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.

Druid's Glen recently invited me to a media day, as the resort is pumping €3 million into the hotel and facilities, and they wanted to get the word out. Given my fondness for the course, I shifted appointments so I could make the event. And my loyalty was repaid with one of the best days the country has had this year and playing partners who provided the kind of banter and relaxed conversation that makes the golf all the more enjoyable.

Tee shot from 13. The hole sweeps right with a wide stream running
along the curve of the fairway. Just don't ask Eamon where
he hit his drive, as Paul and Julian look on.
It was a team event - two scores to count on 1-17 and all four on 18. Our golf on the opening nine holes failed to ignite the scorecard, not helped by a couple of shanks and greens as fast as any I've played. I have visited Druid's Glen many times and I have never seen the greens in such excellent condition.

After nine holes there was a drink and a snack waiting for us... smoked salmon and champagne is not what you expect as a half-time pick me up but it did the trick as the golf improved dramatically. Our score was enough to win the competition - and we received a smart Druid's Glen sweater for our efforts. The longest drive was won by Conor Deegan, a +5 handicapper, who practically ran out of fairway on 18. If you know the course, you'll know just how far that is.

Druid's Glen Golf
Approach to the brilliant par four 13th

Druid's Glen Resort Upgrade

But the day was for other purposes and not just golf. It would be easy for me to wax lyrical about Druid's Glen - and I have done it on this blog before - but the Druid's Glen Resort is a new entity of sorts, now that the Marriott chain is no longer associated with the hotel. The investment is being made in three phases, on the back of the resort's two most successful years trading (2012 and 2013). Phase two saw the complete refurbishment of 145 guest rooms and suites in the hotel, while other refurbishments included the ballroom, private dining suites and boardrooms. It is so positive to see such efforts being made to attract new customers - be they leisure or corporate - and the changes (and the resort in general) are very impressive.

Speaking about the new look of Druids Glen Resort and its future plans, CEO Edward Stephenson said, “We have spent a lot of time planning and preparing for these developments, which have been a significant investment for us this year and we are delighted with the improvements to date. The resort is trading ahead of 2013 and in particular I am pleased with the significant growth in the average room rate, a key performance indicator for this sector. Summer accommodation bookings are pacing 15% ahead of last year, conference bookings are buoyant and there has been a notable increase in corporate golf activity which is to be welcomed.”

This summer, Druids Glen Resort will also be carrying out refurbishments to Woodstock House, which dates back to 1770. The current renovations to the bar and lounge area include changes to the layout, replacing furniture and changes to the existing colour scheme to warmer red and stone tones. The updates will enhance the rich architectural detail of this historic building and also ensure that golf members and guests enjoy a relaxed clubhouse atmosphere. The development also positions Woodstock House as an ideal venue for corporate meetings and receptions with the spectacular rooftop terrace providing panoramic countryside and coastal views.

Druid's Glen Golf
View from green to tee on the par three 17th. Water surrounds
the green on three sides.
For further information on the award winning Druids Glen Resort visit and follow Druids Glen Resort on Facebook and Twitter @DruidsGlen. For photographs of Druid's Glen, click here.

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