The Ireland and Northern Ireland golf tour awards
My doctor tells me if I have more than 14 full traditional Irish breakfasts in a row, my arteries will begin to drip sausage fat. So I guess it’s finally time to leave Ireland, but not without offering up some “Best Ofs"…
Best hole: Almost every course had at least one fantastic hole. I think I have to go with the 9th at Royal County Down as my favorite. It’s a blind tee shot over a hill and once you scale it, nothing prepares you for what is below. Simply awesome. Be sure to crack your best drive of the trip on this one.
Best hole on a course you’ve never heard of: The 8th (and 17th) at little nine-holer Lisselan in West Cork. It has it all: strategy, beauty and originality. It also has a motorized raft you take over a river to get to the island green. I felt like Huck Finn for 20 seconds.
Goofiest hole: The par-3 5th at Lahinch, better known as “Dell". It features a slim green nestled between dunes so high you can’t see the flag or any of the putting surface from the tee. If any modern architect built this hole, the entire course would be rendered a joke. Since Old Tommy did it, it’s critically acclaimed…
Most pleasant surprise: Ballyliffin. It’s in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t get much publicity, but if I go back to the north, I’m not leaving without playing these two remote and eerie courses - Ireland’s northernmost golf club.
Most dedicated golfer: In the group ahead of me at Connemara, I noticed a gentleman taking a practice swing with one arm, I thought nothing of it, since a lot of people take practice swings using just their right arm. Then he hit the ball (pretty well) with his right only. When I met and passed through his group a few holes later, he in fact only had one arm, and from what I could tell, was keeping pretty good pace with his group. Unbelievable.
Tidbit you should know if you’re in Ireland: You’ll see a lot of “Bally’s” in Ireland. Ballycastle, Ballyclare, Ballyliffin and more. I’m told “Bally” is Gaelic and translated into English means something close to “region". “Regionbunion"…I think I like ‘Bally” better…
Best Whiskey: I’m no expert on the stuff, but did fancy Bushmills’ Black Bush enough to bring home a bottle.
Best score: 77 at Connemara. A links course with little trouble for errant tee balls…
Worst score: Wouldn’t you like to know.
Scenic drive you gotta do: The scenic causeway route in the north is awesome. It spans from around Belfast all the way up along the north coast. At least take it from Newcastle (Royal County Down) to Portrush and you’ll see castle ruins, sleepy coastal towns and the Giant’s Causeway stones.
Best course not on many golf tours: Ardglass Golf Club. For a course this unique, it seems like a lot of tour companies pass this one over. It doesn’t make any sense to me, considering it’s a half hour from Royal County Down. The first hole is one of the most memorable you’ll play, too.
Best Golf Course: I’m having a hard time deciding between Lahinch, Royal Portrush and Royal County Down. My answer seems to vary based on how much caffeine I’ve had that day or whether South Park is a re-run or not. Looks like this week it’s new, so, I’ll go with Royal County Down. (It should be mentioned Portrush has water fountains on the course…if you’ve forgotten my European Water Fountain Rant click here).
Can’t miss Ireland golf tour: Here’s what I’d consider: Ballyliffin (Old and Glashedy), Castlerock, Portstewart, Portrush, Ardglass, Royal County Down. I’d be leaving out two other favorites from my trip, Enniscrone and Lahinch, but I guess there’s always next time.
Best photo I took of sheep (What? I like animals. Sheep don’t like me though, it’s tough to get close to these wussies):
Best golf-related photo (Atop the ninth hole at RCD):
Ireland or Scotland? Hmmmm…a tough one. Both are spectacular of course. What’s my preference? I don’t know yet, I need to let this trip settle a little first. I’ll get back to you.
|« Johnny Miller's 'Mickelson at Winged Foot' comparisons to Tiger at Doral is Busch league||Lahinch Golf Club's 6th hole - one of Ireland's finest »|
It's a tough call Ireland over Scotland, it might be a few pints of the black stuff that swings it.
About Portstewart...I didn't play it! I wanted to, and hear great things, but couldn't squeeze it in, hopefully next trip...
THEY DID A MOVIE ON THIS...CALLED IT SUPERSIZE ME.
"It also has a motorized raft you take over a river to get to the island green. I felt like Huck Finn for 20 seconds."
20 SECONDS EACH WAY...EACH TIME?
"When I met and passed through is group a few holes later, he in fact only had one arm, and from what I could tell, was keeping pretty good pace with his group. Unbelievable."
EVER HEARD OF JACK NEWTON? LOST A PLAYOFF TO WATSON AT THE BRITISH OPEN IN THE MID-1970S, THEN LOST HIS RIGHT ARM AND EYE TO A PLANE PROP SOON AFTER.
You're comparing mass-processed fast food to homemade traditional breakfasts made by tiny B&B's? I wouldn't bring that up next time you're over there.
Ballyliffin becomes Liffin Town .
Good article, but you neglected so many other coursees in other regions around our beautiful country. Ac ountry wide "Top Ten" would make different reding.
But you'll always be welcome. ;-))
Maitiu (Gaelic "Matthew" pron. same way
Hey, why sheep!? :)
Here is another noce cllection, some from brochures but quite some original photos as well:
Thanks for sharing this nice and valuable post hope to see the next update soon.