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October 2015 TurfNet Members Trip to Ireland

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Saturday: Ballymac Golf, then onto Dublin for a Guinness tour

The last day of the TurfNet Members' Trip 2015 (for those not extending) kicked off with a 9-hole scramble match at the Ballymascanlon Hotel and Golf Course, the only parkland course on the trip this year.     John Gall and John Gosselin are all smiles as the trip winds down on Saturday.   Before the round, trip organizer and Mr. Irish, Jon Kiger, snuck away to 100-year old Lawless Barbers in Dundalk for a hot towel shave. Nice.   Among the swag for trip attendees were some very s

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Gorgeous day at Royal Portrush, then football match at Dundalk

Friday meant an early start from the Ballymascanlon Hotel ("Ballymac" for short) in anticipation of our longest bus ride of the trip. After two and a half hours from Dundalk to Portrush, Co.Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, the bus arrived at Royal Portrush Golf Club.     We were met by Graeme Beatt, course manager since November, 2014. He explained the upcoming changes to the course in anticipation of their hosting either the 2019 or 2020 British Open (announcement Tuesday.) C

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Heading north to the "Royals" - Royal County Down and Royal Portrush

Wednesday night after golf at the Island Club, the group (minus the Maestro, who as a non-golfer had made his obligatory donation to the future solvency of Guinness & Co., headed home) boarded the bus to travel to Dundalk and the Ballysmascanlon Hotel as the new home base for excursions to Royal County Down on Thursday and Royal Portrush on Friday.    After another full Irish breakfast Thursday morning, the group boarded the bus for the short drive into Northern Ireland to Royal County Down

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Return to a favorite: The Island Golf Club

First-timers on the TurfNet Trip this year likely didn't realize that as they were eating their Full Irish breakfast in the dining room of the Grand Hotel in Malahide, the golf course easily seen directly across the estuary is the Island Golf Club, founded in 1890.   Some of our group had played a very early morning round at the Island in 2010, and we added it again in 2011 as the site of the TurfNet Emerald Challenge.     Our tee times were pushed to the afternoon to accommodate a mornin

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Turf Tour at Croke Park in Dublin

The group took a quick side trip from golf on Wednesday morning for a behind-the-scenes tour of the pitch and turf care facilities at Croke Park, home of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) and the holy grail of Irish sports... notably hurling and Gaelic football.   Assembling before our turf tour at Croke Park.   From the GAA website: "The GAA is a volunteer led, community based organisation that promotes Gaelic games such as Hurling, Football, Handball and Rounders and works with siste

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Portmarnock Golf Club and the 6th TurfNet Emerald Challenge

The good humor of the Irish was in evidence aplenty early Tuesday morning when 14 Irish superintendents and sales reps assembled with 22 players of ours in the chilly forecourt of the venerable Portmarnock Golf Club for the playing of the 6th TurfNet Emerald Challenge golf event.   Maybe they had advance knowledge of the outcome of the day. Maybe not, but the laughter, smiles and general good nature amongst themselves and with our group set the tone for a great day of golf and fellowship... "o

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Second stop: County Louth Golf Club/"Baltray"

Stepping out from the clubhouse onto the grounds of County Louth Golf Club one gets the immediate impression that the expansive property is as flat as a board... but continuing on one's walk convinces you otherwise.   Looks pretty flat... but looks can be deceiving.   Located north of Dublin near Drogheda on the eastern coast of Ireland, County Louth (or "Baltray" as it's locally known) elicited rave reviews from the TurfNet trippers as they came off the golf course after a day under a spa

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Sunday warmup at Portmarnock Hotel and Links...

The group shook off any jet lag on Sunday with a warmup round at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf LInks, joined by course manager Fintan Brennan and his son/assistant Mike.   Not to be confused with Portmarnock Golf Club ("old Portmarnock", founded 1894, which we will play on Tuesday), the Links Portmarnock as it is called is a 1994 Bernhard Langer design.  The old Jameson family (of Jameson whiskey renown) estate was expanded to hotel size, and portions of their 12-hole private golf course were i

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

Jumping the gun on the rest of us...

A few people on the TurfNet Members' Trip went over early to extend their stay on the front side, including Mark Fuller, CGCS, of the Connecticut Golf Club, and Matt Crowther, CGCS, of Mink Meadows Golf Club (Martha's Vineyard, MA) and his wife, Cheryl.   Mark, a veteran of most of our trips to Ireland and Bandon, wasted no time getting started with networking, connecting with John Dempsey, course manager at Royal Curragh Golf Club in Co.Kildare. John is also a post-graduate researcher at the

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

And we're off!

While some are already there and enjoying Guinness and Irish golf, most of the 33 trip participants are jetting off from their respective home airports today, with arrival in Dublin early Sunday morning.     Special guests on the trip this year include Fred Gehrisch, CGCS - TurfNet Superintendent of the Year 2014 - and his wife Lynn, of Highlands Falls Country Club in Highlands, NC -- both guests of Syngenta.     Superintendent of the Year 2014 Finalists Eric Wygant (Shannopin Country Clu

Peter McCormick

Peter McCormick

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