Ivan Morris - The voice of Limerick Golf
As winners of the Munster Inter Club Championship, Limerick Golf Club Under-19 Girls team have an All Ireland semi final date with the Connacht champions, County Sligo Golf Club, on Sunday next at the oldest golf club in Ireland, Royal Curragh (founded in 1852.)
A large contingent of enthusiasts will be expected to travel in support of Emily Walsh, Emma Guinnane and Kate Gleeson, under the captaincy of Judi Lyons and their coach Noreen Lynch.
All at Ballyclough will be hoping to see a 27-gap bridged since Limerick last won the same title when Ashling Keane, Ailish Barry and Gillian Fitzgerald brought home the coveted green pennant.
While watching the Ricoh Women's British Open at the extraordinarily beautiful Kingsbarns, near St. Andrew's, it was very noticeable how far advanced ladies golf has become.
To be fair, it is one of the great benefits of modern technology that I continually criticise that females and elderly gentlemen (like myself) can play golf at a higher level than would have been possible with the equipment used say, 30-years ago.
But, what is even more enlightening is the way the ladies are doing it. Putts going into the same sized hole as always from’ every angle and distance. Not only has the girls wedge play improved out of all proportion, so has their scoring.
I have played at Kingsbarns and my experience was that the greens were not only enormous and multi-tiered but they were as extremely difficult to read.
There is no doubt in my mind that the ladies are gradually catching up with the men in all aspects of the game, including the distance they can hit the ball on courses that, relatively speaking, are much longer than the men play.
By that I mean the ladies are faced with longer second shots, as time after time they must use hybrids and fairway metals when the men are using short irons and wedges. Playing longer shots into greens inevitably means more chipping and putting from longer distances.
But, it is precisely in the short game area that the lady pros are excelling and they do not receive enough credit for it.
Golf fans are too easily impressed by the distances the pros hit the ball. That's because it is so incomprehensible when compared to 'normal' tee shots - but that is not what golf is about.
Golf is about scoring low and getting the ball in the hole. That is what the women have learned to do so well.
It is something that EVERYONE can learn to do better whereas not everyone can learn how to hit the ball 300-yards plus.
Ballykisteen Pro Am
In a week of the most appalling weather, somehow or other the sun shone all day long during the Pierse Motors Ballykisteen Pro Am last Tuesday week. There were happy smiling faces galore due to the lovely weather and beautifully presented golf course. The excellent scores returned by both amateurs and pros alike helped to keep everyone happy too. Nobody was more pleased than the home golf professional, Marian Riordan, who worked tirelessly to make the event an enjoyable and successful one in all of its different aspects. Suffice to say she achieved all of her goals hands down.
The golf course staff deserve special praise because the day before was literally a deluge and they had to work especially hard from daybreak to present the course in top shape. Former European tour player, Damien McGrane, shot an impressive 5-under par 67 which led the field for most of the day until Donegal's Michael McGeady, playing alongside the rugby greats, Alan Quinlan and Mick Galwey, equalled it to share the top prize of €950 each. McGrane's 'amateur helpers' were Ballykisteen members – Pat, Mary & Sarah Toomey. The Team Prize went to another local grouping of Adrian Usher, Denis Ryan & Martin Dineen, playing with Professional, Brian McCormack from Curra West Golf Club in Galway.
Huge thanks are due to the main sponsors, Pierse Motors and Great National Ballykisteen Golf Hotel as well as Tipperary Distillery, Long Ways Cider, Treaty City Brewing, Kemmy Stonecraft, Heaney Meats, Justprint.ie, Ripplecom and Cross Refrigeration.
The Randomness of Tradition
Here's a piece of history that illustrates how random 'tradition and accepted practice' can be. The 1871 Open Championship was cancelled because Gilbert Innes (a Prestwick member) got a bee in his bonnet that it would be foolish to pay for a new belt or trophy without other clubs chipping in. Enough of his parsimonious fellow members agreed with him and they outvoted the Club Secretary, Harry Hart, who said it would be foolish to cede control of The Open to save £15-20. Thereby, Prestwick gave up control of The Open Championship to St. Andrew's. Not only that but cancelling The Open at Prestwick meant that the standard golf course became 18-holes (a la St. Andrew's) instead of 12-holes (a la Prestwick and its 3X12-holes in one day championship format). Mind bogglingly significant if you ask me - because golf would be a far better game today if it were a 12-holes round.
Words of the Wise: A caddie can say both the right thing and the wrong thing at anytime even though it is exactly the same thing. If the results don't come someone has to go. It can't ever be the player - Colin Byrne