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. 


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 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 and I will advise on how to process payment.
More Information to follow.

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Portmarnock Links Professional

The Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links (PHGL) has been making significant changes in the past two years. Large sums of money (€10M) have been pumped into the golf course and the hotel, improving and revitalising what was an already impressive golf product, and now the next stage in the resort's evolution is taking place.

Conor Russell has been appointed head professional by PHGL. This is the first time that PHGL has appointed a professional.  Conor comes to Portmarnock from Sutton GC (not far to travel, so) where he has been the professional since 2005. In his new role he will work closely with PHGL’s Director of Golf Moira Cassidy to maximise the potential of the golf offering.

From a member perspective, as well as enhancing the reputation of the golf course, a new Pro

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ladies... You're On The Tee

After last week’s plug in the Irish Golfer Digital+ magazine for the Dooks Father & Son tournament (and similar events) on 21st April, it seems only fair to give the ladies a share of the limelight.

With women’s golf growing more popular it makes sense that more events and opportunities should be dedicated to lady golfers. Ladies can play in plenty of Open events and the

Monday, March 20, 2017

Arise Rathsallagh

The resurrection of Rathsallagh restored my faith in Irish golf last year. The work done to get it back to its best was and continues to be the big story for this Co. Wicklow golf course. It was always too good to disappear for long.

There have been numerous debates about how golf will evolve in this country and the closure of nearly 20 courses in the past decade is a sign of the times. If I’m honest, I’m both surprised and disappointed that it isn’t more. For golf to thrive we need a strong membership base… not one that sees golfers switch from one club to the next, following the best low price deals. 
The 18th green and clubhouse.

It just means that a majority of our clubs are left in limbo, never quite sure what’s coming next, and struggling to make ends meet. Remove another 30 golf clubs from the 400+ stock we currently have and those remaining courses have a much better chance of survival.

Anyway, I digress. This month’s Course Feature in Irish Golfer Magazine is on Rathsallagh. Here’s the link (or pick up a copy in a golf club or newsagent near you). It doesn’t take long before you appreciate how much I like this Co. Wicklow parkland.
The par five 6th approach.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St Patrick's Day Golf

Maybe it's just me, but this year there seem to be an awful lot more Irish golf clubs running open events on St Patrick's Day (and over the weekend). Is that because it's a Friday? Is it because St Patrick's Day is becoming the traditional day that fair-weather golfers come out of hibernation? Or is it because clubs have realised that they can open up their course to visitors and - without being cynical - they can generate some cashflow?

Or is it because some of these events will be the first of the year to affect handicaps. Given that this is the GUI's month of #TheFairWay campaign it is worth noting that for every golfer who

Friday, March 10, 2017

The GUI Handicap Cheat Debate #TheFairWay

There's an impressive debate going on at the moment as the GUI's dedicated #TheFairWay campaign runs throughout March. Aimed at targeting the handicap cheats we all have a role to play in making our game fairer... every club... every golfer.

Here's an article I wrote on the matter for the Irish Examiner.

It is no easy challenge and this is undoubtedly the first step on a long path... but it's a step. If you want to take part in this debate why not leave a comment and suggest some ways to counter the (very small percentage of) cheats who are having far too much impact on our game. Come on, how do we stop them?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Matter of the Masters - Six Irish Golf Events

Sun kisses the 18th hole at Esker Hills at last year's event.
What golf nut isn't already thinking about the Masters? What golf nut isn't contemplating how they'll play their regular weekend round while ensuring they still get to watch every thrilling minute of the year's first and, for many, best Major?

May I steer you in the direction of a number of themed events, starting with From Esker Hills to

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Double Whammy for Wexford Golf

This is a short blog post. Not much more needs to be said about the front pages of our two local newspapers this week - a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Each front page centres on a depressing story about a local golf course. What is bizarre, however, is that the two papers which come out on the same day focus on a different golf course.

The par three 18th at Courtown... it's the other end of the
course that is at risk from erosion.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Irish Golf Expo... One Day Left

Shane Lowry 'playing' Pebble Beach's famous par 3.
The Irish Golf Expo is on right now – today and tomorrow (Sun 26 Feb). It’s out at Citywest Hotel, with free parking and a whole blaze of golf enterprises. I was there for three hours this morning – Shane Lowry even timed his visit to ensure that I’d be there – and a good early morning crowd gave the place a strong buzz.

For those of you havering about whether to go or not… go! Pretty

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spring it at Druids Glen

If anyone fancies the opportunity of playing Ireland's top parkland - IMO - you can get a fourball at Druids Glen for €165 from now to the end of March. Here are some photos if you need any further convincing. (Contact details below.)

Oh, and the food in the clubhouse is fabulous.

To book, contact Jason on 01 287 0812 or email

The deal was sent to me by My Golf Deals... and if you look on their website today you'll find a few cracking deals for Galway Bay, Rathsallagh and Esker Hills... among others.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Kings Ransom at Lough Erne This May

There are so many great tournaments, classics and events being run across Ireland that it can be difficult to keep up. You spot an opportunity to play a great course or to try to qualify for some glorious prize, only to discover that the opportunity has passed you by.

Not this time!
The 17th tee, looking towards the resort.
Leading amateur golfers from Ireland now have the opportunity to play Lough

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Golfers ‘Rock and Hole’ Holywood Golf Club

There are plenty of charity events going on in golf clubs around the country and trying to find ways to make them attractive is one of the big challenges.  So ‘Golf and Guitars’ makes a bit of a splash, doesn’t it!

The event in question will be taking place at Holywood Golf Club, where local superstar Rory McIlroy learned his trade, on 19 May '17. Golfers will tune up and tee off against a mix of celebrities and well-known local musicians, and the proceeds will go towards the Mary Peters Trust, to help the budding sports stars of tomorrow.
Mary Peters and Andrew Hollywood
Already stars like Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy from Boyzlife have

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Irish Golf Clubs Sparking Debate

There are certain Irish courses which are constantly discussed in terms of how good they are… or how over-rated they are... Sometimes they just lead to bemusement. Most of our Irish golf courses sail under the radar but when it comes to green fees, difficulty and what comprises good design, here are six which constantly generate

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Top 150 Golf Courses in Ireland - Destination Golf

The new guide to Ireland’s Top 150 Courses has just been published by Destination Golf. This is the second year the guide has been produced and it is 178 pages long (16 more than last year)… that’s a substantial size when you get your hands on it. It is a glossy and impressive production (online or in hard copy) with dozens of photographs and reviews of all 150 golf courses.

Courses are rated across three categories: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

You’ll find my favourite courses included… which is no surprise as I am the editor of this particular guide. Destination Golf also produces guides to Spain, Portugal and Turkey, as well as Europe’s Top 100 Stay & Play Resorts, just in case you’re thinking of a holiday anytime soon.
Portmarnock's 9th hole
You’ll find the new guide in clubhouses around the country – they’re free – and also online (click here), so grab a copy, put your feet up and check out what Destination Golf consider to be the top 150 courses on this. Those photos should help you find somewhere new to play this year.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Irish Golf Expo Feb 25 & 26... On Your Way!

Strandhill Golf Club
For many of us, the golf season hasn’t yet kicked in. The days are still too short, the frost, the temporary greens, the rain, the placing, the day of the week. Yes, fairweather golfers find any old excuse to avoid a round of golf. Bizarre, isn’t it when we claim to love this game of ours so much.

Well, stay in hibernation if you like but there is something in the near future which should send a shiver

Friday, January 27, 2017

Economic Benefit of The Open Championship 2016... Stg £110 Million

Copyright Kevin Markham
Royal Troon
I was sent a press release today by the very nice people at Visit Scotland (see edited highlights below). It’s a fascinating read on two levels: first is the detail and the importance placed by Scotland on the Open Championship; and second, done right, this bodes well for Northern Ireland and Royal Portrush in 2019.

The attention-grabbing headline number is this: there was a Stg £110 million benefit to Scotland from the 145th Open at

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rathcore Golf Club... Yours for €650K

Yes, sad but true, but Rathcore has not made it through the decade of recession unscathed. Despite the valiant efforts of the members the club was forced to 'close' late last year.

It didn't close completely: the members are keeping it open a few days a week, ensuring the 124-acre Rathcore Golf Club is maintained... and enjoyed... and I take heart from that. It is one of my favourite courses (it gets a "Top Ten Parkland" nomination in the 3rd edition of Hooked) and while it may not have the big glamour of  a Mount Juliet or the length of a Killeen Castle, but it is intimate, clever and thoroughly enjoyable. Thoroughly!

Rathcore Golf Club
The 18th green at Rathcore
If you fancy purchasing this peach of a golf course and the two-storey clubhouse for a 'snip' at €650,000... here's the Irish Times spread.

Those lucky €88 million Euromillions winners could have a field day. I'm available to advise... for a modest fee.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Golf Digest Ireland Top 100 Ireland Courses 2017

Galway Bay at 63rd
The 2017 golf course rankings by Golf Digest Ireland have finally been released. These are laid out below. Just like last year you can pick and needle and doubt and gripe and despair at what you see here, but that's rankings for you.

Courses highlighted in green are those that have made significant moves.

Courses highlighted in blue are

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Irish Golf Clubs Move With The Times

Moyvalley's 17th green, to the 16th green
If you want to know how Irish golf clubs and golf resorts are preparing for the years ahead, here's a piece I wrote for the Irish Examiner. There are over 30 courses covered and that is really only a fraction of the investment clubs are putting into their number one asset. Indeed, neither Moyvalley (€1 million in 2016) or