Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is the Ryder Cup About to Die?

Is the Ryder Cup dying?

It's a bit late for a rant against golf's biggest team event, I know, but this has been simmering for a couple of weeks.

And no, it has nothing to do with European domination and an American public who are losing interest in watching their team lose.

No, this is more serious. Remember the uproar when Tiger (and others) started suggesting that they should be paid for playing in the Ryder Cup? Outrage followed.

"You should feel privileged to represent your country... blah, blah, blah," was the basic premise that saw Tiger slink away with his tail between his legs.

But right now, today, I can see exactly why those Professionals might feel inclined to raise the issue again. It's the commercialisation of the event that completely excludes the players themselves. The figures for retail sales during Ryder Cup week were astounding... and is it any surprise when you had to pay £85 for a simple beanie hat. What was special about it... other than the Ryder Cup logo... absolutely nothing. (And if you think that's the worst of it, check out the official Ryder Cup Store here.) Then there are the ticket sales and the peripherals of food and drink. It adds up, and it adds up bloody fast. We're talking millions, here.

I know that the event has to make money (although it didn't achieve that until the mid-1980s), but it is   losing the run of itself. It has become a money-making machine and while 'greed is good' may be the driving force of any such global, commercial event, if the main protagonists are not going to be paid then discontent will surely fester. And, if such blatant profiteering continues, it won't just be the players who lose respect for the event, it will be the paying public too. £85 for a beanie... how totally, utterly insane.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ireland's Best 10th Hole (Parkland)?

Anyone out there played both of these two glorious Irish golf holes?

Rathsallagh and Headfort (New).

If you have, which one do you prefer... and why?

Maybe you haven't played both of them - or either of them - but you've probably heard about the holes. Or maybe you have another suggestion. All thoughts (use the 'Comment' feature below) appreciated as I'm putting together my Top 18 Parkland Holes in Ireland... and the 10th hole is proving tricky.

Here's a photo of each:
Rathsallagh - a par four and a difficult one at that, with water crossing the
fairway and then running along the right hand side to the green.

Headfort (New) - a par four with a big carry over water before the hole
whips right, around the trees.
Those pics will, hopefully, give you an idea of what the holes promise.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pick Your Top 50 Ireland Links Golf Courses - €10,000 in prizes

The 17th at Carne - a stunning omission from
the top 15 last year
Ireland's Golfing Weekly Magazine have already gathered up the top 50 parkland votes and now is your chance to vote on our island's top 50 links (and seaside) courses.

Given that there are far fewer of these, the task should be simpler. Then again, the top links are pricier. If you've played all of them, then consider yourself extremely lucky; if you haven't, set yourself a target and try to play a couple over the winter months. Links golf in winter... there's nothing quite like it!

Remember, you don't need to have played 50 courses to vote.

And if you add your rankings to the survey, then you're in with a shot of winning some ten grand's worth of prizes (see below).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

IGTOA Awards 2014 - Who Won What

The annual IGTOA Awards were held at Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co.Mayo, only a couple of nights ago. The annual celebration is for all that is good and great about Irish golf in the eyes of the Ireland Golf Tour Operator Association. Here are their awards for this year - which include a couple of personal favourites: 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Festival of Golf, 4th November, Dublin... Win a Fourball

Views down the 18th at Co. Cavan GC
On Tuesday, November 4th, the Ballsbridge Hotel hosts the third Dublin Golf Night, now known as the ‘Festival of Golf’, organised by Failte Ireland. There will be 58 golf courses (see list below) represented, showing off their courses, promoting green fee deals (for single golfers and society golfers alike), golf getaways, membership options and there will plenty of freebies during the event as well.

Oh, and it’s free for all visitors.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tip of the Hat... Just Treats Irish Golf Deals

Bunclody's 15th hole. Rather spectacular
Just Treats stirs up some debate as to what is and isn't good marketing for Irish golf clubs, but the offers (four excellent ones this week - see below) open up a different world of opportunity to golfers.

Whichever way you look at it, clubs need to attract green fees and raise their profile. Just Treats is one means of doing that. Such channels/deal websites give golfers the chance to sample different golf courses that they might not otherwise have been able to afford... or even heard of. If they like it, they'll recommend it to friends... and so the club benefits, hopefully, by attracting future green fees... and even members.

Here are those 4 offers:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Today's Golfer... Not Today, Thank You

The Carlow GC landscape (and 6th green)
I know only too well that there are times when you should shut your mouth and keep your opinions to yourself. Don't speak until the brain has engaged - it has always been a problem for me. But sometimes... sometimes you just have to get things off your chest.

The current issue of Today's Golfer has a five page spread on Irish golf. It's entitled Undiscovered Ireland. Now, the magazine is one of the better golfing reads so giving it some stick is regrettable... but some stick is deserved.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mystery Golf Course Winner... Dunmurry Springs

John Langan picks up the four ball for Dunmurry Springs Golf Club.

Approach to the 3rd
 Mel Flanagan, the Irish golf course architect has designed some beauties, and Dunmurry Springs is growing into its landscape very nicely indeed. With its spectacular views and hillside location you'll tackle great holes that thrill and test.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Your Top 50 Irish Parkland Courses - €10,000 in prizes

Malone's 15th green from the 18th (last year's No. 29)
It's that time of year again! Well, it's only the 2nd time this has happened, so that might be an overstatement. Ireland's Golfing Weekly Magazine is running its '50 Top Parkland' courses survey.

This is your opportunity to pick your 50 favourite (or fewer if you don't get out much) parkland courses in the order you would rank them. Everyone else is doing the same (4,165 golfers voted last year) so take this opportunity and have your say!