Malone Golf Club – April 2016 What a grand entrance to this golf course! The driveway is lined with trees with the lake off to the left and before you have a chance to take in the beauty of the grounds the clubhouse looms into view. I just realized I got lots of video but no close up photos of the clubhouse.
I love history and am always impressed with a century plus grand building, and having it as your clubhouse – how lucky.
I met up with General Manager Paddy Dean and Ruth (who is a fellow tweeter). We enjoyed a golf chat over an amazing lunch – I nearly had plate envy when I saw Ruth’s bruschetta with goats cheese and then I looked at my pumpkin ravioli with spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts and ate every last morsel. It was delicious and I could eat it again now.
Unfortunately due to excessive rain the nine Dumbridge and nine Endenderry holes were closed but the Ballydrain nine were open so we were off to play these twice.
We all played from the forward tees and there was some great golf off all of our clubs.
My shoulder was very sore today and by the back nine I was in pain but I wasn’t going to stop golfing although I did consider pulling the pin (I just didn’t tell either of my playing partners that).
I wasn’t able to pull or push the cart with my right arm but luckily I do have another arm.
We teed off the 10th and while Ruth and I hit a couple of wayward shots Paddy (who had been lamenting he had only played 36 holes this year) was throwing darts at the pin. He can certainly whack a ball well.
We had a wonderful golf chat while we wandered and the weather was fantastic – me stopping to take a photo of my shadow, proof there was sun as I haven’t seen my shadow for a while.
I got some great video but as I have missed two thirds of the golf at Malone I will be returning to play when I am in Ireland next year.
There is a twenty five acre pond on the three hundred plus acre property and is a feature for many a hole on Ballydrain.
My first look at the 15th, I donated two balls to the course. The first one a timid shot straight into the water and the second one a wonderful shot with my 7 iron that was long and went into the water after landing on the green.
The second time round I had learnt from the first overshoot, dropped down a club and landed in the middle of the green.
That is what golf is all about – continually learning (besides the pure pleasure of playing).
The greens are in great condition and Ruth commented that following a few rounds she has played in the Belfast area, Malone is in better condition than anything else she has yet played.
There were a couple of areas that were squishy and I managed to eat some dirt and get some new brown eyeshadow (from a poorly hit shot) but even with my aching shoulder I played some good golf.
I must say I am really happy with my course management of late and while some of my shots might not be the right weight the shot selection is correct and I can just putt.
I have been able to putt from the first time I played golf and have always been able to read a green pretty well. I do have some off days but overall putting is one of the best parts of my game.
Now to master everything else.
Today I was driving pretty well and for the first time had sparks fly off my driver when I nailed a ball down the 16th.
I hit some amazing shots with The Hawk and while it was more good than bad, I did drop kick it a few times on the back nine as I got tired and a little lazy.
Even with my sore shoulder I played some good golf getting four pars (who doesn’t like par golf???) but as always there were some belly laughs at some of my horrendous attempts at golf.
My last drive of the day was a dropkick (yes I got a divot with my driver) that I punched forward a few metres and straight into the water, meanwhile Paddy is still throwing darts.
I have another 18 to play tomorrow in The Republic of Ireland (providing I can still swing a club with my shoulder) but I will do what I have been doing- massaging my shoulder as I drive.
I have the weekend off golf and will be editing videos and writing and touring before my final round in Northern Ireland Monday followed by a remedial massage just before I fly to Scotland for another twelve rounds of golf.
I certainly do love this game.