Loughrea Golf Club – A Hidden Gem for You to Play this Year?

Loughrea Golf Club has long been recognised as a lovely parkland course in the West of Ireland, nestled away in Graigue, Loughrea in County Galway. They have a proud tradition of giving each and every golfer a warm welcome while providing a challenging course for all standards of golfers. After playing the course, the very important 19th Hole has a great atmosphere for members, guests, visitors and societies alike.

Loughrea logo crest GC_cmyk

The members and committees have continued to strive to improve the layout and conditioning of their course over the years and were rewarded for their hard work by recently hosting many GUI events including the Connacht Junior Cup provincial qualifiers and the Connacht Cups and Shields Finals in 2011. A few of the many comments received during the Connacht Cups & Shields Finals include the following:

I play in all the championships in Ireland and generally Baltray are the best greens we play on, but Loughrea greens are every bit as good, if not better” Joe Lyons, Galway, Irish International

For the host club, Loughrea, players and spectators alike were in awe of the levels they had taken course presentation to and all were glowing in their praise of course superintendent Colm Muldoon and his team” Enda Lonergan, General Secretary, Connacht Branch & Tournament Director

It was on the back of these GUI events, and the encouraging feedback that the course received, that the Connacht Branch’s Championship Committee voted the golf course the ‘best presented course in Connacht of 2011’.

Hole-17-Green1

Societies can play at Loughrea for as little as €10 per person. They have many Golf Society packages on offer and also have a Play & Stay deal with the Loughrea Hotel & Spa offering 2 nights B & B plus dinner & 1 Round of Golf for only €70 per person sharing!! Loughrea Golf Club also have an 18-Hole Open Single Stableford every Wednesday throughout the year and are currently holding an Open 3 Ball Team Event sponsored by Golfstyle Golf Superstore open for entries until 17th April.

Open 3 Ball Team Event Small

Come and enjoy  Loughrea Golf Club for yourself in 2014. It’s a challenging but fair 18-hole, Par 71 parkland course and their green fees rates are hard to match! Contact Siobhán on 091 841049 for further details. Check out the Loughrea GC website on www.loughregolfclub.com and give them a follow on twitter @loughreagolf

Hole-14-Tee1

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Tournament Preview – Tshwane Open

The European Tour is in Africa again this week (I seem to saying that a lot!) with the playing of the Tshwane Open at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate. From an Irish perspective we hope Shane Lowry’s clubs have arrived off British Airways at this stage so he can put in a good showing!

Tshwane Open 2014  Copperleaf GC

This is another hard tournament to pick a winner but John is going to try to stay away from stats as they seen to mean nothing in these mixed field tour events like this. DC is going to pick 2 Ryder Cup hopefuls, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Morten Orum Madsen both of whom are in good form and are in with a real chance of sneaking in to Paul McGinley’s Ryder Cup team come September. You can get Rafa at best price of 20/1 with ToteSport and for somebody who has started the season so promisingly that is more than decent. Our Danish friend is a little higher, 35s best price with 888sport and 33/1 with most of the rest. All firms seem to be going 5 places only for this week’s European Tour stop.

Cabrero Bello  Madsen

We’ll give Shane Lowry a shout out here too, at odds of 70/1 best with Bet365 lets hope his clubs can do the talking this week if they arrive. Best of luck Shane!!

Shane Lowry

John awaits your feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 8pm on 25/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Tournament Preview – The Honda Classic

We’re to back in Florida for a while starting this week with the Honda Classic at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens. The top 8 in the World tee it up among others for what should be a great week’s golf. John is back this week after taking the WGC Accenture off, my picks last week were shocking in the end so I hope none of you read the Blog for the Matchplay!
Honda Classic
DC’s first pick is Brian Harman and at 90/1 with Paddy Power who are paying top 6 he will pay out a nice few quid if he does the business. Harman finished 3rd at riviera last time out, top 25 in adjusted scoring and 11th in strokes gained putting. He also holds the course record around the 5th hardest course on tour, PGA National, and had a nice 12th place finish here last year.
Brian Harman
G Mac is John’s second one-to-watch in Florida this week, and with odds of 22s best with Bet365, Stan James and SpreadEx he could be worth a look – especially if he’s 2 behind with 2 to play on Sunday! His grind-it-out mentality is as good as ever and may even have gotten better from last weeks performance at Dove Mountain, he loves it around here with finishes no worse than 17th in 6 starts including 4 top 10s.
G Mac2
Honourable mentions go to Adam Scott, available at 20/1 with Boylesports and BetVictor, and Henrik Stenson who you can get at 30s best with BetVictor. Both are priced fairly high going on their overall form and results over the past 12 months and even though they don’t have much form here they should have the quality to mount challenges.
Stenson    Adam Scott
As usual you can give John feedback via Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 8pm on 25/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com

Tournament Administrators & Referees School, St Andrews

I attended the Tournament Administrators & Referees School (TARS) from Tuesday 4th to Friday 7th February before travelling briefly back to the day job in Ghana soon after. The event, over 3 days, at St Andrews was superb from start to finish, giving me further insights into tournament setup and preparation and, of course, I learned a whole lot more regarding the Rules of Golf!!

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The week began with a very early flight out of Dublin airport to Edinburgh at 6.40am on Monday 3rd February, from there the rental car was picked up and it was off to Carnoustie for a few holes in what can only be described as a gale! 82 shots later and I was a happy man in fairness, even finishing bogey-bogey-double bogey! Many thanks to Colin McLeod and his team at Carnoustie for taking great care of us, a superb start to the week!

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From there my Sat Nav only sent me wrong once so I arrived at St Andrews in the early evening and then had a few hours study ahead of me. My reward was dinner downstairs in the Greyfriars Hotel (my home for the week) and then a few wee drams at the Dunvegan and Jigger Inn, to help me sleep well you must understand!

2014-02-03 19.40.05 HDR

An early rise was ahead of me the next morning so I wasn’t best pleased when the alarm went off at 6am! A bit of study followed by a late breakfast and I made my way to the First Tee at the Old Course for 18 holes with some members of the New Golf Club of St Andrews, the same lads I played Carnoustie with yesterday. A birdie start had me dreaming of that dream round at The Home of Golf but 81 shots, including a visit to the Road Hole bunker, after that birdie resulted in me singing for an 84. All told it was a great day, not a ball lost in 36 holes at 2 of my “Bucket List” golf courses so I was a happy man. Back to the hotel after golf, which was only a 5 minute walk from the Old Course and a few more hours study my Rules and Decisions book before meeting the other delegates for a Welcome Dinner at the Fairmont Hotel.

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The following 3 days were highly beneficial to me, and I’m sure the rest of the delegates – there were 78 in all I think from all over the World of Golf! Class based sessions, practical demonstrations, many presentations on a lot of what The R&A are doing (and not just with the Rules of Golf), the dreaded Rules exam and a great contribution from Andy McPhee of the European Tour were the highlights of the week during the Seminar. I would highly recommend it to anybody working for a Golfing Union or Association anywhere in the World. The evening events organised went a long way to creating a fantastic atmosphere and it’s usually the evening events where us Irish excel, this week was no disappointment there!

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It was great to meet some many people working around the world from different golfing bodies and from different golf nations and it was even more surprising to learn that there were actually 7 people there from Ireland – 3 representing the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union and 4 others representing the Scottish Ladies Golf Union, Macedonia, Kenya and of course myself in Ghana! Hearing about the various challenges some of the countries faced in terms of golf development will definitely help along the way in Ghana allied with a greater understanding and working knowledge of the rules and tournament administration.

2014-02-17 16.14.24

I would hope we have at least 1 Ghanaian at TARS in 2015. It will help a great deal in terms of tournament preparation especially and the more people within Golf in Ghana that have an extensive understanding of the rules the better. The week culminated with dinner at The R&A Clubhouse with all the delegates and was very much a fitting ending to a great week at The Home of Golf, I even got a sneaky sit in the best seat in Golf – Peter Dawson’s!!

2014-02-07 21.58.17 HDR

West of Ireland Charity Event for Enniscrone

The West of Ireland Major Charity Golf Event will take place on Friday 28th March 2014 at Enniscrone Golf Club, Co Sligo. The format is a 18-Hole Open Singles Stableford competition for the ladies and gents.

Enniscron Charity event logo

The entry fee is only €30 per player and all monies collected will be divided equally between the three charities the event is being run for. These charities are as follows:
Gena Heraty Haiti Fund

For the past 16 years,(since May, 1993) Gena has been a volunteer worker with International Aid Agency Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (NPH) (Little Brothers and Sisters in Christ) in an orphanage in Haiti in Kenscoff which is about 15km from Port-au-Price (www.nphhaiti.org). www.nphhaiti.org).h is about 15km from Port-au-Prince

Pieta House West

Pieta House Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide, opened in Lucan, County Dublin in January 2006. Since then, they have opened five centres of excellence in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10, Mungret, County Limerick, Roscrea, County Tipperary, Tuam, County Galway, Bishopstown, County Cork and most recently Castleisland, County Kerry as well as an outreach centre in Dublin’s Finglas.

Barrettstown

Barretstown Barretstown is a specially designed camp that provides Therapeutic Recreation programmes for children with serious illness and their families. Barretstown’s mission is to rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness and their families. We believe that every child with serious illness should enjoy their childhood.

Enniscrone1 One of the great holes at Enniscrone!

We hope some of you can make the event and look forward to seeing you on the day. Please contact Seamus with any queries regarding the West of Ireland Major Charity Golf Event on +353868061535. A Timesheet will be in operation.

Tournament Preview – WGC Accenture Matchplay

So we’re back at Dove Mountain for the Matchplay, perhaps for the last time and definitely with probably the worse field to tee it up there but hopefully without last year’s snow! I still very much enjoy the format though and Matchplay is always a great watch.

Accenture Matchplay   Dove Mountain2

It’s always tough to pick the winner of a Matchplay match, nevermind the overall winner of a Matchplay tournament but we’re going to give it a go! First up is the Bobby Jones bracket. Henrik Stenson is our pick here, the Swede was the best player in the World for the last 6 months of 2013 and he also has form at Dove Mountain in the past. Expect him to come through his bracket and at 22/1 with totesport, SpreadEx, BetFred and sportingbet it’s a decent pay-out even if the Double Money List winner from last year gets to the Semi Finals.

Stenson

We like Matt Kuchar to make it through in the Gary Player bracket. He may well end up playing Jordan Speith on his way through the matches but Kuchar knows his way around Dove Mountain and is a solid matchplayer. With a price of 28/1 to win overall with Paddy Power, bet365 and CORAL he could be worth a few quid, that’s working out as 7/1 to win the bracket too if you back him each way.

World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship - Final Round

The Ben Hogan bracket isn’t an easy one so I’m going for 2 players – Ian Poulter and Jimmy Walker. Poults is a superb matchplayer and if his putting hits any form in this format then he’s near to unbeatable. You can get the “Postman” at 35s best price with bet365 and Boylesports this week. Walker is the form player in the World at the moment and it is tough not to consider him this week, of course Matchplay is a very different game but if you play well you will of course have the chance to win. 50/1 best price with CORAL is worth at least a second look!

jimmy walker  Ian Poulter

The toughest bracket this week could well be the Sam Snead, it could very well be the case that our pick to win the bracket could go out first round but we hope not! We are going for Zach Johnson here, superb putter and wedge player along with being one of the most competitive players head-to-head – he is very well suited to Matchplay. Zach is available at 35/1 with Stan James if you fancy a flutter here!

Zach Johnson

So that’s what we think will happen this week, summary as follows:

Bobby Jones bracket – Stenson; Gary Player bracket – Matt Kuchar; Ben Hogan bracket – Ian Poulter or Jimmy Walker; Sam Snead bracket – Zach Johnson. Stenson hasn’t played too much this year or overly well but he is truly World class when in the mood and expect him to be so this week. Another WGC title for the Swede, well at least we think so!! Enjoy the golf this week!

Tournament Previews – Northern Trust Open & Africa Open

We’re going with one preview fits all this week once more as John Deasy takes a look at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera and the Africa Open at East London GC.

NTOpen    Africa Open

John is going with Graeme De Laet once more as his recent good form continues and he is going for his first win on tour so the motivation is most certainly there. The best price you can get the Canadian this week is 22/1 with BetFred, Bet365 and SportingBet while he is 20s best with many of the rest. He’s been the runner-up his last two tournaments at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Before that was three top-10′s. He’s made the cut in both starts at the Northern Trust Open.

Graeme DeLaet

DC also likes the look of Webb Simpson this week on the tricky layout where players like Faldo, Elkington and Couples have won on before. The 2012 U.S. Open champion is best price 20/1 with most of the usual bookies while Paddy Power again are stand-out here offering 6 places. Simpson has five top-10s this season and a T6 result here last year. Simpson finished T15 in his only other start here, while he leads the Tour in birdie average and scoring average and ranks third in all-around. He’s a strong bet to finish in the top 10.

Webb Simpson

 Another player John wants you to keep an eye on this week is Hideki Matsuyama, best price 35/1 with 888sport while he is 33s and lower with most of the others. In just nine PGA Tour-sanctioned events, Matsuyama had six top-25 finishes, including a T-6 at The Open last year and is looking good so far this year .

Hideki

In Europe, well South Africa, John has just 2 picks this week in the shape of Dawie Van der Walt and Roope Kakko. Van der Walt, having already qualified for The Open this year and with a string of top 20s to his name this season can produce another early season victory if hitting the same heights he did the win the Nelson Mandela Tournament not so long ago. You can get him at 35/1 with Paddy Power, BetVictor, ToteSport & BetFred.
Van der Walt
Kakko won on the Challenge Tour in October 2013, where he claimed his first tournament as a professional by triumphing over a very strong filed at the Bank of Oman, and has been playing good golf this year. Full of bubbles he can get his season off to a lift in Africa this week. Roope is available at 66/1 with Paddy Power and a number of other bookies.
Roope Kakko
As usual you can give John feedback via  Twitter on @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 9pm on 12/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com
 

The Irish Junior Open

The 2014 Bank of Ireland UK Irish Junior Open at Killymoon Golf Club will be held from the 24th to the 26th of August. Tournament days will be the 25th and 26th with the official practice round on the 24th.

Irish Junior Open

The event which has had major endorsements from current US Open Champion Justin Rose, 2011 British Open Champion Darren Clarke and 2009 Irish Open Champion Shane Lowry, and promises to be one of Ireland’s Premier junior golf event in 2014.

Along with event support from Coca Cola, Taylormade, Adidas, Srixon, Cleveland, Nike, Titleist, Footjoy, Cobra, MD Golf and Aston Martin, there will also be lots of media interest with the BBC and UTV providing TV footage.

Irish Junior Open2

The event is open to boys and girls aged between 5 and 18. Online entry and information launch date is set for Tuesday the 4th of March via www.mgprogolf.com and it is sure to fill up fast. If you wish to follow the event’s progress you can do so via the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irishjunior.open?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IrishJuniorOpen
Website: www.mgprogolf.com

Tournament Previews – AT&T Pro-Am and Joburg Open

We’ve put the two tournament previews together as one this week as John has got one pick for the Joburg Open! First up though is the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.

Pebble ProAm2

Formerly the Bing Crosby back in the day this tournament continues to be one of the most eagerly anticipated and fun events on the PGA Tour each year, this has a lot to do with the contribution of Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood and many more celebrities and sporting stars over the past 50 years or so.

Pebble ProAm

John’s first pick this week at Pebble is G-Mac himself, Graeme McDowell. He is best price 33/1 with Ladbrokes, Bet Victor and Boylesports among others paying out 5 places while Paddy Power are offering 28/1 with 6 places. This will be McDowell’s first start of the calendar year and his first since early December. He’s played well in two unofficial PGA Tour events and showed decent form at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in November. Now he returns to the site of his marvellous Major championship win, the 2010 U.S. Open. He actually hasn’t played Pebble Beach since then, and he’s only played the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on one occasion—  2006 when he missed the cut. Deasy doesn’t like that he tends to hover near even-par and doesn’t shoot particularly low, especially for consecutive days. He’s a solid golfer to say the least, just don’t let the U.S. Open win fool you.

G Mac2

Next up to be considered for a Pebble Beach win this week is Jason Day, best price 11/1 with Paddy Power paying 6 places. Though he has just one PGA Tour win to his name, Day has developed a reputation as a high-stakes player. If it’s a Major, Day is usually in contention. And while this isn’t a Major, what it does tell you is the Aussie is supremely close to being an every-day elite golfer. He finished sixth last year at 13-under and finished T-14 in 2009. He also didn’t miss a single cut last year and finished T-2 at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago at Torrey Pines.

Jason Day

John’s third one-to-watch in Northern California at Pebble is Phil Mickelson. Lefty is on offer at 14/1 with most of the usual suspects, again Paddy Power providing the overall value paying 6 places. Phil is one of those guys who can play badly for a couple of weeks and will give us a quote such as, “I feel like my game is coming around and I’m really driving the ball well. I’m just not scoring well.” One week he’s off the radar and the next he wins a tournament. This could set up like 2012 when Mickelson performed only alright at the Waste Management Phoenix Open but then won at Pebble Beach. The four-time Pebble champion has historically played well here even regardless of victory. The risk with Phil is that back issue so do take this into consideration.

Phil Pebble Beach

Edoardo Molinari is John’s pick for the Joburg Open and at best price 66/1 with 888sport he’ll provide you with a great return if he does the business. Edoardo might well have a very good chance after showing form over the last 3 tournaments he has played , and with the added incentive of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September he might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat early in the year .

Edoardo Molinari

If you’d like to give John a follow on Twitter you will find him @johnalandeasy ! Prices accurate as of 12am on 06/02/2014 via Oddschecker.com.