Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ireland's 100 Best Golf Holes 2016

Yes, it had to happen... and happen it did in the current issue of Irish Golfer Magazine. A list of Ireland's Best 100 Golf Holes has been published and the nit-picking has begun. Is anyone surprised? No, of course not. Everyone has their favourites... which is as it should be.

The list was devised by Ally McIntosh (golf course architect) and me (gobby, opinionated golf writer) and after reducing over 7,000 holes to a mere 200 the real work began. It is frustratingly tough to get to that 100 number. Several of my favourite holes didn't make the cut for one reason or another - Druid's Glen par three 8th, Athlone's par four 13th,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cruden Bay Photoshoot - Day 2

The bar at the White Horse Inn, Balmedie.
A 5am start is bad enough without the hotel fire alarm going off at 1.30am.

We all sulked out of our rooms, muttering and then we waited for the fire brigade. At least they were quick (15 minutes) and in and out in another five. The lead fireman was none too pleased with the resident of the offending room.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Cruden Bay Photoshoot - the joys of Scotland

Five minutes… that’s all it takes to be immersed in the beauty of the Scottish countryside. Heather falls like a shawl over the shoulders of mountains, flooding between the pines as the road winds along the valley floor. Cairnryan Port is left behind, to the south, and now the five hour journey to Aberdeen begins.
The 4th hole at Cruden Bay - a gem of a par three.
It’s a long drive, especially with the additional three hours from Wexford to Belfast, but this is all about the beauty of Scotland… and the convenience of having your own car. An Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Aberdeen would have been simpler, no question, but the convenience of having your own car makes it worthwhile. Besides, I wouldn’t have fit the ladder on the plane.

This is a photography job – my first outside Ireland – and trying to figure out what to take and what not to take on the plane was doing my head in. The ferry was the obvious answer and the ladder fits easily in the car boot.
Approach to the par five 6th. Under 500 yards... but Index 1. Yep,
it's a brute to get at the green.
After the heather-strewn glens the road drops down to the ocean and Ailsa Craig makes its presence known… and that means only one thing… Turnberry is a few miles ahead. But that’s another story.

It was 7pm by the time I arrived at Cruden Bay Golf Club, north of Aberdeen, and the sun was out. I met Les Durno, the General Manager, and he took me out on the course, to the well loved 4th hole. There’s only one buggy here… for the Ranger... so do what you’re supposed to do on a golf course, and walk.
The panorama from the clubhouse bar - whets the appetite, eh!
"From June 4th we’ve had rain every day… for 66 days in a row,” he told me, pointing out the lush, silky fairways. “Golfers are complaining it’s too green!

As a photographer, I certainly wasn't.

My room for the night is at the White Horse Inn, in Balmedie, halfway between Cruden Bay and Aberdeen. The bar and restaurant are really rather chic  and funky. I’ll get a pic up on here tomorrow. For now – it’s a 5am start so I’m hitting the sack.

Concra Wood Winner

Gerard Doolan... you're the man with a shiny ball marker/medal coming your way. Drop me a 'Comment' with your address and I'll send it on.

Thanks to all who entered. Be sure to pay Concra Wood a visit in Co. Monaghan

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Charlesland Golf Club Makes More of its Land

The old par three 2nd at Charlesland
Charlesland Golf Club has made a few changes to its course and its facilities in recent months. Two new holes and a three-hole golf academy opened at the end of July, and I finally got a chance to go and see them on Friday.

The club is currently being managed by Carr Golf, on behalf of the owners - the Evans family. These golf developments are part of a wider €1 million refurbishment the Evans family have undertaken to strengthen

Friday, August 12, 2016

Concra Wood... where the rain matters not a jot

The par five 13th curls forever right around Lake Muckno.
The green is on the far right of this photo.
There’s been a lot going on at Concra Wood in the past few years: new clubhouse, new entrance driveway, new car park, three years of hosting the Europro Tour. One thing that hasn’t changed is the golf course and the glorious surroundings. This is what you might call a ‘knockout’ round of golf.

I hadn’t been back to the course in far too long, so on Wednesday I headed up with my dad for what

Monday, August 8, 2016

Portstewart - The Irish Open Venue for 2017

The most spectacular opening tee shot in Irish golf.
It gave me no pleasure to watch the Irish Open snatched from the grasp of Lough Erne earlier this year… when just about everyone believed it was a done deal… but, similarly, now that our national Open has been handed to Portstewart in 2017, and given such a peach of a date (6 to 9 July), golf in Ireland can look at new ways to bear fruit.

The European Tour has made a significant move by rearranging the