Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spreading the Destination Golf Love

Castlemartyr's 7th and 5th greens
I spent yesterday driving part of Ireland's south coast, visiting four excellent golf courses to drop off copies of Irish golf's latest magazine: Destination Golf's Guide to Ireland.

West Waterford, Castlemartyr, Fota Island and Cork golf clubs. Remarkably, given our weather of late and what the forecast had predicted, I got to see the courses
bathed in sunshine.

Unfortunately that didn't mean all courses were open. West Waterford was taking a safety-first approach and after everything that's been thrown at our courses since November, that makes perfect sense. Gary Hurley wasn't back for a day, following his first professional victory (read the story on Irish Golf Desk), so there were some celebrations to be planned.

Views over the 9th green at West Waterford, yesterday,
towards the Comeragh Mountains.
West Waterford remains one of those sweet, peaceful parklands, in an idyllic setting and known by only a few. The word is getting out - thanks to Gary Hurley and those who have visited the place and come away ecstatic to have found such a lovely course. Green fees are excellent value: €25-€35.
The double page spread for Waterford Castle in DG Ireland.

Next up was Castlemartyr - a five star resort that fell under the NAMA cosh when our recession hit full tilt. Things are turning around in a big way as the resort is now under new British owners, who happen to be seriously into golf. That's great news for the golf course... but also great news for the whole region as the British golfer is such an important visitor, especially for our inland courses. And with good UK connections from Cork Airport, that should boost the local economy.

This is a plush resort with all the trimmings - the main bar (Knight's Bar) is probably the most comfortable I have seen - and the golf course is, after being closed for almost all of January, is still looking its excellent self.

The par three 5th at Catlemartyr yesterday, with the castle beyond
Castlemartyr is getting a makeover, so take a look at their website and see what catches your eye. As I was leaving, a two-pony trap was trotting along the driveway, mothers and excited kids bouncing around in the back. Cold? What cold!

Fota Island was next on the list. Irish Open course three times... what more needs to be said? And still one of my favourite clubhouses.
Approach to the unmistakeable par five 18th at Fota Island. 
Spreading the love at Fota Island... as Enda looks on.
The last golf club on my mini-tour was Cork Golf Club, a couple of miles down the road from Fota. I ended up in the restaurant shooting the breeze with the club's Manager, Matt Sands, as the next big course article I'll be writing is none other than Cork Golf Club. He gave me an absolute gem on Seve's 1983 visit... but you'll have to wait to read that in a future issue of Irish Golfer Magazine.
The 15th hole at Cork Golf Club in yesterday's sunshine.
You can pick up a copy of the Destination Golf Guide at many of the Irish golf courses around the country. You could start with the four above!

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