Maureen and I decided to start this blog – not another golf blog, what madness – for entirely selfish reasons, for our own amusement, to voice our opinions, to keep in touch with our friends and to make sure that we kept seeing each other regularly (they’re now called editorial meetings) after Dad died.

Where else could we start but back home in Ireland, where it all began for us?  As Maureen explains elsewhere we were taking part of Dad, a man of Sligo, to Rosses Point (more formally Co. Sligo Golf Club), where he grew up and learned his own idiosyncratic but annoyingly effective version of the game.

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Co Sligo Golf Club

At Rosses Point, where it was windy and threatening rain, we checked in at the Yeats, once owned by the Ewing family.   Cecil Ewing was a giant of Irish and British golf and a great friend of Charlie Yates, of Atlanta, Georgia, who was a friend of Robert Tyre Jones Jr, who founded Augusta National.  Is golf the original worldwide web?

The rain stopped in time for us to have a lovely round at the Point and I holed a testing little putt at the last to win the match and a bag of tees!  Why do wooden tees these days rarely last more than a hole or two?

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Victory is sweet

Royal Portrush in the far north was next on the list and the excitement in the Antrim air was palpable, even though the Open Championship won’t be returning until 2019, for the first time since 1951.

There are new holes being built, new carpets being laid, a spanking new pro’s shop to swallow up your spare cash but it’s still recognisable as the place where Maureen and I and our friends went to Golf Foundation classes with Stevie (P G Stevenson, the lovely, legendary professional), in the summer.  We played in competitions run by a formidable crew that included Dorothy Glendinning, Zara Bolton, Henrietta Bell, Pauline Higgins and many more.  You didn’t have to be a member to play and the participants came from far and wide.

We were a day or two too late for Darren Clarke’s tour with the Ryder Cup but had coffee and a chat with Wilma Erskine, BEM, Portrush’s secretary-manager, another in the long list of formidable women at the club, in situ for 31 years despite some of the less perceptive members reckoning they’d have her out in six months or less.

We played Dunluce on a glorious day and Lilian Starrett, taking time off from her duties at the Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf & Country Club, hit some shots that reminded us – and her – of her heyday as an Ireland international.  Nevertheless, she and I were handily beaten by Mo, who wielded her unanchored long putter far too well.

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With Lilian Starrett on the green at Calamity, Portrush’s famous par 3.  Mo got a 2!

The highlight of the week was due to be our needle match against our cousin John Breadon, a former captain of Portstewart (they were desperate that year!) and Michael Moss, the secretary-manager.  Bring plenty of money, John had said, with all the cockiness of someone masquerading off a handicap of 21 – although, to be fair, he did play gratifyingly like a 21-handicapper and we girls won the 9-hole match on the 8th green.  John birdied the 9th but had to play off the red tees to do so.

Moss was unable to play because the European Tour were visiting, to discuss the possibility of the Irish Open being played at Portstewart next year.  We’d been told at Rosses Point and Portrush, days before any official meeting, that the event was definitely going to Portstewart.  The jungle drums don’t care about the niceties of contracts or whatever and there’s just not a hope of keeping things quiet or your visit incognito in Ireland.  Thank goodness!

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Who’s who?  Keeping things as incognito as possible, with Breadon, Moss and Mike Stewart.