Adare’s Diamond to get Polished

One of my all-time favourite places on the planet, the amazing Adare Golf Club, is due to close on Wednesday 20th January 2016 for a course revamp while the awesome Adare Manor itself will also get a revamp including a proposed 40 new bedrooms along with a ballroom which is due to have a capacity for up to 350 guests. The plans for the golf course include some course redevelopment, due to be under the guidance of legendary golf course designer Tom Fazio, while the clubhouse will undergo extensive refurbishment. Interesting times indeed in County Limerick and as my good aul buddy Ollie Ryan said recently – “the old diamond is just going for a polish“!

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Since local Limerick businessman JP McManus bought Adare Manor last year there has been much talk regarding what his plans were for the fantastic golf course, manor house, clubhouse and the overall estate as well. Rumours of a second golf course among other things abounded but now we know that the legendary Limerickman is investing further funds to turn Adare is something even more special that it already is, along with many other people I simply cannot wait for it to re-open!

Having worked at Adare for 6 years, from 1996-2002, I have had first hand experience of how special Adare is – as an employee and then over the past few years as a very happy customer. Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort has everything – an already phenomenal golf course (the last ever design by the one and only Robert Trent Jones Snr), a marvellous manor house that is a very unique place to stay or even visit briefly and facilities clubhouse and practice facilities as well. There is also something quite fantastic about Adare village, which ties in so well with Adare Manor itself. Many a night we spent in Pat Collins Bar spending our wages from Adare Manor in Adare village! We still spend our money in Collins Bar but it’s generally earned outside of Adare these days!

OJ Ryan 2009aFeaturing some of the finest holes to be found on any course, especially the near perfect par-4 13th and the best finishing hole in Irish golf in the par-5 18th, there is much the Irish golfing public and wider golfing public at large will miss while Adare is closed during the redevelopment work. It is tough to know exactly what JP McManus’ plans are for the County Limerick venue, in golfing terms it could point to a potential tilt for The Ryder Cup or a return of The Irish Open in the future. Is an unlikely staging of the PGA Championship outside of the United States likely at Adare? Whatever happens at Adare Manor, which I’m sure will be amazing, I’m just sorry I couldn’t make it to tee it up recently on a golf course that is so close to my heart for one last round!

May Bank Holiday Open Competitions

May is here and hopefully the sunshine for the majority of the golf season in Ireland! The following are just a few of the Open Competitions this coming weekend, if you’re teeing up over the next few days hopefully one of these events might be of interest.

Adare overview

Adare Golf Club – Monday 5th May, Open Singles for €50 per person

Narin and Portnoo

Narin & Portnoo – Saturday 3rd May, Open Single Stabledford and Monday 5th, 3-ball Waltz . €30 per person each competition for GUI Card Holders

Arklow Golf Links

Arklow Golf Links – Friday 2nd, 3 person team event; Sat 3rd Alliance H’cap up to 12; Sunday 4th Singles & Monday 5th May 4 person team event. All competitions €25 per person for visitors

Ardglass GC

Ardglass Golf Club – Monday 5th May, Open Singles Stableford for £17 per person. Call 028-44841022 to book.

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Castlemartyr – Open Singles from Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th May , €30pp each day. Prizes sponsored by Mahers Sports Cork, booking on 021-4219001.

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Killeen Castle – test yourself off the Black Tees at Killeen Castle for €50pp on Sunday 4th May in their Open Fourball.

18th Hole Heritage

The Ballesteros Course at The Heritage – Monday 5th May (and every Monday), €25 per person. Enter online via www.theheritage.com or call 057-8642321.

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Loughrea Golf Club – Sunday 4th May, 18 hole singles (Paul Kennedy sponsoring) & Monday 5th May, 18 hole singles (Professional Raymond Ryan sponsoring)

 

Take on Adare’s Winter Golf Challenge

The awesome Adare Golf Club in County Limerick stages the final qualifying events for its Winter Golf Challenge on Sunday 23rd & 30th March. For an entry fee of just €180 per team of 4 you can play on either date for a chance to return and play in the Grand Final on Friday 6th April.

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On each Winter Challenge qualifying day 2 teams will get through to the Grand Final in April but you’ve just got 2 more chances to do so! The format is a 4 person team event, stableford scoring, and the team can be mixed. For any enquiries or to book your place call 061-605200 or email golf@adaremanor.com. The team at Adare are very active on twitter as well so give them a follow – Head Pro Gary Howie; Club Pro Mark Collins; Starter Barry Ryan & General Legend Ollie Ryan!

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Adare is my favourite parkland course in Ireland and with Collins Bar in Adare village beckoning after 18 holes it is one of my favourite places in the World! The greatest players in the World have played here, give it a go yourself and you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

Upcoming Irish Golf Events

Apart from the usual top amateur or professional tournaments going on in Ireland over the coming months there are also some superb events open to all golfers, amateurs and even some pros as well. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of them over the next few months in Ireland.

Social Media Open 2014

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Following on from their successful Inaugural Tournament during Masters week in April 2013 the 2nd Annual Tournament takes place again during Masters week this year. There are a few small changes to the itinerary with Doonbeg replacing Mount Juliet and Adare being the venue for Day 2, swapping with Castlemartyr which host the 3rd Round. Old Head Golf Links once more provides the crescendo to the week by hosting the Final Round. Schedule as follows:

Wednesday 9th April 2014 – First Round at Doonbeg;

Thursday 10th April 2014 – Second Round at Adare;

Friday 11th April 2014 – Third Round at Castlemartyr;

Saturday 12th April 2014 – REST DAY!

Sunday 13th April 2014 – Final Round at Old Head Golf Links

Golf only is €275pp (€550 per team of 2) with Play & Stay packages from €505pp (€1,010 per team of 2). Any queries email socialmediaopen@gmail.com or you can give them a follow on Twitter or like on Facebook.

Causeway Coast Challenge

Valley course Portrush

The Causeway Coast Amateur Golf Tournament is 46 years old, which puts most of the other events in the shade of terms of their longevity! It has always mainly been sponsored by a drinks company so has been better known as the “Remy Martin“, “Black Bush” and “Tullamore Dew“. This year’s tournament will be played over the Valley Course at Royal Portrush, Castlerock, Ballyliffin and Ballycastle – the dates for their 2014 event is from Monday 2nd – Friday 6th June.

The entry fee is £150pp for GUI Members; £200pp for Overseas Members and £80pp for Host Club Members. This deal also gives you 4 practice rounds along with the 4 competition rounds so is fantastic value! You can also check out their website, email info@causewaycoastgolf.com or call +44(0)77 3941 9727 with any queries.

Social Media Open 2014

On the back of a hugely successful Inaugural Tournament in April of 2013 during Masters week in Ireland, the Social Media Open returns to these golfing shores in April of 2014 for its 2nd Annual Tournament. With over 50 golfers already down to play next year it promises to be a great event once more and very competitive one. Playing in during Masters week as well means playing golf by day and watching the finest golfers in the World battle it out at Augusta by night, with maybe a few social drinks to accompany the evening’s festivities!

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There are a couple of changes for the 2014 Tournament, Doonbeg replaces Mount Juliet as the venue for Day 1 on Wednesday 9th April while Adare swaps with Castlemartyr as the Limerick course will now stage the 2nd Round while the Cork venue hosts Round 3. As expected, the Old Head Golf Links provides the crescendo with the Final Round being played there on Sunday 13th April 2014.

Doonbeg Golf Club is a true links course and the County Clare venue has one of the finest backdrops for golf, based right beside Doughmore Beach. It will definitely provide a great test on Day 1 but one I’m sure all the competitors will enjoy! Accommodation will be available at the Lahinch Golf Hotel that evening for those on Play & Stay Packages.

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The awesome Adare GC will host the 2nd Round, returning by popular demand from the Inaugural Event where every competitor was delighted with the course and especially the condition of the greens. The Trent Jones Snr design, his last ever actually, has consistently been ranked as the No.1 Parkland course in the country and it is easy to see why. We are very much looking forward to playing this course again in 2014. The road to Cork then beckons for the next 4 nights and 2 rounds as Kinsale becomes home for the majority of the field.

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The short trip to Castlemartyr for those on Play & Stay packages awaits on the morning on Day 3. The Ron Kirby design, of Nicklaus Design and Old Head fame, provides a good challenge around the grounds of the estate. There are some very quirky holes here and with some tight short par-4s to negotiate, especially on the front 9, the course will ensure any score you get here you will deserve. The closing 6 holes here are particularly good and provide for a great finish. For those on Play & Stay packages it’s back to Kinsale to enjoy the 2nd Round of The Masters, with a day off to come on Saturday 12th April it could be a late night! Talk of whiskey tasting at The Folkhouse is already abound.

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Saturday, as was the case for the Inaugural Event, will be a Rest Day and it was much needed after the first 3 rounds in 2013. Extra golf can of course be arranged but most people decided to take it easy as it was the only day to recharge the batteries. There were plenty of competitors who decided to sample the fine watering holes around Kinsale this year though and I’m sure this will be the same again in 2014 – The Greyhound, The Market, Oscar Madisons and The Folkhouse being likely venues for some craic!

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Sunday the 12th April 2014 will be the Final Day of the Social Media Open with the Old Head Golf Links hosting the Final Round. One of the most spectacular courses in the World, the Old Head became an instant favourite among all SM Open competitors with the vast majority of them having not played the course before. It was a must that this amazing course would be on the itinerary for the 2nd Annual Tournament and we are delighted that it will be. The Prize Presentation will take place after golf in the Old Head Clubhouse, 1st Prize being a Custom Fit Driver for each member of the winning team from Fore Golf, the opportunity to defend your Title in 2015 with Free Golf for all tournament rounds and of course you also get The Grace Murphy Trophy to take home for the year as well!

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Other prizes include PING wedges; Golf Breaks to Killarney and Kilkenny; Golf vouchers for Old Head, Doonbeg, Adare, Castlemartyr, City West and Tulfarris; Swingbyte 2.0 units, Metro Golf Dublin Vouchers, Royal & Awesome pants & hats and MyCoverPics covers!!

If you have any queries on the 2014 Social Media Open email socialmediaopen@gmail.com, team spaces are filling up fast so we are likely to sell out before our entry deadline of Friday 29th November.

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The Inaugural Social Media Open – Tournament Review

For something that started from a fairly random Twitter conversation, the first ever Social Media Open brought together 40 people (golfers!) with many of them having not met each other until the start of play on Day 1. The idea for the tournament evolved through various Twitter exchanges in October when it was decided to stage an event for like minded individuals, many names were bandied about but the Social Media Open was settled on……….to avoid getting sued one of the many reasons!

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Ireland soon became the popular host country with many courses considered and recommended to be played. The Old Head Golf Links was probably the common denominator in terms of what course should be played for the Final Round so Yours Truly set about putting an itinerary together that took in 4 super courses and ended up in Kinsale to play the Old Head as the crescendo to the Inaugural Social Media Open. Mount Juliet for Day 1, Castlemartyr for Day 2, Adare for Day 3 proved to be popular choices and also feasible in terms of logistics as well. There were many dates considered, the summer seemed logical but a moment of pure inspiration from Tony Regazzoli, my playing partner for the week, suggested we should have it during US Masters week – golf during the day, watching the year’s first Major by night with copious amounts of social lubricant! So, the Social Media Open was born! Next step at that stage was getting teams to play in it.

The tournament itself was envisioned as being fairly small to begin with, 8 teams and 16 players the initial target. When entries opened up it soon became apparent that there would be more to accommodate and when all was said and done we had 20 teams and 40 golfers to fight out over 4 rounds during Masters week! Many teams from the UK entered along with plenty from all over Ireland including the People’s Republic of Cork, the unofficial host county as Kinsale would be home to most of our motley crewe for 4 nights.

Day 1, Wednesday 10th April 2013 – Mount Juliet

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Some of the UK teams and some of the lads from further up the country decided to stay the night before so there was already a good atmosphere at Mount Juliet with part of the field playing a practice round on the Tuesday and then meeting up for a pint and bite to eat before play began in earnest the morning after. The somewhat dubious honour of hitting the first ever tee shots of the Social Media Open went to the team of Kevin Connolly and Declan Devine who were paired with Steven Ring and Andy Hopkins for the first 2 rounds. From what transpired from the first tee shot onwards, it went pretty well for the boys from the North!

The best scores on Day 1 were from our inaugural starters – Kevin and Decky shot a magnificient 48 points which was 8 shots clear of Jamie Hore and Mark Meade and also Derek Ramsey and Paul Foley. Most of the other scores were under the 40 points mark so this left a lot of the field playing a serious game of catch up already. The atmosphere in the Clubhouse afterwards was great and those who stayed following the conclusion of play thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic food in the Presidents Bar at Mount Juliet. Well and truly fed and found, the majority of the field set off for the nearby town of Thomastown to enjoy the local tipple in O’Hara’s Pub, for some the rest of the night was a bit of a blur but so far so good – this was only the first day though!

Day 2, Thursday 11th April 2013 – Castlemartyr

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The field were all due to make their way to the majestic Mount Juliet House for breakfast before departing for Castlemartyr, although the majority of the Dublin contingent preferred the ambiance of the Presidents Bar once more for the most important meal of the day. The cavalcade of cars left Kilkenny soon after breakfast, headed down the M9 motorway and then the N25 on the way to Castlemartyr.

More lovely weather accompanied us for the second day’s play, although it did not look promising on the trip to the course with the clouds gathering around Waterford. As we came over the Cork border, however, the skies had cleared and the sun was out. Kevin and Decky’s opening score of 48 points was matched on Day 2 by Paul Foley & Derek Ramsey with the leaders from the first day keeping up their good form this time with 44 points. Other notable scores were from PJ Owens & Ray McLoughlin and Denis Murphy & Fergus McGrath with 45pts, John Deasy & Podge Greaney 44pts, Colin Shanahan & Peter Redmond and also Declan Tierney & Darren Keane both with 43pts. Many other scores in the 40s resulted from the kind golfing conditions.

As play finished up on Day 2, Kevin and Decky led the field by 4 but many teams were well off the pace and likely to be fighting out the minor placings, due to the great scoring from the leading teams. All roads soon led to Kinsale then and the White Lady Hotel, which would be the home for much of the field for the next 4 days. Tierney’s Guesthouse and the Rockview B&B took care of the overflow in numbers. Dinner, pints and the first round of the US Masters was very much on the agenda now as most of us settled into the Bar at the White Lady, unsuprisingly known as the 19th.

Day 3, Friday 12th April 2013 – Adare Golf Club

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The bus left at 9am on the morning on the third round with the majority of the field on board, no casualties from the previous night however as some made their own way to one of the finest parkland courses in Ireland. The weather was again superb and we were worried about sunscreen rather than raingear for the third day in succession.

The field was now out in order of the leaders so it well and truly gave everybody the feel of a proper tournament. Once again Kevin Connolly and Declan Devine were among the best scores on the day, indeed they had the best round of the day with an impressive 45 points along with Conor Daly and Dermot Loughran. Next best was 42pts, posted by Jamie & Mark, Colin & Peter and also PJ & Ray. The lads would take an 11 shot lead into the Final Days play at Old Head, no lead is large enough on the cliff-side layout but it was a superb cushion all the same. A bite to eat in the Clubhouse was availed of by many while the organiser made his obligatory trip to Pat Collins Bar and also the off-licence to stock up the bus for the trip back to Kinsale.

The bus arrived in Kinsale around the 10pm mark leaving the guys to grab some food at the White Lady – great service all week there it must be said, and with The Masters on it was another late night while the “Rest Day” was being looked at as the one day that a sleep in could be had!

Day 4, Saturday 13th April – REST DAY & PUB GOLF

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Some of the guys went into Cork city to give one of our sponsors – Sober Lane – a bit of business with various Munster and Leinster fans in the group to watch the match and also get some of the golf in too, those pitchers of beer seeming like a good idea at the time! A lot of the field decided it was a day to relax so stayed put in Kinsale while some did play golf with Fota Island being the venue of choice. The only rain of the week came by on the Saturday which added vindication to the Rest Day theory, or was it just lucky??

The White Lady Bar for the early part of the evening and then Night Club were the venues for the end of the night’s festivities (some would call it craziness!!).

Day 5, Sunday 14th April – Old Head Golf Links

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One of the most spectacular courses in the World lay ahead on the Final Day. A wind of at least 30km/h meant that the Old Head well and truly bared its full set of teeth and provided a tremendous test for all the golfers, having played in nearly perfect conditions all week this was a daunting prospect that lay ahead of them. Some, I would think, were glad of the wind to clear their heads from Saturday night!

Many caddies were availed of and they were invauable in giving the guys the correct line off the tee and ensuring, as much as possible, that the fewest amount of golf balls were lost! Only 1 team shot the equivalent of level par on the day, John Deasy and Podge Greaney! This was enough to catapult them up the leaderboard to 4th place overall having started the day in 12th. Their playing partners on the day, Tony Regazzoli and Tom Kennedy, posted a creditable 38pts to get them into 5th place from 11th starting the Final round. Michael O’Brien and Aidan McGurn matched the lads score of 38pts while there were only 5 other teams that shot in the 30s – Jamie & Mark, Denis & Fergus, Declan & Darren and also Chris Baron & Viktor Tingstrom.

Kevin and Decky did rather stumble over the finishing line, on a very testing day on the course for all the teams, but they had such a lead it still resulted in a fine 6 shot victory. When all was said in done, the top 6 were as follows:

1st place – Kevin Connolly & Declan Devine 164pts

2nd place – Jamie Hore & Mark Meade 158pts

3rd place – Conor Daly & Dermot Loughran 155pts

4th place – John Deasy & Podge Greaney 154pts

5th place – Tony Regazzoli & Tom Kennedy 153pts

6th place – Michael O’Brien & Aidan McGurn 152pts

Golf Nut of the Week – Steven Ring

Long Drive (12th at Adare) – Steven Ring

All the Teams got a prize which was great as it turned out and many thanks must go to our sponsors for this – Bobby Grace Putters, Royal & Awesome, Golfnut.ie, Peperina Bistro, MyCoverPics, The White Lady Hotel, Wunderbrush, Home Striker, Velux (Kevin Connolly), and all the Social Media Open venues – Mount Juliet, Castlemartyr, Adare & Old Head Golf Links – for contributing golf vouchers as prizes too. There were no Hole-in-Ones so the guys at PGE Golf did not need to give any of the field a trip to The Masters or some of their other wonderful prizes on offer. The winning teams received a Bobby Grace Putter each, the opportunity to come back and defend their title next year with Free Golf and, of course, the Grace Murphy Trophy!

Winners 2013

So, it was back to Kinsale and the White Lady Hotel for one last soujorn into the breach with what now was dear friends! Anthony, Roman and all the staff took care of us so well once more and our thanks go out to them for a great 4 days, and nights!! The Masters was another great watch that evening, and with John Deasy’s winning wager on Adam Scott the drinks were on him for a part of the night. We spent the next few hours in the White Lady Night Club although it wasn’t long before we were back in the Bar until the wee hours of the morning.

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It also has to be said that 4 teams confirmed their entries for the 2014 Tournament that very night in Kinsale as well, with plenty to follow in the coming weeks. Great to see how much the teams enjoyed themselves for our Inagurual Tournament!

Day 6, Monday 15th April 2013 – DEPART FOR HOME

Like it never happened, the participants in the Inaugural Social Media Open made their respective ways home by planes, trains and automobiles the next day. Many of them surely coming right back down to earth with the stark reality that work beckoned the next morning! Some lingered until the afternoon, namely John Deasy, John Kelly, Mossie Ryan and Tom Kennedy, and they even sampled some of Kinsale’s finest food at the Fishy Fishy Cafe – a finer hangover cure I know not of.

So that was the Social Media Open 2013, a fantastic few days playing some of Ireland’s best courses; drinking some of its best beer, wine & spirits; enjoying the craic like only Ireland can provide and watching some great golf from Augusta as our evening entertainment. A huge thanks goes to all the staff at Mount Juliet, Castlemartyr, Adare, Old Head Golf Links and The White Lady Hotel, Tierney’s Guesthose and Rockview B&B for making it a tremendous tournament!

We can’t wait to see some old friends and make some new ones in April 2014 during Masters week again for the second annual Social Media Open. Hopefully you will be able to join us!

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Twitter: @SMOpen ; Facebook: www.facebook.com/SociaMediaOpen; Email: socialmediaopen@gmail.com

The Social Media Open

The Inaugural playing of the Social Media Open comes to Ireland during US Masters week in April of 2013. It will take the form of an International Pairs Tournament, Teams of 2 welcome from all over the World!! Base camp for the majority of the week will be the Kinsale for most teams with some locally based teams also availing of the golf only option.

Itinerary as follows:
Day 1, Wednesday 10th April – Mount Juliet GC

Day 2, Thursday 11th April – Castlemartyr GC

Day 3, Friday 12th April – Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort

Day 4, Saturday 13th April – Rest Day / Optional Golf / Day in the Pub!

Day 5, Sunday 14th April – Old Head Golf Links & Prize Giving Dinner

Day 6, Monday 15th April – Depart for Home

Golf & Accommodation packages start from €505 per person and Golf only for €275 per person. If you have any queries or if you would like details on how to enter please email socialmediaopen@gmail.com.