Green and pleasant land
- 19 Sep 06, 11:31 AM
K 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."
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