North West Golf Club – April 2017 – Today I had the pleasure of teeing it up with a fellow Twitter golf chatter, Pádraig Maclochlainn. It was chilly when I arrived and I was pleased when Gary Maclochlainn (Pádraig’s brother who runs the pro shop) turned up and opened the doors.
We had a good golf chat about my worldly adventures and about Fairways as Michael McGeady (golf pro who is running the junior program this summer) and Sean McLaughlin (who I had also chatted to on twitter) joined us. Pâdraig arrived not long after and we all continued talking until we decided I was actually here to golf, so let’s head on out.
It had warmed up perhaps a degree or two and we strolled off onto the course stopping for a couple of photos before teeing off.
It is narrow and not forgiving at all. It didn’t help that I couldn’t quite get on to anything. My driver was the best club in my bag and while a couple shots were a little wayward (mostly pushed by the wind) it was my subsequent shots that were hilarious.
I had wonderful intent but giggled quite a bit as I struggled to get out of the thick sticky rough. This is currently short and come June I am sure I wouldn’t have found half my shots. On a positive note I found three balls in said sticky rough.
Pâdraig started with a wonderful birdie and continued throwing darts around the course that he has been playing for 40 years. He started his golfing career as a caddy when he was a boy.
You can get in to trouble easily after a wonderful shot if the ball gets a bad bounce. The bunkers protect the greens very well, draining away from the green sucking in balls. These bunkers have been in place for 125 years – great course design.
Low handicappers could (and do) have a lot of trouble scoring on this course but I scored very well.
Nearly doubling the course record is a good thing right????
While my golf was awful (worst round I have played in over a year) the company was wonderful and I am very pleased to have laughed and snacked (of course my bag was filled with golf snacks) around the course.
After getting sixes and sevens I laughed as Pâdraig said here is a nice par 3 you’ll go alright on. I did go quite well after losing one ball off the tee, duffing my second shot, hitting the third into a bunker, then into the sticky moss. I was certainly experiencing everything the course has to offer and carding and 11 had me giggling at Pâdraig’s words on the tee.
Pâdraig had a couple of wayward shots as the wind just picked his ball and dumped it offline and I suggested he stop watching my shots.
I think on the 12th I might have shot 45 as I hit a great second shot that rolled into the well placed bunker about 100 yards out. Being in a fairway bunker I took a quick look and grabbed my 7 iron (which is my go to fairway bunker club) and when I was actually in the bunker I realised I needed my wedge. But I didn’t get it. My first shot popped out, got back spin and landed back at my feet. I then proceeded to whack about 40 shots into the edge of the bunker hoping it would be hard enough to end up back near the rake.
I could have gone and got my wedge but I didn’t. Instead I picked up the ball, moved it near the rake, moved the rake and hit an awesome shot onto the green.
Pâdraig was laughing and shaking his head as I explained I didn’t want to get my wedge.
Rain started spitting and at times it was icy shards, then warmed, then went away and as I was about to take my wet weathers off, it started again.
I was layered up. Four layers on top (including two jackets) and three on the bottom. It was a cosy round (once I replaced my cap with a knitted hat that is).
We had a lot of fun and were happy to beat the rain in as we played the 18th. Pâdraig finishing how he started with a great birdie. For myself I was happy with a bogey.
Post round as Pâdraig headed off for the school pick up and started tweeting photos, I chatted with his brother, Gary and answered questions.
Then the ladies arrived. Marie McLaughlin who is a member of the board along with her husband Sean (who I met earlier that day) and the Ladies Captain, Eileen Quigley.
We popped to a local hotel, had a spot of tea and some soup while we talked about golf in and around Buncrana.
Golf membership is dropping and we brainstormed various ways to try to increase and attract new members, particularly of the fairer sex. There are not too many women around this area who are interested in learning to play.
It is not for lack of trying as every summer introduction to golf courses are run to attract new members. Some try the sport and get distracted or move away and the younger girls are playing other sports.
This is not a unique problem. It is happening in many parts of the world and it is a matter of trying to adapt and find a solution that suits the locals within the particular community.
I had a great day, met some wonderful people, made new golf friends and had an awesome extended golf chat with my twitter mate, Pádraig.