Connemara Golf Outing Report

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailThe National Yacht Club Society headed West to Connemara for a two-day Autumn golf extravaganza. Howling gales and torrential rain greeted our intrepid heroes as they sought shelter in the Abbeyglen Castle in Clifden. As they huddled around the fire last Thursday evening they tuned their iPads and iPhones to AccuWeather, Windfinder, Windguru and Met Eireann (they are sailors after all) and the news was dismal, hurricane and wet on Friday, even wetter on Saturday. So, with little expectation of golf the following day, O’Donovans, Corcorans, Cullens, Hogans, Buckleys, Quinns, Whartons, Dunns, Dooleys were soon hogging the bar and the stories were getting longer and hairier by the minute (the truth was not getting in the way of any of these tales!). The piano soon weighed anchor and we were away – NYCGS acquitting itself with some great songs from Marie and Moira, and of course, Joe’s usual rendition of “Blanket on the Ground” (the “Holy Ground” that is!), all 87 verses in 1-part harmony. Many fell by the wayside, but the usual suspects ploughed on deep into the night. Friday morning was grim, both the weather and the effects of the previous night saw to that. More in hope than expectation a dozen intrepid souls set off for the golfing Armageddon that is Ballyconnely Golf Club to join the Rooney’s and others who had driven straight to the 1st tee from all corners of Ireland. It lashed in Galway, teemed down in Maam Cross, torrential rain and vicious wind in Roundstone but as soon as the golf club was sighted the rain stopped. The wind, rather un-sportingly, didn’t stop, it gusted over 40 knots, it battered the players (standing upright was an achievement) it sent golf balls, hats and anything else that was not securely attached to the ground flying in all directions. The course was just superb with a natural and wild layout and the scenery all round is stunning. (This last quality had to be deduced from photographs, any one foolish enough to lift their head to look around could only make out a grey haze with the occasional forlorn golfer bent double against the wind) Several great holes would test any golfer, and the finishing holes are unique and memorable. In spite of the wind, the scoring was not half bad, with most cards clustered in the high 20’s. Tony C’s score led the field with an excellent 30 points. Back to the Abbeyglen to recover, and 20 golfing sailors sat down to dinner and wine. Faced with another woeful forecast for Saturday the merry band, now augmented by assorted Hogans, decided to repeat the previous evening’s strategy (see paragraph 2) Astonishingly the strategy worked and after a slight postponement, golf resumed in glorious conditions, sunny, warm and only the slightest breeze. Oddly enough, scoring was only marginally better than in the previous day’s hurricane conditions (readers may draw their own conclusions as to possible reasons for this) Again, the whole field was bunched on or around the 30 points mark. Top score on the day was Cathy on 33, followed by Tony on 32 and the rest in hot pursuit a point or two back. A memorable two days, there is talk of a return visit very soon, it couldn’t be that windy again, could it? Brendan MacConville