Well, I made it. I arrived on time into Dublin at 545AM and was on the course at 8AM. Why waste any time I figure. The weather upon arrival was cool and wet which is something I suppose I better get used to. I was a bit tired from the overnight flight but once I got into the car and heading to the golf course, my body and mind came to life.
My first few days have been a wonderful reintroduction to links golf. Portmarnock was my starting point and it was a wonderful choice to get the trip going. My caddie Sean was invaluable and guided me around the course in fine fashion. After getting used to the bump and run, the punch shot, and putting from 20 yards off the green, he joined me for lunch and a pint. Sean has been caddying for quite some time and has been on the bags for PGA Tour players and celebrities .
Royal Dublin was an absolute treasure. The course and clubhouse just completed a multi-million dollar renovation and the results are outstanding. Cavernous bunkers litter the course and swallow all balls that come near. 12 greens have been lifted and redesigned to produce multi tiered and contoured putting surfaces. It is a true test of golf and my host for the day, Denis Murphy, only enhanced the experience. As we played the course he pointed out to me all the changes that had been made and provided me with some great background on the club. Aftewards, we dined in one of the clubhouse bars that provides a stunning view of the 18th hole as well as 3 or 4 others. Cheers to Denis and the staff at Royal Dublin, I look forward to a return visit.
County Louth provided the next test of golf and what a test it was. The sun appeared for a good part of the round, but in place of rain, strong winds took its place. I was joined by 3 lads from London on vacation and it was good fun. On the first hole, it took one of the boys 4 shots to get out of the fairway bunker. I eyed his caddie who had a look of despair on his face, worried about what he had gotten himself into. The wind was fierce and made the course play extra long. On a 141 yard par 3, I was short right by 15 yards with my 3 wood. It was all about keeping it low and out of the wind if you wanted any chance at par. At round’s end, the course had taken it’s toll but we had a sense of accomplishment once done and we toasted our round with a pint in the clubhouse bar.
The game of golf on a links course is one of patience, creativity and accuracy. The weather can make a course play any of a hundred ways and you have put your ego in the bag and hit clubs from distances you never would back home. It is an enjoyable way to golf and combine that with the Irish people and culture and you have an unforgettable golf experience.
I am starting to make my way north and will check back in a few days. Check out this Custom Google Map to track my progress around the Emerald Isle.