Category: Ireland


June 07, 2012

Special Ireland golf package for Golf Magazine readers

Posted at 3:25 PM by Golf.com

OldheadFinally ready for that Ireland golf trip? Then consider a seven-night, eight-round package offered by SWING, an Irish golf specialist company that celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

You’ll play the best of the southwest, including Lahinch, Doonbeg, Ballybunion Old, Dooks, Tralee and Waterville, plus the stunning Old Head (pictured) on the southeast coast. Front 9 readers also receive a complimentary round at Ballybunion¹s Cashen course.

Accommodations and a full Irish breakfast daily are included. Offered during specific times from June through September 2012, package prices currently vary from $1,444 to $2,116.

To book go to: swinggolfireland.com.

(Photo: Evan Schiller)

December 13, 2011

Special Ireland golf package for Golf Magazine readers

Posted at 3:29 PM by Golf.com

OldheadFinally ready for that Ireland golf trip? Then consider a seven-night, eight-round package offered by SWING, an Irish golf specialist company celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

You’ll play the best of the southwest, including Lahinch, Doonbeg, Ballybunion Old, Dooks, Tralee and Waterville, plus the stunning Old Head on the southeast coast (pictured). Golf Magazine readers also receive a complimentary round at Ballybunion¹s Cashen course.

Accommodations and a full Irish breakfast daily are included. Offered during specific times from April through September 2012, package prices currently vary from $1,444 to $2,116.

To book go to: swinggolfireland.com

(Photo: Evan Schiller)

October 07, 2011

10 Courses Worth Arguing About

Posted at 6:13 PM by Joe Passov

Diamond Travelin' Joe has played more than 1,500 courses and has an opinion on each of them. Here are five that deserve more love, and five high-profilers that puzzle me.

5 THAT I LOVE

1. Black Diamond (Quarry), Lecanto, Fla.
After years of high rankings, some have found flaws in this Diamond (pictured). Outside of homes encroaching on the front nine and perhaps some hit-and-miss conditioning, I can't see them, even with a jeweler's glass.

2. Blackwolf Run (River), Kohler, Wisc.
The River has suffered from three factors: a brief closure for renovation in '09, the splintering from its original 1988 layout and inevitable comparisons to its sibling, Whistling Straits. When the U.S. Women's Open visits in 2012, competitors will rediscover one of Pete Dye's greatest strategy-laced creations.

3. Desert Forest, Carefree, Ariz.
This favorite of Tom Weiskopf is the closest thing the Arizona desert has to a classic course. While narrow and framed with mostly trees and unplayable underbrush, it does put supreme emphasis on thoughtful ball placement. This low-profile 1962 design was ahead of its time.

4. The Country Club, Pepper Pike, Ohio
No designer in history built better gooseneck green complexes than William Flynn, the kind where only properly placed drives would reap the benefit on the approach. He did brilliant work on this suburban Cleveland layout, where a recent renovation makes it worth a look.

5. Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland
The quirkiest "championship" course violates every rule of modern course design, yet succeeds in the "fun" department better than most highly-ranked courses. Long, blind par 3s, oncoming trains in the line of play, the freakishly deep, hidden bunker guarding the "Alps" 17th green—it all adds up to greatness in my book.

5 ... NOT SO MUCH

1. Colonial Country Club, Ft. Worth, Tex.
Storied Colonial has slipped in the respect department over the years, and I can see why. I love the Hogan aura and mystique, but this flat, cramped layout doesn't really inspire architecturally, nor does it sufficiently test the pros. Even par used to contend. Now, it won't even make the cut.

2. Sutton Bay, Agar, S.D.
Blame nature for the demise of one of the most acclaimed new courses of the past 10 years. Tragically, this 2003 Graham Marsh bluff-top prairie design is literally breaking apart due to fissures in fairways and greens caused by shifting landforms and will likely soon be abandoned.

3. Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
One of my personal favorites combines unmatched beauty and brawn, but wow—when the wind blows, the many blind, narrow, gorse-guarded valley fairways and infamous eyebrow bunkers make for a march of holes that are relentlessly penal.

4. Carnoustie (Championship), Carnoustie, Scotland
I have friends, all better players than I, who place Carnoustie on the top rung. Yes, it's great, but its lack of sea views, the overly punishing, artificial looking bunkers, and the strangely placed water features menacing the final two holes all leave me cold.

5. World Woods (Pine Barrens), Brooksville, Fla.
This is one of the nation's best values, but I'm surprised it hangs on to its lofty rankings since so many superior public and private courses have emerged in the past 18 years. The solitude, risk/reward options and Pine Valley-esque features remain appealing, but their novelty has long since faded for me.

(Photo: John and Jeaninne Henebry)

July 09, 2010

Yet More Incentive to Attend the Irish Open

Posted at 6:39 PM by Golf.com

The best one-two punch in golf? Watching the game’s best compete on a great course for a title that matters—and then stepping out to play a great course yourself. An innovative offer from Ireland’s SWING Golf will let you do just that.

The 3 Irish Open Visitor Incentive from SWING consists of a simple package: Play a world-class course at a discounted price and receive a free “Any Day” ticket to the Irish Open at Killarney, July 29-August 1. You may not swing like Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell or Rory McIlroy, but you can follow them at Killarney’s Killeen course, one of the world’s most beautiful inland layouts, then tee off at fabled tracks such as Ballybunion, Waterville or Lahinch, along with 13 other Southwest Ireland courses at various price points. Just tee it up between July 19th through August 8th and you’re in business.

To sign up for the 3 Irish Open Visitor Incentive, contact [email protected], call 353 (0) 667125733 or go to swinggolfireland.com.

June 26, 2010

Over to the Emerald Isle for golf at The K Club and a band from the Emerald City

Posted at 10:24 PM by Chad Conine

Chad Conine is a sportswriter from Texas who spent the summer in Scotland and the town of St. Andrews. He chronicled his golf adventures before this year's British Open, held at the Old Course July 15-18.

The Irish Independent newspaper included a front-page refer and full spread inside on Graeme McDowell's U.S. Open victory on Tuesday, two days after McDowell tapped in for par on the 18th green and raised his arms skyward at Pebble Beach.

I read most of it while riding in a cab from the Dublin airport to a city centre hotel where I would be staying for two nights. I'd like to say that I spontaneously hopped on a plane on Tuesday, set on arriving in Ireland to help celebrate the ongoing Golden Age of Irish Golf. July20_harringtroph_600x399

And by the way, maybe that's what we're seeing at the moment. Padraig Harrington claimed the second major championship for a golfer from the Emerald Isle (the first since Fred Daly, of Northern Ireland, won the 1947 Open Championship) when Harrington won the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Then he won two of the next four including a PGA Championship and a second-consecutive Open. With McDowell's victory at the U.S. Open, golfers from either Ireland or Northern Ireland have now won four of the last 12 majors and it's logical to expect that between McDowell, Harrington and rising star Rory McIlroy, there are several more to come in the near future.

However, that's not what brought me to Ireland. My agenda upon embarking on temporary residence in St. Andrews, Scotland, included a potential trip to the neighboring isle. When I finally booked it, a Pearl Jam concert in Dublin, not golf, proved to be the catalyst.

But I brought my sticks and chose Dublin over Belfast because it offered the opportunity to play The K Club Palmer Course, host of the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Playing The K Club, designed by Arnold Palmer and founded in 1991, as my first experience of Irish golf was sort of like learning to drive behind the wheel of a Bentley — it's fantastic but hard to use as the starting point for any comparisons.

Anyway, if lush, rolling fairways and greens are on your list, which I have to assume they are, you'll love The K Club. But be warned, the course isn't tricky but it's still extremely challenging. For example, the par-4 11th is the No. 10 handicap hole — at 415 yards from the back tees, it's not super long but it's a dogleg left, so it requires a right-to-left shot off the tee to a fairway that rises for 250 yards, then feeds downhill to the green, where a pond waits for errant shots on the left side. That's an average hole.

But The K Club Palmer Course still manages to be great fun, even as it kicks your butt. And it's distinctly Palmer-esque, a thought I had even before reading this in the course guide:

"If ever a golf course reflected the personality of its architect it is surely the course that Arnold Palmer designed at The K Club at Straffan, near Dublin. It may seem odd to describe a golf course as charismatic and cavalier but from the instant you arrive at the first tee you are enveloped by a unique atmosphere."

Actually, for some reason I can't really identify. The K Club reminded me of golf courses I'd seen in movies from the 1960's. Maybe it was the clubhouse's laid-back, old-school comfort. Also, if I hadn't been watching the England vs. Slovenia World Cup match with vested interest in the bar, I could've spent hours perusing the picture board from the 2006 Ryder Cup, a mural that stretches for 20 yards between the pro shop and guest locker room.

So, having returned to Scotland on Thursday, The K Club is all I know of Irish golf at the moment. Naturally, I'm impressed and I'll go back at some stage. Also, Pearl Jam rocked.

(Photo: John Biever/SI)

May 18, 2010

Six top courses at a great price — that dream vacation to Ireland is closer than you think

Posted at 3:31 PM by Golf.com

If you've been putting off that once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Ireland, now might be the time to act thanks to favorable exchange rates. 

Southwest Ireland Golf (SWING) is offering readers of Golf Magazine an exclusive deal on some of the region's finest courses — including three links gems ranked in our Top 100 Courses in the World — and accommodations. Dromoland

The six-night package includes golf at six courses — Lahinch, Waterville, Ballybunion's Old Course, Tralee, Dromoland Castle, and the Killeen Course at Killarney GC — and stays at Dromoland Castle (two nights), Killarney's Malton Hotel (three nights) and Waterville House (one night).

The offer can be customized with other courses and hotels. Accommodation is based on double occupancy; single supplements are available. The deal is available through 2010 and is priced at €1,340 per person (at press time, roughly $1,830).

For information and reservations call SWING at 011353-66-7125733, or e-mail [email protected]

(Photo: Dromoland Castle)

August 19, 2009

Ireland: Going Green, Going Low

Posted at 9:40 AM by Joe Passov

Autumn's glories are not far off, but for now, summer savings are all the rage, especially in Ireland. To sample the classic links of the Emerald Isle at greatly reduced rates, contact SWING GOLF Ireland (011 353 66 7125733, swinggolfireland.com) and turn those green dreams into reality.

The Ireland Golf Special includes rounds at some of Southwest Ireland's hidden gems, each that are loaded with scenery and charm. Play Killarney, Dooks, Ring of Kerry and Dingle. Cost is 199 Euros per person, valid August-October, subject to course availability. Oct_doonbeg_600x500

The McGillycuddy Challenge features rounds at a pair of seaside stunners, Arnold Palmer's Tralee and the incomparable Waterville, plus a third round at Killarney (Killeen), a former Irish Open site that some have called the most beautiful inland course in Europe. Cost is 269 Euros per person, valid August-October, subject to course availability.

Blending ancient and modern, links and parkland is the Burren Challenge, with rounds along the Atlantic Ocean at perennial Top 100 standout Lahinch (Old), at Greg Norman's Doonbeg as well as one at Dromoland Castle's lovely inland layout. Cost is 235 Euros per person, valid August-October, subject to course availability.

For maximum golf at maximum value, take on the Combo Challenge, which pairs both the McGillycuddy Challenge and the Burren Challenge, meaning you'll tackle Tralee, Waterville, Killarney (Killeen), Lahinch (Old), Doonbeg and Dromoland Castle. Cost is 504 Euros per person, valid August-October, subject to course availability.

The seasonal Links Special features rounds at Dingle, Tralee and Dooks -- and includes an extra round free at Tralee. Cost in August is 245 Euros per person and 300 Euros in September, subject to course availability.

For more information, please see the specials section at swinggolfireland.com/special_offers.php

(Photo: Doonbeg Golf Club)

March 12, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Northern Ireland and Utah

Posted at 11:44 AM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [email protected].

Dear Joe,
A group of us travel to Ireland annually, but this is the first time we'll be visiting Northern Ireland. Besides Royal County Down, Portrush, Portstewart and Castlerock, we have one extra day to play. Between Ardglass and Ballycastle, which would you recommend?

John Lee, Washington Township, N.J.

Definitely Ardglass ($35-$82; ardglassgolfclub.com), where three new holes elevate a once cramped layout. Even local boy David Feherty agrees. In Larry Lambrecht's great book on Irish golf, Emerald Gems, he says of Ardglass: "Some of the holes have a linksy feel to them, while the inland holes tend to have more of a pasture-like turf. It's kind of a sheep-versus-cattle thing, if you know what I mean, and if you don't, then jump at the opportunity to play it."

Another worthy option is the Valley Links at Royal Portrush ($50-$58; royalportrushgolfclub.com).March12_sand_600x400

Hello, Joe,
Our foursome is thinking about Utah for our spring break golf weekend. Can you talk us into giving up our Arizona security blanket?

Greg King, Plymouth, Minn.

Utah's St. George region is pretty enticing. You've got to stay to play, but Entrada at Snow Canyon ($100-$165; 435-634-7100, innatentrada.com) is worth the splurge.

Best among public tracks is scenic and playable Coral Canyon ($78-$103; 435-688-1700, coralcanyongolf.com), while Sand Hollow Resort ($50-$125; 435-656-4653, sandhollowresort.com), boasts a back nine through red rock cliffs that's guaranteed to mesmerize.

Photo: Utah's Sand Hollow Resort.
Credit: Hunter PR

September 30, 2008

Dream 18: U.S., Scotland and Ireland

Posted at 3:43 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Now that you've read our lists of the best courses in the U.S., Scotland and Ireland, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Ask Travelin' Joe



 

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