Thursday, August 28, 2014

Golf Irony... Mount Ober

When Hooked first appeared in bookshops in 2009, it came with the claim that I had played every 18 hole golf course in Ireland... which wasn't strictly true!

No, there was a course in Northern Ireland, just south of Belfast, which I never got to play. Its name is Mount Ober.

Why didn't I review it?

Because when I approached the club they said I couldn't play unless they were allowed to edit my review. That simply wasn't possible - how effective would the book be if every club was allowed that freedom? Dublin Mountain, Elm Park, The K Club, and many more would have rejected my reviews outright.

The result was that I didn't play the course and the Mount Ober 'review' in the 1st edition of Hooked was a page that explained why there was no review of the course. In the 2nd edition (2011) I took out the page entirely as there were new courses to be added and I had to save a page somewhere.

But finally the stars aligned. I was due to visit Castlereagh Hills, right next door to Mount Ober. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. I'd pay the £10 green fee and put the review in the next edition of the book. I contacted the club. The lady didn't take my name - she said to turn up and they'd get me out without any problem. So far, so good.

It was only when I was in Northern Ireland, last week, and talking to the good people at Castlereagh Hills that I learned Mount Ober is in the process of closing down. A new hotel is to be built on the site and the golf club will be no more within a matter of months.

After all this time, having finally found the time and opportunity to play the one missing link, I find that ironic.

Blackadder: Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is? 

Baldrick: Yes, it's like goldy and bronzy only it's made out of iron.

Needless to say, I saved myself the £10 and bought a couple of pints at Galgorm Castle that night, instead.

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