A Journal, with Pictures

Ireland 2014

by on Aug.27, 2014, under Happenings

My good friend Bill Marx and I flew to Ireland for a week of golf on Saturday August 16th. We met in the United lounge in Newark, boarded United flight 24 around 7:30PM and after dinner got maybe 4 hours of sleep before landing in Shannon at 7;30 local time. Bill was our designated driver, I was the navigator and chanted “think left” all the way to Ballybunion. We checked into Teach de Brock our favorite country house, right across from the practice tee at the Ballybunion golf club. We met by our friends Aoife & Seamus Brock the proprietors and were served a second breakfast by pretty Wendy. It was good to be back in Ireland and after checking in, we hit a few golf balls, and teed off on the Cashen course at Balleybunion. It was a nice Irish day with the wind blowing 30 to 40 knots, so our reintroduction to Irish links golf was perfect.

The next two days we played the magnificent Old Course at Ballybunion one of my three favorite courses in Ireland. We played with some of our Irish friends and had some spirited matches and enjoyed great weather, particularly on Tuesday. Our routine was get up late (early in US time) have breakfast, and play golf in the afternoon, very civilized. We then would have a after golf drink, have a shower in time for cocktail hour, then a great dinner at Teach de Brock. The old course is special starting from the first hole which skirts a grave yard. May the balls that I have hit in there RIP, because the sign warns you not to go in to retrieve balls. Then there is one great hole after another. We reveled in the beauty of this classic, while enjoying the competition and company of our Irish friends.

After three wonderful days of great Teach de Brock hospitality, golf at one of the best and good times with our Irish friends it was time to travel to Lahinch for the international member guest tournament. We took Wednesday off and had a leisurely drive up to the small village of Lahinch, the location of another Irish classic links golf course. The format of the event was one guest, one international member and one local member playing for two day in a stableford format. We crossed into County Carry on the ferry and arrived in time for a lunch then walked around town, visiting our favorite woolen shop to catch up on gossip. Thursday was the practice round, and we played in wind and rain, welcome back to Irish golf. Same routine golf, shower, cocktails, dinner and a good nights sleep and repeat.

We played the tournament in relatively (by Ireland standards) good weather. A little wind, one, two or three club but no rain. Our Irish host, Austin Slattery, was a good player and a pleasure to be with, he just didn’t have enough to carry two Americans, but we did O.K. and didn’t embarrass ourselves finishing in the upper middle of the pack.

The evening after competition was special with our host Austin and his lovely wife hosting cocktails for us and a few of the international guests at their home. The tournament was renamed to honor Ken Venturi and Ken’s son Matt attended and played. A very jolly awards dinner at the club house followed our cocktails, with awards and comments by the lahinch Captain and Matt Venturi. It was a great evening, very well done and everyone seemed to enjoy each others company in a very special setting.

It was up early on Sunday for our trip back to the US at 5:00AM. Bill did a great job of thinking left and we were back in Shannon by 6:30 AM. Our flight left on time and arrived early. After a looooong lay over I arrived in Dayton at 7:00PM a very long day. My wonderful wife had a great dinner waiting, which after a shower made the end of the journey perfect. It was a great week, my traveling companion and tournament host, Bill Marx was a great organizer, but most of all great fun to be with. Ireland, the Irish people and our Irish friends made the trip like coming home. Our Lahinch golf partner Austin, and the members of the Lahinch Club put on a great event. The golf, well as Bill describes it, was “golf heaven”.

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