August 2009

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Here’s a clip from Phil Mickelson’s short game DVD where he demonstrates an amazing chip shot that any golfer can master. The shot creates enough backspin to spin a ball right back off the green!

nick watney

Full name: Nicholas Alan Watney

Born: April 25, 1981 (age 28)

Birthplace: Sacramento, California

Height: 6 ft 2 in

Weight:13 st

Turned professional 2003

PGA Tour Wins: 2

Nationwide Tour Wins: 1

Watney was born in Sacramento, California. He played his high school golf at Davis Senior High School in Davis, California. He played collegiate golf at the California State University, Fresno where he was a three-time All-American golfer. He turned professional in 2003, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Mike Watney, who played on the PGA Tour in the 1970s. In 2004 Watney played on The Nationwide Tour, winning the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship Watney to earn qualification for the PGA Tour.

In 2007, after two years of slow progress, Watney won his first PGA Tour title at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. This victory took him into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time. He got his second tour win at the 2009 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego with a one stroke victory over John Rollins. Watney now lives in Las Vegas, is coached by Butch Harmon and known affectionately as “Rube” after the ultra polite Rube in the film Major League 2.

What’s In Nick Watney’s Bag

Special thanks to Rick Veitch, my man in Titleist.


woods_468x691 The first thing I do on a Sunday night when analysing the next week’s upcoming PGA event is to check whether Tiger Woods is in the field. Unless there is a major on the horizon or a major endorsement contract involved it seems Tiger doesn’t do two weeks in a row. Maybe Tiger’s modest playing schedule is why he can put in such a supreme effort every time he tees it up. Woods is fresh whilst the jaded journeymen in the field wilt.

If you saw a racehorse with form of 1-1-2-2 you would be likely to back it, wouldn’t you? Not including last night’s Deutsche Bank result, that run is Tiger’s form since missing the cut at The Open. Fantastic figures by all accounts, but not when it comes to Woods. Looking back at Tiger’s performances in 2009, there is a common thread running through his stats where he has not won:- putting.

At Cabrera’s Masters early in the season, Tiger finished four shots back, having taken four three-putts during the week. Interestingly he also finished four shots behind Lucas Glover at the US Open having also struggled on the greens. At the USPGA Tiger missed a bucket load of putts to almost gift the title to Y.E. Yang and at Liberty National we saw Tiger do something never before witnessed by human kind- miss a six foot putt on the 18th for glory. “I putt a lot on memory”, Tiger said of his putting woes, perhaps implying that because they hadn’t used the New York course before, he was at some sort of disadvantage.

The real problem now with Tiger may be enthusiasm. After a year away from the game in 2008, he has come back and possibly over-golfed 2009. Granted he has won several regular tour events but a season without a major is surely demoralising for Woods and that adrenaline that surged through his forearms during major season has now run dry. His demeanour at The Barclay’s seems to back that up and though he shot 63 in the final round in Boston, the three preceding rounds were thoroughly ordinary by Tiger standards. He seems as if he just does not want to be out there at times.

It will be interesting to see how Tiger fares in the coming weeks being that there is no let up in his schedule. He is pencilled in to play twice in the next three weeks and then the Presidents Cup. Is the Tiger merely napping before roaring again or has he gone into hibernation until next Spring? Watch this enclosure.

Just for fun this week, have a go at our rules quiz. Questions from “999 Questions On the Rules of Golf”, by Barry Rhodes.

Q1: True or False? When taking relief from an immovable obstruction a player may not clean his ball.

Q2: True or False? The wall or lip of a bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker.

Q3: True or False? Apart from when a ball is in motion, a player may always ask for another player’s ball to be lifted if she considers that it interferes with her play.

Last weeks answers:

Q1: True or False- A player may brush aside sand in the area where he is about to drop his ball under the Rules. False. Decision 13-2/11.

Q2: True or False- As a player reaches the top of his backswing on a tee shot the ball falls off the tee. He completes his stroke topping the ball just five yards forward. There is no penalty and he must play the ball as it lies. Answer: True. Rule 11-3.

Q3: True or False- A ball is visible in casual water but a player cannot retrieve it. Unless the player can positively identify the ball as his he must treat his ball as lost outside of the casual water. Answer: False. Decision 25-1/1.

Note: The player is not obliged to use unreasonable effort to identify his ball. In either case, as the original ball is not immediately recoverable another ball may be substituted.


You shank, top, or hit the ball thin because you jerk the club or the clubhead is taking an upswing instead of a downward blow.


One of the most common causes of the yips is anxiety from anticipating how you will contact the ball. Instead of focusing on preventing the yips, you need to think about a specific aspect of your swing. The key is to relax your arms and concentrate on something else; such as keeping your weight onto your forward leg, maintaining clubhead angle for proper loft, keeping your hands ahead of the ball or limiting your wrist movements.


Place most of your weight onto your forward foot with the ball towards the back of your stance. Preset the loft of the clubface and make sure that the angle is the same when you finish the swing. Allow your hands to lead the clubhead throughout the shot. Avoid trying to scoop the ball by sliding the clubface under it; instead, you need a downward blow and limit wrist movements. Another great way to fix the yips is to change the sensation you get in your hands at contact. Try chipping a squash ball, this will change the way you feel the impact and will relax your arms with a little humour. Then return to using your golf balls.


tm raylor

The Taylormade prototype rescue wood used so successfully by Kenny Perry this season is now set to hit the shops. The “Raylor” rescue wood will be available in lofts of 19° and 21° and is said to be the dogs when it comes to getting out of deep wet rough, or Irish winter fairways!

The Raylor is designed with a slightly sharp and pointed leading edge that TaylorMade says allows golfers to slide the face through the grass and onto the back of the ball more effectively. In addition, the sole of the clubs is shaped like a ship's hull, sloping upward at the sides. These two features reduce the area that would normally hinder the club in the rough by 23%. “It’s the ultimate weapon for getting out of the rough” say Taylormade. Not applicable for those who already own the ultimate weapon for avoiding the rough.


Another Major For Annika

annika_sorenstam_and_mike_mcgee Congrats to Annika Sorenstam and Mike McGee on the birth of the daughter, Ava Madelyn McGee. Apparently baby Ava asked for a towel and a five iron minutes after her arrival into the world. This new arrival was announced on Annika’s blog:- “Mike and I are happy to announce that I gave birth to our little girl at 3:30AM this morning. Ava Madelyn McGee is six pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches long. We are all doing well and we truly appreciate the support we have received. We are VERY excited about our new addition and will keep everyone posted in the coming weeks. Thanks!” Speculation is now rife that Annika will return to the LPGA tour sometime next year. Former Solheim Cup team-mate Catriona Matthew won this year’s Women’s British Open only eight week’s after giving birth.


A Perry Ugly Affair

kenny perry and justin The news that Kenny Perry released Fred Sanders, his longtime caddy may have come as a surprise to those inside the ropes but the manner in which he did has certainly shocked them. Sanders claimed he learned about getting his P45 through Perry’s agent. Surely that’s the equivalent of dumping a girlfriend by text; it’s just not Kenny! Perry’s son Justin is now set to take his bag for the playoffs and President’s Cup having caddied at the British Open and The Barclay’s. Interestingly on both occasions where Justin has caddied for Dad, he finished tied 52nd. Hardly a good omen, but some might say just desserts after an ugly break-up!

Weekend Winners- Jeff and Suzann

LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF Jeff Sluman came from six shots back on Sunday at Pebble Beach to successfully defend his Walmart First Tee Open title. A hole in one on the fifth hole helped Sluman to a 4-under 68 and a two-stroke victory. The six time PGA tour winner has now won three times on the seniors tour. Meanwhile European eyes were smiling on the LPGA when Norwegian Suzann Petterson claimed a five shot victory at the Canadian Women’s Open. Before her victory, Petterson had been a long winless streak finishing runner-up six times with19 top tens. Petterson attributed her victory in part to an encouraging text received before her round from Tiger Woods.

Paddy Watch- How the Irish Fared

European Tour- Omega Masters

Finishing Position



Prize Money


Rory McIlroy




Paul McGinley




Graeme McDowell




Darren Clarke




Gareth Maybin



Missed Cut: Gary Murphy, Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey

DoonbegThe Sting:
With forty psi of pressure in the back tyres and the car scraping off the road, it was with great excitement we made the “four lads” journey to Doonbeg. I had only ever heard rumblings about this Greg Norman design (and its snail population) and was keen to make my own mind up on a course, which seems to have been shrouded in controversy since its creation.
On arrival, the first thing to hit you (besides the sea breeze) is the cracking atmosphere around the place. Though off the beaten track, it is alive with activity. Families busily mooching around, kids spinning on bikes and top Irish touring pro Gary Murphy knockin’ in and out of the immense clubhouse.

View On The 4th at Doonbeg
“This inland par five is a wonderfully natural links hole. Choose to drive short of the left bunker or over the dell, according to your talent. A drive over the dell will allow you to go for this green in two. Be sure to avoid the five sod-wall bunkers in the fairway. This elegant, asymetrical green sits just over an old rock-and-sod wall that has been there for years. Careful avoidance of this wall and pot bunker may yield a birdie.”
With rates at the upper end of the scale, Doonbeg don’t give you a green fee, they give you a “golfing experience”. To savour it fully book a tee time for noon, but arrive around ten. After tea and homemade scones head out to the putting greens (yes plural) to get a feel for the speed and undulations that lie in wait. Then get whisked off to the super range where the everlasting supply of balls make you feel like a pro. When you’re ready, the marshall collects you and speeds you, sudden death playoff style, to the first tee. Play against  your mates for the price of a homemade burger to be consumed in the bustling bar whilst recalling your best shots of the day.
The Course:
What They Say
Chosen for his “least disturbance philosophy,” The Doonbeg golf site was designed by two-time British Open Champion Greg Norman. Spanning 1.5 miles of crescent shaped beach and century-old sand dunes, the course offers views across the Atlantic from the green, the fairway, or tee of 16 of the 18 holes. Variations in wind speed and direction ensure the course plays differently each and every time. It is expected that an 18-hole round of golf at Doonbeg will take no more than 4 hours and 30 minutes.
The Par-72 layout features a single loop of nine holes out and nine back, playing 6,885 yards from the back tees. The most natural routing within the existing dunes resulted in an uncommon combination of five par 3s and five par 5s.
Wind direction and speed determines consistent variation in play – for example the average golfer will play from a sand wedge to a 5-iron on the 111 yard 14th. To allow for a range of conditions and abilities most holes feature five or more tee locations.
What We Say
With a combined fourball handicap of 15 and we attacked the front nine from the back sticks. Even though there wasn’t so much as a whisper of wind in the air, we rapidly learned some home truths. If you’re short or crooked with the driver your ball is history, because many holes require (a) an initial carry over cabbage or (b) an arrow straight drive to a narrow fairway flanked by cabbage. Either way, there’s a lot of cabbage involved. However if the “big dog” is working, the greens are soft and receptive and will yield birdies. The first and 18th holes are the pick of the par fours but my favourite was the tiny par three 14th , a 100 yard hole14hole that requires anything from a sand wedge to a six iron to find the precipice green. Tight and fun with precision rewarded. A classic links hole and perfect summary of the course. All in all, Doonbeg is a surprisingly mature and testing links for its tender years.
The Terrificly Dangerous Par-3 14th at Doonbeg: No Chip and Runs Here
“This could be the most sensational short par three in Ireland, if not the world. The ocean view, extending all the way to the far peninsula, is unforgettable. Try if you can to ignore the view and hit the green. A birdie here will be in the memory bank forever”
 The You Tube Video
The Personnel:

Greg Norman’s Surveys where the 18th Might Go in Doonbeg
They say that if you wear bright colours on the golf course, you had better be good. Brian Shaw, head pro and lynchpin of the golfing operation, does and is. He is one of those larger than life characters, bubbling with ideas and born to manage an operation of this magnitude. He taught Robert Karlsson for God’s sake. At the PGA show in Florida, everyone who met us said “Hey, are you from Ireland?  Do you know Brian Shaw from Doonbeg?” Enough said. Nice also to see assistant pro Ian Carney, the Claremorris wonder kid who now plies his trade in Doonbeg. I’m sure that ass-kickin’ I gave him around Ballinrobe, moulded him into a better player. Mind you, he was only about 13 at the time!
Another “must do” in Doonbeg is to all chip in for a “four-caddy” to give lines and yardages. It costs €25 a man, but is really a must if you’re playing the course for the first time.  Our man was Colin Patrick Christopher, a super fit air traffic controller from Toronto who got to practice his left and right arm signals as our balls soared heroically to their Valhalla.
The Conclusion:
If you are of an anally retentive disposition and looking to critique Doonbeg on technical excellence in every aspect of its layout, your notepad will most likely be  dotted with little faults and foibles.  Electric fencing to protect some rare species of snail, a little bit of crossing and a green with a bunker in the centre are probably in there.  Having golfed every one of Ireland’s best courses however, I for one left  as a convert to the “Doonbeg golfing experience” with Brian Shaw as its spiritual leader.
Doonbeg Website
office: 065-9055602
office: 065-9055603
fax: 065-9055247
Call Ireland from the USA
If you are in the USA and need to call Ireland use the following numbers.


office: 011-353-65-9055602
fax: 011-353-65-9055247
office: 011-353-65-9055602
office: 011-353-65-9055603
fax: 011-353-65-9055247
Membership Information
office: 065-9055666
fax: 065-9055676
mobile: 086- 2284179

Greg Norman Course Design Doonbeg Overview
extract from

Long before he drives into the welcoming courtyard of Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare, the sight of a spectacular, stone-structure standing tall on the horizon will intrigue the expectant traveling golfer. With 47 inter-connected suites snugly nestled around it, the Doonbeg Lodge appears from a distance to be a self-contained village overlooking dramatic views of Doughmore Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
All the buildings are tastefully constructed in keeping with traditional Irish architecture. It is obvious no detail or expense has been spared in a total spend of €150 million, on and off the golf course, by the time the entire project is completed. Even the gardens and pathways are landscaped to reflect their location in westernmost Ireland by the renowned skills of the TV personality, Diarmuid Gavin. And we haven't yet mentioned the world-class Greg Norman-designed golf links.
Everything that Buddy Darby and his fellow Directors of Kiawah Development Partners conceive, is carried out with such superb taste and brilliant business acumen and planning that it comes as bit of a shock that they actually did get something badly wrong. It was nobody's fault, mind you, but the opening of the Doonbeg Links in 2002 could hardly have been worse timed.
In its short life, the Doonbeg project has had to cope with mountains of legal paperwork to overcome the most stringent of planning procedures, 9/11, Foot and Mouth Disease, the falling value of the US dollar and the Iraq War as well as the begrudging curse of St. Munchin which they could never have anticipated i.e. the spoiled Irish would be the most difficult of all to please.

Norman: "The sensitivity of this piece of property required a total hands-on approach. You do not get too many opportunities to work on a piece of land like this one."
Nor could the uproar and delays caused by the wish to save from extinction an estimated 10 million microscopic snails deflect Buddy Darby and Co. The snail, a member of the Vertigo Angustior family, has been jokingly renamed Angus locally due to the copious amounts of heifer dust that it helped generate.
As the crow flies, Doonbeg is strategically sandwiched equidistant between the long-established and world-famous Lahinch and Ballybunion courses. So, the owners knew from the beginning that they would have to compete in elite company.
As a frequent visitor to Doonbeg from its earliest days and as a member of both Ballybunion and Lahinch for eighty-three years combined, I regularly enjoy the different challenges of all three courses and therefore feel well-qualified to express an opinion on how they compare.
In my golfing travels I have always considered the 1st tee atmosphere at Lahinch to be second to none. You should see Doonbeg! The clubhouse at Ballybunion and its dramatic ocean views is pretty impressive. You should see Doonbeg! Off the back markers Lahinch and Ballybunion are formidable tests of ball control. You should see Doonbeg!
As you can gather, Doonbeg compares very well. Indeed, from my own experience I find it to be the most difficult of the three on which to produce a sub par score. Norman's intelligent design has achieved excellent variety by putting some greens above, some below and some on the same level as the approaching golfer without any of the back-breaking climbs that one has to endure at Lahinch, especially. On the other hand, Doonbeg is also probably the easiest of the three from the forward tees; so, tigers and rabbits are provided with challenges commensurate with their skills.
Doonbeg waited patiently for over 100 years begging to be turned into golfing ground. As long ago as 1891, this stretch of eye-catching dunes six miles north of Kilkee, screamed "golf course". Sir Alexander Shaw, a Scottish-born industrialist and enthusiastic golf promoter who was based in Limerick city, recognized its potential. He, and his friends, seriously considered locating what they termed "their summer course" here. The absence of an acceptable road system or more importantly, a railway line made accessibility rather too difficult. Instead, one of Ireland's most intrepid golf pioneers decided to go elsewhere. To be fair, Shaw found equally exciting terrain 20 miles up the coast where he became the founding father and first president of Lahinch Golf Club.
The choice of Greg Norman, as course architect was inspired. As a passionate lover of links golf, Greg understood his responsibilities. On one of 23 visits he made to the site, he said, "The sensitivity of this piece of property required a total hands-on approach. You do not get too many opportunities to work on a piece of land like this one. It is unique. I am going to make sure the end result is 100% but at the same time people must realize that great golf courses need time to evolve and Doonbeg should be regarded as a work-in-progress for sometime yet. This is a course I want to be identified with. One that I will be able to say with pride everywhere I go, 'I did this one!' It's Ireland. It's Irish golf. It's links golf; sand dunes like you'll never see again because golfing land like this is preciously finite. The ball is round and is designed to roll as well as fly. The golfer is required to make his ball do both at Doonbeg. The last thing I wanted to do was Americanize this golf course, I love links golf and Irish links golf is among the best. I wanted to keep it as natural as possible. As a golfing test Doonbeg will only get better."
The routing cut through a series of conical dunes adjacent to a crescent shaped shoreline lives up to its rave billing but the original design that was set out by Norman has not been declared sacrosanct. Head Pro, Brian Shaw and Head Greens Superintendent, Jim McKenna, have an understanding with The Shark, based on intelligent and practical feedback from the Doonbeg members that certain refinements will be executed on the golf course from time to time. Quite a number of them were successfully undertaken last winter. Those alterations plus natural evolution has seen the course mature more rapidly than could have been envisaged.
When I say that the course is infinitely better than when it first opened in 2002, do not forget that revered Ballybunion was classed as a "rabbit warren" once upon a time and Lahinch underwent its own extensive "Mackensieisation" refurbishment recently. Every time I go to Doonbeg, I fully expect to see subtle additions and improvements because Norman, McKenna and Shaw do not sit on their laurels.
The Shark has always played the game with enviable panache and this laudable approach is suitably reflected in all aspects of the Doonbeg facility. After being taken care of in the clubhouse, the high altarlike 1st tee and one of the most attention-grabbing puck-offs in all of golf is at one's doorstep.
With the sound of Atlantic waves ringing in one's ears as they crash onto the beach a mere wedge shot away and the nervy feeling brought on by many pairs of eyes watching you from behind the bar windows, there is no getting away from the fact that from the first to last swing, the boisterous elements of the west of Ireland will be your primary adversary. Variations in wind speed and direction guarantee that the course plays differently every day.

TV viewers in the USA will get at insiders look at the course when the Weather Channel debuts a series of 32, one-minute golf tips filmed at Doonbeg.
Just over 500 yards from the 1st tee; 50 yards from the front edge of the green; a tiny pot bunker catches one's attention. That trap, no more than six feet wide, has powerful magnetic properties way out of proportion to its size. Every golfer has to get past it somehow without doing serious injury to the scorecard. Behind the green a semi-circle of enormous, cone-shaped dunes is an eye-catching backdrop.
On the front nine my favorite stretch is Nos. 6 through 8. The raised, back tee at the 6th (373 yards, par 4) overlooks the beach and the fairway runs from a deep, hidden bowl between unruly dunes through an ascending valley parallel to the shoreline. The slightest of pulls ill end up on the beach; any miss to the right will result in a ungainly recovery, if you are lucky. From the back tee it could be the most intimidating shot on the golf course. The highest part of the green is the front edge and everything from that point meanders downwards in erratic steps for 120 feet. Believe it or not, I have managed to drive this green downwind which demonstrates the strength of the wind on particular days.
The 7th tee is located in the heart of the golf course. A glance at the scorecard reveals a formidable par 3 measuring 227 yards. Because the tee is elevated only a hint of prevailing breeze ensures that the hold plays nowhere near that length. The entrance to the green is open and flat as Norman sportingly provides an opportunity for weaker players to run their golf balls onto the putting surface.
The 8th hole (582 yards, par 5) has as wide a fairway as you will ever see but the hole can be brutal. No matter the wind direction, perplexing multiple-choice questions arise at various stages to test your course-management skills. Along the right is clearly the safest if longer route but if you are brave and want to force the issue you will have to risk much trouble on the left.
On the back nine, the 10th hole (580 yards, par 5) is a thinking man's golf hole that plays downwind more often than not. There are so many hazards, conundrums and food for thought strewn about that I never know whether to attack or back-off.
The short 11th (148 yards, par 3) has striking similarities with the same numbered hole at St. Andrew's in Scotland, the most obvious being the intimidating "Strath-like" bunker facing the player.
Norman claims that the 405 yards, par 4, 15th was the first hole he saw in his mind's eye when he made his inaugural visit to stake out the land. Nor is there a letdown on any of the finishing holes. If you can survive intact until the 18th, you will enter the Clubhouse fully entitled to your well-earned refreshments.
Templemore's Joe Russell has been the genial General Manager in charge of operational affairs at Doonbeg for almost three years. Joe is big into the detail of the many small things that can so easily be taken for granted. He sets high standards but is delighted and excited by the progress he sees all around him. Working on a project as big as this has given him a unique insight into "who delivers and who keeps his word," he says knowingly. The level of bookings already placed long before the Lodge accommodation is finished surprises Russell. He is particularly proud of his carefully chosen, keen to please staff of almost 150 that will transform the local economy and social scene.
One of the most notable of the new employees is Mary Kelly, the Golf Shop Manager. Mary grew up in nearby Mullagh but had to leave her beloved County Clare to earn a living as a retailer with Benetton. She has come back to her roots with a husband and two children and loves the challenge of working in this unimagined atmosphere of international proportions.
Doonbeg Golf Club does not intend to rely solely on golfers to keep its wheels turning. The ultimate aim is to have a total golf destination with add-ons like the superb practice facilities and spa that will be coordinated with the golf coaching staff's desire to implement an integrated biomechanical approach to fitness and wellbeing. The superb, casual and gourmet dining facilities and surrounding regional attractions and scenery should also draw less energetic, non-golf customers.
150 million TV viewers in the USA will see it all for themselves shortly when Doonbeg's Head Pro, Brian Shaw, makes a series of 32, one-minute inserts of golf tips for the Weather Channel. Doonbeg was the location selected for several reasons, Brian's friendly personality and expertise, the vagaries of the Irish weather, the beautiful background scenery. If only a tiny percentage of viewers are enticed to come to Ireland what a marketing coup that will be!
As we were going to press it was announced that Doonbeg was deservedly chosen to be the recipient of the prestigious Irish Golf Tour Operator's Award for 2005. Every Director of Golf should spend a day at Doonbeg to see how high they have raised the standards bar in Irish golf, including what services really means and how to take care of people.
Note: It is estimated that since the golf course opened at Doonbeg, the snail population has doubled. Proving yet again that golf is good for the ecological environment.
Etiquette & Rates At Doonbeg
Doonbeg Golf Club follows PGA rules with the exceptions as noted below.
Out Of Bounds (Rule 33-2a)
a) All places outside course boundaries, stated or identified by white stakes or stone walls.
b) Car parks, connected roadway, and clubhouse enclosure.
c) Beyond the snow fence and white markers at seaside of holes 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 & 18.
Water Hazards (Rule 26-1)
a) Areas defined by red or yellow stakes.
Ground Under Repair (Rule 25)
a) Areas defined by white lines or GUR signs.
b) Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by fencing, stakes, and signs adjacent to holes 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 15 & 16
Movable Obstructions (Rule 24-1)
a) Stones in bunkers are deemed movable obstructions.
Immovable Obstructions (Rule 24-2)
a) All fixed sprinkler heads are immovable obstructions and relief from interference by them may be obtained under Rule 24-2. In addition, if such an obstruction within two club-lengths of the putting green intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole, and the ball is not in a hazard, the player may obtain relief without penalty as follows: the ball may be lifted, cleaned, and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball had lain that (a) is not closer to the hole, (b) avoids such intervention, and (c) is not in a hazard or on the putting green.
Integral Parts of the Course
a) All roads and pathways within the boundary of the course are integral parts of the course.
Ball Drop - Hole No. 14
To protect the course conditions for future golfers, please proceed to the ball drop adjacent to hole No. 15 tee under Rule 28.
Special Warning: Holes 4, 5, 6, 13, 14 & 15
The proprietors of Doonbeg wish to inform all players and spectators that they will NOT accept liability for accidents at the crossing of holes 4, 5, 6, 13, 14 & 15. It is the responsibility of each golfer to ensure there is no one crossing before he/she plays the holes. Players should only proceed to play these holes when other players are not close by.
Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Past the fences bordering holes 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 15 & 16 are candidate Special Area of Conservation under the European Union of Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. This land is protected for the conservation of the priority habitat of grey dunes. Golfers are not allowed in this area. Please play this as Ground Under Repair and drop in accordance with Rule 25-1b.
Pick-Up Points
Pick-up points are located at the 3rd tee, the restrooms by the 8th tee, and the Healy House at the 4th fairway.
Soft Spikes
Doonbeg is a soft spikes only environment. Metal spikes are not permitted. Spike changing facilities are available in the Clubhouse. (Please allow extra time.)
Dress Code
Appropriate golfing attire is required. Blue jeans or dungarees are not permitted. Golfers in improper attire will be asked to change prior to play.
We are currently accepting tee time reservations. 10% deposit is required when booking. Balance due 45 days in advance of play date.
Cancellation Policy
Cancellation must be received in writing, fax, or email 45 days in advance of play date. Changes or cancellations 30 days or less no refund, deposit fortified.
For rate information:
or call in Ireland: 065-9055602 or 065-9055603
or call from US: 011-353-65-905-5602, or 011-353-65-905-5603

Doonbeg Special Offers 
Below is a link to the Doonbeg special offers webpage's#ipulsestart
To experience Doonbeg for yourself, call the pro shop on 065-9055602 or check out


Killeen Castle

As I was watched the Bahrain Grand Prix last week, I marvelled at how they can just build a state of the art grand prix facility nowadays from scratch and have it instantly regarded as one of the best in the world. Little wonder then that the equivalent in the Irish golfing DSC_0568world has just arrived in the form of the new Killeen Castle complex in Dunsany, Co. Meath. I use the word “complex” because it’s not fair to describe it as just a course or as a resort, it’s so much more than that. Killeen Castle is probably best described as an Olympic Village for

The SpinDoctor’s second to the stunning 18th. I’m Michelle Wie in The Solheim Cup!

golfers. From the superb practise facilities to the showpiece Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and with the added bonus of the only Dave Pelz short game school outside the USA, to say it is “state of the art” wouldn’t even begin to cover it.

Since I couldn’t possibly cover all the bases on one visit, my mission for the day was to tame the signature 18 hole ‘Bear’ that Jack himself designed. I was joined on the crusade by Alan Maher, a 12 h’cap out of West Waterford GC and former Cork minor hurler (sure weren’t they all!), by alan shot to castleColum Gleeson, a seven h’cap from Rathfarnham with an arc like Tiger on stilts and John Lydon, a three h’cap from Ballinrobe, who, on his day, can play to three! We were directed to the blue tees, not quite the distance of the Monster ‘black’ tees but at over 7200 yards for a par 72, quite a test. Or so we thought.


Alan Maher giving it plenty of right hand as he stitches another pitch on the short third. 

They say to lay a course out successfully, the crucial stage of design is when the diggers are actually pushing the Earth. That box is well and truly ticked at Killeen Castle, with trademark Nicklaus hole layouts, bunkering and greens in exactly the right positions. Jack gives you oceans of space off the tee but you need to make the most of it, because if you’re if not long with your drive, donal with bagsthere hasn’t yet been a club invented to get you onto the green. Our hurler Alan, and IT guru Colum regularly pucked their drives 300 yards, but still found themselves with four irons and hybrids while shorter hitters Johnny and myself floundered around with 3-wood approach shots and relied on our short games to bale us out. And you know what? Time and again, they did! The hand cut greens are enormous and so true that a ten footer started on the right line will invariably oblige and drop in.

By tackling the 2011 Solheim Cup venue off the blue tees, we were, in truth, a little out of our depth to score well. At times it was like trying to slay a Bear armed only with a baguette. Of course, we chose our own fate but you should be comforted in the knowledge that like a ski slope there are easier ways to come down this particular Castle and 18th Landscapejpgmountain with a choice of shorter tee boxes available.

Killeen Castle will go straight into my top five parkland courses in the country. When  you then add in the “entry to exit” personal service, the magnificent clubhouse, the food and the practise facilities, the whole package is simply unique in Ireland. When you take into account that the whole experience is available for €100, it defies logic. Resort boss Barry O’Connor is delighted with the take-up of 250 new members and is confident that another 150 will join in the next year or so. He should be, they will. Be sure to log on to for further details on this remarkable course that Jack built and check out the blog for loads more pics and reaction.

Killeen Castle Reviewer Quotes

alan m

Alan Maher, 12 h’cap: “An awesome challenge in an incredible setting.”

colum gleeson

Colum Gleeson, 7 h’cap: “The line of sight from the tee to the green, on every fairway, is broken by the placement of hills, trees and fairway bunkers and crafty jack uses all these impediments to add to the challenge. The setting is both serene and dramatic in places and definitely contributes to an absorbing round of golf.”


John Lydon, 3 h’cap: “This place is incredible. You won’t find 40 points winning a Sunday competition here. A 3 handicap off the blues in Killeen Castle is probably equivalent to a 1 handicap anywhere in the country.”

Who’s In Charge at Killeen Castle? Barry O’Connor

barry o connell

El Bosso Grando (Big Boss) Barry O’Connor

Note the phone, the journal and the pen. A sure sign that Barry means business. It’s a little trick he picked up in his time in Doonbeg. With over 250 members already in Killeen Castle, things are ticking over nicely. And his car doesn’t get flipped over on a daily basis by the wind anymore, which is a bonus.

Soundness Factor 10/10!

The Facilities and The Service

locker rooms Presidential probably sums it up best. The lockers are spacious and sparkling. The sauna is cranked up and bathrobes etc are all laid on. You’ll find sun-block, deep heat and every kind of soothing balm imaginable at the sinks and the showers are probably the best I’ve ever seen. Four nozzles and all the pressure you wish your powerhose had!- You need to make sure all of your bits are out of the way before turning on!

cool lcokersYou get saluted at the gate, your bag taken at the clubhouse and greeted with a warm smile throughout. I’ve only seen this kind of service once before, in Doonbeg. It adds immeasurably to the experience.

Any negatives? None that I can think of. Er, maybe get some lucozade and sparkling water to sell in the pro-shop!

Watch out for our review of the Dave Pelz short game at Killeen Castle school coming soon!

The Layout


Killeen Castle Website & Useful Contacts

General Enquiries
Please telephone +353 1 689 3000 or email
Thank you.

General Manager's Office
Please telephone +353 1 689 3040 or email
Thank you.

Membership Queries
Please telephone Olivia on +353 1 689 3009 or email
Thank you.

Getting To Killeen Castle

Killeen Castle is located in the heart of ‘Royal Meath’, just minutes from the charming hamlet of Dunsany and from the bustling market town of Dunshaughlin.
Set in lush, green countryside, it is close to Tara, the ancient home of the High kings of Ireland, and the world-famous megalithic burial tombs of Newgrange.
As well as offering all the joys of true country living, Killeen Castle is just 35 minutes from Dublin City Centre and 30 minutes from Dublin Airport.

Directions from Dublin Airport

  • Leaving Dublin Airport, turn right onto the R132, signposted Santry
  • Turn right
  • Bear left onto the R108
  • At roundabout, take the 3rd exit to join the M50 motorway (signposted Southbound), entering Dublin
  • Leave the M50 at Junction 6 (signposted City Centre, Cavan), then at roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the N3, (signposted Cavan)
  • At Blanchardstown roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto the N3 (signposted Cavan, Navan)
  • Continue for approximately 18km on the N3, to Dunshaughlin
  • Go to the end of Dunshaughlin village. Turn left (signposted Dunsany & Killeen Castle) and pass the schools and GAA Grounds
  • Continue for 1.5km to the roundabout take the 2nd exit, signposted Dunsany
  • Take first left off the next roundabout, continue for 0.5km to the front gates of Killeen Castle on the right hand side of the road

If you are experiencing any difficulties please call 01-6893000.


Congrats to Annika Sorenstam and Mike McGee on the birth of the daughter, Ava Madelyn McGee.  Apparently baby Ava asked for a towel and a five iron minutes after her arrival into the world.

This is how the arrival was announced on Annika’s blog.

Mike and I are happy to announce that I gave birth to our little girl at 3:30AM this morning. Ava Madelyn McGee is six pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches long. We are all doing well and we truly appreciate the support we have received. We are VERY excited about our new addition and will keep everyone posted in the coming weeks. Thanks!

Under The Microscope: Peter Hedblom

peter hedblom Last weeks Johnnie Walker winner Peter Hedblom was introduced to golf at the age of six by his father, Olle, who remains his coach. He was Swedish Boys champion at 16, and the following year he won the 1987 Doral Junior Classic to promise a rapid rise to the top. Won three times on Challenge Tour within 18 months in the early 1990s but it took six visits to the Qualifying School to establish himself on The European Tour at the start of 1994. Before his venture into golf, he was actively involved in ice hockey. He took up ice hockey when he was six years old and broke his leg playing the game in 2001. This mishap came about when he participated in a yearly ice hockey game for golfers. Peter was granted a medical exemption after missing a sizeable proportion of the 2002 season following sustaining this injury.

Peter turned professional in 1988 and now has three European Tour victories to his name - the 1996 Moroccan Open and – after an eleven year winning drought - the 2007 Maybank Malaysian Open - a European Tour event which is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and last weeks Johnnie Walker title. Peter came to within a whisker of successfully defending his Maybank Malaysian Open title in 2008 only to lose out in a play-off to India’s Arjun Atwal. It was the third play-off defeat of his career; the previous two occasions both being in 2003. His playoff woes continued two weeks ago at Kennemer where Simon Dyson emerged victorious but his good play was a portent of things to come at Gleneagles. Desperate to avoid a playoff there with Martin Erlandsson, Peter held his putting nerve to sink a four footer on the last for victory.

What’s In Peter’s Bag


Bloggy Underfoot: All The Single Figure Ladies

clip_image006I found myself being pleasantly surprised by the recent staging of the Solheim Cup. It was far more compulsive viewing than the Wyndham Championship, my usual Sunday night entertainment. Women’s golf globally has been put through the ringer this year, much more so than the men’s game. The biennial ladies version of the Ryder Cup had also lost its lustre, having become something of a victory parade for the Americans with the last European win coming in 2003.

On paper the European Team were to be thrashed. Many commentators suggested that the Europeans were in desperate need of assistance from the “rest of the world”; they reckoned Ochoa and Co. were needed to relieve the by now battle weary Laura Davies and revive the franchise. As it panned out Europe were tied with the USA heading into the singles and for most of Sunday were in control of half the matches. The michelle-wie_1467614cfact they lost by four points in the end hardly did them justice.

Even though it is ostensibly a team event there will always be a “man of the match” or more correctly “lady of the match” and that went to Captain’s pick Michelle Wie. Her three wins, no losses and one half performance was the best by any American player at the Solheim Cup, and her singles victory against Helen Alfredsson (after falling three down half way through) was the stuff of a champion. Now more than ever the women’s game needs a Woods like figure and Wie finally looks like she can take on the mantle.

Killeen castleSo is the Solheim Cup significant? Absolutely it is. In fact the next instalment will take place on one of Ireland’s newest yet finest courses, Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co. Meath. If last weeks event put the amazing Rich Harvest Farm layout on the map, the Jack Nicklaus designed Killeen Castle will blow them away. The event will not only showcase the host course, but all our finest courses. They say we will be emerging from the recession in 2011, the perfect time to shine the spotlight on Ireland and kickstart our golf tourism industry all over again.

Read our Killeen Castle Course Review By Clicking On The Link Below

Now I don’t profess to know much about the women’s game but I just wonder at what stage of their progression will the clip_image008prodigiously talented Maguire twins be at come the 2011 Solheim Cup? Lisa and Leona continued their path to stardom by taking part in last week’s Junior Solheim Cup in Aurora, Illinois. So far their inevitable rise towards the professional ranks has been carefully managed by their parents and handlers. At their age Michelle Wie was already burdened with the “Next Tiger” tag, something I’m sure the girls and their parents would be keen to avoid. If the 2011 Solheim Cup comes around too quickly for the girls, so be it, Ireland and Killeen Castle will still do it proud. And if the Ryder Cup was anything to go buy, Christina Kim wont be hootin’ and hollerin’ for too long in Dunsany.

Dr. and The Medic: Tight Greenside Lie


clip_image010You have a tight lie about 35 feet away from the green with a bunker between you and the green.


With a tight lie this close to the pin you will want to make sure you do not take the club back too steep.


Select a high lofted wedge. Set a little more weight on your leading leg and take a slightly open stance. Keep the shaft even with the ball. This is because if you lean the shaft ahead of the ball at set up, it will encourage too steep of a swing. If you do come in too steep, you will hit it a little fat and risk landing it in the bunker. You do not want a deep divot. So, soften your grip a little and avoid making too strong of a descending blow.

The Doc’s Rules Quiz

J999 ques ust for fun this week, have a go at our rules quiz. Questions from “999 Questions On the Rules of Golf”, by Barry Rhodes.

Q1: True or False- A player may brush aside sand in the area where he is about to drop his ball under the Rules.

Q2: True or False- As a player reaches the top of his backswing on a tee shot the ball falls off the tee. He completes his stroke topping the ball just five yards forward. There is no penalty and he must play the ball as it lies.

Q3: True or False- A ball is visible in casual water but a player cannot retrieve it. Unless the player can positively identify the ball as his he must treat his ball as lost outside of the casual water.

Last weeks answers:

Question 1: True or False - In a foursomes competition partners may carry both sets of clubs in one bag, provided that each player uses only his own clubs. Answer: True

Question 2: True or False - A player is allowed five minutes to search for his original ball and five minutes for his provisional ball even though they are lost in the same area. Answer: False

Question 3- After reaching the putting green, a player places his clubs near the next tee. An opponent's golf cart accidentally strikes the player's clubs, breaking several of them. Is the ruling-

(a) The clubs were not damaged in the normal course of play and, hence, the player is not entitled to use them in their damaged state, repair them or have them repaired, or replace them or

(b) In equity, the player may use the clubs in their damaged state, repair them or have them repaired, or replace them. Answer: B

Congrats to last weeks winner Paul Godwin, Tallaght, Dublin who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.

I Want One Of Those: New Cobra ZL Driver


Last week, Cobra gave their tour staff their new Zero Limits driver to test. Among the Cobra playing staff are Geoff Ogilvy, Ian Poulter and Camilo Villegas. Ogilvy was particularly taken by the new weapon and immediately replaced his old Cobra S9-1 (10.5°) with the new ZL (9.5) set 1° open with an Aldila RIP 80X shaft. "The club is easier to draw and easier to fade (than the S9-1)," he said of the new ZL. "But it's harder to hit it really wide." The ZL driver has a titanium face and body, but the crown is made from weight-saving carbon fibre. A weight plug has been positioned on the lower-back portion of the club to increase the moment of inertia, lower the centre of gravity and create a higher initial launch angle. The head can be set to three different face angles – 1° open, square or 1° closed. The new Cobra ZL should hit our shops in November.

Bet Your Balls-

odds thanks to Boylesports


Omega European Masters


Rory McIlroy: 11/1 

1 rory If there is one player in the field this week with unfinished business it’s Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, trying to become the third-youngest winner in European Tour history, took a four shot lead into the final round last year then missed a five foot putt for par at the 18th during regular play that would have given him the title. But worse was to follow as he then missed again from only about 18 inches at the second play-off hole against Jean Francois Lucquin. Rors lies third in the race to Dubai and needs a good putting week to contend.

Bradley Dredge: 25/1

1 bradley We may forgive Bradley his 31st place finish last week as our other pick Martin Erlandsson came good with a final round 62 for second place at 50/1. Dredge did well to make the cut at Gleneagles, following a sloppy first round 75 with a battling 67. Dredge loves Crans and is still a horse for this course. Won by eight shots in 2006 and nearly defended in 2007 finishing third.

Gary Orr: 60/1

1 orr Recurring back problems saw Orr gain a Medical Exemption category for his first nine events of the 2008 season, during which he was required to win €32,800 in prize money to keep his card. He duly obliged and went on to tie for third here in Switzerland. Finished with a 64 last week in Gleneagles to leapfrog the field and finish fifth. Known as a quiet journeyman, Orr is a prolific putter when in the mood and on a course where the average winning score is 14 under he could feature again this week.

Deutsche Bank Championship

Ernie Els: 22/1

1 ernie Okay Ernie hasn’t won for a while and many wonder if he will ever regain the form he had before his knee injury. There have been recent signs of form however. It all started at Jack’s place in July where Els recorded his first top-10 since January. He followed that with top-10’s in both the US and British Opens and performed brilliantly last week to tie second in New York. Tied for third in this event last year and PGA title number 17 surely isn’t far off.

Nick Watney: 66/1

Final round of the Zurich Classic won by Nick Watney, Sunday April 22, 2007. Watney pumps his fist in the air after sinking his final putt on 18. Big Nick Watney was out of the blocks early in the season, winning the Buick Invitational in February and then coming second to Phil Mickelson at the WGC-CA Championship. Before last week Watney had not top tenned in 11 events, which made his performance at Liberty National all the more encouraging. Watney will doubtless bring that confidence to Boston.

Camillo Villegas: 60/1

1 camilo It hurt Camillo to pull out last week and he will be itching to tee it up again in the playoffs in Boston. This time last year Villegas was battling it out with Vijay Singh for the Deutsche Bank title but a final round 73 for the Colombian as opposed to Vijay’s 63 saw him finish tied third. He went on however to win the following two playoff events last year which shows the measure of the man. A fit Camillo is sure to give you an each-way run for your fiver.

Tailored Shorts

My Left Foot- Martin Kaymer

broken foot Martin Kaymer’s bid to win the Race To Dubai was dealt a serious blow last week after a go-karting accident left him with two broken toes. The injury required surgery and is expected to keep Kaymer out of action for at least six weeks. "The operation went according to plan and we'll know more when he's seen an assessment specialist at home. It could be six weeks out but we expect quite a quick recovery with him being so young and fit," manager Lillian Jansson said. Kaymer, 24, still sits atop the Race To Dubai rankings following back-to-back French and Scottish Open victories and a sixth-place finish at the PGA Championship. Paul Casey, who is second on money list, is expected to return to action next week after three weeks out because of a rib injury.

Furyk’s Fluffs It

Jim Furyk’s performance at last week’s Barclays was tainted by the fact he was penalised four strokes during his third round. The penalty, imposed after Furyk discovered he had fluff15 in clubs in his bag on the second hole, resulted in two strokes being added to his score on each of the first two holes. Furyk was quick to divert blame for the penalty from his caddy, 61 year old, Mike “Fluff” Cowan. The offending club was a second 60° wedge Furyk had brought to the practice ground. The cost?  An estimated $131,000 were he to finish four shots better!  The incident brought back memories of Ian Woosnam’s angry reaction in the 2001 British Open at Royal Lytham where he was penalised two strokes after discovering a second driver in the bag on the second hole of his final round.

“Now where did I leave my glasses?”

Gory Rory

Rory McIlroy hasn’t been seen near a golf course lately because he’s doing one of the two most stressful things in life- moving house! In the process of settling in Theo the Labradoodle and unpacking boxes our hero managed to slice a chunk out of his finger, the third one on the left hand. Rors was getting his keys out of his pocket to cut open a box but sliced his finger instead! The good news is that the finger healed well and after a trip to Royal County Down to introduce it to JP his caddy, Rory is fit and ready to right all last year’s wrongs in Switzerland.

Paddy Watch

European Tour- Johnnie Walker C’ship

Finishing Position



Prize Money


Damien McGrane




Gary Murphy




Jonathon Caldwell




Gareth Maybin



Missed Cut: Shane Lowry, Peter Lawrie, Paul McGinley

US Tour- The Barclays


Padraig Harrington


It would have been one of the greatest playoffs in modern day golf, until Heath Slow-coach showed up and spoiled the party. We were seconds away from sudden death involving Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Steve Stricker. Are you kidding me? I would have paid Sky Box Office to see that. We reckon that Padraig Harrington would have won too; there was absolutely no water, ponds, lakes or drop zones around the 18th in Liberty National

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