Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Play Ballybunion Old for Free, on April 15th

Views over Ballybunion from the 2nd green.

I have a tee time booked for 12pm on Monday 15th April, for Ballybunion Old, on the coastline of Co. Kerry. It is one of Ireland's and the world's top golf courses. I think so, and so does Tom Watson... and between us we have 8 Majors, so we know what we're talking about!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Yellow is the new Black

It seems Golf Monthly and Today's Golfer magazines have decided the current colour for golfers is yellow!

Should look good at Augusta with all those greens and pinks.

Centurion Club - England's Newest Golf Course

Approach to the par five 18th - bunkering yet to be completed.
Last year I went over to England for the day, to visit one of the country's newest golf courses. The course was not yet open and some construction work was ongoing. At a time when golf clubs are suffering severely from the recession I was intrigued to find out why a new golf course was being built. And, more importantly, how it planned to survive.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Modern Links Masterpieces on the Emerald Isle

From Guest Blogger, Rory, a review of five of Ireland's most modern links.

The 8th at Ballyliffin. Photo by Aidan Bradley
As we all know golf is an ancient game, rooted in tradition and history, played on courses that have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. While the age old courses are a great reminder of where the game came from, like all things, golf must move forward. Over the last couple of decades we have seen the arrival of some world class, modern golf courses. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Druid's Glen on St. Patrick's Weekend

The practice green behind the clubhouse.
Druid’s Glen on a St. Patrick’s weekend… not quite an Irish Golf tradition, but becoming one. Two years ago, I played here with three friends on a day of brilliant sunshine. Yesterday, the same three friends lined up as the sun stepped out from behind the clouds to bathe the 1st tee in glorious light. Ideal early spring weather for a round of golf on Ireland’s most exciting parkland. What more could you want?

Well, a decent swing would have helped...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Golf, Movies, Old Head of Kinsale

What three things could be better than that! Golf Ireland have the following on their Facebook Page:

Hey folks, we're looking for your help! Are any of you budding actors or know of anyone that might be suitable?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hickories and the Dawn of Old Golf

There is so much new stuff in golf that it's hard to keep up. I'm sure you know what I mean...

... the endless outpourings of new clubs and balls, and the companies that implore us to be bigger, better, faster, longer than ever before. Then there are the shoes that are lighter than 7 grammes of cocaine and so dazzlingly coloured you could distract your opponent mid-swing if you catch the light right... or just give him a couple of lines from your stash. How about the trousers/pants that resemble like last night's pizza (tasteless) or the multitude of inventions that leave you so utterly bemused that you have no idea what they're for... or even what sport you were thinking about playing.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Portugal's Penina for £195 from Your Golf Travel

Penina's 1st hole
I played Penina, on the Algarve, last year. In 30 degrees. For an Irish boy who likes the rain and snow, 30 degrees is a killer... but most Irish/British golfers lap it up. I have fond memories of a relaxing, idyllic course that is not long and rewards straight hitters. It helped of course that I hit my longest drive ever, measuring a mere 360 yards.

360 Yard Drives... Every Time. Learn My Secret

I’ve done it; so can you. All it takes is focus, timing and my new, patented technique that will make you the envy of your friends, impress your playing partners, make your club professional sit up and take notice, and have women clamouring at your feet. It could even be the secret to turning you into a Pro.
What’s this amazing technique? It’s so simple you won’t believe you haven’t tried it before.

Send me a cheque for €199.99 and, in return, I will send you a DVD showing you my secret. Also included in this bargain-priced pack will be a certificate declaring you are now ‘Kevin Markham Power Driving Technique’-verified. Hang it on the wall where all your family can see it. As part of this special, low-priced offer (usual RRP €2,299) I will send you a whole bag of free tees and a cap with MY name on it.

This offer is available for a short time only so send your cheque today…

A Dose of Reality

Alternatively, do what I did and hit your drive down the cart path all the way to the green. At Penina’s 12th hole I hooked my drive towards the trees, only for it to bounce on the path… and it just kept going until it came to a stop 360 yards down the ‘fairway’. We measured it and it’s official: I can now outdrive Bubba Watson.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

K Club, The Gas Man and Schadenfreude

I'm no fan of schadenfreude, because wishing ill luck on others usually comes back to bite you in the ass. Then again, sometimes there has to be an exception!

On the front page of the Sunday Times today, there's an article about a - God forbid - tradesman living in the lofty Ladycastle enclave of the K Club, in Straffan, Co. Kildare. Have you ever heard of such a thing! And, being a tradesman, he just happens to have insignia on the side of his van... which he parks outside the apartment he rents. Disgraceful behaviour, utterly disgraceful.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Irish Pairs Golf League

Approach to 18 at the Ballesteros  Course at The Heritage.
It's a bit movie-esque but...
... from the producer of the Let's Play Open comes the inaugural Pairs Golf League 2013.

In fact, the Let's Play Golf Open is part of the league, as it's all organised by Concierge Golf, a company founded and run by John Dooley, the former Club Professional at Doonbeg.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mullingar Golf Club Just Treats

Before Christmas I posted a blog encouraging golfers to set themselves various targets during the year. These ranged from reading a good golf book to enticing someone else to take up the game. I included the suggestion that you should play a special course, one you hadn't tackled before. There are endless choices and now Just Treats Golf have added a helping hand with a special offer at the old classic parkland that is Mullingar Golf Club.

Mullingar's 7th hole shows off the rich woodland around the course [Image from Mullingar's website].

James Braid
Mullingar got a makeover a few years back with new greens and a slightly modified layout. It has not taken away from the place's charm. Originally designed by the great James Braid (and the legend of the axe and 36 tees), Mullingar has stood the test of time... if anything, it is better than ever.

Its 2nd hole remains one of the most feared par threes in the country, requiring 200+ yards of carry from the back tees. It is wooded, tight and calls for straight hitting. It is quite likely that Mullingar will give you a lesson in restrained hitting, but however you play it is an enjoyable education.

The Offer
Simple enough:
Two green fees and two all-day breakfast baps with tea/coffee for a total of €44 - a saving of over 50%. Vouchers are valid until 30th April and must be used on Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri. The offer ends this Friday morning, 8th March.

Sign up for Just Treats to get the latest offers sent to your Inbox... like Mullingar or the current offer at Ballyliffin.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Top Golfer Launches New Site and 2013 Schedule

Congratulations are in order as Top Golfer launched their 2013 schedule, as well as a revamped website.

This 'tournament within tournaments' is for Irish-based golfers with handicaps below 10. There are Junior Scratch Cups (JSC) and Senior Scratch Cups (SSC) all over the country, and many of these will be hosting Top Golfer events. Numerous prizes are on offer, as are goodie bags and a free IJP (Ian Poulter) branded golf shirt if you join the battle of the Order of Merit.

Glen of the Downs. The par three 16th.
If you're in the top drawer of golfers, then there are also play-offs, a final and ultimate glory.

As always, the list of courses has a wide-ranging appeal to it, with the likes of Lough Erne and Mount Juliet at one end, to the entertaining Enniscorthy and seaside Charlesland at the other.

The sweet 16th at Enniscorthy.
It all kicks off with Fota Island (SSC) on March 18th, so check out the 2013 Schedule, sign up and start planning. You'll pay less than the regular green fees for the time of year and you could win some great prizes (whether you're a Top Golfer or not)

Good luck.