12 Top Tips for a Golf Trip To Ireland – Part 2
Continuing on from the last blog, here are tips 3 to 12 on how to make the most of your golf trip to Ireland. This is a guide to help you get more - some may be second nature to you already... and if you have a few other suggestions, please feel free to let us know.

3. Golf Clubs & Bag

Golf Clubs

These days you don’t even have to travel with your own clubs when flying overseas. If you fly in to Dublin you can rent the latest models of club from ClubsToHire. Yes, you don’t have your own clubs, but it will save on packing, effort, worry and, possibly, the price of your plane ticket. It will also keep your spouse happier if your holiday is of the family variety

At ClubsToHire you can choose from the latest clubs… so if you’re thinking of upgrading, it is worth considering.

Of course, if you take your golf seriously or if you’re on a buddy trip, where results and scores mean the difference between ridicule and bragging rights, you’ll want your own clubs.

You have two options: find a company like Ship Sticks, which looks after yourclubs for you: they pick up from homes and offices and deliver clubs to your hotel or the golf course you’re playing. There’s very little for you to do, other than pack your clubs (in a travel case – see below).

Golf Bag

If you’re planning to do the hard work and bring your own clubs to the airport, you’ll need a good travel case (see below). But there is one other important consideration: the size/weight of your bag. Consider what extras you could pack in your bag (waterproofs, shoes…) to reduce the weight of your other bags… but balance this against a caddie having to carry your tour-size bag for a day, or you pulling a trolley up and down dunes (not all courses allow carts). Generally speaking, the more lightweight the bag, the better.

Tip: Following what happened to Graham DeLaet’s clubs en route to the 2015 Open Championship (a protein pouch exploded in his bag inflight), be sure to put creams, powders and lotions in separate bags in your golf bag.


View back to the tee on the 3rd hole at Carne (Hackett 18)


4. Golf Club Travel Case

Hard case or soft? That’s the first question. A hard case protects your clubs, 100%, but it is heavier and more cumbersome than a soft case. If you’re hiring a car, you also need to make sure that the boot/trunk is big enough for the hard case to fit. Crushing four golfers and four sets of clubs into a Class B sized car is unlikely to work.

A soft case may be a better bet, but you’ll need to ensure your clubs are well wrapped and protected. A great idea is to cut a length of wood (a broom/brush handle, for example) that is a couple of inches longer than your Driver. Stick it in the bag and when it’s tossed in the airplane’s hold, any pressure applied to the ends of your bag will affect the broom handle… not your precious Driver.

Another suggestion is a large piece of bubblewrap to wrap around the top of your clubs.

Tip 1: Be sure to make your travel case instantly recognisable – by using a coloured band, for example – as your clubs may appear on the carousel at the same time as 20 other sets. Alternatively, some airlines deliver ‘oversized’ luggage to different parts of the airport (be sure to ask when checking in) so being able to recognise your bag from a distance will help.

And always ensure that your bags are well labelled, inside and out.

5. Clothing & Waterproofs

Clothing

What you bring to wear depends entirely on your own preferences and how warm you want to be. Chances are that you’ll be adding or removing clothes during a round, so bear that in mind. Etiquette requires you to wear appropriate gear and some clubs WILL have a ‘no jeans and nocollarless t-shirt’ policy – not that you’re going to come all this way to play in jeans.

In the clubhouse, a jacket and tie are rarely required. Only a few clubs require any such formalities, and that’s only if you’re attending an official dinner/function.

Waterproofs

Yes, chances are you’ll need them and even if you don’t, count them as insurance. If you want to bring two sets, there’s no harm in it. There’s nothing worse than having to climb into a wet set of waterproofs (and golf shoes, especially) for the next round of golf. And don’t skimp on your waterproofs – they will be worth the investment.

I’d also recommend a waterproof hat. That nice-to-have umbrella I mentioned earlier… given the winds it might not ever come out, so the hat is a useful alternative. If you are determined to bring an umbrella – make sure it’s a good one.

Wet Gloves

If you don’t have a pair, they are a worthwhile investment. The wetter they are, the better they grip.


Views back over the 5th green (Kilmore 9) to the heart of the dunes.

6. Golf Shoes

Given the variety of spikeless golf shoes on the market, you could easily travel with two pairs and cover your golf and everyday requirements. Even if you prefer spikes, the recommendation would be to bring a minimum of two pairs of golf shoes. As said above – there’s nothing worse than putting on wet shoes.

Tip: If you need to dry out your shoes, first take out the insoles then stuff the shoes with newspaper for a couple of hours… but don’t leave the newspaper in overnight. If possible, give them a chance to breathe in the hotel’s drying room. Show trees are also recommended as they help to maintain the shoes’ shape.

7. Hire Car & Driving

If you’re not travelling by tour bus, make sure your hire car is big enough for clubs and golfers alike. Get a GPS if you’re doing a big tour – trust me, on the Irish roads it will save you some heartache. At the very least buy a decent map.

Out around Carne you’ll find a lot of signposts in the Irish language: Belmullet, where you will be heading en route to Carne, appears constantly as Béal an Mhuirthead. If you’re struggling, look for the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) signs.

Irish road distances are given in kilometres (8 kilometres = 5 miles).

Tip 1: If you drive an automatic at home, chances are you’ll want to drive the same when you get to Ireland.  You’ll be sitting on the opposite side of the car and the opposite side of the road, so some familiarity will be a blessing. However, the number of automatic cars available for hire in Ireland is limited, so be sure to address that during the booking process.

Tip 2: when you collect your car, tell the company representative where you are going and ask if you will be passing through any tolls. The most important one is the toll on the M50 motorway, which bypasses Dublin city, as this is Ireland’s only freeflow toll system. You don’t pay at the toll – in fact you’ll barely know you’ve passed through it – so you have to pay online or at a shop/service station. Alternatively, if you know you are going through it, you might be able to pay at the car hire office. (More information, here – www.eflow.ie). However, if you are travelling from Dublin to Carne, you won’t pass through the M50 toll. Also, if you hire a new vehicle, the speedometer may only be in kilometres per hour.


The magical approach to the par four 8th on the Kilmore nine.

8. Golf Buggies

Several links courses don’t allow buggies (although Carne does), so bear that in mind when packing all those ‘extras’ into your golf bag.

9. Money

If using a credit/debit card, pay in the local currency (i.e. Euro) as your bank at home will then do the conversion and will (probably) give you the best rate. It’s also worth contacting your card company to tell them that you’ll be away: there’s nothing worse than trying to pay for something expensive only to have the shop assistant tell you your card has been declined for ‘possible fraud’.

Remember, there are two currencies on the island: Pounds Sterling are accepted in Northern Ireland and Euro in southern Ireland. Hotels, B&Bs, bars, restaurants which sit close to the Border between north and south are likely to accept both currencies… but be sure to bring some of each if you’re travelling between the two countries.

Travel insurance – a no brainer, really. And always ensure that your clubs are covered

10. Tipping

Usually 12.5%-15% at restaurants. At bars and in hotels (rooms included), a small gratuity is always appreciated.

Tipping Caddies
The cost of caddies varies considerably depending on expertise and ‘double-bagging’. These fees are preset by the golf clubs. How much you then tip them depends on you and how much you feel they have added to your day.

11. Cameras

Less important these days as smartphones have such good lenses/resolution, but when you visit places like
Carne, Connemara, County Sligo, Enniscrone and Strandhill – all in Ireland’s north west – a good camera
may be exactly what you’ll want when you’re standing on tees and greens that promise stunning views.


The par four 9th on the Hackett 18 - a hole that climbs the ridge to the clubhouse.

12. Odds & Ends

Dublin Airport
Dublin is the only Irish airport to have two terminals. Terminal 2 is home to all US-bound flights as it has US Customs pre-clearance.

Even if you end up at the wrong terminal when travelling home, the two are close together and no more than a 5 minute walk apart.

Passports/Documents

It never hurts to have paper copies of your passport and travel documents, in case they get lost or stolen. Or you could just take photos of them with your phone.

Sun screen
Yes, definitely. Even on cloudy days you can burn, so be sensible.

Ear plugs
Useful for the airplane… and if your room-mate snores.

Electrical adaptors
How many pieces of kit will you be bringing with you that require electricity/recharging? Phone, iPad, shaver, camera batteries… it’s a long list, so bring two adaptors to be safe.

Phone
Check with your phone provider that you’re on the best roaming rate available – for calls and internet connection. Most hotels/restaurants/bars/cafes have free wi-fi, and you can ask for codes in clubhouses if there isn’t a free signal, but it never hurts to know that you’re on the best roaming package available. And remember to ask your own provider which Irish network offers the best prices/coverage. 

Drink
Guinness will be the most popular, but try a few craft beers too. There are some excellent stouts and rich IPAs, and their popularity (and availability) is spreading.

Food
Be prepared for a cooked breakfast in every hotel and B&B. If you don’t know what black and white pudding is, you might want to ask. And be sure to try a pack of Tayto Crisps – they’re an Irish institution.

Time
It’s precious, so make the most of it while you’re here. Take the time to get loosened up on the range, take a tour of the clubhouse – many of them have rich histories adorning the walls and filling the cabinets – take photographs, and take home a wonderful set of memories. Ireland and every Irish golf course you play deserve nothing less.
Posted by admin at Jun 23, 2016 Category: Other
Tags: Belmullet, carne golf links, Clubs to Hire, Links Golf Ireland, Wild Atlantic Way