Ireland, July 21-28, 2013 Trip Report

8 players from Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston, Salt Lake City, Etna NH, and Columbus GA.

7 rounds in 7 days.
3 hotels double occupancy
Perry Golf driver PATRICK
Plane Tickets $1500
Perry Golf $3300
Food & Beverage, etc $750
Total per person $5,500USD

Day 1 Ardglass

We arrived in Dublin and only Joe’s clubs failed to deliver. We boarded Perry Golf motor coach, stocked the onboard fridge with Tennant’s, Carlsberg, and Magners cider, and set off for Ardglass GC— a tricky rock hard course, no rain in last 3 weeks. Essential to get good advice on line of play off tees— must have at least one caddy per 4some. First hole is awkwardly uphill to a tiny green requiring a hit and hope approach shot. Woody with the help of his caddy was low man at 74. Ardglass is fun, a scenic out and back links course off the beaten track — the clubhouse is a castle!

Ardglass restaurant was closed. Fortunately, Aldo’s Restaurant located at head of Ardglass GC lane was brimming with hospitality and we enjoyed terrific food & drink in a cozy family atmosphere.

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Day 2 Royal County Down

At least 6 Royal County Down (RCD) tee shots are blind putting a premium on course knowledge. Woody had the only caddy (John) who was invaluable despite being a frequent distraction giving lots of unwanted advice.

No rain in last 6 weeks made for a very fast course.. the rough was still quite penal. RCD is golf heaven a perfect links landscape of huge golden dunes. RCD deserves it’s rank as the best course in Ireland.

No drinking water on RCD course. Start with a loaded water bottle and refill at the turn. Brad fired a superb 75 to lead the field.

Joe’s clubs finally catch up with us. Good thing because his playing partners are having a tough time keeping up with his golf ball drain.

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Day 3 Portstewart

What a gem! Front nine winds through enormous dunes very difficult in rock hard conditions. Back nine is much less scenic but more forgiving and quite enjoyable. Woody with the help of his 74 year old caddy (John) was low man with a scintillating 75.

John (74 year old caddy) & Bob
Our Perry Golf driver, Patrick, was an invaluable tour guide — a font of useful information, he unerringly directed us to the best sights and restaurants.

Day 4 Portrush

Royal Portrush Dunluce is long and narrow with penal rough and cavernous bunkers. It was the most difficult test of the trip. With plenty of irrigation, Portrush fairways are in excellent condition. What appeared to be wispy rough played like wire. Just getting the ball back into the fairway was a challenge.

Brad birdied 3 of the first 4 holes in route to a 78– 6 shots better than the next closest man.
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Day 5 Portmarnock

Flattish, uninspired appearance compared to the towering dunes of other courses we played. Best holes are close to the beach. Arch and Woody shared low honors with 78’s.

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More forgiving than Portrush; wispy rough is playable. We were spared the usual big coastal wind that makes this relatively open track tough. Unique to Portmarnock, greens fee includes lunch (soup & sandwich fixed menu). No shorts allowed in clubhouse for lunch so we donned our rain pants.

Dinner at Sea Bank restaurant just around the corner from our hotel featured excellent, pricey food in a very nice ambience. From there we walked into town for ice cream and to chat up the locals.

Grand Malahide Hotel wasn’t so grand — An old dame past her prime featuring tiny, noisy rooms, lousy wi-fi, and so-so food; too bad, because the friendly sea town location is ideal, with restaurants and shops within easy walking distance. We loved the beautiful view of the bay, sail boats and the island (site of the Island Club) from breakfast room at GM.

Day 6 Island Club

The Island Club is located right across the bay from our hotel a stone’s throw that interpolated into a 30 minute ride to get there by ground. Too bad they stopped using the ferry in 1973.

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We elected to play the white competition tees at 6312 seemed about right. After finding the first 3 holes difficult to reach in regulation, it finally dawned on us that this course was measured in meters! We moved forward to the green tees on #4.

This is a tough course— our scores were comparable to those at Portrush. Greg Arnold’s game finally came around as he lead the Zipline league with a 79.

Day 7 European Club

The good days just keep on coming with our 7th straight day of perfect golf weather.

The European Club is unique in this part of the world. This is a 20 hole golf course with an extra par 3 on each side. We rode in buggies as there are no caddies and this is a very tough course to walk. The fairways and greens are heavily watered; so greens were soft and receptive.

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We experienced pitch marks and balls spinning back off the greens for the first time all week. Bunkers are riveted with heavy timbers/planks that are flashed up — incredibly penal to be avoided at all costs.

Arch Arnold fires trip low 73 smoking the next closest pursuer by a whopping 5 shot margin.

With a big festival in Malahide we had a tough time finding suitable dining. We eventually landed a table for 8 at the wine only Provence Café where we consumed a wonderful meal.

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Summary Course Ranking –All Around fun to play
1-Royal County Down
2-Portrush Dunluce
3-Portstewart
4-Island Club
5-European Club
6-Ardglass
7-Portmarnock

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