Golf Adventure Guides BLOG

Northern Ireland Ultimate Round

On the eve of the 2015 Irish Open held at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland, the good folks at Northern Ireland Tourist Board have released a series of videos they are calling Northern Ireland Ultimate Round.

You can tell they spared no expense in filming and editing these videos. Seriously high production value that showcase these beautiful golf courses in remarkable fashion. Without further ado, here they are:

Holes 1-3: Castlerock, Portstewart

Holes 4-6: Royal Portrush, Kirkistown Castle

Holes 7-9: Ardglass, Royal County Down

Holes 10-12: Lough Erne, Dungannon, Galgorm Castle

Holes 13-15: Ballycastle, Cairndhu, Malone

Holes 16-18: Belvoir Park, Holywood, Royal Belfast


More is Still Less

2015BordFailteGolfGuideFáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, have released the Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide—2015 Edition. While I applaud the effort and recommend you view it — if only to learn more about golf in Ireland and hopefully get inspired to take a trip — I find it to be a poor resource for actually planning a trip. Here is why:

Information overload: 130 pages, 54 ads, 392 golf courses, 100s of hotels.

Seven regions are detailed in the guide:

  • 01 Dublin (53 courses)
  • 02 Dublin’s Doorstep and Lakelands (108 courses)
  • 03 Southeast (35 courses)
  • 04 Cork and Kerry (52 courses)
  • 05 Midwest (24 courses)
  • 06 West and Northwest  (50 courses)
  • 07 The North (70 courses)

How are you supposed to decide where to play and where to stay? Naturally, the tourism authority can’t play favorites and wants to promote all of the golf courses in Ireland, and provide a venue for hotels, tour operators, golf courses, resorts, etc. to advertise their offerings. The result is a very beautiful 130-page magazine, but it doesn’t help you with the decision-making process of planning a golf trip.

When I created my Ireland Golf Adventure Guide my goal was to provide only the information you really need to plan a great golf trip and in the most concise manner possible. If my best friend asked me where I should play and where I should stay, would I give them a list of all of the courses and hotels in Ireland? Of course not. I would provide a short, curated lists of the best golf courses to be considered in each region and for each course a few recommendations on where to stay (in various price ranges).

And that’s what I did. The Ireland Golf Adventure Guide is 36 pages, 57 courses, accommodations (a few in various price ranges) in each town close to the golf courses, and a time-proven process for planning a great itinerary.  Less is still more.

The Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide has two excellent articles I recommend:

  • Royal County Down and the Irish Open” (pp. 12-15)
  • Links to the world’s finest” by Brian Keogh (pp. 16–18)
  • Ireland’s Hidden Treasures” (pp. 126–128)

Distance Made Simple: Bushnell NEO XS

I’ve owned multiple laser rangefinders, had my eye on the Garmin Approach GPS golf watches, and even bought (and returned) the Arccos tracking system but I am thrilled with my decision to purchase the Bushnell NEO XS GPS watch.

My first round and first experience with the Bushnell NEO XS watch was perfect: The first hole at Pasatiempo Golf Club is a pretty long par four — most of the time it is hard to reach in two, especially first thing in the morning when it is still cool and the air is heavy with Monterey Bay fog. However, if you don’t layup properly you can easily reach a fairway bunker about 70 yards short of the green. After my “average” tee shot, I knew it was foolish to go for the green. A quick glance at my Bushnell NEO XS told me it was 162 yards to the front of the LFB (Left Fairway Bunker). I pulled out my 160-yard club (for me a 6-iron), put a smooth swing on it, and ended up a few yards short of the bunker. Mission accomplished!

I love the simplicity of the watch — the opposite of the Arccos system. Very quick and easy to get front, center, and back yardages as well as hazards and bunkers. Exactly what you need to know. And no hunting around for sprinkler head yardages and pacing back to the ball.

368550-yardageThe NEO XS also has a great battery life for products like this. After the round, I still had 3/4 left. They claim it is good for three rounds on a charge — sounds about right.

The NEO XS comes loaded with over 33,000 courses so I’m all set for my next trips to Ireland, Scotland, and England!


Ireland Golf TV Ad

Tourism Ireland just started running this ad promoting golf in Ireland:

Featured courses, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, include: Royal Portrush, Royal County Down (host of the 2015 Irish Open), Ballybunion, Lahinch, Doonbeg, Old Head, and Tralee. The “pub” scenes are at Trump Doonbeg.

At the end of the video your are invited to visit http://www.ireland.com/golfnow/ for more information. The Ireland tourist board has a nice website with some inspiring images, but as far as tools to help you plan your trip, frankly I find it a bit overwhelming.


Discover great flights with Hopper

There’s a new app I ran across the other day to help you find the best flights — this could be very helpful when planning your next golf trip to Scotland or Ireland. It’s called Hopper and it’s available for download from the Apple AppStore.

From their website:

Hopper tells you when to fly and buy and scores you the lowest fares. Save up to 40% on your flight. Hopper predicts price changes for your trip, and tells you the right time to book. Data-driven advice shows you the cheapest times to fly, and how to save more by switching travel dates or airports. Push notifications keep you posted the instant prices drop, and before they’re about to rise.

screencapture-www-hopper-com-flights-from-SFO-to-DUB-guideIn addition to the iPhone app, you can create destination reports on their website. For example, here’s a screen shot of a report from San Francisco (SFO) to Dublin, Ireland (DUB). It gives you an idea of how much a “good deal” flight would cost, the best times to go, when to book, and alternate airports to consider.

Their website also has an interesting Airline Fee Calculator, which includes the cost of baggage and other fees to help you determine your real flying cost between various airlines.

No excuses now. Plan that trip, book those flights … get hopping! :)


The Golfer’s Dilemna

What would you do?


More is Less

FailteIreland2014GuideCoverFáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, have released the Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide—2014 Edition. While I applaud the effort and recommend you view it — if only to learn more about golf in Ireland and hopefully get inspired to take a trip — I find it to be a poor resource for actually planning a trip. Here is why.

Information overload: 130 pages, 56 ads, 392 golf courses, 100s of hotels.

How are you supposed to decide where to play and where to stay? Naturally, the tourism authority can’t play favorites and wants to promote all of the golf courses in Ireland, and provide a venue for hotels, tour operators, golf courses, resorts, etc. to advertise their offerings. The result is a very beautiful 130-page magazine, but it doesn’t help you with the decision-making process of planning a golf trip.

When I created my Ireland Golf Adventure Guide my goal was to provide only the information you really need to plan a great golf trip and in the most concise manner possible. If my best friend asked me where I should play and where I should stay, would I give them a list of all of the courses and hotels in Ireland? Of course not. I would provide a short, curated lists of the best golf courses to be considered in each region and for each course a few recommendations on where to stay (in various price ranges).

And that’s what I did. The Ireland Golf Adventure Guide is 36 pages, 57 courses, accommodations (a few in various price ranges) in each town close to the golf courses, and a time-proven process for planning a great itinerary.  Less is more.

The Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide has two excellent articles I recommend:

  • Links of Heaven” by Brian Keogh (pp. 16–18)
  • Ireland’s Hidden Treasures” (pp. 126–128

Links of Southwest Ireland (Video)

Matt Ginella of the Golf Channel highlights a few of the top links courses (in his opionion) in southwest Ireland in this video (sorry about the initial ad…you can thank the Golf Channel for that):

Matt highlights following courses in this short video:

Enjoy!


2014 Ireland and Scotland Guides Update

The Ireland Golf Adventure Guide and Scotland Golf Adventure Guide have been updated for 2014.


The details for every golf course and accommodation — and everything else in the guides! — are carefully scrutinized and updated for each edition. Here’s an example from the Ireland Golf Adventure Guide.

All new purchases will receive the updated versions effective immediately. Customers who have purchased a previous PDF version of the guide can download a free update to this latest version. This is just one of the many advantages of purchasing one of my guides.

Updated information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Green fees and accommodation rates/tariffs for 2014
  • Golf course contact info (email, websites, etc.)
  • Accommodation contact info (email, websites, etc.)
  • Flight schedules and airlines
  • New accommodation options


Driving times have been updated to reflect new modernized motorways.

If you buy a travel guide book that was printed sometime last year, or you already own one, I can guarantee that a good portion of the information in it is out of date and/or incorrect. By publishing my guides electronically, I can easily deliver you the latest — and most correct — information. And, even after you’ve made a purchase, because you get free updates you’ll always have access to accurate information when you plan your next trip.


Pace of Play Guidelines

Pace of play continues to be an important issue for our game.

I think it is everyone’s personal responsibility to be aware of their own actions and how that affects their group’s ability to get through a round of golf in a reasonable time. Every course and situation is a bit different, but there are some universal guidelines we can all follow to speed things up. I have assembled a single-page document highlighting what I feel are the most important elements which will have the greatest impact.

Here’s a link to the PDF, which I suggest you download, print, read, and keep in your golf bag:

PaceOPlayGuidelines.pdf [PDF File]

Here are the pace-of-play guidelines I recommend:

  • Keep up with the group in front, not in front of the group behind.
  • Forget the honor system. Whoever gets to the tee first should plug a tee in the ground and fire away if it is safe to do so.
  • Play ready golf, where the order of play is based on who’s ready, not who’s away. Don’t wait for someone who is “away” but is not ready to play their shot. Likewise, if you’re away, but not ready to play your shot, ask another player to proceed. Keep things moving.
  • Move briskly between shots and do not delay when it is your turn to play.
  • Walk directly to your golf ball; don’t follow others unless assisting in a search.
  • Play a provisional ball immediately if you think your original might be lost outside a hazard or out of bounds.
  • Plan your shot while walking to your ball or while others are playing. Select your club before it is your turn to play. When it is your turn, fire away.
  • Work on building a concise pre-shot routine. If your pre-shot routine is a lengthy one, it’s probably in your best interests to shorten it anyway. Limit practice strokes to one or two at the most.
  • Begin lining up your putt and reading the break as soon as you reach the green. Don’t wait until it’s your turn to putt to start the process of reading the green. When it’s your turn to putt, be prepared to step right up and take the stroke.
  • When playing in fours, the first two players who putt out on each hole should move immediately to the next tee and prepare to hit their shots. When playing in threes the first player to putt out does likewise. (It only takes one player to replace the flagstick.)
  • Leave your clubs on the side of the putting green towards the next tee.
  • Exit the putting green promptly after holing out.
  • Write down scores when you reach the next tee. Don’t stand on or linger next to the green after holing out in order fill in the scorecard. Move away from the green and let the group behind you play their approach shots.
  • Never hold up play because you’re in the middle of a conversation. Put your conversation on hold, take your stroke, and then continue the conversation.

How many of these do you practice on a regular basis?