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About this blog

Univ of Nebraska turf student Eric Bruening's summer internship at Lahinch Golf Club in Co.Clare, Ireland

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Home again, looking back...

My summer at Lahinch Golf Club could not have been better, both personally and professionally. It showed me that the world is far bigger than what I can see out my back door. That concept would have scared me before this summer, but it now excites me. My experiences put into context how many different people and point of views there are in the world, and that my 'normal' is strange to the vast majority of people on planet Earth.    Professionally, I was able to see how a world class golf cours

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

After Lahinch: 2015 PGA Championship

After returning back home after my unforgettable summer in Lahinch, I was set to volunteer at the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. I had made the commitment to volunteering before I was lined up to go to Ireland, and Brian assured me the experience there would be just as valuable as an extra week in Lahinch. It was hard to leave, but knowing what was waiting back home eased the transition.   I was a part of the ProGreens staff for the tournament. My morning responsibilities included

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Dooks Golf Club: Best Kept Secret

Before my internship at Lahinch was over, my family made the trip across the pond to see the sights and play some golf... but mainly to play some golf. As I have previously mentioned we are a golfing family, so a trip to the homeland of golf couldn't be more fitting.    The first course we played was Dooks Golf Club. Dooks was founded in 1889 and for 100 years it remained a 9 hole course, as membership fought modernization. Eventually, in 1970, it was lengthened to 18 holes, with later improve

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Dromoland Castle Golf Club

Back in July I was lined up to play golf at one of Ireland's most outstanding parkland courses; Dromoland Castle Golf Club. The golf course is only one aspect of the high class resort. The main attraction is the Dromoland Castle, which was the ancestral home of the O'Briens, the kings of Thomond, and dates back to the late 15th, early 16th century.   Arriving on site feels like you've stepped into a time machine. As I drove up a horse drawn carriage passed me on the road, with the massive cast

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

114th South of Ireland Amateur

The South of Ireland Amateur Championship has been held at Lahinch Golf Club since 1895 and is one of the proudest traditions in Irish amateur sport. The tournament has been won by legendary golfers including Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, with Padraig Harrington finishing as the runner-up twice.   A 36 hole qualifier takes place on the first two days, narrowing the field of 100 to 64, where match play will start until a winner is crowned on Sunday afternoon.    Preparatio

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Revetting Bunkers

In the past few years Brian and his crew constructed a few revetted bunkers on the par-4 7th and par-3 8th holes here at Lahinch. The new bunkers replaced the sand-faced bunkers on holes that ran along the coast, which were continually stripped of sand by high winds. While I was not present for this work, Brian took awesome pictures documenting the process step by step. The pictures below are of the right greenside bunker on the par 3 8th.   The purpose of revetting bunkers is to create a stee

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

The Perfect Storm, Lahinch style

Weather in Ireland rarely produces the extremes we experience in the States. No hurricanes or tornadoes, no earthquakes or blizzards. While this may be the case, winter weather in Ireland can leave much to be desired. A perfect example came just after New Years Day of 2014. High tide met high winds and a incoming ocean swell, resulting in Irelands version of a perfect storm.    The brunt of the storm hit overnight, but it did not sneak up on anyone. Weather services predicted a bad storm, but

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Collection Areas

It is said that at the beginning of golf, bunkers came about by concentrated divots made where golf balls collected from the surrounding natural dunes. The turf present was completely stripped clean, leaving a bare spot in its wake, giving birth to what we now call bunkers.   The issue of concentrated divots from high traffic is not foreign to the people at Lahinch Golf Club. The classic links lay of the land, coupled with high traffic results in certain spots on fairways being fairly beaten u

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Signature Par 5 - The Klondyke

The Klondyke at Lahinch is another signature hole that will likely never be replicated. While it seems easy enough on paper, measuring 470 yards from the tips and playing with the prevailing wind, many a large number have been made on this classic golf hole.   An intimidating tee shot into a natural valley meets the player upon his arrival to the 4th hole. While the fairway is thin and meandering, it plays larger as a ball that favors the right hill will feed down into the fairway. There is, h

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Maintaining Grass Pathways at Lahinch

Lahinch Golf Club is one of the few courses in the world that uses grass pathways from tee to green. This provides a unique aesthetic value, but comes at the price of extra labor.     A public course that is a popular destination of tourists and native Irish alike, Lahinch is open all year (weather permitting) and puts through between 42,000 and 45,000 rounds per year. A policy of no golf carts (or buggies, as they're called here) unless warranted by a medical condition helps reduce wear an

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Signature Par 4 - the 13th

While Lahinch's signature par 3 and par 5 are givens, the best par 4 is up for debate, with many worthy holes. Out of personal taste, I believe the 13th ought to have the honor.   The 13th plays 270 yards from the member tees, and is the embodiment of a perfect risk/reward short par 4. The options off the tee are endless, with careful consideration a requirement.   The view from the tee. Largely blind, the player must trust his caddy or his own research on the best option for the hole.  

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

The bunker issue...

As with any golf club, the geographical location of the course and the natural environment that comes along with it present unique challenges. Some of these issues cannot be overcome in one big effort then put aside, but are recurring and must be tended to on a consistent basis. One of these issues at Lahinch lies in the bunkers.   The bunkers at Lahinch are subject to constant wind, usually coming off the Atlantic. After an extended time of no precipitation (resulting in dry sand) and steady

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Lahinch Signature Par 3: The Dell

The 5th hole at Lahinch is perhaps the most well known and talked about holes on the course (and in Ireland), rivaled only by the Par 5 4th Klondyke. The hole measures 154 yards from the tips, with member tees measuring at 145 and women's at 118. The hole plays longer however, as one needs to take enough club to carry the front hill guarding the green.   The Dell also plays into the prevailing wind, which can be an advantage as the ball will have a more vertical flight path coming down, minimi

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Irish accommodation and hospitality...

Accommodation in Lahinch is hard to come by in the summer, as the town comes to life from June to August when the weather heats up to a sizzling 70 degrees F. Native Irishmen and tourists swarm the beach and pubs for a summer getaway.   This quickly became an issue for me, as finding a room or apartment to rent was proving difficult. The club put me up in the Sancta Maria Hotel, just a city block away from the course. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.   T

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

The Cliffs of Moher

While golf has brought me to Ireland, I'd be a fool not to explore all of the wonders this country has to offer. After a bit of research before my trip, I was under the impression the Cliffs of Moher were a can't miss sight. They also happened to be just seven miles away from Lahinch. With no car at my disposal and no knowledge of public transportation routes, I decided to make the trek on foot and make use of my Saturday off.   This shows the width of the roads as soon as you get off the ma

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

History of Lahinch Golf Club

Lahinch Golf Club is a facility steeped in tradition and is associated with some of the most well-known names in all of golf. It was founded in 1892 by two high ranking members of nearby Limerick Golf Club. Their original layout was then re-designed by the highly revered Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews in 1894. The par 3 5th hole (which will be highlighted later) serves as a make-shift time machine and takes the modern golfer back to the origins of golf, as the hole remains the same as it did in O

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

 

Typical Nebraska kid... and a first airplane flight

Hello all! My name is Eric Bruening and I have been asked by the good people here at TurfNet to write a blog on my summer internship at Lahinch Golf Club in Lahinch, Ireland. First, I'd like to start with a brief introduction of myself and what brought me to Lahinch.   I am originally from Norfolk, NE, a town of 25,000 in northeast Nebraska. I am a senior Turfgrass Management student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I come from a family of golfers as my father was a superintendent at E

Eric Bruening

Eric Bruening

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