Thursday, July 31, 2014

Irish Open Weeks - Part 2

Approach to the 10th at Concra Wood.
The Open Weeks rumble on, and they are all around the country. It makes it difficult to decide which way to go... but go you should.

Here are the events at 

  1. Concra Wood
  2. Dundrum House (Tipperary)
  3. Galway Bay
  4. Rosapenna

Sunday, July 27, 2014

'Industry Guest' on Twitter's #IrishGolfDebate

The kind people (aka Paul) who host the Irish Golf Debate on Twitter have invited me on as the Industry Guest tomorrow night (Monday July 28th). No surprises, I'll be talking about Ireland's golf courses, those forgotten (or ignored) gems and I may get in a word or two about my new book. There will be a challenge too, so if you want to win a signed copy of Driving The Green, be sure to tune in between 10 and 10.30pm.

What's the challenge?...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Once Bitten - Get Bitten Again

Who says golf isn't a dangerous sport? When you dunk all those balls in the lake, spare a thought for the diver you're sending in after them... especially if it's Stephen Martinez.

God love him... he doesn't exactly learn fast, does our Stephen. You see, he makes a living out of diving for golf balls. Sounds straightforward enough, but when you're collecting balls in Florida's lakes and ponds you have the added danger of alligators.

You'd think Stephen would know this... and maybe he did... but it didn't stop him getting attacked by an alligator in 2006. You'd think he might consider that a good reason to find a new profession. You'd think, at the very least, that he might identify ways to prevent it from happening again...

... apparently not!

On Wednesday last week, Stephen was diving at Bonaventure Country Club in Weston, Florida when a eight-foot alligator just snuck on him, grabbed him by the arm and took him for a swim.

If you want to read about the attack, the escape, how he probably should have lost an arm and how this is still not going to stop him diving for golf balls, here's the story.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Irish Open Weeks/Days 2014... Part 1

Views back up the course at Dunmurry Springs
Lots of them about - pretty much every place you look - and few better ways (or prices) to play many of Ireland's golf courses. And then there's the weather... take advantage while you can.

Here are three:
Dunmurry Springs
Lough Erne 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

McIlroy Refuses To Sign Autograph

Apparently this caused a Twitter storm. Apparently everyone and his mother now despise Northern Ireland's Golden Child. Apparently this follows Rory's 'brutal dumping' of Caroline Wozniacki.

Oh, the media love to turn mole hills into mountains. And these days the 'Public' get hysterical over a burnt slice of toast.

For those of you anti-Rory-ites who think the snubbed autograph was a travesty, here are five things to consider...

Irish Independent Weekend Magazine Article

As part of the promotion for my book 'Driving The Green', the Irish Independent asked me to write a piece on five of my favourite golf courses. It was for the Travel section of last Saturday's Weekend Magazine.

Choosing five is always tough and it seems so unfair on all the courses that don't get mentioned. If I asked you to list your top five golf courses, you'd list off five, then add another, think about it, mention another, groan because you'd left out that favourite course... and end up listing nine or ten. Don't believe me, then go ahead and try it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Golf and Dealing with Back Pain

Following on from a recent guest post on staying motivated, here's another guest blog on how to deal with back pain. It's something many of us struggle with. 

Sure, we don't hit the ball or twist the body with the kind of force that Tiger Woods exerts, so, hopefully, none of us will ever need the back surgery he endured in March, but back pain of any description is likely to see you leaving your clubs in the car and and your feet up on the couch.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kingspan Concra Wood Open

This is the third staging of this
 Europro Tour event, returning once again to the glamorous and beautiful Concra Wood Golf Club, in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan.

The tournament, which has become a fixture on the PGA Europro Tour, will run from July 23-25. It will be screened around the world via Sky Sports, but you can easily drive up to Castleblayney and enjoy some great golf and some of the best scenery in the country.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rosses Point - Co. Sligo's Open Week

Rosses Point Golf Club
The par three 4th has wicked fall-offs everywhere but
the back.
It's not always easy to play the best courses in Ireland - especially when they're links and they're so populated with American links enthusiasts. But, every now and again (year after year in this case), you get an Open Week that makes it possible... and makes the journey to  a distant town an essential part of your summer's golf. And when you throw in the €20-€30 green fee, you'd be mad not to pay a visit to Sligo town and the brilliance that is Rosses Point.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Driving The Green Book Review

A huge thank you to Dean Goodison, for this review of Driving The Green, in the Wexford People. It gives the full flavour of what the book (and my travels) is all about.

Second part of the review is below:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Atlantic Coast Challenge - Day 2 - Carne Golf Links

Approach to Carne's Kilmore 8th 
Day 2 of the Atlantic Coast Challenge was spent on the monstrous dunes of Carne. The day was… in a word… blistering. Almost wrong for a links, but there was enough wind to add that necessary something. 9 irons became 7 irons, or over-enthusiastically thrashed 8 irons.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Atlantic Coast Challenge 2014

It is the 4th year of this tournament  and some 360 golfers are flooding the fairways of Carne, Enniscrone and Rosses Point. It just keeps growing in popularity and, given the quality of the courses and the price of the entry fee, that's no great surprise.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Carne Golf Links Photos

Some photographs from Carne last night... to inspire those preparing for the Atlantic Coast Challenge.

The new par five 5th on the Kilmore 9. A dogleg right

Approach to the Hackett 11th. Tee is right of this picture,
creating a 90 degree dogleg

The Hackett 15th. A straight par four with an enormous
dip in the middle of the fairway (hard to see in pic)

The steep drop to the par three 16th

Approach to Hackett's 17th. A straight and long pat four

A double rainbow touches down in Blacksod Bay, beyond
the clubhouse and the 18th green

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ryan Tubridy, RTE 2FM & Driving The Green

On Monday 7th July, between 10 and 11am, I will be appearing on the Ryan Tubridy RTE 2FM show, live from Strandhill. I have a 10 minute slot to chat about the new book, Driving The Green, so if you want to find out a bit more about the story behind it (and my first book Hooked), tune in.

I'm up playing the Atlantic Coast Challenge (Carne, Co. Sligo and Enniscrone Golf Clubs), and the 2FM roadcaster will be parked at the entrance to another of my favourite courses: Strandhill.

2FM are touring the north/west coast all of next week, with Discover Ireland, to promote the Wild Atlantic Way... which boasts a total of 30 golf courses along its 2,500km route - including the four courses mentioned above.

Strandhill's 13th hole

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Comfort of a (Golf) Lover

Druid's Glen Golf
The 8th hole - all carry over water to a heavily sloped green.
Remember the first time you fell in love? That overwhelming tightness in your chest, the joy filling your head, the adrenaline coursing through your veins.

I remember it well. It was 1999. I was standing on the 8th hole at Druid's Glen and after a few holes of gentle flirting, I had the beautiful par three 8th laid out before me. That was the moment that I first fell in love with a golf course. And Druid's Glen only gets better with holes 12, 13, 17 and 18 all proving irresistible.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Open Championship... and Paul Dunne

What a great day for Irish golf and for Greystones Golf Club in particular. Those of us at the club have known for some time that Paul Dunne is a rising golfing star. He made an impact as a teenager, he made an impact as a student at the University of Alabama, and last year he won the East of Ireland Championship. This year he came second. He was also part of the victorious Palmer Cup team which beat the United States last week.

But that all pales against his victory yesterday at Woburn Golf Club (review here). His two-round, 10 under score was three shots better than his nearest rival... Oliver Fisher... and seven shots better than Robert Rock.

Paul chipping to the 7th green at
Greystones Golf Club
What does this mean for the 21 year old? It means he'll be teeing it up at Royal Liverpool in a couple of weeks' time to play The Open Championship. It's an amazing feat ... especially when you consider he arrived at the tee on day one with barely a minute to spare. Shades of Rory McIlroy in the Ryder Cup. Let's hope that's a good omen.