Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Irish Open 'early bird' ticket offer - ends tonight

This arrived yesterday in my Inbox... the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is running a special 'early bird' offer on tickets for this year's tournament at Ballyliffin. It's a great idea to keep the publicity ticking over... but it doesn't help that the special offer ends at midnight tonight (23.59 pm, Wed Feb 28). 

Glashedy Rock looms out of the sea beyond the 5th green
To be honest, the prices of tickets for 2018 are considerably below those of last year's tournament at Portstewart. It's all to do with location. As beautiful as the Inishowen Peninsula is it is also rather remote and a good distance away from the main centres of population. The Glashedy links is the most northern course on the island - Malin Head is only a few miles farther north - so it gives you some idea of the distances involved.

That said, come up and watch the event and combine your visit with playing some of

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Enniscrone 100... green fee deal of the year

Teeing off the 4th at Enniscrone.
2018 sees Enniscrone Golf Club celebrating its centenary. I will do a feature piece on the club and its history in due course... but the club has just emailed me with a list of upcoming events which should catch the eye of any links aficionado. This is one of my top three courses in Ireland. I love the place and if you've ever wondered what the fuss is about or you simply want the opportunity to return and play it again the club is promoting green fees of €100 for a fourball (one date only!) as well as St Patrick's Day specials and its Open Week (March 26-29).

To book any of the events click here.

This is the green fee deal of the year so a little planning will lead to a big golf experience. You can take my word on that.

Photos of Enniscrone are here and the website is www.enniscronegolf.com

Friday, February 23, 2018

First Ever Irish Open Qualifier... at Rosapenna

This is a first! And it's a big boost for the  Irish Open which has been growing in stature since Rory McIlroy added his support a few years ago. Now part of the lucrative and prestigious Rolex series (which guarantees a $7 million prize fund), the Irish Open will host a qualifying event for the first time in the modern era. Four places will be up for grabs and those qualifiers will then head straight from the qualifier to the Irish Open.

They won't have to travel far, either. The qualifier will be held on the daunting Sandy

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Top Golfer Tour 2018

Powerscourt East's 4th green
There are some events out there that don't need much assistance to get noticed. Top Golfer is one of them. This has become a regular, popular and hard fought series of events for amateur golfers with a handicap lower than 9. In 2018 there will be 28 events taking place - between Junior and Senior scratch cups.
The 8th at Druids Glen
I've played in a few of these and they're fun, well run and hugely competitive. Yes, the competition is fierce.

The tour starts at Rosslare (April 8th) and finishes at Powerscourt (September 9th) before the play-offs head to Macreddin and the tour finishes at Druids Glen.
Macreddin's 12th
If your handicap matches the requirements, give it a go.
Views over the 4th from Wicklow's balcony

Monday, February 19, 2018

Portmarnock - Ireland's No.1 Golf Course

In this month's Irish Golfer Magazine, there's a review of the magazine's top ranked course... and that course is Portmarnock.

With the north Dublin club set to host the Amateur Open Championship in 2019 - a massive honour by any standards, never mind it being an Irish venue - there have been considerable efforts to push the course to even higher levels.

My Portmarnock review focuses on how the course and the club are evolving but one

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Destination Golf Scotland Top 100 2018 Guide

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll have seen I was in Scotland late last year, touring a large number of clubs on the east coast… I was posting photographs of the 30+ courses as I travelled from East Lothian (and the ‘Scottish Golf Coast’) up to St Andrews and Fife, and then north again to Dundee and beyond, and the courses around Carnoustie.

It was all part of a Destination Golf trip for Scotland’s Top 100 Courses Guide 2018… which has just been published. It’s available online here and you’ll find hard copies in clubs around the country.

Gullane No. 1
Picking the ‘100 best’ is no easy task when you have 600+ to choose from and – more importantly – you have such depth of quality. If you’re not Scottish then you’ve probably never heard of Longniddry, Irvine, Tain, Lundin, Panmure, or Blairgowrie. Top quality courses but rarely on the bucket lists of most travelling golfers. To call them second tier is an insult… more like the back-up tier, the clubs that would be played if it weren’t for the Prestwicks, Royal Troons, Muirfields, St Andrews and Carnousties of the world.
Glen Golf Club
No, it’s no easy task but it is a lot of fun trying. Visiting places like Downfield (parkland), Glen (seaside) and Scotscraig (links/heathland) proved just what kind of adventures you can have without playing the ‘big name’ links. Of course if you want to play the big name links, parklands and heathlands go right ahead. Your choices in accommodation are vast. 
Fairmont St Andrews - the Kittocks course
The Marine Hotel overlooks Royal Troon, Garleton Lodge overlooks nine – yes, nine – courses in East Lothian, and the Royal Marine Hotel makes Brora a two minute walk away and Royal Dornoch a short drive to the south. Those are just three regions and there are so many more.

Take a look at the guide and see which of Scotland’s regions you want to visit first. And second.

Carnoustie's 1st green where so many of the world's best will be
playing this year.
Duke's, St Andrews - a fabulous heathland with all the
professional flourishes.
The scintillating start to Lundin Links. 
Panmure's famous 6th hole, 'Hogan'.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dublin’s First 45 Hole Golf Membership: Corrstown & Forrest Little Unite

Corrstown 9 and 18 greens
In a day and age where Irish golf clubs continue their struggles to build and retain membership it is rewarding to see more enterprising approaches being taken. The idea of reciprocal playing rights is not new... but what Corrstown and Forrest Little have done is to break these barriers down further. In part that is because they are immediate neighbours... and in part it is the level of access these clubs are offering their members.

Anyone looking to join one (or both) of these clubs can avail of a special offer - see end of this blog post. A full membership at one club now offers a complimentary 5-day membership at the other club.

This new arrangement allows club members to play and enjoy the benefits of Golf Club

Monday, February 5, 2018

Irish Greats to Host the Irish Open

This has just been posted on the European Tour website... the Irish Open will now enjoy a rotating series of hosts, with Rory set to be one of five Irish golfing greats:
Approch to the 1st on the Ballyliffin Glashedy course.
A new and exciting era for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was unveiled today with news that the tournament, from 2019 onwards, will be hosted annually by some of the greats of the Irish game.

Utilising the model that has seen the British Masters return successfully to the