Friday, August 30, 2013

Open Weeks 8 - Irish Golf

There is one upcoming Open Week that is definitely worthy of a mention... between Saturday 7th and Sunday 15th September. Entry for the events at Connemara Links is €30 per person.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Inside The Ropes - County Louth Golf Club

Talk about catching the rough!
Co Louth is often referred to as one of the great, unsung Irish golf links. It hosted the Irish Open in 2004 and 2009, with Shane Lowry winning the latter, so it is hardly unsung… and yet it remains off the main highway of Ireland’s links’ destinations. Geographically, it should be ideal: it’s 50 minutes north of Dublin City Centre and situated between the might of Royal County Down and the links of Dublin. The course runs close to the sea, beyond Baltray, separated from the water by the course’s tallest dunes. The sea is visible only occasionally but, in the distance, the Mourne Mountains ripple across the horizon. On the 14th tee, where golfers get the best views, you can also take a couple of steps and look down the 16th at Seapoint GC, and over almost the entire course.

On the tee for the ‘Inside The Ropes’ visit were Daniel (18 handicap), Tony (17) and John (10). 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Swingbyte: Putting Bite into Your Swing

Small, neat packaging
(pens not included!)
There are two things you need to know about Swingbyte 2.0: it is an excellent piece of kit and it’s excellent value for money… which leaves one simple question: is it for you?

It’s not hard to see why this was voted ‘One of the 12 coolest items at the PGA Show’ by Golf Digest. Swingbyte 2.0 is a Mobile Golf Swing Analyzer (that’s what it says on the box) which shows you, on screen, the path, angle, shape and speed of your swing.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Irish Hotels With An Unexpected Golfing Twist

The launch of the new driving facility at Hayfield Manor.
When it comes to golf in Ireland and finding somewhere to stay, we're blessed with choices. 

Some golf courses are next to or part of a hotel resort - Fota Island, Portmarnock Links, Lough Erne, Mount Juliet, Rosapenna, Macreddin, Roe Park, Mount Wolseley, Rathsallagh, Slieve Russell... the list goes on and on...

... some courses are little more than a walk or a minute's drive away - Royal County Down (Slieve Donard Hotel), Killarney (several hotels), Headfort (Headfort Arms) and Enniscrone (Diamond Coast Hotel) among others (many of which offer combined deals with the courses)...

... and then there are hotels seriously lacking in the golf-course-access department that make up for it in other ways, by adding their own little golfing twist. Build it and they will come.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ballyneety Golf Club - a Metamorphosis

The par three 2nd at the former Limerick County GC
Not all the Irish golf courses we have lost have gone for good. Two that faded into the night have come back to life: South County is now Lisheen Springs, and Limerick County is now Ballyneety. At the time of their passing I was most disappointed - these were two courses I rated - but there are many courses struggling financially and it was simply a matter of time before the banks and the creditors got their way.

Ballyneety Golf Club has a lot going for it - there's plenty of shape to the landscape, some big, impressive water features, and a routing that offers many thrilling golf shots. I remember the greens being extremely good, too.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ireland's Top 50 Links Golf Courses

Teeing off on 18 at Carne
Golfing Weekly magazine is Ireland's - wait for it - weekly golf magazine. It comes in an online format and they are currently running a survey to rank the top 50 links courses in the country. This covers both 9 and 18 hole courses.

The Survey is now closed: you'll find the results/link here

Monday, August 12, 2013

What are your worst mistakes on a golf course?

Three Putt Hell at Enniscrone
Take a look at Jason Dufner - the new PGA champ - and consider the cool-as-a-cucumber attitude he brings to the golf course. He's laid back and nothing fazes him. Now look at your own game and ask yourself: what are the worst mistakes you've made on a golf course?

What do I mean by ‘worst’? I’m talking about bad behaviour, bad language in an inappropriate setting, ignorance of the rules, poor etiquette or pure stupidity. I’m also talking about things that you regretted shortly afterwards, because, despite the cheats and those who understand nothing about etiquette, there are those who play golf honestly and for the love of the game.

Have you remembered any? Embarrassed yet?

I’ll get this conversation started. Here are my top 5 worst moments, from bad to worst.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Adare Junior Open August 20th

The 18th at Adare. A superb par five.

It is great to see such a focus on young golfers these days. If you’re my sort of age (40s) then you’ll remember the difficulties of being a Junior – don’t be seen, don’t be heard, stay out of the clubhouse, stay out of the way of the grown-ups and god help you if you held them up on the course.

These days clubs recognise that youngsters are the future of the game and they are being accommodated in an increasing number of ways… one of which is the inaugural Junior Open at Adare, on August 20th. It’s for boys and girls, and it is Singles Stableford.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Slow Play - no place in Irish Golf

I wrote some pieces on Slow Play last year... it took me three blogs to do it. Perhaps that's because it vexes me so and I need time - lots of it - to vent my frustrations. At least I don't play as slow as I type.

John Dooley, a PGA Pro, has produced the following blog which simplifies things greatly...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Open Weeks 7 - Irish Golf

The 7th at Westport
A bit late in the day as these two Open Weeks started yesterday or on Monday, but here you go:
  • Dundrum in Co. Tipperary
  • Westport in Co. Mayo
Westport needs no introduction, but Dundrum may need a plug.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Carne's Nine New Magnificent Holes: Ireland’s North West

Larry lets fly on Kilmore's 8th hole
Larry’s finger pointed out to sea, past the islands that flank the coastline.

“You know what that is?” he asked Bob Gillespie, a golf writer from South Carolina.

“No,” Bob replied.

We were standing on the 14th tee at Carne, on the very north-west tip of Co. Mayo, the wind battering us, the ocean swelling against the beach below.

“That’s next stop America.”

Open Weeks 6 - Irish Golf

The sweet and wonderful par three 2nd at Spa
Four more Open Weeks to keep you ticking over in August:

  • Birr, Co. Offaly
  • Edenderry, Co. Offaly
  • Naas, Co. Kildare
  • Spa, Co. Down

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lough Erne and Ladies' Golf Retreat (25/26August)

The resort, from the 17th tee box
Here's something a bit different and aimed specifically at lady golfers - Irish or otherwise. The five star Lough Erne Resort is hosting a special two-day 'retreat' for ladies on the 25th and 26th August (Sunday and Monday). 

Host to the G8 Summit, an authentic Thai Spa and restaurants that have won several awards, Lough Erne offers an opportunity to spoil yourself and experience one of the island's most impressive parklands.