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Ohio State student Nate McKinniss interns in Ireland at County Louth Golf Club

Entries in this blog

"Not where you go, but who picks you up..."

"It's not where you go, but who picks you up." I remember Dr. Danneberger saying this about his traveling stories. Personally experiencing this on my own excursions and adventures this summer, I couldn't agree more. My side trips have been to several spots in Ireland and one to Holland. With each adventure I met many new people, each adding to the experience. All roads led to County Louth Golf Club at Baltray, my home for the summer. Arriving first at the village of Baltray.

Excursion: Side trip to The Dutch

Over the weekend I hopped on a flight to the Netherlands where I was introduced to The Dutch. Not only am I talking about the people but the reason for the trip was to visit a golf course called The Dutch. Dutch GC flag. Connections can take you anywhere, right? Back during the Irish Open I met Mossy Daly, an Irishman currently working at The Dutch. More than another contact, Mossy quickly became a friend. Surely I was grateful for the invitation to Holland to view the course he

A week off to play tourist...

A week off work allowed me to put on my tourist shoes. My girlfriend, Jenna, and I spent the time traveling and checking off some Ireland must-dos.   Starting in Cork County, our first stop was at the Blarney Castle to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. While I believe I already have the gift of the gab, it was a great experience with a breathtaking view.   Blarney Castle   The Blarney Stone isn't exactly where one might expect it to be...   Kissing the Blarney Stone   The night was spent in Cork

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Visit to Portmarnock Links and the Brennans

Pokémon Go has not been the drive for my summer adventures. Learning the links golf management is the fuel getting me out and about. No disrespect to any Pokémon trainers out there, I grew up wishing Pokémon were real and now look; however, this summer is geared to training in real golf links of Ireland. This weekend I made a trip to Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links. I met course manager Fintan Brennan and his son, Mike (who is also Fintan's assistant/deputy) after volunteering at the Irish

Fun weekend of pirates and a wedding...

A weekend full of fun and a good ol' Irish experience. I was lucky to have been a part in the making of this weekend but I was not the luckiest one you see. I do not mean I was out on the drink all weekend; work was still to be done. Sunday morning was an early start on the golf course to prepare for the club Presidents Prize. The bunkers having been washed out made for a set-up difficulty you wouldn't particularly enjoy on a Sunday. When the others left I chose to stay for a couple m

Volunteering at Croke Park: Gaelic football and hurling

Croke Park (pronounced crow) is the largest stadium in Ireland and hosts the Irish sports of Gaelic football and hurling. On Sunday, June 26, I volunteered with the Croke Park ground crew for two Gaelic football matches. (l-r) myself, Kyle Daves and Sam Kingston Sam Kingston, a regular volunteer, is responsible for bringing in other volunteers who help with simple prep before the match begins and then repair pitch marks on the field during the match. This day only three were able

Travel by taxi, train, bus, boat and… duck?

My travel to Dublin over the weekend consisted of many adventures, and even more ways of transport.   I took the bus to Dublin and back home to Baltray.  I then hired a taxi to meet up with TurfNet's Jon Kiger (here on vacation), with whom I toured for the next two days..   Jon and I took the train to Howth, a seaside village with postcard-perfect sights. There we boarded a ferry boat which sailed around Ireland's Eye, an uninhabited island but populated by many birds and seals on the rocks. It

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

OSU Buckeye at the U.S. Open...

Ohio State Turf has something extra to be proud of this summer. Many students of OSU, local and international, have been found volunteering at tournaments around the world. I was grateful to represent Ohio State at the K Club for the Irish Open. Back home, Mike Sanders, Ohio State Turf Club president and good friend of mine, is not just volunteering this week for the U.S. open, but training all summer at Oakmont Country Club. He sure does have one great gig at that historic course!

A visit with St. Oliver: Priest, Bishop, Educator, Martyr

I first want to say I do regret currently having a poor attendance on Sundays. Regular Mass I mean, which I would attend every week due to growing up in a private Catholic school. My mom will be proud though, when she reads that I went to a church over here in Ireland!   St. Peters Church   St. Peter's Church in Drogheda is not the city's only church, but it is the only one with a sacred head. Seriously. The church is also known as The St. Oliver Plunkett Memorial Church, a shrine is dedic

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Final day: Red sky in morning, jobs well done...

Final day at Baltray for the Amateurs in the East of Ireland Golf Championship. Misty morning on the course but the fog cleared for the first golfers teeing off.   Red sun in the morning Golfers, take warning.    Vincent Mooney, long-time greenkeeper here at Baltray, said the red sun can be a sure sign for bad weather. However, the sunny day could still hold through the final round of play. Lets hope.   Again I set up the back nine in the morning. Tees, trash, divots and bunkers.   B

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Sunday evening: halfway point of the Championship

Sunday evening marked the halfway point of the East of Ireland Amateur Championship. There will be two rounds on Monday to finish up. After first two rounds the leader is 9 under Par, with one of Baltrays own, Gerard Dunn, up near the top of the leaderboards at -5.   Digital Leaderboard   Work-wise, todays tasks for me were different than yesterday. I completed course set-up of the back nine while Barry Carpenter covered the front 9. Making sure to have proper alignment of the tee markers,

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

First round, East of Ireland Amateur Championship

First round of the East of Ireland Amateur Golf Championship came and went today. The schedule of the greens crew differed from the weekdays. Early start at 5 a.m. until we all complete our morning duties preparing the course for the players.     My morning duty was completed with Assistant Greenkeeper Joe Mooney. We set the first round pin positions and changed the flags for the tournament.   Joe changing the cup   Purple flags on the front 9 and white flags for the back 9   Afte

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Ready for the Tournament, but missing one important item...

The East of Ireland Amateur tournament starts tomorrow. Today was the last day finishing course 'polish up'. Lovely sunny days and no rain throughout the week have firmed up the links very well. It will be a challenge to say the least, but if I could give any advice to the players it would be to play the links' roll.   In the morning I rolled around from hole to hole changing tee markers, filling tee divots, collecting trash and enjoying the sights. The course truly is shaping up.   I had

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Day 4: A "good leg stretcher" mowing lasers on tees

Today marked the fourth day preparing Baltray for the East of Ireland Tournament. Finally, it was not spent with a string trimmer in my hand the whole afternoon!   I started off the morning with a good leg stretcher as they say, by mowing half of the tee boxes on the course. Only two workers are sent out to walk mow the tees. I think it is a good idea as we rotate among the workers for this long tee mowing adventure. Today we were burning in the lines getting them ready for the weekend.  

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Day 2: Preparing (polishing up) for the East of Ireland Tournament

Again I started the morning with course set up. And yet again, another beautiful day.   View on hole 18 from the forward-most tee box   The days being so nice means everyone is out golfing. If there is a chance to be outside with the sun shining, no clouds in the sky, well, you are not going to find many Irish sitting indoors.   The difference with this week of tournament prep compared to that of the Irish Open is the course is so full with golfers. The Palmer course at the K Club was cl

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Tournament Prep Week… Again!

The East of Ireland Amateur Tournament is hosted here at Baltray. This is the second tournament in three weeks for me this summer. The hours are different from the Irish Open, as the greens crew will be working from half six (6:30) until 5pm. The tournament round does not start until Saturday, then playing Sunday and two rounds on Monday.   Today, May 30, marked Day 1 of prep week. Golfers around the course - both members and guests - have stopped me today to say how great the course is playin

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Water of Life...

Right back to the grind at Baltray from the long week of the Irish Open. I wouldn't say I'm caught up on sleep, and upcoming next week is more tournament preparation for the East of Ireland Tournament here at County Louth. I may need a glass of Ireland's Water of Life.     Uisce Beatha is the old Irish term "Water of Life" which time plus mispronunciation has molded it in to today's word: Whiskey.     My first trip to Dublin led me to the Irish Whiskey Museum. Honestly, I was not in se

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Just as I was getting settled in...

It has been almost two weeks for me at County Louth Golf Club (Baltray) settling in and becoming familiar with the green crew. Just as I'm figuring the lay out of the land, though, I head out for a week to the K Club to volunteer for the Irish Open. The crew at Baltray was kind enough to allow me to leave after such a short time, also understanding of this grand tournament opportunity.   Volunteering with the greenkeepers on a site like the K Club makes every moment a learning opportunity. Plu

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Perfect description: "the Hidden Gem of Irish Golf"...

Ireland is nearly 12,000 square miles smaller than my home state of Ohio. The beauty that this country holds cannot be measured. By traveling inland, one can find parkland style courses like those in Ohio. But traveling to the coasts one finds the links style golf Ireland is famous for.   County Louth Golf Club (Baltray), my work and home for the next few months   County Louth Golf Club (Baltray) is located on the East coast of Ireland. Established in 1892, the formation of Baltray began w

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Happy to be here in Ireland!

My name is Nathan McKinniss. I am a fourth-year student in the Sustainable Plant Systems major program at the Ohio State University with a specialization in Turfgrass Science. I will be finishing my last courses required for my major and minor in Agribusiness in Autumn 2016.   While many look forward to graduation, I'm happy to be returning for another semester... which I may even turn into another full year. There are still many classes I am interested in taking to sharpen my turfgrass knowle

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

Introducing Nate McKinniss, our TurfNet Intern in Ireland for 2016

Welcome to the 2016 edition of Greenkeeping, the Next Generation. Since 2012 TurfNet has placed an American turf student on a golf course in Ireland for the Summer. Mt. Juliet and Lahinch have hosted TurfNet interns in the past. This year we are thrilled to bring the program to County Louth Golf Club (aka Baltray) under the direction of longtime course manager Paul Malone. Paul has regularly welcomed our previous interns to Baltray for a look around and a round of golf. Baltray was also enjoyed

Nathan McKinniss

Nathan McKinniss

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