June 18, 2012
by Jackie Williams
DUBLIN - What a day! Today was our first full day in Ireland after we all arrived yesterday afternoon and checked into the Temple Bar Hotel right in the heart of Dublin's "cultural district". We started the day by enjoying a full Irish breakfast at the hotel. Irish people seem to really like gluten, which is wheat, barley and oats. It also happens to be what I am allergic too! I did find some delicious eggs though and of course, great company. We then headed off for 18 at The Island Club. A linksy layout about 45 minutes northeast of the city center.
Brian, our knowledgeable and hilarious bus driver showed us the lay of the land on the drive which included the famous potato fields as well as U2's former recording studio. We could not get to close to the studio, though, because Coach is a huge U2 fan and we need her with us the rest of the trip, not stalking the band.
Once we got to the course and started warming up it became clear that golf is different here than in America. We were given a "tube" of 20 range balls and asked to pick them up after we hit. Accuracy is a premium even in practice! I felt like Ben Hogan because I have read that he did that in his day. If any of you reading this did that back in your day, don't feel old. I have been told that wasn't actually that long ago.
The weather was beautiful. It was 55, sunny with a little wind. And a few quick sprinkles on the back, after all this is Ireland. We got used to landing the ball short of the green and invented a helpful short game saying "Putt it...from everywhere". It may not be very creative or rhyme but trust me, it is true. The back nine was where it really became amazing. We played a par 3 that went out into the water with hundreds of ships behind the green and dark cliffs left of it.
And you know if it is Cal golf, there has to be some inner- team competition so we divided ourselves into: The European Team (Coach, Dani, & Nico), the NorCal Team (Emily, Jackie, & Joi) and the Frosh Team (Morgan, Jo Ee, & Anna). The European team thought they had quite the advantage with their experience on this type of golf course but in my expert opinion the real team to beat is the NorCal team.
All in all, it was a blast. My team knew we needed to make some birdies and in our last six holes we really stepped it up. Joi and I hit drivers onto the green of that par 3 out on the water. Do not make fun of us that we hit driver on a par 3. It was long and windy and we made great pars. Emily had birdie putts on the next two holes and then Joi stuck it to 4 feet on the 16th. On 17 we were in quite a bind.
If you don't know, there is some pretty long grass here in Ireland and it is not too far from the fairway. I hit a great shot out, if I do say so myself, and saved our par. We just missed the Euros, who got us by three strokes, but they have played this style of golf before. Thank goodness, there is always tomorrow!