Social Media Open 2018

The Social Media Open has been going since 2013 at some of the finest golf courses in Ireland – Adare GC, Ballybunion, Castlemartyr, Dooks, Doonbeg, Mount Juliet, Old Head and Tralee. You can check out details of our previous tournaments below via the following links – Inaugural Social Media Open2014 Social Media Open2015 Social Media Open; 2016 Social Media Open & 2017 Social Media Open.

The Social Media Open returns again next April for its 6th Annual Tournament! The venues of 2016 & 2017 return once more as well – namely, The Old & Cashen Course at Ballybunion Golf Club, along with Dooks Golf Links and Tralee Golf Links to make up 4 fabulous tests of golf. The dates for the Event will be Tuesday 24th – Friday 27th April 2018.

Day 1 of The 2018 Social Media Open will involve a 2-course start at the Cashen Course & Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club on Tuesday 24th April with half the field playing on the Cashen and the other half taking on the Old Course for the 1st Round. The Cashen Course, opened in 1982 and designed by renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones Senior, requires acute precision especially off the tee as fairways frequently disappear around corners. The careless tee shots can easily run out of fairway and find their golf ball buried in the marram grass, hopefully there won’t be many of them next April! The BallyB website puts it well in that “if the Cashen Course at Ballybunion Golf Club was anywhere else it would attract far more attention and plaudits than it does. It’s hard on a girl if her older sister is Sophia Loren!”

The 2nd Day of The 2018 Social Media Open will again involve a 2-course start taking in the World famous Old Course and Cashen Course at Ballybunion Golf Club on Wednesday 26th April. The famous English golf writer, Peter Dobereiner said of BallyB’s Old Course: “If sheer pleasure is the yardstick, then Ballybunion’s Old Course gets my vote as the No. 1 in the world”. According to Ivan Morris’ editorial on the Ballybunion GC website, “by the mid-1970s, there was a growing trickle of well-read, international visitors that overnight turned into a flood in 1982 when Tom Watson made his famous off the cuff eulogy after accepting the Claret Jug at Royal Troon: ‘Nobody can call himself a golfer until he has played at Ballybunion; you would think the game originated there!’ Ever since, the North Kerry links has been one of the most lucrative and recognizable brands in world golf. Knowledgeable golfers realize that if they haven’t played golf at Ballybunion their golfing education is gravely incomplete”.

The 3rd Round of The 2018 Social Media Open takes us back to Dooks Golf Links in Glenbeigh. This beautifully located links course was a favourite of many a team last April and it promises to present a great golfing test once more along with the now famous Dooks welcome! Also known for its narrow links fairways and well contoured greens, you will get a real taste of traditional links golf at its very best. The west Kerry scenery and a scattering of gorse, heather and wild flowers will go down a treat as well. Dooks has been welcoming golfers since 1889 and the course has gone from strength to strength each year, we are very much looking forward to returning here on Thursday 26th April!

The Final Round of The 2018 Social Media Open will once again take place at the tremendous Tralee Golf Links on Friday 27th April! Course designer, Arnold Palmer, claims credit for the front 9 but has always maintained that “God designed the back 9”, unfortunately for all golf fans Mr Palmer has now passed on but we can luckily still enjoy his amazing work in County Kerry. Tralee Golf Links only opened in 1984 but has been getting rave review ever since, as PGA Tour player Kevin Stadler attests to…. “My favourite courses are Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Tralee Golf Club”. Not bad company eh! Beautiful views of Kerry’s picturesque surrounds and beaches are the perfect backdrop and the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean make up an ideal soundtrack to bring the curtain down on what we promise will be another excellent week of craic, with a bit of golf in between!!

Defending 2017 Champs – Jim Dunne & John Howard

The format for the Event will continue as in previous years – Team of 2 with both scores on holes 9 & 18 and 1 score to count on the other holes each (3/4 Handicaps apply) – while the Tournament packages are as follows:

  • Golf Only – €670 per Team of 2 (€335 per person)
  • Play & Stay – €1,150 per Team of 2 (€575 per person, includes 4 nights’ accommodation – 1 night in Ballybunion & 3 nights in Killarney – and Prize Giving Dinner in Killarney, Venue TBC)

Other2013-12-10-21-59-27 Packages available on Request – Contact Us for details.

Along with the great golf and awesome accommodation there will also be some “social gatherings” organised over the course of the few days, always something to look forward to post-round! We are looking forward to another great few days of golf & craic in the South West of Ireland and hope you can join us next April! If you have any queries regarding The 2018 Social Media Open please email smopen@tomkennedygolf.com or call +353-87-6453537.

 

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Social Media Open 2017 – Tournament Review

Our 5th Anniversary Tournament would take us to the same venues as 2016 – Ballybunion Old Course & Cashen Course, Dooks Golf Links & Tralee Golf Links – from Tuesday 25th to Friday 28th April 2017. This year had a record entry of 160 golfers (80 teams), having started with just 40 golfers 4 years ago when we took on Mount Juliet, Castlemartyr, Adare & Old Head.

Plenty golfers made it down on the Monday evening before play started the following morning, some taking it easy and preparing without the usual hangover while others were starting as they meant to go on that week! The craic was mighty in Kilcooly’s that night which did bode well for a great week, on and off the course!

The first day’s play took in a 2 course start (never used that before!) on The Old & Cashen at Ballybunion Golf Club on Tuesday 25th April 2017. While the 2 course start worked well it still entailed an early start on The Old Course with the first golfers setting off at 7.24am on a still but chilly morning. Rune Karlsen, Manager of Tromso Golf Club in Norway, and his playing partner, Paal Kjelsrud, got things started as they did in 2016 as well, this time in the company of Umberto Biagi & Tarek Aref. The early scores were decent as the early risers seemed to be getting the better of the scoring conditions. However it was 2 teams that started later on The Old & Cashen courses that led the way after Round 1 – Cork brothers, John & Liam Deasy, returned an excellent 45 points followed closely behind them by another Cork team, John Howard & Jim Dunne on 44. Plenty teams were still in the hunt only a few shots back of the leaders including Defending Champs, Joe Kennedy & Peter Murphy, along with Lindsay Hamill & Tom Baldwin, Chris Garde & Billy Farrell, Lewis Jones & Gavin Bonham and Leo Dunne & Paul Madigan.

Day 2 started under sunny skies at Ballybunion while those who took on The Old Course on Tuesday moved to the Cashen Course on Wednesday 26th April for Round 2 while the teams that took on the Cashen on Day 1 moved onto The Old Course. Scoring was definitely better for the morning starters, even after the previous night’s festivities at Kilcooly’s, with the wind picking up in the afternoon making both courses a true test of links golf. John & Jim powered ahead in the 2nd Round with a great score of 45, giving them a 7 shot lead from Warrenpoint duo Brian McKee & Joe Lenfestey. Lewis Jones & Gavin Bonham added a solid 40 points to their 41 on Day 1 to lie in 3rd place. 10 shots covered the Top 8 but the chasing pack had it all to do to catch the Cork boys out in front. Ireland led the way in The Nations Cup with 2 rounds to go. Onto Killarney as our base for the next 3 nights with a combination of local hotels hosting us.

The 3rd Round of Social Media Open 2017 started under gloomy skies and a little rain but this soon cleared to a fabulous day at Dooks Golf Links on Thursday 27th April. Our Italian friends, all 22 of them, were some of the first golfers out on the day on the testing links course as all teams tried to climb the Leaderboard on “Moving Day”. Scoring was the best of the week so far with many teams returning scores in the mid to high 40s. Best score of the day come from Kate Docherty & Martina Syron who returned a fabulous 47 points while there were many teams returning 40 or better in the kind scoring conditions. John & Jim again recorded a consistent score, 44 this time to extend their lead to 8 going into the Final Round at Tralee the following morning.

Tralee Golf Links was the venue for the Final Round of our 5th Anniversary Tournament on Friday 28th April and again this tremendous golf course lived up to all the expectation. The course was in phenomenal condition with the greens slick and rolling beautifully. The early starters definitely got the best of the scoring conditions, with the first team fourball out on the course producing the best team score of the day in the shape of Stuart Hasson & Gay Hannon who returned 45 points to shoot up the leaderboard. Nearest the Pin on the day also went to an early starter, Kate Docherty! As the wind picked up in the afternoon teams did struggle, especially on Back 9, but this did not detract from an amazing experience at Tralee. John & Jim has their worst day of the 4 in terms of scoring at Tralee but still managed to post a creditable 40 points to ensure victory was guaranteed to become 2017 Social Media Open Champions! Chris Garde & Billy Farrell, regulars at our Tournaments, took 2nd place. Lewis & Gavin secured 3rd place with a 4 round points total of 162 while Lindsay Hamill & Tom Baldwin grabbed 4th place on the countback from 4 teams on 159 with Paschal & Noel McMahon getting a Top 5 finish on the same score. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves as thoughts now moved to our Prize Giving Dinner at Randles Hotel in Killarney that evening. Ireland again triumphed in The Nations Cup while Honourary Irish Captains, John Mooney & Shay Kelly, took The Conefrey Shield.

The Prize Giving Dinner began just after 9pm in Killarney at Randles Hotel with all teams in the mood for celebrating, especially our Dutch contingent that provided the backing track for the evening from their table! A huge thanks to everybody for making the week what it was, all the players; the Golf Courses – Ballybunion, Dooks & Tralee – and all their staff; the wonderful Guest Houses and Hotels and of course our Tournament Partners – Conefrey’s Pharmacy, Druids of Ireland by LJ Golf, Irish Biltong, Open Fairways, Jonathan McDonnell QFA, Vox Golf, Royal & Awesome, Club Clean Ireland, Wyldsson and Fresh Today. We are already planning for our 2018 Tournament and hope to see many of you there next year!

Check out our Facebook Albums from our 5th Anniversary Tournament, you can also check us out on Twitter. Any queries regarding our Event you can email smopen@tomkennedygolf.com

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!

Greyhound Bar       White Lady3

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!

Winners 2013    Defending Champs!    2012-11-21 10.05.01

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

2013 Majors – a Look at the US Masters

Well the regular season is well and truly underway and already the proverbial knives are out and being sharpened for Messrs McIlroy and Woods after their poor season debuts. Without much early tour form to base this on, these are my picks for the Golf Majors this year……….hopefully I will be able to tell ye all “I told you so” towards the end of the season with my chosen golfers picking up the Green Jacket, US Open Trophy, The Claret Jug and the Wannamaker Trophy. First up is the Masters at Augusta.

THE MASTERS TOURNAMENT, Augusta National, Thursday 11th – Sunday 14th April

the masters

If there is one golfer that will be motivated to win the Masters and get the Augusta golfing monkey off his back, it is Rory McIlroy. With the memories of the Back 9 collapse of 2011 still fresh in his mind I’m sure he will be chomping at the bit to claim his first Green Jacket, some of my fellow tweeps (collective noun for people that tweet!!) have been adding the hashtag #GreenJacketComingHome in recent times so there is definitely an expectation that Rors may well become the first Irish golfer to claim the Masters and, by virtue of this win, complete an Irish Grand Slam of sorts in the Majors. I would personally love to see the current World No.1 win at Augusta but I’m not sure he will have enough form behind him, and maybe enough confidence in his new clubs by then, to conquer the layout at Augusta National this time around. The ditching of his new Nike putter after only 1 round in Abu Dhabi can’t point to him being happy with this club or his putting for that matter, a bad putter does not win at Augusta but that does not mean Rory is a bad putter but I just do not think it is his time yet at Augusta.

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My picks for Augusta, as they have been in recent years, are Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson. No earth shattering choices there I hear you say, well you are right they are not controversial or unexpected but these guys are always there or thereabouts when the final round nears the final 9 holes on Masters Sunday. Phil is quite simply an Augusta expert and few courses have been designed that suit a professional golfer better, he loves to hit a cut off the tee (right-to-left shape for a leftie) and that suits probably 16 holes at Augusta. His golf at the Ryder Cup at Medinah last September in particular was more like the Phil of a few years back and he is also at his best when playing his attacking style of golf, it is great to watch and always entertaining – I’m sure we all remember THAT SHOT on the par-5 13th Hole in the Final Round which led him to victory in 2010, Nick Faldo calling it “the shot of his life” which says it all. Another Augusta top-5 awaits for Phil and few are better in contention on the Back 9 on Sunday at the Masters.

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Luuuuuke is one of the most consistent performers in world golf at the moment and his Masters performances recently have resulted in him getting close but without the cigar so far. He does not make him score on the par-5s  like many potential Masters champions do as he tends to plot his way around the course but I’m sure plenty of us remember Zach Johnson laying up on every par-5 and claiming the Masters back in 2007 on what was one of the longest versions of the Augusta National layout, Luke could well fit the same billing here. Donald has one of the best wedge games in golf and is also lethal around the greens too, and that is what you need around those undulating greens during the Masters. He will be in contention again and if his putter finally works like it should in the final round and particular during the Back 9 on Sunday then I fully expect Donald to live up to expectations and land his first Major title.

luke augusta

That’s my “two cents” on the Masters, might be worth a small few quid/euro/dollars on good auld Tom Watson for first round leader presuming that he will be teeing it up of course which I’m sure he will to keep an eye on potential Ryder Cuppers. I would welcome any comments, feedback and the like and I’m sure everybody has their opinion on who will claim the First Major of 2013.

Another “Major” Golf Tournament on during Masters week is, of course, the Social Media Open (www.facebook.com/SocialMediaOpen, www.twitter.com/SMOpen) which runs from Wednesday 10th to Sunday 14th April at some of the finest courses in Ireland – Mount Juliet, Castlemartyr, Adare & Old Head. Based on the trash talk and banter at present it is likely to be hotly contested. Main contenders, mainly due to their unashamed self-promotion, include Ross & David Starkey; Maurice Ryan & John Kelly; James English & Kieran Aherne and Kevin Connolly & his playing partner Ryan. Other teams, who have remained quiet(ish) compared to other more outspoken competitors include Tony Regazolli & Tom Kennedy, Allan Farrelly & Glen Holmes and John Deasy & AN Other.  There are 3 teams who all entered together from Dublin, spearheaded by Fergus McGrath and Denis Murphy, who could be dark horses while a few local Cork teams cannot be discounted especially due to the unfamiliarity of most of the other teams with the “People’s Republic” and, most importantly, pints of Murphy’s,  Kinsale Lager and the White Lady Night Club on a Saturday night!

white lady     old head4

It promises to be a great week’s golf but I think the Masters Tournament could be slightly more straightforward to predict than the Social Media Open, only time will tell.