Ireland – the golf bit

18 07 2011

I got a bit carried away with canal boats, Irish folk music and Guinness in yesterday’s post so, as long as sister-in-law Sue doesn’t mind (or even if she does), here’s the golf bit:

I had problems with the ninth at Castle Barna. Twice.

It started with a mighty leap from the James Gill onto the banks of the Grand Canal at Daingean in the heart of the Bog of Allen. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, that kind of thing. I’d suddenly spotted the Castle Barna golf course as we rounded a bend and, somewhat impetuously, decided to abandon ship by jumping onto the towpath. Anxious not to fall back into the canal, I over-corrected and my momentum took me across the towpath, through a gap in the hedge and on to the fringe of the ninth green. This was somewhat embarrassing, as a couple of lads were lining up their putts at the time. “Pretty impressive, huh?” shouted Sue from the barge. ” Twould have bin more impressive if himself had fallen back in”,  muttered one of the lads. I just mumbled my apologies and asked the way to the pro shop.

So five minutes later, having jumped back on board to grab my golf shoes, tees and a sleeve of balls (all packed with the hope that I might just stumble upon a golf course somewhere in Ireland), as well as the James Gill’s bicycle, there I was in the pro shop, asking if there was any chance of getting a tee time, er, now.

“Certainly, no problem. There’s a couple of fellas just goin’ out. They’ll help you find your way round the course”

And how much are green fees?

“Twenty euros. No, wait, it’s Monday so it’ll be fifteen. Oh, and we’ve got a promotion on, and you get a free sleeve of balls in July.”

You’re kidding, right?

“Absolutely not.”

I’ve got my own golf shoes, but I’ll need to rent some clubs.

“Not a problem. Where are you from? Canada is it? Dat’s nice.”

Is there anywhere I can put my bike so it’ll be safe?

“Sure ting. Wheel her in, and we’ll stick her in the back of the kitchen for you.”

So how much for the club rental?

“Nothing at all. To tell the truth, they’re not the best of clubs.”

Well that’s good, because to tell the truth, I’m not the best of golfers.

And so it proved. In the company of Niall, a local lad, and his cousin Seamus from Dublin, I hacked my way round the course, completely failing to par 14 holes and having the time of my life. Each of my many bogeys was greeted with polite encouragement and when I chipped in for par on the Par 5 16th you’d have thought from their reaction that I’d just won the Irish Open. As we shook hands and walked off the 18th green, it was with the realisation that I was unlikely to shoot a more enjoyable 92 in my life. The pint of Guinness in the club lounge afterwards went down an absolute treat as I tallied up the cost of my golfing odyssey:

Round of golf, club rental, a sleeve of balls, free parking for the bike and a pint of Guinness: 18 euros (about $25 Cdn).

92 shots and all the craic I could handle for three and a half hours: priceless.

And then it was on me bike and off up the towpath in search of the James Gill. At a cruising speed of 3 mph and a couple of locks thrown in to slow them down a bit, it should take me all of half an hour!


Cap’n Dave

Just time for a quick drink when I caught up with the rest of the crew...




2 responses

18 07 2011

Brilliant Dave! What a day! I loved the entrance you made to the course. You endeared yourself to the Paddies right away.
Thanks for the post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

23 07 2011
Bagger Dave

Thanks Martin. My entrance to the course was certainly more impressive than my play. It was a terrific day, though.

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