Friday, April 29, 2016

Birrrrrrrr.... illiant Irish Golf

Take a look at the photos and tell me you wouldn't like to play here. One of Ireland's unsung beauties, this is Birr Golf Club, in Co. Offaly, and the club is hosting a Junior (H'cap 6-11) and Senior (max h'cap 5) Scratch Cup on Sunday May 15th... for just €15.

So, for €15 you get to play a course which is famous for its natural flowing eskers, will be in fantastic condition, and will be played from the back tees (the par three 15th measures 226 metres). Oh, and it looks like this:

Book your tee time by calling 05791 20082 or online at Birr Golf Club. A soup and sandwich before your round will cost €5, while a main meal afterwards will set you back a tenner.

Views back over the 13th green.
Views back down the 4th
The famous 10th, into a narrowing chute of trees.
The par three 15th... 226 metres, no less.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Full Package at Castlemartyr (and a free fourball)

As Ireland's long climb out of recession continues, golf courses and hotels evolve, change hands and splutter with new life. As someone involved in Irish golf I have been fascinated by this evolution. No one is immune in falling from grace and only a few regain their place at the top.

Which brings me to the five star Castlemartyr Resort in Co. Cork. It

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Golf, The Olympics, and a Conundrum

In the last week, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh have stated they will not be competing at the Rio Olympics. Their reasons are different, but they are extremely prominent names nonetheless. In between the three announcements a

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Battle of Ireland's Top Five Golf Courses

What are your five favourite Irish golf courses? It's not an easy task is it because there's always a 6th and a 7th vying to be included.

In a straight shoot-out between myself and Rory - Your Golf Travel's 'resident golf geek' - we've each picked our Top 5 Irish golf courses and put them head to head.

Take a look and see whose choices you prefer... or feel free to mix and match. The Your Golf Travel article is here.

Obviously it's a friendly rivalry as every one of those 10 courses delivers a wonderful

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Master of Esker Hills

Sunset over the 18th green at Esker Hills
The Masters is over for another year and while there was no Irish winner there was a strong Irish showing... from Esker Hills Golf Club.

Here's a golf club showing a bit of innovation and chutzpah... and there’s not an awful lot of that about.

Using the hashtag #FromEskerToAugusta, the club ran a tournament celebrating Shane

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Green Jacket to show its colours at The K Club

View of the K Club's 6th hole. 
One of the big questions that immediately followed Danny Willett's win in Augusta - from an Irish perspective anyway - was whether he would play in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation from May 19-22  The commitments and opportunities which follow such a momentous victory can turn a Professional's planned annual schedule on its head.

It has been confirmed, however, that Danny will roll up to the K Club and will, undoubtedly, be one of the hot favourites. It will be his first appearance in Europe as Masters champion and, along with McIlroy, the Englishman will be the headline act in a field which includes his compatriots Matt Fitzpatrick and Lee Westwood, and defending champion Søren Kjeldsen. All performed superbly at Augusta National last week.
The sweet par three 8th beside the River Liffey.
Willett can anticipate an incredible reception when he steps on to the first tee at The K Club after his life-changing victory in Augusta.

“The Irish Open is going to be awesome,” he said. “It’s a great event. Last year at County Down was pretty special, especially for me having played in the Walker Cup there in 2007. This year, we are at The K Club and it’s going to be a special week.

“Rory has done a magnificent job with the tournament, and what he is doing for the European Tour and golf in Ireland in general. I think with the field we are going to have there, amazing crowds as always and an iconic venue like The K Club, it’s going to be a brilliant tournament. I am really looking forward to making my first appearance in Europe there.”
Approach to the K Club's par five 18th.
Off the course, Willett remains confident but he is also grounded by a sense of realism and speaks with refreshing honesty. He does not yet believe he is at the same level as golf’s current ‘big three’, but is well aware that he is quickly becoming part of the conversation at the game’s top table.

“Guys like Rory, Jordan and Jason have achieved a bit more than me at this stage,” said Willett. “I still have a little way to go to be up there with those boys, but it’s a fantastic start and a big move in the right direction to start doing special things in the very biggest tournaments.

“I am looking forward to being part of that illustrious group of Major winners, which still sounds a bit odd to be honest, but I want to keep moving forward with my career and seeing what else I can achieve.

“I have no idea how good I can be. I don’t think you can ever really tell how good someone is going to be or what they are capable of. Before Sunday, people probably didn’t think I was capable of what I achieved.

“I am just going to keep doing what I am doing and ticking all the boxes that I know will improve me both as a person and as a golfer, and hopefully I can get into that position again. It’s a special feeling and one I want to feel a few more times.”

As well as Willett and McIlroy, Ireland’s other recent Major Champions, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, will also star at The K Club, alongside former Irish Open champion Shane Lowry.

Anyone who wants the chance to see the new Masters champion in action can buy an advance ticket for our national open at Tickets cost €30 per day with a season ticket costing just €70 for all four days. There are also special deals for families and the event will have plenty of extras to keep everybody happy.

A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Rory Foundation, which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to children’s charities around the world.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2016 is also supported by the Irish Government under the auspices of Fáilte Ireland and Sport Ireland.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Masters Concra Wood Winner

Who needs a Green Jacket when you can have a fourball for Concra Wood instead!  I bet Danny Willett doesn't have that.

Congratulations to Frank Dore who wins the fourball for correctly predicting that Rory came 10th. Drop me a line, Frank, and I'll send on the voucher.

Across the different 'social media' and this blog there were 148 entries for the competition, with five people predicting Rory would come 10th. And, out of interest, 36 people predicted he would win, while 16 predicted he would come 2nd.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Master's Week. Win a Fourball...

... to Concra Wood.

Yea, sorry... if you thought I was handing out a fourball for Augusta, that's not going to happen... not this week anyway. I did ask Billy Payne for a fourball, on your behalf, and he said I would definitely get that fourball... when hell freezes over... or when Donald Trump shows some humility... whichever comes first.
(Not the best photo - take a look at their website to see how stunning
this course looks)
But this is a fourball for Concra Wood - a top 5 Irish parkland - so there won't be any complaints.