Ivan Morris Column - Cups and Shields take centre stage

Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris
THERE’S plenty to interest local golf fans at the Munster Branch GUI Cups & Shield Finals at Shannon Golf Club this weekend.

THERE’S plenty to interest local golf fans at the Munster Branch GUI Cups & Shield Finals at Shannon Golf Club this weekend.

In the Junior Cup, Castletroy are quietly confident that this could be their year to win the All-Ireland competition outright.

The strong Castletroy panel is: Keith Bermingham, David Charlton, Colm Geary, John Kavanagh, Jnr, Jonathan McDonnell, Michael Moore, Michael and Darragh Murphy, Killian O’Muineachain and Brendan Reidy. Team Manager is Johnny McDonnell.

Limerick GC has a solid panel led by former Close Champion, Pat Murray, well capable of bringing off a double. Martin and Sean Poucher, Mark McGrath, Darragh FitzGerald, Mick Reddan, Owen O’Brien and Mike Kemmy form a nice blend of youth and experience.

It’s conceivable that all of the panel could figure but the premature retirement from team golf last year of Michael O’Kelly will ‘hurt’ Limerick considering O’Kelly’s recent good form in winning the club championship at Lahinch for the fourth time and also having an impressive run in the South of Ireland.

Team golf inflicts unique pressures; some cope better than others.

The order of play is as follows: Saturday, 16 August, AIG Barton Shield: 7th tee at 8.00am - Dungarvan –v- Limerick; 1st tee at 8.15am - Ballybunion –v- Muskerry. Final tees off 1st Tee 40 minutes after last semi-final match ends.

Saturday, 16 August, AIG Irish Junior Cup: 7th tee at 8.20am - Doneraile –v- West Waterford; 1st tee at 8.40am Castletroy –v- Muskerry; Final tees off 1st Tee 40 minutes after last semi-final match ends.

Sunday, 17 August, AIG Irish Senior Cup: 1st tee at 8.30am - Tramore –v- Doneraile; 1st tee at 9.10am - Limerick –v- Castlemartyr. Final tees off 1st Tee 40 minutes after last semi-final match ends.

Remarkable Achievement by Limerick GC Girls’ Teams - Limerick Golf Club’s Under-19 girl’s team has won a Munster Pennant for the 2nd year in a row.

Nothing that unusual about that except in a thrilling match in Macroom on Friday week last, Limerick defeated Limerick!

The Balllyclough club had entered two teams and they ended up meeting in the final. In a dingdong thriller, Team B (Selina Ryder, Emily Walsh and Aoibheann Maher) won on the 20th Hole.

That was a disappointment for the A-team of Heather Fitzgerald, Alix Fitzgerald and Emma Guinnane but they will be at Donaghadee GC in County Down on Monday next cheering on their club mates in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Knowing The Risks & Rewards - Poker is widely regarded as a game of luck with some skill added. Golf is widely accepted as a game of skill with an element of luck involved.

There are good, bad and indifferent players of both games everywhere - all willing to risk a wee wager on the side. Recently, I had the enjoyable experience of playing a game of golf at Doonbeg, sorry, Trump International Ireland, with a highly-ranked, professional poker player - Bob Buckenmayer from California, who was in Ireland enjoying the fruits of his success - a weeklong tour of our top golf courses.

Bob told me that you might think that Poker and Golf couldn’t be more different when, in fact, they are similar. The elements of each game go hand in hand (no pun intended.)

When you play either game it’s vital you know the extent of the risks and the rewards. The first piece of common ground is the need to control emotions and stick to the game plan.

In poker it’s called “tilt” - if you stray from your normal strategy when things aren’t going well and feel like the game owes you and you cannot resist taking on a risky, heroic play to make up ground. Don’t - because irritation, impatience or anger is self-defeating.

It happens in golf all of the time that one bad shot, or one badly played hole, is followed by an over-aggressive shot in an effort to make up for a mistake.

But, what’s done is done and you must deal entirely in the present tense by playing each shot (card) for its face value.

Forcing the issue to make up for a ‘mistake’ is a bad tactic.

It was no surprise to learn that golf is a popular betting activity among poker professionals. Some of them are as deadly on the golf course as they are at the card table. 

While poker tournaments do not involve anything of a physical nature, the mental endurance to stay alert and focused for 10 or 12-hours straight, is not easy. When you get tired, decision-making suffers, which can be costly. There is the same fickle nature present in both poker and golf.

You could win a big tournament one week and not even finish in the money the next week—”busting out” in poker or missing the cut in golf.

There is a certain level of streakiness in each game where a player could get hot and ride it out for days, weeks or even months at a time.

Conversely, a player can catch a cold streak and go into a slump that might last even longer.