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Green and pleasant land

  • Rob Hodgetts - BBC Sport golf writer
  • 19 Sep 06, 11:31 AM

rob_hodgetts55x55.jpgK CLUB - I love the smell of a golf course in the morning.
Especially a lush green one with mature trees, a magnificent clubhouse and the River Liffey running through it.

First impressions are that the K Club is a pretty sumptuous venue, the sort of place to bunt it round with a couple of friends on a quiet midweek summer's day.

Well, it is Tuesday. And it is sunny.

But with three days to go before the action starts, the K Club is already heaving. The players from both sides are out practising and already it is a scrum to catch sight of Tiger around a green.

Those 50 euro official Ryder Cup periscopes that we scoffed at on the way in (“aren’t they just bits of cardboard with two mirrors?”) could look more attractive by the day.

There is a two kilometre traffic exclusion zone around the K Club, so it's park-and-ride time.

The ploughed-field car park, which will become a light brown quagmire when Wednesday’s forecast deluge arrives, is enlivened by the strains of a jaunty Irish two-piece belting out traditional folk songs, just to remind you where you are.

Once off the bus, the security to get into the course is something else, far more strict than at the Open Championship.

Mobile phones are banned, coins, keys and other metallic objects must be carried through in a clear plastic bag, and everyone must pass through the “mag-and-bag” checks.

The K Club, which lurks hidden among gently rolling farmland, is a vast venue (the estate as a whole spans 600 acres) and it takes some time, as you walk past luxurious hospitality suites, before you eventually glimpse a hole.

(That is, if you haven’t been blinded by the iridescent red trousers of cricket legend Ian Botham as he speeds round in a golf buggy.)

Passing grandstands, the tented village and what must surely rank as one of the world's top five most picturesque practice grounds you reach the media centre, the hub of operations for the week.

But I'll leave this entry with a little tale gleaned from local radio station Today FM.

Apparently, it's some sort of pirate day here (along with European mobility day, laughable in itself given Dublin's traffic) and in honour of that, the presenter told of the fella who went to a costume party dressed as a pirate.

The host asked him: "Where are your buccaneers?"

To which yer man replied: "Under me buccan-hat."

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:01 PM on 19 Sep 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Sounds as if the atmosphere is building can't wait 'til I enter the club on Thursday for the final practice day. Although Wellies might be the order of the day judging by the weather forecast!

  • 2.
  • At 01:38 PM on 19 Sep 2006,
  • Gary Webster wrote:

It's National Talk Like a Pirate Day me hearties! Ha haaar.

Shiver me timbers and splice the mainsail etc etc

  • 3.
  • At 02:19 PM on 19 Sep 2006,
  • Craig, London wrote:

It's national 'speak like a pirate' day over here too, not just in the emerald isle. Arrr

  • 4.
  • At 10:36 PM on 19 Sep 2006,
  • jason wrote:

Given the amount of people pouring into the K club (45,000 today) and the security risk and given the amount of tickets being touted through ebay for example I can't imagine the security teams are having an easy time of things and the security checks are going to be a nightmare.

Are people being turned away if they dont have the right identification with their tickets or not?


Blogs, what a great way for the BBC to cover the Ryder Cup.

Living in France, the internet is a great way for me too to catch news and events from the K Club.

However, I am not happy with the recognition the world of sport gives to professionals who work day in day out on golf greens, football pitches etc, so that we as sportsmen and women, both professional and amateur alike can enjoy our sports at their best.

The Greenkeeper is a highly skilled person working under some extremely difficult conditions and I would like to see the BBC recognise this in a much more robust manner.

It is time to make a programme about how the golf course is prepared and presented ahead of these major events. I think television owes it to sport to start supporting both sides.

To avoid headlines like this it is now time for the programme editors, blog editors and commentators to give up some airtime as these great sporting events cannot operate without them.

Best regards

Philip Voice

  • 6.
  • At 04:46 PM on 20 Sep 2006,
  • tom o'brien wrote:

common sense should have said that it was foolish to hold the Ryder Cup at the time of the autumn equinox (late Sept) as you always get high winds and about half the Atlantic being dumped on Ireland!!

Hello again BBC.

Further to my comment above about taking an interest in the course preparation I am flabbergasted that the BBC just continues to talk about transport problems, Tiger Woods' wife's fake nude photos, and the weather etc.

Get a reporter out with a camera before dawn with Superintendent Gerry Byrne and his team and show the golfing world what problems and conditions they are dealing with on an hourly basis to present the course in this fantastic condition.

I personally would like to know what machinery they utilise, how many cuts per metre the cylinder greens mower achieves and at what height the grass is cut at?

Little details like for example, is the cut lowered over the three days, thus speeding up the ball and what that relates to on the Stimp meter?

I must say Gerry, the course is a credit to you and your BIGGA team.

Philip Voice

Landscape Juice

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