Monday, December 31, 2018

Top 10 Golf Photos of 2018

This is my favourite pic of the year. Taken in freezing
conditions in January. The 17th hole at Carne.
Another year passes and many more photographs have been taken of courses in Ireland, Scotland, France, Iceland and Portugal. Here are my top 10 golf photos for the year.

1. Carton House O'Meara
The 16th is one of our most picturesque par threes and the late evening light shows off the tree trunks and canopies that frame the green so enchantingly.

Carton House O'Meara. Hole 16
2. Carton House Montgomerie
On the same visit, the 18th green on the Montgomerie course looked rather spectacular from the other side of the River Rye.
Carton House Montgomerie. Hole 18
3. Druids Heath
The par five 2nd has always proved deceptive with water hidden on the approach to

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Golf Course at Adare Manor Review - Part 2

The Pro Shop
For Part 1, click here

Adare's Extras

There are plenty of them. Here are just a few: 
  • All range balls are Titleist Pro V1s. (No slipping a few into your bag… you hear!)
  • Wiring has been laid around the course for tournament power, media and telecommunications. I can’t think why!
  • Elsewhere, upgrades to the resort include an expansive ballroom with capacity for 350 guests, a spa, pool and relaxation area, a cinema and a boardroom. A new wing with 42

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Golf Course at Adare Manor Review - Part 1

There's so much to say about this 'new' course in Co. Limerick, that I've divided the review into two parts. Here's Part 1.
Your first glimpse of the course will be the back of the
9th green as you walk to the Starter's Hut.
Adare Manor re-opened its course with a grand launch earlier this year. Four of Ireland’s golfing superstars (McIlroy, Harrington, McGinley, Lowry) turned it into a perfect media circus on what was the most glorious of Irish summer days. Millions upon millions of euro have been pumped into the hotel, the grounds and the golf course. Watching on the TV, it wasn’t difficult to see how it had been spent.

To say the golf course looked amazing is an understatement. Every blade of grass was perfectly

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Praia D'El Rey - on the Portuguese Silver Coast

I played this beauty today, at the start of a 10 day dash around the region. The weather this morning was overcast... but things brightened up a lot this evening so I headed out to the most spectacular string of holes right above the beach. The entire course is superb... but few would argue that this is where Praia D'El Rey bursts into the ranks of great European golf courses.

Some photos

View back up the 12th with the five star Marriott on the right.

The short par four 13th

The 13th again

The par three 14th green from the right hand side

The 16th green and 14th green beyond

Friday, December 7, 2018

Brand Value in Golf: A Doonbeg Case Study

You might wonder if you’ve accidentally hit the wrong key and been transported into a marketing magazine. You haven’t. Brand values may most commonly be discussed in terms of the global giants (Coke, McDonalds, Facebook, British Airways) but they are an essential component of every company, big and small, local or multinational. Protecting and projecting those values is paramount to how a company positions itself against its competitors, and how it is regarded in the eyes of its customers, suppliers and stakeholders. 
A golf club is no different. Ireland has small country parklands that few golfers outside the

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Catalogue 18 - The Perfect Golf Gift This Christmas

The front cover of Issue 1
Catalogue 18 is a new endeavour which brings together many of the world’s best golf course photographers and illustrators.
If you get enjoyment out of looking at beautiful course imagery then you probably know the names of Evan Schiller, Channing Benjamin, Aidan Bradley and Kevin Murray. This new catalogue includes all of these photographers as well as many more - including myself.
Thanks to the hard work of Canadian Guy Nicholson - a former newspaper editor, writer and golf fanatic - Catalogue 18 is developing fast. Now is your chance to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. 
Half way between a magazine and a catalogue, this is going to be bold, professional and striking… and it will come in a 300-page large format (32cm x 23cm) publication. It

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sand, Sea and Sunsets - Enniscrone Celebrates 100 Years

It was a long time ago when I first visited Enniscrone. I was 13 and I played a links that Eddie Hackett designed in 1970. The course had been here since the 1930s but now holes slipped into the big dunes that divided the links from Killala Bay. It was also in 1970 that Hackett extended Enniscrone to 18 holes. Such an expansion was a long held dream of the golfers who called this club home… but in what has become a common theme of the past five decades, Enniscrone was never happy to rest. Instead the push for improvement and expansion, be it to the course, the facilities or the clubhouse, continued year after year.
On Sunday two weeks ago, Enniscrone launched its centenary book. And while most tomes that celebrate a club’s longevity are penned by the elderly club historian, Sand, Sea and Sunsets: 100 Years of Enniscrone Golf Clubwas written by Cathal Mullaney, a young man just 23 years old.He has played golf at Enniscrone since he started at the age of 10 and has a special tie to the place. 
“I’m obviously biased,” says Cathal, who holds a degree in Journalism, Irish and Sociology and

Monday, October 29, 2018

Food for Thought - A Clubhouse Menu

I was sitting in the Greystones Golf Club restaurant (my home club) recently, enjoying a fabulous Yellow Chicken Curry. The golfers around me looked like they were similarly impressed with their choices. There was a quiet contentment all round as we contemplated the successes and failures of our Saturday game of golf. 
At our club we have gone through our fair share of chefs and franchises in recent years but the current incumbent has raised the standard, and that is benefitting the club as a whole. Golfers are now far more willing to stick around after their game which ensures a greater

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Lough Erne Winter Series 2018/19

The par five 6th skims along the highest
ground at Lough Erne
Lough Erne Resort launches inaugural Winter Series

Winter is coming but that doesn’t mean you should put your clubs away. Far from it. Golf clubs are running all manner of competitions and the inaugural five star Lough Erne Resort Winter Series which will be played on the Faldo Championship Course.

On the first Thursday of each month, from November 2018 to March 2019, competitors will battle it out for a place in the Grand Final on March 28, 2019.

This six-event Stableford Winter Series is open to all and the four leading male and female

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Diamond Offer for Golf at Enniscrone

This is a blog I should have written some time ago. That’s the nature of things when you end up writing for several publications – your own ‘channel’ gets forgotten or ignored. Instead of writing you put your feet up watching Strictly Come Dancing. 
I’m kidding of course. I never put my feet up when I watch Strictly*. 
The 16th green getting a heavy watering in July after weeks of no rain.
There’s also an exceptional stay-and-play type offer from the Diamond Coast Hotel that

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Doonbeg Offer Golf for €45!!!!

The par four 6th at Doonbeg
It's safe to say that Doonbeg are not my biggest fans at the moment. I am not fond of their owner and I have made this obvious on social media and on this blog. For some reason, though, they seem to think that my dislike of the President reflects a similar view of their Co. Clare links... which it doesn't.

The changes made by Hawtree have improved the course and I was very impressed when I played the 'new' Doonbeg in 2016. It has to be said that greens have lost their 'Greg Norman character' but then several greens lost that

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Ship that Sunk (Alan Shipnuck Flounders)

The Ryder Cup has gone for another two years. It seems to build for an eternity and then vanish in a couple of days as other events take over. The victory never lasts long... although the back-stabbing and recriminations take a lot longer to wither away.
One of the sideshows this year was a certain American writer, by the name of Alan Shipnuck, who published an article last year writing off Team Europe.
It is therefore ironic that it was 48 year old Phil Mickelson who handed Europe the point that determined the destination of the 2018 Ryder Cup. Ironic, too, that it was a tee shot that sank in the water.
On the website, last November, Shipnuck made it clear that Europe was a spent force and that the lustre of the Ryder Cup was set to fade. Why? Because the USA would win the biennial match for years to come.
“The Ryder Cup is dead — you just don’t know it yet,” he wrote. 

His opening gambit continued thus:

“One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefiting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris. This will be the first American win on European soil in a quarter century and, coming on the heels of an overpowering U.S. win in ’16, will set the stage for a decade-plus of blowouts, sapping the intrigue out of the Ryder Cup. It’s going to get so lopsided that you can expect future Ryder Cups to have all the dramatic tension of…gasp!…the Presidents Cup.”
The Americans are young and brilliant, he believed – and of course they are – while the Europeans are plucky and past it. He listed off the ages of four big European stars: Henrik Stenson (42), Ian Poulter (42), Sergio Garcia (38), and Justin Rose (38). Hardly past it when Garcia won his first Major last year and Rose recently peaked as the number one golfer in the world.
How well did these guys perform! Compare their results to the USA’s two veterans: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, with a combined age of 90. Two Captain’s picks, six matches and zero points. The four Europeans listed above delivered 8 points from a possible 13, and you can pretty much guarantee that three of those four will be on the next Ryder Cup team. Thanks, but I’ll take them over Johnson, Spieth, Thomas and Koepka.
There’s no doubt that Shipnuck’s logic is sound: the talent and youth of the USA side is irresistible… but such logic misses the most important element of this clash of the titans.
The Americans – the golfers, the writers, the captains, the fans – simply don’t comprehend the importance of team spirit… or certainly can’t generate it. They might have switched tactics with their fabled ‘Task Force’ ahead of the USA victory in Hazeltine, but team spirit is not a switch you can flick on as required; it is not something as simple as a sign that says ‘Leave Your Egos at the Door’. Team spirit grows and thrives through time, friendship and respect.
Patrick Reed demonstrated perfectly how this spirit is lacking in the USA team… never mind the confrontation between Johnson and Koepka. In a New York Times interview shortly after the USA lost, Reed tore in to Jordan Spieth:
"The issue's obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me," said Reed. "I don't have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don't care if I like the person I'm paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success.”
‘I don't care if I like the person I'm paired with...’ Seriously!
Try telling that to Molinari and Fleetwood, or Garcia or Rory. You play with Ian Poulter and he is as much invested in your shot as he is his own. That’s what a team does. Garcia epitomises the European spirit. The Captain’s pick who raised the most questions proved that, as a Ryder Cup player and comrade, he excels in this event. And his reward for delivering three points from four is to be the leading Ryder Cup scorer of all time, beating Nick Faldo’s record of 25 points.
More importantly, perhaps, it was Poulter, on Friday afternoon, and Garcia on Saturday morning, who inspired Rory back to the form that saw him winning majors by eight strokes. Compare that to the body language of Tiger Woods… and those who were paired with him. Here is the greatest golfer of all time who simply cannot excel in this competition. From 37 matches he has won just 13. Jack Nicklaus played 28 Ryder Cup matches and won 16 of them. Individual greatness does not necessarily translate to a team format. 
There are other moments to consider. Did you see the smile on Fleetwood’s face when he was congratulating Tony Finau for thrashing him 6&4 in the Singles? It was huge and genuine. Win or lose, he loved the competition. Away from the Ryder Cup, do you remember how pleased Justin Rose was for his teammate Sergio Garcia when the Spaniard beat him in a play-off for the US Masters in 2017? There are friendships that run deeply through the European team that only skim the surface for the Americans. 
If the Americans appreciated that and embraced it more then winning would come more easily. Individual brilliance is only one piece of a larger puzzle.
During the post Ryder Cup press briefing, Shipnuck was jeered by the European players and he took it all with good grace. He has since issued an apology – which is not an apology to Europe, I might add – and has, conveniently, moved his prediction on two years, to 2020, when the Ryder Cup returns to American soil. 
We look forward to watching him sink on that one as well.
 If you want to read Shipnuck's article... click here

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Playing the Paddy Card

I played golf with Padraig Harrington two weeks ago. There can’t be many golfers who have that on their CV, and it came completely out of the blue. One day I’m talking to the Portuguese Tourist Board, the next I’m lined up to play in the Portugal Masters Pro-Am alongside Ireland’s greatest golfer. With luck like that I should play the Lotto.
I flew over for two days – well you would, wouldn’t you – and stayed in Vilamoura where the Dom Pedro Golf Collection of five courses is located. One of those is the Arnold Palmer-designed Victoria course where the Masters is played. 
Our team of four met on the 1st tee. Dermot from Destination Golf, Michael from, myself and the man himself. Introductions were made and then Padraig looked at the scorecard.
“Lads,” he said, shaking his head, “I need 1s in front of these handicaps.”
The Texas Scramble type format preferred by the European Tour does not favour handicaps of 4, 4 and 8. Birdies and better are all that matter so from the best drive the high handicappers have the best chance of bringing in the scores… especially on par threes.
Padraig tees off on the 11th.
Was I star struck? Probably. I had all these questions I wanted to ask Padraig but once we were on the course those questions were crushed by an overwhelming desire not to make a fool of myself… which lasted until my second shot. I duffed it. Badly. And yes, you can duff a shot in a good way.
Watching Padraig hit the ball up close is something special – especially his irons and his fabled short game. From around the fringes he got up and down almost every time. He played the front nine with Pete Cowen, the renowned golf coach, in tow and one of our team sought a couple of tips from Pete along the way. The other member of the team asked Padraig for advice. I asked nothing… I know a lost cause when I see one. 
Padraig is so focused it’s almost scary. He would read our putts… all of them… on every hole. On the 6th he stopped us on the green and explained how to read a green by looking at the colour of the grasses. This wasn’t a five-second thing, it was more like two minutes. Then, when I said I was going to hit a putt at the hole with pace to negate the break, he shook his head at me (again). Why bring another variable (speed) into the process, he asked. All putts should be hit in the same way. He said the media commentators’ constant refrain of hitting putts with pace to avoid the break was nonsense.
I took a photograph of the beach-sized bunker in front of the par three 8th and he asked why I was taking the picture.
“That is the worst bunker out here,” he said without hesitation. His rationale was simple: it’s bad design when the only people who are punished by such a hazard are high handicap golfers. Aesthetics don’t come into it.
Ball in a bush. Padraig finds trouble on the par four 14th. He dropped
for a penalty and still made par.
Around the course he was constantly stopped for selfies or autographs or interviews. He smiled for each one and was out enjoying himself. Ronan, his caddie, was entertaining too, and our little entourage soaked up the heat (28 degrees) and had a great day.
Despite not having ‘1’s in front of our handicaps, we scored well and often. Our team score was a hefty 31 under par standing on the 18th tee. We all had a shot on the index four 373 metre par four and we reckoned 34 under would be in with a shout.
“What are you doing with that?” barked Padraig, as I stepped onto the 18th tee with my cherished 3 iron. The crowd of about 60 fans fell silent. The man has always spoken his mind.
I was going to play safe, I explained, so that the two big hitters I was playing with could give their drives a lash.
Padraig wasn’t having any of it. “The first two go for it and then the third plays safe if necessary,” he said. I skulked back to my bag and took out the driver. 
“I bet you wish you’d played that 3 iron now,” Padraig remarked as I sent my best drive of the day straight down the middle. 
Our team on the 18th fairway
We finished on 34 under but didn’t even manage 3rd place (-36). The winning score was 44 under (that’s 2.5 birdies on average per hole) and the amateur handicaps were 16, 17 and 17. 
After our 18 stiflingly hot holes, Padraig joined us for lunch. I should have written my questions down but I did manage to remember one:
“What’s your favourite Irish golf course?”
“Royal Portrush,” he said without hesitation.
Roll on the 2019 Open Championship.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Golf in Vilamoura - the Dom Pedro Story

Who doesn’t revel in the joy of playing golf in Portugal? As our Aer Lingus plane banked and began its approach over the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which separates the coast from the sea, every golfer on board peered out a window, straining to see a flag, a green, a golf course. That is one of the joys of the Algarve: there are close to 40 golf courses along this southern stretch of Portugal and there’s a whopping great conglomerate of them not far from Faro.
Dawn flight on Aer Lingus
Vilamoura is one of Europe’s capitals of golf and the Dom Pedro Hotels and Golf Collection has a certain swagger to it as it boasts five golf courses in close proximity to

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Druids Glen Aviva Family Tournament

Views back up the par five 5th on Druids Glen
On Tuesday 28th August, a pair of family members could be playing the majestic Druids Glen, in Co Wicklow... in a tournament that will undoubtedly prove to be a big hit. This is the first year of the Aviva Family Fourball, but it's unlikely to be the last. This sort of format will be a huge draw as will the opportunity to play one of Ireland's best parkland courses.

The prize details, format (shotgun start), cost and contact details are all outlined on the poster below so take a look, think of that family member who you haven't spoken to in years but you know is a really handy golfer...  and give them a bell.

Everything about Druids Glen is fabulous and if you need to stay overnight, then the Druids Glen Resort has been enjoying a substantial makeover and expansion in recent years.

The famous par three 12th

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Arklow to host 2018 Mellon Educate Charity Event

The Mellon Educate 3rd Annual Golf Classic will be played at Arklow Golf Club on Friday 31st August. Tee times are available between 11.50am and 3.20pm.

I've played in this the past two years and the four person Scramble format makes it huge amounts of fun. The team I was in last year won the event with a ridiculous score of 13 under, but it was never less than a blast playing with a group of friends for a good cause.

The event is run by Darren Murray who volunteers for Mellon Educate and all funds raised go towards the charity. A team of 4 costs €120. The details, with some additional images, are below.

Arklow is an under-appreciated links course with some particularly good par threes and that naturally chaotic, bumpy terrain... so visible in the pic below of the 5th below. It also has some excellent bunkering... as seen in the image below that.

It's a great day out, there are plenty of prizes and you're helping a good cause. What more could you ask for!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Driving Through The Drought: Greenkeeper Challenges

The par four 15th at Dromoland Castle
It rained yesterday. Real rain. It didn't last long but it was something few of us had seen in Ireland for over 10 weeks. In this country that's a drought and the hosepipe bans introduced 3-4 weeks ago confirmed it.

People worry about their gardens, washing their car or taking a shower rather than lounging in a bath but what about our golf courses? Carnoustie was playing faster than any course in history, according to the

Friday, July 13, 2018

Open Weeks... Slieve Russell for €30

Of all the Top Tier Irish golf courses out there, Slieve Russell offers some of the best value going. And with Open Week starting this Sunday (15th July) you can play this Paddy Merrigan-designed beauty for just €30. That's an irresistible price - seriously!

Here are the details and some photos to inspire you to make a booking. The course opened in 1992 and has matured spectacularly over the Co. Cavan rolling landscape.

The full set of my Slieve Russell images is here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Greystones Golf Club Open Week 2018

The par three 1st - a surprisingly tricky start. (Photo
from Monday afternoon)
In my opinion, you won’t play on better greens this year. Yes, that’s a spectacular claim with the DDF Irish Open in full swing at Ballyliffin (and I played Ballyliffin’s Glashedy links on Wednesday), but I also played Greystones on Monday and the greens are running fast… scratch that… they’re like lightning. The current weather has given the course that crispy, dry feel but the greens here are always one of the club's key features, so it's not like the perfect putting surfaces are down to the recent weeks of sunshine.

And with Open Week only a few days away, you can experience my home club’s greens as well as the course where Paul Dunne played as a youngster and continues to play today.

It is a par 69 and while many think that makes it a short or easy course… don’t! Greystones will test you with its two different nines and its stand-out holes: 
Front Nine
Holes 4, 6, 7 and 8 make the front nine the more exciting and shapely of the two - the holes loop around Jones' Hill overlooking the sea and with views across to Bray Head and beyond. The picture below is of the 5th green, taken from the 6th tee. Look at those tiers! (And there will be a few tears on this hole, that I can promise you.)
Photograph from Monday afternoon
Back Nine
Holes 10, 13, 15 and 16 deliver the greatest impact on the back nine which is a more rhythmic and calmer routing through the trees. That said, I have always enjoyed the 17th (pic below) as it throws in a really tough hole late in the day. Water lies short of the shallow green and you need to be inch perfect to avoid that, as well as the bunker behind.
Ring 01-2874136 or check online at 

Entry fee is a mere €20 and this includes entry into the twos... and with five par threes you'll have plenty of chances!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lough Erne – offers and events this summer

The current issue of Irish Golfer Magazine includes an article reviewing Lough Erne. Three golfers joined me in April to assess the course and there were some interesting observations. Here’s a link to the article.
The walkway to the 1st hole at Lough Erne.

If you fancy some golf on a big and plush parkland (lakeland) course, the resort is running a variety of offers and competitions. Don’t say you don’t have ample opportunity… and the restaurant in the hotel is sensational - it really is something very special indeed.

2-BALL SUMMER OFFER- From only £99
4-BALL SUMMER OFFER- From only £195

Experience championship golf this Summer on The Faldo Course with a luxury overnight stay at Lough Erne Resort and indulgent breakfast the following morning with use of the

Monday, July 2, 2018

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Qualifier concluded

The battle is over... but the war has just begun! All 122 Irish Open hopefuls arrived at Rosapenna (Sandy Hills), looking for one of four berths to play in the main event this week... not to mention a winner's cheque for €6,000. They had perfect links conditions but the cream still rose to the top as Simon Thornton, Neil O'Briain, Colm Moriarty and Cian McNamara claimed their Dubai Duty Free Irish Open places.

PGA in Ireland regional manager, Michael McCumiskeyJohn Casey, Director,
Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort, Cian McNamara
Colm Moriarty,
Neil O'BriainSimon ThorntonRosapenna 2018 captain, Liam Breen.

Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) edged out Neil O'Briain (Old Conna GC) on the

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin

Approach to the par four 1st
There is a constant string of news about the Irish Open being held in Ballyliffin next week. That's no surprise as it's a not only a huge event for the European Tour (their $7 million Rolex Series), it's also a massive occasion in Donegal, where Ballyliffin's General Manager, John Farren, compared it to hosting the World Cup. Here's the latest press release... which provides a perfect opportunity to show off the Glashedy Links in photographs.

Lowry excited ahead of homecoming at Ballyliffin
SHANE Lowry cannot wait to return to his homeland when the former champion arrives at

Friday, June 29, 2018

Miracles at Belmullet - Carnage and Celebration at Carne, Part 2

Approach to Carne's 6th from the right hand side.
Here is Part 2 of Mike Considine's Carne story (You can read Part 1, here).

But then, in a moment, as often occurs in golf, something happened.  Things changed.  It was a moment that would define the weekend.

After five perfect holes, on the 6th tee, Finian slightly pulled another prodigious drive. But this time, the wind carried his ball perilously close to the out-of-bounds marker on the left side of the fairway. [which is no longer there, Ed.]  We thought there was a good chance that his ball stayed in bounds. Finian then proceeded to hit a provisional drive which proved a dead pull hook about 100 yards left of his first.  Out of bounds.  We grimaced. Then he hit

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Miracles at Belmullet - Carnage and Celebration at Carne

As the Atlantic Coast Challenge draws near (9-11 July) it's time to post a wonderful tale of golf that was emailed to me by American, Mike Considine. Mike has some special memories of playing in Ireland and playing at Carne in particular. As you'll deduce from the opening sentence, Mike and his friends met the South African golfer, Wayne Westner, in Belmullet. Here is Part 1:
The 8th green at Carne (clubhouse to the right)
The recent passing of the South African golfer Wayne Westner prompted a search of dusty boxes containing materials from old Irish golf tours.  I was looking for a particular file.  The year was 2000, and, in our new springtime tradition, I and a few college friends were preparing for a golfing trip to Ireland, the Green Isle.  Unlike many links purists, we had not included Scotland on our itinerary.  Scotland was never our focus.  With a nod perhaps to our Irish heritage, our group's links lust centered on the courses introduced to the world by the siren call of Herbert Warren Wind in Sports Illustrated, and the stirring prose of Irish writer Dermot Gilleece. Ballybunion, Lahinch, Waterville and regal Royal County Down -- these were the courses that lit our imagination.  My very first round of Irish golf had been at Ballybunion Old in 1987, where I was greeted in the unassuming clubhouse by a friendly dog, and escorted around the course by an affable caddy named Eric Glasper.  The modest old clubhouse, now replaced by an imposing edifice, featured a large wall

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Mount Juliet - The New Hunter's Yard Hotel

It’s not often you’ll find two hotels in one resort… but then again, it’s not often you’ll find somewhere as astoundingly beautiful as Mount Juliet
Hunter’s Yard is a ‘new’ four star hotel of modern flourishes and calm sophistication. It will complement the five star luxury of Mount Juliet House, perfectly. The distance between them is a few hundred metres but Hunter’s Yard is right next to the new clubhouse and golf course. It surrounds the old courtyard and is a combination of renovation and inspiration. If you remember the leisure centre or the

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Irish Kids Golf Tour Hits it Big

Charlie Symth (10) & Erin Symth (8)
The more the merrier, I say. It is excellent news for Irish golf that we continue to focus on our younger golfers and, alongside training camps during the Easter and summer holidays, various competitions and Get into Golf type programmes, there are efforts to give kids a competitive environment in which to challenge themselves, enhance their skills and make new friends.  It’s all part and parcel of helping these kids fall in love with the game. If we can generate that kind of passion and commitment early on, then we will see many of them playing golf for decades... and that's

Carton House - Media Day Sunshine

The short par four 13th on the O'Meara.
I have now played the Media Day at Carton House, three years in a row. The weather has been erratic and gone as follows:

Year 2016: a scorcher (O'Meara)
Year 2017: strong winds, lots of rain... and played from the back tees (Montgomerie)
Year 2018: a scorcher (O'Meara)

It's hard to believe that two courses so close together can be so different but it does mean visitors have considerable choice and variety. That said, the Montgomerie is a tough course and you don't need

Monday, June 11, 2018

Co Kerry's Best 18 Golf Holes

Waterville's 'Tranquility' (par five 11th)
It’s never easy picking an ‘18 best holes’ selection… or the top 100 courses for that matter. There are so many factors involved and it’s a real scrum when it comes to pulling out the final 18.
Co. Kerry is a perfect example of this. I mean, Ballybunion, Tralee and Waterville are three links rated in the top 100 courses in the world, so how do you choose holes from anywhere else? And yet there’s Dooks, Killarney’s two courses, Ceann Sibeal and Hog’s Head to add to the mix.
Fortunately, the Irish Examiner gave me the opportunity to produce two 18s: the overall

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Carnoustie Country in Destination Golf

Sometimes you get lucky. Trips to Scotland are a bonus of monumental proportions for an Irish golf writer and visiting Carnoustie Country was particularly special as things ramp up ahead of the Open Championship, this July.

When we visited in April, the stands were already going up and golfers off the 1st tee were rattling their drives into the notorious Barry Burn, on the left of the fairway, or into the stands on the right, behind the 16th green (seen on the left in the photo below). It's nothing like as generous as the 1st hole at St Andrew's but those butterflies in your stomach as you prepare to make your first swing are just as busy.

To read about the area, the beautiful courses on offer (many you won't know) and some of the best gin and whiskey you'll ever taste, take a look at this month's edition of Destination Golf. Click on the link and the

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

World Amateur Team Championships 2018 - 100 Days

The countdown is on to the world’s biggest amateur team golf event… and it’s in Ireland.
It is just under 100 days until the World Amateur Team Championships tee off at Carton House on 29th August. The Championships are coming to Ireland for the first time in their history and the two tournaments – the Eisenhower Trophy (men) and Espirito Santo Trophy (women) – will see top amateur golfers from over 72 countries competing over the Montgomerie and O’Meara courses.
The view of Carton House from the 18th green (Montgomerie)
These Championships are the breeding ground of many for the most famous names in golf. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy have fought for the Eisenhower Trophy, a tournament which dates back to 1958. The Espirito Santo Trophy came a few years later, in 1964, and Suzann Pettersen, Paula