Monday, March 31, 2014

Portmarnock and the Art of Golfing Subtlety

View of the clubhouse and practice green from
the 9th fairway
March… the kind of month that has more swings than a kids’ playground when it comes to the weather. Which means being an Aries is fraught with birthday-golf danger. I tried to get a group of friends to play on my birthday a few years back. I had the Open Fairways card so we played Powerscourt East at a good rate… but after 9 holes four of the guys walked in. The other four persevered in a driving rain that rendered waterproof gear useless.

Irish Golf By The Numbers

An info graphic recently created by Your Golf Travel shows some interesting stats in Irish golf. With luck, that 8 total may climb to 9 by Sunday week.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Big Golf1Million Winner

One of the biggest challenges facing the Golf1Million team is getting people to believe that Golf1Million is a genuine tournament for amateurs. I understand the caution - the world isn't exactly overflowing with amateur golf tournaments offering all-expenses paid trips to Las Vegas to compete for a $1 million dollar prize - but it's there, it's real, and all you have to do is purchase a limited edition shirt to be in with a shot of going to Las Vegas.

And besides, there are lots of other prizes up for grabs before the tournament kicks-off in September 2015... including this one, which has just been won.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jack Fleck, 1955 US Open Champion

Last week, Jack Fleck (1921 - 2014) left our green and pleasant lands and headed for fairways unknown. He was aged 92.

His name might have stirred a memory with you. Golfers tend to know the names of great champions even if they know little about the champions themselves. Jack Fleck's name burned its way into golfing folklore when he beat Ben Hogan in the US Open in 1955. In a playoff.

It was a brilliant victory and the two men - Fleck and Hogan - had lived very different golfing lives up to that point. If you want to read the story of how they got to battle it out for the US Open, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Longest Shot by Neil Sagebiel.

Neil's blog is here 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knight in Shining Armour... and a great day of golf at Strandhill

The par three 6th at Mulranny
(green to tee and ocean beyond)
A doff of the cap, a nod of the head, a smile and a thank you... whatever way you want to play it, a big congratulations to Strandhill Golf Club. Next Sunday (March 30th) the club is hosting an Open Fourball Rumble with all proceeds going to Mulranny Golf Club.

If you don't already know, Mulranny was battered by the February storms. Set on the picturesque Clew Bay, the Atlantic whipped thousands of rocks onto the golf course, covering fairways and ripping away the sea defences. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Destination Golf - The Heritage Issue

The current issue of Destination Golf's magazine has a six page spread on the Ballesteros course at The Heritage, and everything else the resort has to offer.

The course is so often ranked among the island's top parklands and the Ballesteros tag is a major promotional bonanza to attract golfers to these rolling Co. Laois fairways... and the best pairing of the 9th and 18th holes, wrapped around opposite sides of a lake.
The 18th tee box. The clubhouse, on the left, sits
directly behind the 9th green.

There's plenty of other inspiring photography too, with articles on golf in Turkey and Fiji, but it's the gorgeous images that ooze class and will have you checking websites for more of the same. All you have to do is click the link on the photographs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Galway Bay Golf Club - The Good Photos

View over the 3rd green to the rest of the course.
Taken at 7.30am
The Thursday and Friday of last week weren't the best for photography, but Saturday picked up and the sun burned down on Galway Bay's fairways and greens for close to 10 hours.

Here are a few photos that show off the course. Drop by and play it. It's well worth your time and approach shots to greens are stunning.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Galway Bay Golf Resort - Photoshoot

The start of a four day photoshoot at Galway Bay Golf Resort didn't get off to the best start. The welcome was grand, the tour of the facilities with the head greenkeeper (Damien) was enlightening and I was given a fully charged buggy to get me around the place. So far so good...

... it was only the weather that wasn't playing ball. Friday morning has proved no better. I hope in the coming days to get the weather that shows off this course to its best effect. At the moment (assuming you trust weather forecasts, tomorrow looks like it should be a cracker. Sunrise at 6.50am.

Read on for more photos of the initial foray:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Return Visit to the K Club (Smurfit) - A New Review?

Views over the 17th green to the 16th green
(from a previous visit and after the mist had started to lift)
“So, out of 10, how would you rank the course?” I asked my dad as we drove home from our round on the K Club Smurfit course.

He thought about it, scratched his chin and composed his answer. “Given the beautiful weather conditions, which always adds to the occasion,” he said, “I’d give it five.”

Five out of ten for one of the country’s premier courses… not the greatest endorsement in the world! The current green fee (rack rate) is €95. It rises to €135 peak season, so it's not exactly cheap either. (Be sure to phone up and negotiate if you want to play here.)

For me this was an opportunity to revisit one of the venues that had vexed me so much in the writing of Hooked.

A Round for Two at Augusta - How About It?

Now wouldn't that be a cool prize to give away!

You won't find it on this blog, I'm sorry to say... BUT if you visit the Golf1Million Facebook page, Like and Share the link, then that all-expenses-paid-prize could become a reality.

So... who would you take?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Golf Photography - Arklow Links

Arklow Golf Links, Ireland 2nd green
The 2nd green
There's nothing quite like playing golf on a perfect sun-drenched evening. The spill of gold light, the shadows racing ahead of you, the knowledge that others are sitting in traffic jams... what more could you ask for?

I left the golf clubs behind and picked up the camera to visit Arklow Golf Links in Co. Wicklow, earlier this week... and found one such sublime evening.

Here are a few photos to demonstrate the sweet rhythm of the early holes and this under-appreciated club.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sligo Hotel & Golf Break - Rosses Point & the Radisson Blu

County Sligo Golf Club, Ireland Golf
Rosses Point 10th hole, Benbulben beyond.
If you've been looking for a last minute deal, a quick Irish golfing getaway, then here's a bargain for the month of March. 

Why is it a bargain? 

Because it's 4 star accommodation and 5 star golf for €99.

Thanks to My Golf Society for putting me on to this one.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Arklow Links to Host Irish Club Professional Tournament
 (PGA of Ireland)

Peter Gaw,  Down Syndrome Centre; Darren Ryan, Captain Arklow 
Golf Club; Michael McCumiskey, Secretary PGA 
of Ireland; Chris Davitt, President of Arklow Golf Club
It is always reassuring when one of Ireland’s ‘small’ golf clubs gets the recognition it deserves… and some bragging rights. And last week, those rights went to Arklow Golf Club in south county Wicklow, which is set to host the Irish Club Professional tournament
 for the next three years.

The PGA in Ireland reached an agreement with Arklow Golf Club to stage the tournament in conjunction with charitable partner, The Down Syndrome Centre.