Thursday, June 22, 2017

Take on the Druid

The very wet par three 17th at Druids Glen
Is there a more daunting tee shot in Irish golf than the par four 13th at Druids Glen? There's something about the fairway far below, whipping right and out of sight around a rock face, that makes it utterly terrifying. Knowing that a long approach shot over water then awaits will have you gripping your driver far too tightly. The hole measures 451 yards... from the forward tees. I have played it numerous times over the year… and every time fills me with a thrill and not a little dread.
The par three 8th
From the back Blue tee it is 491 yards. I have never played it from there but on Friday 30th June that is exactly what I will be doing as Druids Glen hosts its first ever Open Singles back tees event. The par 71 course will measure a full 7,046 yards. OK, so that's not of Killeen Castle proportions (7,677 yards) but on the plus side it makes Druids Glen more accessible. The 13th may be a monster but the longest of the three par fives is just 538 yards (the 16th) and the par threes measure 190/166/174/203 yards... making it all manageable, although woe betide you if you get to the par three 17th with any kind of score. At Index 5 it is not a hole where you can 'play safe'. At least on the 13th you can play it as a par five.
The famous par three 12th
A couple of months ago, Aaron McAllorum outlined Ireland's various clubs hosting 'back tee' events in the pages of Irish Golfer Magazine’s Digital ezine. I mean, think about it: how many of the big courses have back tees that are never used yet every day they are diligently tended by the greenkeeping staff? Use it or lose it, I reckon.
Approach to the 15th
The cost of entry is €50 per visitor, a €20-€50 discount on the normal green fee. Now bear in mind that this is Ireland' most colourful and fun parkland (IMO), host to four Irish Opens, and you're going to have plenty of golfers queuing up to play.  And you’ll be playing from the same tees as Sergio when he won the Irish Open in 1999 – his first professional victory.

You can book here

See you on the tee.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

114th Ladies British Open Amateur Championship

Approach to P&K's 5th hole
Anyone who thinks the ladies game of golf is taking a back seat to the men's should think again. Eleven amateurs are competing in the 114th Ladies British Open Amateur Championship, which starts today at Pyle & Kenfig.

The Championship, being hosted by the R&A for the first time after the merger of the Ladies Golf Union (LGU) and the R&A at the beginning of this year, will be contested by 144 competitors from 24 countries, including 33 players ranked in the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).

Of the 58 players representing the Home Nations 11 are from Ireland. World Number One and

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Golf World Top 100 Irish Golf Courses 2017

Lahinch Golf Club. A dramatic climb into the Top 5.
The biennial Top 100 Irish Golf Course rankings by Golf World have just been released. Golf World is a UK magazine and as well as producing a GB & Ireland Top 100 ranking, they also produce individual rankings for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The ranking criteria have evolved over the years, as have the panellists, their number and their areas of expertise. It is very easy to have a panel heavily weighted with professional golfers, golf course architects, golf writers and those working in golf itself (general

Friday, June 9, 2017

Golf and Glasson's Sunday Special

The Glasson Golf Hotel is currently running a Sunday Special of 1 night's Dinner, Bed & Breakfast, and 2 rounds of golf (the 2nd comes with the compliments of the hotel) for the price of €125 pps.

Glasson’s driveway glides between big trees and above the course’s best holes which drift down to the edge of Killenure Bay… and one of the most stunning par threes in

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Carton House - Monty Mashes It Up

When I wrote an article on Carton House for Irish Golfer Magazine a couple of months ago, I stated that the Montgomerie was a seriously tough course… one of the top ten most challenging courses in the country, in my opinion.

At the time, I had played it on my own and scored well… if unofficially... and I left feeling pleased with myself and not a little bit relieved. I love the course but you come in knowing you're taking on a heavyweight.

Yesterday was the Carton House Media Day, and the Montgomerie was all set to flex

Monday, June 5, 2017

Social Media Open Portugal, November 2017


Combine all that is good in Irish golf and what you love about the game… and add some warmth and sunshine.

The original, Irish-based Social Media Open kicked off in 2013. Forty golfers turned up at Mount Juliet for the opening day of a four day amateur pairs’ event that also visited Adare, Old Head and Castlemartyr. Golf Monthly magazine was so impressed by the tournament’s idea that they sent a reporter to take part (what a hardship!).

Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength, with this year’s Social Media

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Golf Sixes with Rory - at the DDF Irish Open

Portstewart's 6th green
Now this is a rather special idea for all Irish golfers, young and old. How would you like to win a six-hole, inside-the-ropes experience with Rory McIlroy at the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart Golf Club?

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation is teaming up with VOX Golf and Rory McIlroy to offer golfers a truly unique experience ahead of the prestigious Rolex Series event, which takes place from July 6-9.

“Golf Sixes with Rory” is a six-hole competition launching on Friday June 2 throughout the island of Ireland, with the qualifying events running until Wednesday June 28.

The lucky winners of a six-hole competition, throughout the island of Ireland, will walk six holes inside the ropes with Rory McIlroy during this year’s tournament.


To compete, download the VoxGolf app, select your course and enter the “Golf Sixes with Rory” competition by playing any run of six holes – it must be the first six, middle six or final six holes of any course of your choice.

Then after you have played your six holes, simply submit your score and view a live leaderboard.

The best six scores from each course will qualify into a draw to win a special six-hole walk inside the ropes with Rory during the opening two rounds of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The 6th green at Portstewart
Entry is completely free and golfers can enter as many times as they wish, with their best score counting. Entry is open to all GUI registered club members and MyGolf Group society players.

All golfers who enter the six-hole competition will receive the opportunity to purchase a discounted Dubai Duty Free Irish Open ticket and, in addition to that, will have the chance to win Nike apparel, Taylor Made equipment and tickets to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

VoxGolf is an Irish-based software company developing mobile applications for golfers and the golf industry worldwide. The VoxGolf platform enables users to compete nationally in competitions over any number of holes.
A close look at Portstewart's par four 11th
The free mobile app acts as a digital scorecard for players, with a live leaderboard to monitor performance after the round.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Atlantic Coast Challenge 2017 (Golf at Carne, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo)

Views back up Carne's par four 3rd
As a golfer what’s the one thing you look forward to most in the year? There must be something!

The hour going forward? The first day of The Masters? Your first tee shot, whether it’s January or June? That holiday abroad? Or the arrival of your new driver? More than likely, it’s a combination of more than one of these things.

For me, over the past six years, it has been the anticipation of playing in the Atlantic Coast Challenge (ACC). The three-day tournament (3-5 July) plays over Carne, Co. Sligo and Enniscrone golf clubs and is open to all amateurs. It is links heaven, it’s a lot of fun and it is, by any stretch of the imagination, excellent value

Saturday, May 20, 2017

All aboard... Portstewart Golf Club and The Irish Open

The 2nd hole - a short but daunting par four.
Wednesday last (17th May) marked 50 days until the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club... which tees off on Thursday 6th July.

The event, as part of the Rolex Series, has raised the profile of this Co. Londonderry golf course considerably. Set on the magnificent Causeway Coast, the golf club boasts three courses but

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What drives your golfing year? Try the Atlantic Coast Challenge

Approach to Carne's 17th hole. A tough, tough par four.
As a golfer what’s the one thing you look forward to most in the year? There must be something, right!

The hour going forward? The first day of The Masters? Your first tee shot, whether it’s January or June? That holiday abroad? Or the arrival of your new driver? More than likely, it’s a combination of more than one of these things.

For me, over the past six years, it has been the anticipation of playing in the Atlantic Coast Challenge (ACC). The three-day tournament (3-5 July) plays over Carne, Co.

Friday, May 12, 2017

ShopRite Twitter Poll... Philogyny or Phooey?

Sharmila Nicollet
Shopping around for the most attractive female golfers signals a new low.

In the first week of June, lady Professional golfers will play the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, in Galloway, New Jersey. There will be 144 Pros competing for $1.5 million.

As with most of these events there are sponsor invitations. The tournament organisers announced last week that they would give a slot to one of four ladies based on a Twitter vote. This is the first time a player has been selected this way.

Yes, I’m being serious. Forget merit, this is all about social media popularity.

How do you feel about that? Is it good for golf? Are we embracing the social media age

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Roar for Rory: Kids and the Irish Open

When Rory stuck his oar in to refresh the Irish Open, some three years ago, none of us realised quite how big a boat he was planning to row. The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is rolling into town in two months’ time and the expectations are high. In 2015 (Royal County Down) and 2016 (K Club) visitors and even those who were intrigued by his involvement, that of his Rory Foundation and the lead sponsor Dubai Duty Free, have seen a tournament go from strength to strength. It didn’t hurt that last year, when Rory won in such scintillating style, he donated all of his winnings to the charities being supported by The Rory Foundation.
2017 is the ‘biggest’ year yet. There’s a music stage, there’s a superb links course,

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Much Ado About Membership

A view of Mount Wolseley's 4th hole.
The level of doom and gloom in Irish golf is fluctuating. The hard hit, small courses - particularly those in the country - remain a bit down-trodden while the bigger courses, the resort courses and the links are seeing far rosier horizons. For those small clubs the decline in membership is a significant factor. They don't enjoy the same level of green fee visitors or corporate outings as the their bigger siblings, leaving it to golf societies to provide much needed additional income. At least the popularity of society outings is once again on the rise providing an important fillip for those clubs where membership has tumbled by 20-30%.

The membership dilemma is a tricky one. There are Pros and Cons to the argument... and I wrote a piece for the Irish Examiner earlier this week which lists 12 Pros and 5 Cons. There were actually 6 Cons, but one had to be removed as I do tend to waffle on! I've added this below. A link to the article is here (please click).
Bearna Golf Club, just west of Galway city.
Con 6. Lifestyle. Because of lifestyle and family/work commitments some golfers never know where their next round is coming from and that can make membership hard to justify. Similarly golfers in the 20-40 age bracket may find that their career takes them to different locations around the country (or world) so basing themselves at one club is not worthwhile.   

And if you are interested in membership... may I direct you to the mygolfmembership.ie website where you can get an initial grasp of what just about every club is asking for.

I have yet to see any 'summer membership specials' so if you know of any, please let me know.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Engaging with the Future of Golf for the Northern Ireland Open

Galgorm Castle Golf Club
In perfectly timed symmetry - and by sheer coincidence - Modest! Golf issued a press release that dovetailed with my rant against the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey, next month. Essentially the people running the US tournament have decided to issue one sponsor invitation based on a beauty contest. I'm not kidding. That is utterly the wrong way to promote golf. The right way to promote golf, on the other hand, is the Modest! Golf way and I applaud them for their approach. They will invite the leading Under 18 player to compete in the Northern Irish Open (10-

Friday, April 28, 2017

Scotland's Best Golf Holes - The Poll Results

The famous Postage Stamp at Royal Troon
It was smart work on the part of VisitScotland, Scotland’s tourism body… by appreciating what a sensational golf product they have, they decided to give golfers everywhere the opportunity to vote for their best golf holes. We all love to have an opinion about the best golf courses and golf holes so VisitScotland decided to put it to the test. Over 3,000 people responded, choosing holes in seven categories:

1 Best Golf Hole
2 Best Opening Hole
3 Best Closing Hole
4 Best Par 3
5 Best Par 4
6 Best Par 5
7 Best View

Each category came with a list of the usual shortlisted suspects, plus the option to

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Golfshake Podcast and Irish Golf

A couple of days ago I did a podcast with Golfshake, in the UK. The podcast is hosted by Kieran Clarke and Owen Davies and I had been invited on to talk about golf in Ireland – and West of Ireland Golf and the Irish Open in particular.
Portstewart plays host to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (6-9 July)
There were technical glitches at my end – my broadband dropped several times, including just as I was being introduced which left Kieran and Owen to fill in and then re-introduce me – but we had a grand chat about the state of golf in Ireland and the buzz around our national Open.

Co Sligo Golf Club is part of West of Ireland Golf.
There’s a few minutes of chat between Kieran and Owen at the star, regarding the tour wins this past weekend, and what’s interesting about that is Bernd Wiesberger‘s victory…  I reckon he is a great tip for the Irish Open.


What is Golfshake?

Golfshake is an online community of golfers who want to play more and play better. The online score tracker and mobile apps allow golfers & societies to track their scores, stats & golf handicaps to analyse and benchmark their game as well as providing an online resource of tips & tuition to aid them on their quest to play better golf.  The course & travel section provides a hub for golfers wanting to play more through use of the online search tools, reading independent reviews and accessing golf travel features and destination guides. Additionally Golfshake provides online news, reviews & features for all things golf.




Monday, April 24, 2017

4 Best Drills to Practise Your Short-Game

There's a new Irish golf blog in town, by Ryland Davies, a man focused on improving a golfer's short game. Here is a blog he wrote recently on practice drills. Too few of us do it... even though we know we should... so let this be the inspiration as the main golfing season gets into full swing.

Check out the blog: Master Your Short Game and follow them on Twitter @mastershortgame

Practicing Short-Game

Over the years, we've worked with many players on their short-game. These are the 4 best drills to practise your short-game that we've seen impact on a player's game in the most positive way. 

1. ONE CLUB, TWO DISTANCES

In order to become a genius from 100 yards and in (the scoring zone), you need