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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Eric Trump's Visit to Doonbeg, 2017

The beach, the resort and where the rock wall will appear
The Trump wall is back on the agenda and back in the news following Eric Trump’s visit last week to Doonbeg. Ivan Morris, the golf scribe, recently wrote a piece in the Irish Golfer Magazine’s Digital edition (click here to read it), pointing to the enormous benefits such a wall would bring. These are simple: the local economy does rather well out of Doonbeg and its multitude of visitors; and Doonbeg is an excellent course and one Ivan has a passion for. Protecting

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Welcome the West of Ireland Golf Collective


A friendly neighbour will watch you play Connemara.
I’ve banged this drum before… the West of Ireland coastline, from Galway around to Sligo, has some of the most thrilling, beautiful and entertaining golf courses any golfer could ask for. And yet it is difficult to understand why this corner of the world does not receive more credit in terms of the links and seaside courses on offer. Especially when you compare green fees with the big names to the south and north.

Clearly West of Ireland Golf feels the same way. This new ‘collective’ of seven Irish golf courses stretches from Galway Bay Golf Resort, around the Wild Atlantic Way, to

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Scottish Cross-Sport... Rugby vs. Golf

If you have a few moments (3 minutes to be precise) you can watch a cross-sport of golf vs. rugby. Scotland star Stuart Hogg and European Tour golfer Richie Ramsay go head-to-head in a series of cross-sport challenges at BT Murrayfield – including an audacious closest-to-the-pin attempt from outside on the stadium grounds, over the stands and into the bowl.
With just one month until the national stadium hosts the European Rugby Champions Cup Final on Saturday 13 May, the pair were keen put their European credentials to the test under the officiating eye of 2011 winner Nathan Hines.

Watch as ‘Five & Five’, ‘Chipping Challenge’ and the ‘Hero Shot’ finale separate the competitive Scots from the all-important bragging rights.

The European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cup Finals are supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. It's a nice piece showing off two fo Scotland's greatest sports.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Inaugural Irish Golf Noticeboard Intercounties Championship


It is great to see more competitions coming on line for Ireland’s best amateur golfers. I will never threaten a handicap of 3 or better – only a tiny percentage of us will – but when you get to that level you want to be competing against similarly skilled golfers. The heat of battle can be intense and it tests your mettle. It is often the best way to improve, too.

On Facebook, there is a strong Irish golf forum/group called Irish Golf Noticeboard. It is run by Joe Lyons, who knows a thing or two about being a 3 handicap… or (far) better! Such is the activity on Facebook that it led Joe to establish a website of the same name
He knew there was an appetite among Ireland’s lower handicap golfers for competitive tournaments so he decided to establish an intercounties championship. Irish Golf Noticeboard has stepped into the breach and will run a strokeplay championship in Mount Juliet on October 28, 2017. A lot of consideration has gone into establishing the event and, ultimately, the goal is to create a representative championship where a Team Captain will be identified in each county in future years. In year one, however, in an effort to get the event off the ground, the organisers will accept the first 32 teams entered.
The tournament conditions are as follows:
1.The event shall be called The Irish Golf Noticeboard Intercounties Championship. Teams will comprise three players.
2. The 2017 Championship will take place at Mount Juliet Golf Club on October 28, over 18 holes gross strokeplay. The Lowest two gross scores of three will count. If there is a tie, it will be decided on the third card. If there is still a tie, it will be decided on the last 9, 6, 3, 2 of the third card.
3. Handicap Limit 3
4. The Championship will consist of the first 32 teams entered. While we would love one team from each county, in year one we will accept multiple teams from one County eg Dublin A, Dublin B, Dublin C. This gives players an opportunity to put their own team together. The first 32 teams with applications including paid entrance fees will be accepted into the championship. Subsequent entries will be placed on a waiting list.
5. The Championship will be open to Amateur Golfers only
6. Players may represent a County they are affiliated to under any of the following circumstances:
·       A member of a club within the represented county
·       Place of Birth
·       Place of Work
·       Home Address

7. Entrance fee is €225 per team
8. Practice on Friday available at €60 per person
9. Accommodation packages also available for teams traveling. Contact joe@irishgolfnoticeboard.ie for more information.
10. Prizes:
·       First (Intercounty champions)
·       Second
·       Third
·       First Individual
·       Second Individual
·       Best Nett
·       Best Dressed Team

11. A meeting will take place at 8.00pm on October 27 in Mount Juliet to decide on the 2018 format. All parties interested in developing the event in subsequent years are strongly encouraged to attend.
12. A sponsor would be more than welcome!
To enter email joe@irishgolfnoticeboard.ie and I will advise on how to process payment.
More Information to follow.