked, click here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top 100 Golf Courses - Britain & Ireland

The tall dunes of Enniscrone loom up beyond the
7th green (photo taken from 8th tee)
Another rankings has hit the online golfing community – this one from the authoritative Top 100 Golf Courses website… if you don’t know it, the site ranks courses worldwide, country by country, county by county. It’s an excellent resource.

The Britain & Ireland 2014 list was published three days ago and it includes 24 Irish courses. Here are their positions within the list:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 7

The new 4th at Corballis  - a par three with views out to Ireland's Eye
We're now up to Number 7 in the rankings of Ireland's Best Fairways Less Travelled - those courses rarely seen in the glossy brochures or on golfing tourism websites... and yet they are packed with thrills.

You can win four balls to both of these 7th-ranked courses: 

Parkland: Rossmore
Links: Corballis

For the 8th-ranked, click here
For the 9th-ranked, click here
For the 10th-ranked, click here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Green Fee Winners For 8th, 9th and 10th Ranked Hidden Courses

Mulranny and a 3 iron.
The first draw has been made and the winners are:

Cathal Shanahan, who wins a free four ball to both 10th-ranked courses, Bearna and Mulranny. And they're pretty close together, too.

Shane O'Donoghue wins the four ball to the 9th-ranked course, Esker Hills.

Spurs Murray (aka Darren) wins the four ball to both 8th-ranked courses, West Waterford and Seapoint... a bit more travel involved in that one!

Congratulations guys. I'll be emailing you for addresses.

The 7th-ranked courses will be going up tomorrow. I'll give you a hint: one's in Dublin, the other's in Monaghan... any guesses?

Dunmurry Springs - Fourball for €60

If you're still looking for a Christmas Golf gift, every club in the land will be offering four ball vouchers...

... here's one we prepared earlier!

€60 for a four ball to Dunmurry Springs.

It's a fine course and one that's getting finer by the day. You'll find a blog about the course from this summer, here. You'll find photos here. You'll find their new website here.

Don't say I haven't got everything gift-wrapped for you. The course recently ranked at number 44 in Golfing Magazine's Top 50 Parkland Courses... and the course was designed by Mel Flanagan (a favourite designer of mine) so quality is assured.

For more info, or to buy your voucher, contact 045 531400 or visit their website.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Short Game - The (short) Review

A feature documentary was released in September 2013, entitled The Short Game. It follows the lives of eight golfers as they prepare to compete in the 'World Championships' of golf at Pinehurst in North Carolina... and then compete in the three day event itself.

It's probably important to mention at this point that these golfers are seven years old and they're competing against their peers from over 50 countries.

Is it worth a look? Absolutely, and here are 10 reasons why:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Irish Golf and the Digital Age – JustTreats.com

Hard to believe that two years have passed since JustTreats arrived on the Irish golf scene. What started out as simple discounted green fees has expanded into other areas… golf apparel, clubs, balls, lessons. Golfers who sign up for the offers (via email) get sent regular communications about current deals… today’s is for Dromoland Castle… and there’s a hefty ‘birthday’ prize up for grabs as well. 
12th hole at Dromoland Castle

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 8

The 13th at Seapoint
Call them what you like, but Ireland has so many golf courses of the Fairways Less Travelled variety that it is difficult to pick a top ten... certainly without feeling bad about the clubs that don't quite make it... and there are many of those.

The 8th-ranked courses are: 

Parkland: West Waterford
Links: Seapoint

For the 9th-ranked, click here
For the 10th-ranked, click here.

There are two free fourballs up for grabs at the end of this post - one for each club... and you can still win fourballs for the 9th and 10th ranked courses.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 9

Esker Hills 8th - a sharp dogleg right

Here's the second blog on Ireland's best Fairways Less Travelled... or Hidden Gems.

These are the 9th-ranked courses. For the 10th-ranked, click here.

Parkland: Esker Hills
Links: Laytown & Bettystown

There's a free fourball up for grabs at the end of this post.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 10

Barbed wire around Mulranny's sloping greens
What do you call those sweet courses that most golfers have never heard of or been told about? 'Hidden Gems' is a term I'm not too fond of - who hides their gems?

After some input from the gang on Boards.ie I got some useful alternatives... of which Fairways Less Travelled was perfect.

So here are Ireland's top 20 Fairways Less Travelled: 10 links and 10 parkland. Each blog will have free fourballs to be won.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Battle of the Irish Golf Course Rankings

Ballybunion Cashen - one of GDI's biggest
climbers, up 13 to 66th
This year, Irish golfers got three sets of golf course rankings to either agree with, be inspired by, moan about or vent their fury over. Comments on Boards.ie and Twitter included:

"The list is a joke, when I saw Strandhill in the high 40s that said enough."

"I have no problem seeing Tralee and Lahinch number 2 and 3, you couldn't say they aren't good enough."

"Ardglass Down 14 (to 89)! The biggest drop on the list - crazy! Rest my case"*

That's the nature of lists like these. Here are two tables comparing the links and parkland top 15 rankings from:
- Golf Digest Ireland's (GDI) Top 100
- Golfing Weekly's Top 50s and
- Backspin's Top 30s

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Golfing Gifts for Christmas 2013

Who wants what for Christmas? Who wants what to give the golfer in his/her life?

For years I’ve struggled with presents for my dad. It’s gardening, golf, jumpers and wine. That’s it. I tend to rotate… or at least I used to. He now has enough jumpers to rival Daniel O’Donnell, although they are somewhat more tasteful.
He’s 82 and he’s not the gardening demon that he once was.

That leaves wine and golf… so this year I’ve bought him a book on how to play golf drunk.

Here are five other golfing ideas:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Memory Of A Golfing Elephant

No, not a blog about elephants that have taken to the fairways - this is about a friend of mine.

I'm sure Ronan won't appreciate me calling him an elephant, but his memory demands no other comparison.

People have expressed surprise at how well I can remember all the golf courses and holes that I played in those heady camper van days of 2007 and 2008... but Ronan makes such memories look like amateur-hour.