June 22, 2012
The California Golden Bear women's golf team finished off the Ireland portion of their overseas tour by playing a round at the Portmarnock Golf Club just outside of Dublin. Freshman Jo Ee Kok sent back this report from a breezy day on the Irish coast.
Our good weather in Ireland had continued it's good streak although the wind at Portmarnock Golf Club where we played today made the wind at the last 4 courses that we played seem like a gentle breeze!
We were told that the Portmarnock Golf Club was very similar to Carnoustie Golf Links - the venue for the Ladies British Amateur Championships held next week which would see us Bears pitting our game against the likes of Europe's finest players, and hence very good preparation for the days to come.
Today's format was scramble to help us stay competitive in the blazing wind. With pot bunkers strategically placed in the fairway to trap our tee shots, the superb layout of the course forced us to carefully navigate our balls around the obstacles thrown at us. Despite the tough conditions, the course played fairly - rewarding well-judged shots and penalizing wayward ones. On holes that played along the coast, the wind proved to be our greatest enemy. Despite such challenging conditions, these holes offered breath-taking picturesque views capable of amazing even those whose mood might have been dampened by the ongoing round. Unfazed by the strong winds, everyone trudged through the course shooting respectable scores.
After the game we got together to share the things we've learned from playing golf in a links layout, which have been a far cry from the courses in America. Tips ranging from how to "hack" the ball from the long rough (though better advice would be to simply avoid that stuff!) to managing our distances on the approach were thrown around the table. The bus ride back to the hotel saw us share hilarious stories and singing along to songs in a bid to bide our time during rush hour traffic. This was also our last full day in Dublin, which meant there wasn't much time left for us to perfect our Irish accents! You never really notice, but a week sure flies by quickly and in a blink of an eye, it came to the last day we'd spend together as a team, which was a bittersweet ending to the Ireland leg of our Europe Golf trip.
Of course we cannot do things like this on our own without some extreme help! A special thanks to the Lamberson's for sponsoring us and making the trip happen. We felt very fortunate (and safe) to have our own "golf bus" and driver Brian McCormack as well as a helpful golf trip coordinator, John Lambe who set us up to stay in the most fun area in Europe, Temple Bar, Dublin. The culture, the people, the courses and weather and most of all team camaraderie made this a very special memory for all of us.
Next up - Carnoustie - you'd better watch out, the Bears are really coming on after this effective and wonderful training week! Follow along beginning Tuesday with blogs from Nico and Morgan! Go Bears!