Social Media Links Challenge 2016

The 3rd edition of The Social Media Links Challenge will once again take place in August at 3 of the finest links courses in Ireland over 3 days when it tees off in mid August. County Sligo Golf Club, Carne Golf LinksEnniscrone Golf Club provide the respective golfing tests from Thursday 11th – Saturday 13th August 2015.

Co Sligo GC2

The First Day’s play will be hosted at West of Ireland Amateur Open venue, County Sligo Golf Club, on Thursday 11th August 2016. This world renowned course will test each and every player as they strive to get into the leading groups from Day 1.

Carne GC6

Day 2 on Friday 12th August will take in the awesome Carne Golf Links in Belmullet, Co Mayo. This is one of the more remote courses in Ireland but as a result of that it has one of the most amazing locations for a golf course anywhere in the World.

The Final Day of the 2016 Social Media Links Challenge will be played at Enniscrone Golf Club on Saturday 13th August 2016. This outstanding links course will provide a fitting finale to 3 days of sublime links golf on the West Coast of Ireland. The winning team this week will certainly deserve their prize!

Enniscrone GC

The entry fee per person is only €159 Golf only (€318 per Team of 2) with the following Play & Stay Packages available also (Accommodation is currently available at either Hotel Ballina or the Ballina Manor Hotel which are both less than 1 hour’s drive from Carne, approximately 45 minutes from County Sligo and only 15 minutes from Enniscrone GC. 1 night’s accommodation on the 4 night package will be at the Riverside Hotel in Sligo)

2 nights’ B&B and 3 rounds of Golf – €249 per person sharing
3 nights’ B&B and 3 rounds of Golf – €294 per person sharing
4 nights’ B&B and 3 rounds of Golf – €339 per person sharing

First Prize for the Social Media Links Challenge will include FREE GOLF to come back and Defend the Title in 2017 along with the SM Links Challenge Trophy to take home for the year among other great pries that will be confirmed soon! Other prizes will also be announced in due course but will include golf vouchers for Carne Golf Links, County Sligo GC and Enniscrone GC and many other golf related goodies from Ogio Golf among others!!

The format of the Tournament will be a Pairs Event with 2 scores to count each day on holes 9 and 18 with 1 score to count on the other holes (1-8, 10-17). 3/4 Handicaps will apply for the event as well.

If you have any queries on the Social Media Links Challenge or would like to enter a team you can email You can also follow the event on Twitter @SMLinks or like us on Facebook.

Hope to see you on the links in August!

SM Links Challenge 2015 – Tournament Review

The 2015 Social Media Links Challenge took place from Friday 14th – Sunday 16th August 2015 at County Sligo Golf Club, Carne Golf Links & Enniscrone Golf Club with over 90 golfers tackling some of the best tests of links golf over 3 days in the West of Ireland. This was the 2nd staging of the tournament, the Inaugural Event won by the Deasy brothers, John & Liam, who were defending the title they had claimed in July of 2014.

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What had started out a blustery and rainy early morning soon turned into clear and sunny skies as we neared our 10.14am starting time. Thomas Byrne & Ross Soye got the 2015 Tournament underway alongside Aad van Oos & Patrick van der Klooster from Holland as the clouds moved away over Ben Bulben. One of our sponsors, Just Golf, had provided each team with Goody Bags and these were much much welcome for the golfers taking on the test at “Rosses Point“. The scoring was decent on Day 1 at County Sligo Golf Club but 3 teams stood out from the crowd – Chris Garde & Seamus Beecher led the way on 46 points tied with fellow Corkmen, brothers Michael & Henry Tobin. The lads who started off the tournament in the morning, Thomas & Ross, were just a shot behind with 45 pts. Shot of the day definitely went to Barry Hennessy who scored a Hole-in-One at par-3 4th hole.

Day 2 saw us at Carne Golf Links with the weather calmer but not quite as sunny, there were plenty wind and sun burnt golfers (possibly hungover too) taking to the 1st Tee in Belmullet so they may have been thankful for the respite! This was definitely a better scoring day with one half of the 2015 Social Media Open champions, Bob Leggett, gelling well with playing partner Kevin Keating to post 47 pts and get right into contention just a shot off the lead on 83 pts, in fact there were 4 teams sharing the lead going into the Final Round on 84 pts – Suzanne Hegarty & Paul Magee and Billy Farrell & Jerry Kearney alongside 1st round leaders Chris & Seamus and brothers Michael & Henry Tobin. Another 10 teams were only within 7 shots of the lead so it promised to be a very dramatic final day at Enniscrone.

SM Links Night Out

The “social” element of the SM Links Challenge was very much to the fore all week with golfers from all over Ireland, the United States of America, Holland and the People’s Republic of Cork, among other places, enjoying each other’s company both on and off the course. It made for a great few days making pars (and occasional birdies!) and frequenting bars! The Fleadh Ceoil was on Sligo and the surrounding area over the same week so it made for a very enjoyable time for one and all – of course there was the small matter of watching The PGA Championship after the golf most evenings too, as if we weren’t talking enough golf for the 3 days already!!

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The Final Round of The 2015 Social Media Links Challenge took place at Enniscrone Golf Club with many teams in contention teeing off on Sunday 16th August. Conditions were changeable on the day with most teams getting a few sprinkles of rain over the course of their rounds. The day did clear up as the majority were finishing their front 9s or playing the back 9 so the scoring remained quite good overall. Shot of the day must go to Dan Purcell who scored a Hole-in-One on the 3rd hole! The best score on the day was posted by the overall winners, with Suzanne & Paul posting 47 pts for a 3 round total of 131 to claim the title by 3 shots from Billy Farrell & Jerry Kearney who finished with a final round of 44 pts. A further 2 shots back were Darren Crawford & Gerry Wall on 164 while Chris & Seamus beat Michael & Henry into 4th place on the countback, both tying on 124 pts for the 3 rounds.

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2015 Champs – Suzanne Hegarty & Paul Magee with sponsors Fintan Ward (Golf Voyager) & Aad van Oos (Ogio Golf)

It was a great few days in the West of Ireland – the golf was great, food fantastic and the craic was mighty! Many thanks to all our sponsors & tournament partners – Golf Voyager; Ogio Golf; Muldoon Whiskey; Club-Clean;; Ireland Golf Balls & Just Golf – for contributing so much to the tournament and helping us make it what it was. A huge thanks also to our host venues – County Sligo, Carne & Enniscrone – for providing 3 great tests of golf all in great condition!

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Three days of superb links golf and many friendships were made on and off the course. To our 26 American friends we hope to see you again soon, hopefully we might even get a motley crew over to play a few holes Stateside in the near future! So that was The 2015 Social Media Links Challenge – 4,968 holes of golf played, countless number of pints and wonderful whiskey consumed, many bowls of chowder & superb steaks eaten and of course 2 Holes-in-One and much much more. Not bad for 3 days in the West of Ireland!!

We hope to see you for our 4th Annual Tournament in August 2016, drop us a line for details on! You can also give a follow on Twitter or like our Facebook Page to check out all our Tournament Photos.

Stunning Sligo – a great place to play & stay!

I was lucky enough to get the chance to play the best golf courses in Sligo recently as part of The 2015 Social Media Links Challenge while also getting in a pre-tournament round at Strandhill Golf Club which served as great preparation also. Staying at the Yeats Country Hotel Spa & Leisure Club it provided the ideal base for a golfing trip to remember and I would recommend Sligo to all keen golfers who enjoy great links golf and also superb hospitality and service.

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Arriving on Thursday 13th August 2015, I spent the first 3 hours of the trip in my Audi en route to Sligo from Limerick – leaving at 7am it promised to be a long day but with blue skies all the way to Strandhill Golf Club there was certainly the excitement of playing a new course for me. An absolutely stunning location greeted me at approximately 10am and I managed to get in a few pre-round photos before checking out the clubhouse. A very welcoming building with Cyril in the Golf Shop adding to this – I was booked in on my own (on ladies’ day as well!) so I was hoping to get paired up with some green fee paying golfers if possible, Cyril obliged and I was paired with 3 Americans from New York who were in Sligo more for the Fleadh than golf but they were still getting in a few holes at Strandhill during the week – Sean, Paul & Brian would strangely enough by my guides for the 18 holes as they had played the course 2 days previous! Even with this in mind I was still asked on the 1st tee – “where are we going here, Tom?” Definitely a case of the blind leading the blind to start with anyway!

The 1st at Strandhill is a dog leg left par-5 with a semi-blind tee shot in that you rarely see where you opening effort ends up but it is still easy to see that the hole goes left even though the fairway initially slopes from left to right – my trusty snap hook obliged on the 1st and I was in the centre of the cut and prepared off the tee. The layup is straightforward enough but then it gets interesting – a well-protected green with bunkers in front and many slopes to contend with around the green itself made the middle left pin nearly inaccessible for our approach shots. I bailed out a touch right and managed to 2 putt for par and was happy with that. 3 more pars followed in various fashions – a few long 2 putts and a much valued up-and-down on the 4th. The par-5 5th is a lovely hole bringing you back towards the Clubhouse while the sloping fairway makes the layup more difficult than you might like, the green is again well protected with a bunker short left (where I ended up!) and plenty slopes to contend with from there. A bogey 6 resulted from my approach shot that met a sandy grave! Further bogeys followed on 6 and 7 while I managed a long par putt on 8 to get back on track. 6 is a gorgeous dog leg right par-4 that takes you back towards the beach while 7 runs parallel with the beach but it’s a pity it wasn’t closer to it – the smell of fish n’ chips nearly made me forget about my run of bogeys! The 9th is a nice par-3 to close out the front 9 with it playing usually between 125 – 140 yards, I didn’t manage to get the club right on this occasion so I was back on the bogey train!

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The back 9 begins with a testing par-4 with trouble down the left hand side, so much so I took an advance look at the 11th fairway from the tee! 10 brings you back towards the Clubhouse so we decided to grab a few refreshments without delaying the round too much – the guys needed to collect their kids from the music school but I was happy enjoying the beautiful weather and fantastic golfing test. The 11th a lovely uphill par-4, if you can get your tee shot away you should just have a short iron to wedge in but I would think this is different when the wind blows! 13 is probably my favourite hole on the course, a sharp dog leg right par-4 with one of the best protected greens I have ever seen. You have 2 options off the tee really – hit it where you see it with a long iron or fairway wood or take on the carry over the white stone to the corner of the dog leg. We all tried the carry over the white stone, to varying degrees of success! The green is superb, bordered on both sides by sand dunes with just a narrow entrance should you need to hit a low linksy approach shot. 14 is a decent par-3 which is adjacent to the 7th hole and again gives you a lovely view of the beach. It plays about 2-3 clubs longer than the 9th, well at least on the day we played it anyway. The 15th is an interesting steeply uphill par-4, you can take on the carry over the dunes on the left off the tee and bank on a good bounce, thankfully I managed that carry but couldn’t manage a par in the end! Back up at the top of the course we were again back near the Clubhouse for the closing 3 holes, by this time the New York/New Jersey contingent seemed to be pressed for time and decided they would play best ball for the last of your golfing adventure. 16 is a straight par-4, slightly downhill to a huge green. Distance control for your second shot is key as there are many pin position options including a plateau on the back of the green which I’m sure will provide for some tricky 2 putts. 17 is a good par-3, playing the guts of 180 yards from the whites and into the breeze had us thinking of a long iron or possibly even a fairway metal. Back close to the beach now we were again enjoying the vista that accompanied us along the 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes which provide an excellent and enjoyable test. 18 is a tough finishing hole, long par-4 uphill back towards the Clubhouse. The drive is narrow with Out of Bounds and lateral hazards down the right while heavy rough awaits you on the left hand side – the trusty snap hook wasn’t as trusty here as I ended up in the aforementioned heavy rough but the resultant bogey did not take away from a thoroughly enjoyable round of golf.

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Many thanks to Strandhill Golf Club for a super day – your course is a gem and I look forward to playing it again in the future. Huge thanks to Cyril in the Golf Shop and my playing partners – Sean, Brian & Paul – for a thoroughly enjoyable day. Hopefully Sean will get the putter out of the bag in the near future, an amazing “putting” technique with a wedge!

Green with Yeats in Background

It was now the mid-afternoon and I took the short drive from Strandhill through Sligo to Rosses Point where I would make my home at Yeats Country Hotel Spa & Leisure Club for the night. Yeats Country Hotel Spa & Leisure Club is the only hotel located in the scenic village of Rosses Point, a discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way. This hotel boasts 98 well-appointed rooms (luckily one of them mine for a night!) overlooking Sligo Bay, and has a large leisure centre complete with pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and fully equipped gym and gorgeous spa, which offers world renowned seaweed baths ideal for soak those aching golfing muscles after a day on the links (unfortunately I didn’t have time for this!!). Yeats Country Hotel Spa & Leisure Club host a Golf Classic twice year, in May & October – 5 wonderful nights’ B&B plus 5 evening meals in their Elsinore Restaurant along with 3 rounds of golf on 2 of Ireland’s finest links courses. The tournament organiser, Roddy Gillen, will ensure all Ladies & Gents entered will have a great time, both on and off the course! For further details on this call +353-71-9177211 or email

Bedroom - Yeats

Yeats Country Hotel Spa & Leisure Club is ideal for golfers, no more than a wedge from the 1st Tee at County Sligo Golf Club and also close to some lovely pubs like Austies (good food there too!) and Harry’s (even though they didn’t have Sky Sports for the golf!!). Yeats is a beautiful spot and my room was fantastic, perfect for a chill out after a great day on the links. The facilities at Yeats are great – rooms are beautiful, they have 2 bars (2 big thumbs up in my book) while their restaurant was excellent as well. After a few hours in the Clubhouse at County Sligo GC to watch Round 1 of The PGA Championship I headed for bed, there was another long day ahead tomorrow. Next up would be Rosses Point the following morning!

Rising at 7.30am I looked out my window (there were 3 big ones actually!) to see misty rain and hear the wind buffeting about, not the ideal start to the day but maybe after breakfast it wouldn’t feel as bad. A lovely buffet greeted me in the restaurant and after having my fill of cereal, toast, juice and a full Irish I was definitely ready to take on the World…………and hopefully County Sligo Golf Club as well! This is a serious test of golf and the changes the course is currently undergoing will have future benefits for sure. Straight from the 1st hole you are tested and although it can seem like an easy enough start as both the opening holes are relatively short there is not lack of danger to be found  luckily our 4 did not find much trouble but still found pars few and far between early on. While 1 and 2 are short enough par-4s the 3rd hole is a testing par-5 with the tee shot with some tactical decisions into your mind, the longer hitters can try to carry onto the lower fairway but that shot is fraught with danger. The 4th, par-3, is a superb short hole and with the left hand pin and left-to-right cross wind it was near impossible to get close to the flag even though we were informed an earlier Hole-in-One from Barry Hennessy playing as part of our Social Media Links Challenge tournament! 5 is another par-5 and takes you down onto the lower part of the course – it’s a good opportunity for birdie but you still need to negotiate the downhill tee shot and the crosswind as well. 6 and 7 are probably the 2 toughest par-4s I have played back-to-back, the green side water hazard on 6 contributing to an extremely difficult approach shot. 7 provides a tough tee shot, if you can hug the right hand side you will have a shorter shot into the green but there is tough rough down that side while bailing out on the left leaves you with a longer second shot to contend with. 9 is a lovey par-3 and even though it can play as little as a wedge you better get you ball on the green because there are many slopes and bunkers to contend with if you don’t!

2015-08-14 17.59.04The second 9 at Rosses Point is a superb run of holes, starting with two testing par-4s in 10 and 11 followed by 12 which is one of my favourite par-5s in Ireland, with Ben Bulben behind you from the tee and the sea in the background behind the greens it makes for a wonderful golf hole. 13 is a sweet little par-3 with danger everywhere except for possibly front left. Thankfully I had a nice run of pars and good swings going by the time I took to the tee on 13! 14 is a testing par-4, especially with a meandering water hazard to contend with off the tee and then a challenging and well-protected green which we all found tough with a tight right pin position. 15 isn’t all about the tee shot but it seems like it is! Clear the dune on the right and it should be plain sailing, of course you still need to miss those bunkers on the left side of the green too. The 16th is a very challenging par-3 with room to bail out on the left should you err with your tee shot, a par 3 here and you’re a happy golfer. 17 is a beast, a tricky tee shot in that you can run into the rough even with a straight tee shot so tactics and an exact yardage is crucial. The uphill second shot is quite testing and requires the same exactness with yardage and direction that hopefully worked for the tee shot, I got neither shot right on the day! 18 is the only slightly blind tee shot on the back 9, over the stone and then start praying! If you can keep the ball down the left side it will help your approach shot as there are cavernous bunker to contend with on the right hand side of the green. A par-par finish and dinner will taste all the better in the Clubhouse!

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My guilty pleasure and favourite course in Sligo is Enniscrone Golf Club! Perched on the Sligo/Mayo border it is heaven for anybody that loves links golf! If you haven’t played this beautiful golf course yet get yourself to Sligo and take on the challenge. I am lucky enough to have played the course numerous times and I have to say that on Sunday 16th August 2015 it was in the best condition I have ever seen it, and definitely up there as one of the best courses in Ireland based on the way it is being presented and maintained at the moment. I’ll do you a favour and not go through each and every hole at Enniscrone, you should really see it for yourself and you will be happy when you do.

So that was my trip to Sligo – it’s a lucky county to have 3 fantastic links courses and I count myself lucky to have played them for sure! Throw in a few nights at Yeats Country Hotel Spa & Leisure Club and you’ll be laughing, an ideal base for a golfing trip in the West of Ireland.