Golf clubs scramble to get Clinton to play a round

Many of Cork’s leading golf clubs will forget their etiquette as they scramble to invite former US president Bill Clinton for 18 holes next month.

Mr Clinton has confirmed he will visit Cork for the first time on June 22 to make a keynote address at a conference for business leaders and philanthropists.

The avid golfer may only be in Ireland for 24 hours, but previous visits suggest Mr Clinton is partial to a round of golf when he is in Ireland. Confirmation of the trip has spurred a number of prestigious golf clubs, such as Fota Island resort and the Old Head links, into action with invites.

Mr Clinton will also have the option of playing the Ron Kirby-designed inland links at the Castlemartyr resort that is hosting the Worldwide Ireland Fund’s annual conference.

Mr Clinton, who took up the game as a boy and first played an old course in Hot Springs, Arkansas, reckons he is about a 12 handicap and has shot 15 or so rounds in the 70s, but is “liable to have a bad round now and then”.

On his last trip to Ireland, he played Royal Dublin with Pádraig Harrington, U2’s The Edge and Declan Kelly, a close friend of Mr Clinton who previously served as the US government’s special envoy to the North for two years, working for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr Kelly, a former Irish Examiner staff writer, is familiar with the wide range of golf facilities around Cork and will advise Mr Clinton on his options.

The visit is being organised to coincide with the Worldwide Ireland Fund’s annual conference, where Mr Clinton will address more than 200 delegates.

Delegates will be hosted by MichaelFlatley at his CastleHyde home on the eve of the conference.

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