Ivan Morris Column: young Limerick golfers show class

In his weekly Limerick Leader golf club column, Ivan Morris praises the efforts of Castletroy’s Junior Cup team.

In his weekly Limerick Leader golf club column, Ivan Morris praises the efforts of Castletroy’s Junior Cup team.

At Kinsale GC last weekend, a battling and youthful Castletroy Junior Cup team represented by Jonathan McDonnell, Keith Bermingham, David Charlton, Donal Stephens, Ronan Murphy and Colm Geary under the astute team captaincy of Diarmuid Leonard delighted its followers by qualifying for the All-Ireland semi-final at the same venue in a month’s time.

It took a thrilling tie hole shoot out before Castletroy overcame Killarney in the semi-final. 17-years old, ‘Jon Jon’ McDonnell had to carry the nerve-wrecking responsibility before he prevailed on the 20th. In the final against Cobh, 16-years old, Ronan Murphy, secured the third and all-important point.

In the Barton Shield, a youthful Shannon side lost to the eventual Munster champions, Doneraile, by 1 hole. While, in the senior cup, Limerick GC’s chances were disrupted by losing one of its star players, Michael O’Kelly, on the morning of the matches due to a family bereavement. Limerick did manage to defeat Killarney in the ‘semi,’ but in the final Tramore comprehensively outplayed them.

The Grand Slam of the Future

At Kiawah Island, Rory McIlroy pulverized arguably the strongest major field ever assembled.

The Ocean Course suited Rory to a tee but he still had to negotiate his way through all of the lurking hazards.

The manner and execution of Rory’s latest win will leave Tiger Woods searching frantically for a new gear before the 2013 major season rolls around. It was significant that Rory forgot about tennis for a couple of weeks and it was all business at Kiawah. His glamorous girlfriend, Caroline Wozniaki, was nowhere to be seen. Although, the USPGA provided a magnificent champion and its full quota of drama and excitement, its major status is being questioned. I don’t agree! As I see it, in spite of its glamour, the Masters (not the PGA) is the weakest of the four majors. The limited, invited field is ‘old hat,’ whereas The Open, the US Open and the Players Championship (held at Sawgrass) are the ‘real’ majors. If the timing of The Masters and USPGA were switched, the comparative status of both tournaments would be instantly reversed.

A more appropriate question would be to ask: Why always three majors in the USA? What golf needs is a new major that moves around the Globe. The make-up of the so-called, “Grand Slam” has changed before. There’s no reason why it should it not be changed again.

9 Irish Courses in Top 100

Ireland’s reputation as a leading golf destination has been enhanced by having nine entries in Golf World magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play”, including the number one spot.

I fail to understand why Royal County Down is rated above at least half-a-dozen other Irish courses let alone be rated the best in the world but RCD has topped the rankings yet again, beating off all the competition including some of golf’s most iconic venues: American courses like Augusta, Bandon Dunes and Pebble Beach; Scotland’s Old Course, Carnoustie and Turnberry, Spain’s Valderamma and others. By being selected in 7th place, Royal Portrush, host to the recent record-breaking Irish Open, means Northern Ireland made up 20 per cent of the top ten courses.

Portmarnock (33rd), The European (36th) and County Louth (71st) proudly represent the Dublin and east coast. In the southwest, Waterville gained 18th spot, Ballybunion Old (40th), Lahinch (56th) and Doonbeg (64th).

Ballyneety Golf Club

Another brave attempt at getting golf up and running at Ballyneety once more was launched at a public meeting in a city hotel last week.

It is all a matter of finance because the determination and goodwill appears to be there in abundance judging by the initial support shown.

Nevertheless, there is a long way to go. Liam Lawlor, Donal McSweeney and Minie O’Brien are the prime movers behind the project. If there are enough takers of full, individual membership at €695 or an attractive 10-year membership for €4995 – a member’s owned club at Ballyneety will be back in business.

Due to the initial capital outlay required to refurbish the clubhouse and bringing the course back to a playable condition a strong cohort of 10-year commitments would seem to be the key to ultimate success. If enough interest is shown, there will be another meeting in late August.

Words of the Wise

Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, plans never to set foot in a swimming pool ever again. He intends to spend the rest of his life playing ‘the wicked game’ on as many different golf courses as possible. I’m not sure if Phelps realizes it but he is choosing a game that apart from brief moments of ecstasy is brutal, cruel and tragic and there is no other sport that tests ‘character’ as completely.