Three weeks after we lauded Castlemartyr Resort in East Cork as our choice for an Irish golf club that was “out-running the recession with good marketing, facilities and smart investment.”
Since then the golf industry echoed our sentiments by naming them the Golf Resort of the Year at the 2014 Gala Irish Golf Awards.
Director of Golf Brady Sherwood and superintendent Trevor Norris were among the Castlemartyr Resort delegation led by owners Patsy Supple and Brian Herlihy who were on hand to see general manager Cathal Lynch receive the award last week in front of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a prestigious event hosted in Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo.
“I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of Castlemartyr Resort not just for our inland links-style course, our stylish pavilion clubhouse and our polished Pro Shop. We are all passionate about what we do at Castlemartyr Resort, and very proud of our golf course, so winning this award is a great testament to that passion and pride, and a much-appreciated reward for all the hours put in by every member of staff.”
Lynch said in accepting the award during a ceremony that served as part of the Ireland Golf Tour Operator Association’s (IGTOA) 17th National Golf Tourism Conference:
“Winning this award reinforces our mission statement at Castlemartyr Resort – ‘To do the ordinary things extraordinarily well’ – and being acknowledged by our contemporaries and our friends in this great industry is a recognition that really means a lot to us.”
Congratulations also to the other winners on the night, including Powerscourt’s Bernard Gibbons, named IGTOA Golf Manager of the Year on an evening his course was chosen as Best Parkland Venue.
“Bernard is an exceptional man as well as an exceptional manager,” Powerscourt Golf Club managing director Sarah Slazenger said of the award. “At Powerscourt we have known for 17 years about his great ability.”
Gibbons has been at the helm at Powerscourt since the golf club opened in 1997 having started his career in the golf industry almost 50 years ago as a 15-year-old apprentice to European Tour legend John Jacobs at the Leopardstown Race Course driving range.
That half century has taken him to Powerscourt via a number of roles including golf professional, RTÉ golf commentator, chairman of the Golf Course Owners Association and board member of the Special Olympics Committee.
“From the time I started my golfing career I always wanted to be at the top, whether it was playing the game, teaching, or administration; this award has achieved that for me,” Gibbons said. “I thank all those who have helped me achieve this honour.”
Congratulations to all the IGTOA winners.
Irish golfing heroes Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke were putting on the glitz in China over the weekend as they rubbed shoulders with stars at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am in Haikou, China.
Our pictures show Ryder Cup-winning captain McGinley lining up alongside Gary Player, Hollywood stars Morgan Freeman and Jessica Alba and Mission Hills Resort owners Ken Chu and Tenniel Chu during a press conference for the event, from which proceeds are being donated to the World Wildlife Fund and the Yao Ming Foundation.
In our other picture, 2011 Open Champion Clarke dons his tuxedo for a red carpet shot alongside Ladies European Tour golfer Caroline Martens of Norway during an opening ceremony staged at Mission Hills’ $300 million Movie Town tourist attraction, which recreates sets from famous Chinese movies and also includes four huge state-of-the-art film studios.
Back on the course, the Word Celebrity Pro-Am was won by Justin Rose.
We’ve become so used to gloom and doom surrounding the golf industry, that despite the green shoots of recovery, it is still a welcome jolt to the system when news reaches us of a more positive nature. So in addition to an announcement from US equipment company Callaway last week that it expects to return to full-year profitability for the first time in six years, there was also good news closer to home, from Rathfarnham Golf Club.
The Dublin club built as a nine-hole course in 1899 is set to unveil a full 18-hole layout following the completion of work by Jeff Howes Golf Design. Rathfarnham added five holes to its original nine in 2002 and six years later, Howes added another. Now, after the club purchased additional land adjoining the course last year, Howes is back on site to oversee the completion of the three new holes he has designed, work having started in early July with the 18-hole layout ready for play next April. “I can’t wait to play the course next year, it’ll be fun,” Howes said.
“I am delighted with the result.”