Friday, January 31, 2014

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 2 (Parkland)

The superb opening hole, Scrabo Tower on the right. It's Index 1.
For the number two parkland in this Top Ten of Ireland's Fairways Less Travelled we're staying in the North, although this one is east, not west.  

And of all the 20 parkland and links courses in this Top 10 list, this club is the least well known. Chances are, you haven't even heard of it. 

Scrabo Golf Club is the Number 2 Parkland. You can win a fourball for the course at the end of this blog.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two Cracking Golf Freebies Up For Grabs... worth up to €3,000

When the occasional 'freebie' comes along it's time to dive in head first. There are plenty of them out there - hotel breaks and the like - but of the golfing variety you won't find that many. Certainly not as good as these two.
Views back to the Carne clubhouse and beyond

 In the last week or so, these excellent golfing freebies have made an appearance... ... and they are free team entries to two of Ireland's ever-popular Golfing Challenges. You have until 14 Feb to enter one of them but you need to get a move on for the other which ends this coming Friday (Jan 31).

  1. The first is the Dunmore East Golfing Classic and the prize is worth €1,600 (for an Irish team of four) or over Stg £2,000 (for a GB-based team of four).
  2. The second is for the Atlantic Coast Challenge and is worth €420 (for a team of three).
Read on to find out how to enter.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Green Fee Winner For Ireland's 2nd Ranked Hidden Links - Strandhill

Conor Martin wins the Strandhill Fourball. I strongly recommend nearby Enniscrone and Rosses Point, Conor, since you'll be in the neighbourhood.

The second best 'hidden' parkland course will be posted by tomorrow... with another free fourball up for grabs.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Irish Golf Membership Fees - Eleven Diamonds in the Rough

Connemara Links 16th Hole
At the start of every year many golfers have to sit back and count the cost of Christmas... before considering - or should that be dreading - the cost of the annual sub for the golf club. Around Dublin and the bigger cities, golf clubs have the advantage and can charge subs that hover around the €2,000 mark. Some, of course, are far more expensive... but that's the price of exclusivity and reputation.

And then there are the country courses.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Destination Golf Irish Affiliation

From the magazine
You may have noticed the 'Destination Golf Affiliate' logo on the right of my blog... allow me to explain. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Green Fee Winner For Ireland's 3rd Ranked Hidden Links

Congratulations Mark McDermott - winner of the fourball to Portsalon Golf Club

Not sure where you're living Mark, but you have Rosapenna, Ballyliffin, Greencastle and North West golf clubs to choose from when you're up in Donegal.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 2 (Links)

Approach to the 5th green, a saucer shaped affair.
For the number two links in this Top Ten of Ireland's Fairways Less Travelled we're staying in the North West. This stretch of coastline promises the best value for money when it come to links golf and I would argue that point for days with anyone who disagrees. 

Strandhill is the Number 2 Links. Win a fourball for the course at the end of this blog.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 3 (Links)

Just some of the views from the 2nd tee.
The top three links in this Top Ten of Ireland's Fairways Less Travelled all hail from the north west corner of this glorious island. This is where the best links value is to be found and it is also home to several of the gems many visiting golfers do not consider. We've already had Cruit Island (at number 5), and here starts the big three.

Portsalon is the Number 3 Links.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sports Capital Programme 2014 - Golfing Opportunities

The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport has announced that a €40 million Sports Capital Programme (SCP) will be available for 2014. this funding is the main channel of Government support for developing sports facilities and purchasing sports equipment for sports clubs and organizations across Ireland.

This is an opportunity for Irish golf clubs to seek money for specific works/upgrades. The funding will be restricted to certain areas as the SCP aims to foster an integrated and planned approach to developing sports and physical recreation facilities throughout the country. But the opportunities are still there.

In particular, the SCP's objectives are to:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Golfers Guide To Ireland Shoots 23

Michael, Susan, Derry and Liam of Faithlegg House
Hotel and Golf Club
I was sitting opposite Killarney Golf & Fishing Club’s General Manager at the launch of the 23rd edition of A Golfer’s Guide to Ireland last night. It wasn’t the man I expected. Maurice O’Meara (who collected the Best Golf Club Manager in 2012) recently moved to The Island, and has been replaced by Cormac Flannery, a Kerry native who spent some time working for Troon Golf in the Middle East.

Green Fee Winner For Ireland's 3rd Ranked Hidden Parkland

Padraic Farren wins the Portumna Fourball. You'll have no trouble enjoying that Padraic. Bring me back some venison.

'Gentle Soul' wins the copy of Driving the Green. Only two right answers (the links courses), but he did include Macreddin which I'm sure will create some debate when it is is revealed as not making the list. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Doonbeg Doom and Gloom... or is it?

Killeen Castle 1st tee
Doonbeg has gone into receivership. It's a shock to the system for golf in Ireland and it continues the high profile casualty list of recent years... one that includes Killeen Castle, Lough Erne and Fota Island*. Fota Island has bounced back dramatically, having been sold by NAMA to the Chinese Kang family in 2013, but various companies involved with Doonbeg, Killeen Castle and Lough Erne are in either receivership or administration...

... But the fateful words 'receivership' and 'administration' are not death knells. Far from it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 3 (Parkland)

Ireland's Top Ten Fairways Less Travelled reaches the top three pairings. These are going to be divided up - with each of the courses (parkland and links) written about separately. As the top three they deserve no less.

This is the Number 3 Parkland.

In addition to the free fourball for this course (see below) I'm going to offer an extra prize... there are five Fairways Less Travelled courses remaining in this blog series - three links and two parklands - whoever can guess the most will win a copy of 'Hooked' AND a copy of my new book 'Driving the Green' (when it's published in May). In the event of a tie one name will be chosen. Leave your five guesses in the Comments box and be sure to include your email address.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Green Fee Winner For 4th Ranked Hidden Courses

Congratulations to Andy Dunne who wins the free four balls to Rosslare and Royal Curragh. 


Ballyliffin Golf Club - Marketing an Odyssey

Ballyliffin Golf Club's online marketing efforts continue to impress... as has their worldwide reputation (see below). It's always positive to see simple but smart ideas come to fruition, and with many Irish golf clubs floundering on the marketing front, it is hoped that they will consider Ballyliffin's success and adopt a few of these ideas for their own purposes. There are plenty more opportunities, too - Marketing Ideas.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 4

Approach to the 6th at Rosslare
We're up to No. 4 in Ireland's Best Fairways Less Travelled. These are two courses that will be better known than the courses at No. 5, but still not given the credibility or respect they deserve. 

One sits on the south-eastern tip of Ireland in beautiful County Wexford (but then I would say that); the other is south west of Dublin and is the oldest course on the island. 

Parkland: Royal Curragh
Links: Rosslare

You can win four balls to both of these courses (follow the link below). 

For the 5th-ranked, click here
For the 6th-ranked, click here 
For the 7th-ranked, click here 
For the 8th-ranked, click here
For the 9th-ranked, click here

For the 10th-ranked, click here.

Green Fee Winner For 5th Ranked Hidden Courses

Congratulations to Colm Gallagher who wins the free four balls to Cruit Island and Portarlington.

Unlikely you'll be playing those rounds on consecutive days mind you.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bushnell's Slow Play Experiment

The argument over golf range finders is definitely swinging in favour of the range finder. Or at least that's what a recent experiment by Bushnell would have you believe.

Send out a bunch of guys to play a round of golf without rangefinders one day and time their round.

Send them out the next day, this time with Bushnell Laser Rangefinders, and time their round again.

Then analyse the results.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ireland's Top Ten Hidden Golf Courses - No. 5

Approach to the 5th at Cruit Island.
As we hit the top five of Ireland's Best Fairways Less Travelled, we head to the remotest north coastline and the heart of Ireland, in Co. Laois.

One is a nine hole course that is mentioned in mystical tones, its remoteness putting it beyond the reach of many Irish golfers; the other is a sweet parkland, rarely mentioned by anyone. 

Parkland: Portarlington
Links: Cruit Island

You can win four balls to both of these 5th-ranked courses (follow the link below). 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Prizes

Two lots of prizes to give out - and one is a few days late, so apologies.

1. Green Fee Winner 
Winner for 6th Ranked Hidden Courses is Patrick Custy, who gets a free four ball for Dundrum House in Co. Tipperary (which was also the answer to the question).

2. The Christmas Quiz
Next up is the winner of the Christmas Quiz. No one got all 30 questions right, but Michael (aka 'Stockdam') got 29 out of 30, with the incorrect answer only partially incorrect - Eddie Hackett did the original layout of Carne's new 9, but Ally McIntosh completed the design and was the answer I was looking for. 

The answers, if anyone wants to check are:
1. Gary Player

2. Brandel Chamblee

3. $682,000

4. St. Moritz Olympic Bobsleigh

5. 17-year-old Charley Hull

6. Anchoring will be banned

7. Oklahoma State University

8. Inbee Park (Grand slam). Stacy Lewis (won)

9. They broke the world record for the most consecutive different golf holes played by a fourball in a single day,

10. Russian Open

11. Kevin Phelan

12. Australian Open

13. Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers and 
McGettigan's Irish Pubs

14. Graeme McDowell

15. Rory McIlroy

16. Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan

17. 2001, 2002

18. Dell

19. Woodlands Golf Club

20. Kang family 

21. Daan Huizing won at Galgorm Castle Golf Club

22. Donegal Golf Club

23. Ally McIntosh

24. Rosapenna

25. The K Club 

26. 1910

27. The Cliff House Hotel

28. Limerick County Golf and Country Club

29. Westport Golf Club

30. Ladies Irish Open