Rory McIlroy Players Championship TPC Sawgrass Champion b

Rory clenches the win on St Paddy’s weekend. Rory has shown great consistency in 2019 something which his game has lacked over the past few years. His game looks different this season, with a string of top 5 finishes this year Rory finally closed out his first win of the year. He held the nerves together coming down the daunting final 3 holes at TPC Sawgrass with veteran Jim Furyk doing everything in his power to become the oldest winner on the PGA Tour but even with a spectacular birdie on 18th it wasn’t to be for Jim this time round. A win at TPC has teed up a promising year for Rory with all the majors still to play for, his game is looking better then ever. Could he get back to number 1 player in the world? We sure think it will happen this year. I can’t think of anything better for the game of golf then having Rory and Tiger battle it out coming down the stretch of a major this year. I think it is a positive move by the PGA Tour moving the players championship to March as the norm is to consider the masters the kick start of the year but it truly feels like the season is now under way and we are very very excited at First Class Golf Tours.

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: Bunclody Golf and Fishing Club

Bunclody 17th Hole

Situated in 300 acres of breath-taking parklands in the former Hall-Dare Estate on the Carlow Wexford border. Newly opened in March 2009 it is already ranked in the top 21 parkland courses in Ireland and was recently voted ‘The Best Hidden Gem in Ireland’. Designed by Jeff Howes, the Championship course runs over 7000 yards on the banks of the river Slaney and has a diversity of golf holes, rarely seen on one golf course. One of the quirks to Bunclody golf club is an elevator that takes you from the 17th up 5 floors to the 18th tee box giving a bird’s eye view over the river as you ascend. It offers a challenging finish just like TPC Sawgrass with water coming into play down the final 3 holes, for me the 16th hole is the big test where it can make or break your round.

 

 

 

Are you coming to the east coast of Ireland this year? Ireland is famous for its links golf courses, but we have some beautiful parkland courses that should not be overlooked. At First Class Golf Tours we have put together our top 5 must play parkland courses on the east coast for 2019.

Mount Juliet 11th Hole Par 3 b 11) Mount Juliet, County Killkenny
Mount Juliet is a signature Jack Nicklaus course the par 72, 7,300 yards layout boasts rolling fairways, many feature water hazards and contoured greens, all superbly blended into the spectacular setting of this famous old Irish estate. Carton House, County Kildare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carton House OMeara Resort b2) Carton House, O’Meara course, County Kildare
Designed by Mark O'Meara which I’m sure you guessed with the name, beware the beauty of this classic parkland course as it is still full of challenges meandering through ancient woodlands and skirts the banks of the river Rye. The O’Meara course is an enjoyable course anytime of the year and suitable for all levels of golfers.

 

 

 

 

 

Killeen Castle 18 hole Solheim Cup Ladies Irish Open b

 

3) Killeen Castle, County Meath
A unique development set in the historic grounds of one of Ireland’s oldest and finest 12th-century Norman castles which is now home to this Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. The golf course has played host to a number of Ladies Irish Opens in 2010,2011 & 2012 as well as the Solheim Cup in 2011. It is a spectacular course with large fairways and sloping greens with strategically placed bunkers to offer a challenge to all levels of golfers.

 

 

Bunclody Golf Club golf b

 

 

 

 4) Bunclody, County Carlow

Newly opened in March 2009 it is already ranked in the top 21 parkland courses in Ireland and was recently voted ‘The Best Hidden Gem in Ireland’. The Championship course runs over 7000 yards on the banks of the river Slaney and has a diversity of golf holes, rarely seen on one golf course. One of the quirks to Bunclody golf club is an elevator that takes you from the 17th up 5 floors to the 18th tee box giving a bird’s eye view over the river as you ascend.

 

 

 

Druids Glen Irish Open Course

 

 

5) Druids Glen, County Wicklow
just twenty miles south of Dublin a previous European Golf Course of the Year winner known as ‘The Augusta of Europe,’ the course at Druids Glen is set out along undulating fairways and protected by its tall trees which require a straight hitter to score well here. Host to the Irish Open for four years in a from 1996-1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If those golf courses have got you ready to dust the clubs off from winter hibernation and book your next golf trip with a difference. Contact our experienced team at First Class Golf Tours and let us look after you.

dublin city centre

Dublin is the heart of Ireland. The central hub of tourism. What I love about Dublin is the atmosphere is naturally creates. It oozes culture and holds many of our national treasures. Whether you’re looking for a boozy night out in Temple Bar or a night at the theatre. There is something here for everyone to enjoy.

Now as much as I enjoy a stroll around Stephen’s Green. I pride myself on finding ‘Hidden Gem’s’, so I’m going to let you in a few of my finds. First up, is for all the coffee lovers out there! ‘The Beanhive’ is a tiny and when I say tiny, I mean TINY little coffee house that does a fine breakfast also. Just located of Dawson Street, their coffee is a MUST TRY when in Dublin. Its hard enough to get a seat as it only fits around 10 people but well worth the wait and excellent quality food!

spire on o connell street dublin city

Next up is a little lunch spot that has quickly become one of my favourites! ‘Platform 61’ is located on William Street and its one you would easily walk past and not even notice (I did it several times) Down a little stair and you’re under the streets of Dublin. Bottomless Mimosa brunch is their specialty and they really do mean bottomless. There burgers are hands down some of the nicest I’ve tried, and the owners are genuinely sweet as pie. Again, I would recommend booking in advance and it is becoming quite popular with locals!

That’s all I am going to give away for now! Some are still just a little to good to be sharing! Enjoy!

wexford town

Only an hour away from our home here in Waterford, Wexford is somewhere we find ourselves going quite often! Wexford's maze of medieval streets is

lined with a mixture of old-time pubs, posh shops and modern steel-and-glass facades. The town's rich and bloody history includes being founded by the Vikings and nearly obliterated by Oliver Cromwell.

It's an arty town, with plenty of craft shops and galleries – and good restaurants which can be found in abundances. What I find most surprising is how undiscovered Wexford is. For a town with so much to offer from shopping to Nature hikes to Historical landmarks. You’d think there would be tourists flocking here! If you’re ever down this way and decide to pop in Wexford, Stop into ‘CistinEile’ for lunch. Ever changing menu and a homely feel make it feel like your sitting with family and enjoying a good ‘Sunday Roast’ Check out the ‘Bull Ring Market’ A quirky little market that sells everything you didn’t know you needed! And lastly, Go to the ‘The Yard’ for dinner. Every single time I go to Wexford, that is the place I’ll eat. Scrumptious Menu AND they grow nearly all their own produce!

eating in wexford town

So take in this little town with so much to offer!

Europe Ryder Cup Le National
The Ryder Cup is my favourite golf tournament, I don’t think anything comes even close to it for me. It’s possibly the only thing that can keep me on the couch for 3 days in a row. The finishing score line looks impressive at 17.5-10.5 but during the middle of Sundays play it was looking dramatic for a short while, but Europe pushed on and defeated the talented United States team. This year’s home advantage played a huge part at Le National Golf Club with Patrick Reed the only player on the United States to have played a competitive round on the course before this week with many of his team mates never seen the course before this week. To me that is very poor preparation for a team who regularly use private jets to and from destination getting to Le National for a day or two months prior to the Ryder Cup would not have been a big deal. It was a thrilling weekend with some great golf on show from the world’s best. The icing on the cake was when Alex Noren sank that raker on 18 for the final put of the 2018 Ryder Cup. It topped off a great weekend for a Europe. Now I must get back to work and plan your First-Class Golf Tour for 2019.

Irelands Golf Course Spot light: The K Club

The K Club Ryder Cup 2006

The Arnold Palmer designed Ryder Cup Course is quite simply, one of Europe’s most spectacular courses. It charms, it entices and invariably, brings out the very best in your game. Ranked regularly in the top 3 parkland golf courses in Ireland. The K Club played host to The Ryder Cup in 2006, the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open where we saw Rory McIlroy’s European Tour Shot of the Year and 11 European Opens testify the importance of The K Club Ryder Cup Course to European Golf

Brooks Koepka PGA Championship 2018 Winner
Brooks Koepka does it again at Bellerive with second major championship of 2018 and 3rd of his career. What’s very interesting of Koepka is that he has just won 4 PGA titles throughout his career and 3 of them a Majors, the guy seems to know how to peak at the right time over the past two seasons. It could be the fact he is super fit which helps in major championships with physical stamina and mental fatigue, it has shown in the past few majors now where other top players fall away towards the end and Koepka is able to keep on moving forward right until the end. Once again Tiger mania circled around the weekends play and took us back to memories of Tiger at his prime. Tiger brings a different energy to golf which is needed for the sport, it is fascinating to see the crowd get behind him and urge him on to win. I am saying it now, 2019 will see Tiger Woods life a major trophy.

Irelands Golf Course Sportlight: Mount Juliet

Mount Juliet 3rd hole WGC

With the return of form from Tiger Woods it is worth taking a look at where Tiger won the Amex WGC Championship in 2002. Mount Juliet is a signature Jack Nicklaus course designed and opened in 1991. Mount Juliet is considered one of the best parkland golf courses in Ireland. The par 72, 7,300 yards layout boasts rolling fairways, many feature water hazards and contoured greens, all superbly blended into the spectacular setting of this famous old Irish estate. Mount Juliet hosted the WGC in 2002 & 2004, Irish Opens from 1993 to 1995, along with the Shell Wonderful World of Golf match between Tom Watson and Fred Couples in 1998. Mount Juliet is a destination every golfer wants to visit.

francesco molinari british open 2018 claret jugFrancesco Molinari hats off to you, a deserving winner to this year’s British Open. A bogey free final round is what players dream off when in contention of any major championship on the final day. It was a day where a host of top players could of came out on top, many of us were urging Tiger Woods to keep on going and bring him back to the top of the world stage but it wasn’t to be this time round but it sure has us thinking that Tigers career is well and truly still alive which is great for the game of golf. Molinari is having a great year on the golf course and this Major victory is the icing on the cake for the Italian. Molinari has done a lot of work behind the scenes in changing up his background team and taking a new focus on his game and practice. A big part of Molinari’s new set up is the focus on the mental game which I think is making the biggest impact on his success. Carnoustie was looking spectacular as always and will have a place in Molinari’s life for ever more. As for us Irish it was a strong performance from Rory but not to be this year, Rory will have to take some inspiration from the Molinari camp and gear himself up for the 2019 British Open which is to take place on Irish soil at Royal Portrush. The stage is certainly set for Rory in 2019.

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: Royal Portrush

royal portrush golf club

Royal Portrush Golf Club is home to one of the best and most challenging links golf courses in the world, the Dunluce Links. When the club was formed in May 1888, it was known as The County Club. It became The Royal County Club in 1892, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was its patron, and ‘The Royal Portrush Golf Club’ three years later, with H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) as patron. The only club in Ireland to have hosted The Open Championship (1951), Royal Portrush is a members club which welcomes visitors all year round to face the challenges of its courses and to brave the testing conditions.

Russel Knox Irish Open Winner 2018 BallyliffenAnother successful Irish Open with massive crowds as we have come to expect at the Irish Open or most sporting events in Ireland for that matter. This year we had the pleasure of watching brilliant golf played at Ballyliffen golf club which is a premier links course at the very northern part of Ireland. It was fitting that a Scottish Russel Knox of Scotland took the title as I am sure Knox would have grown up playing on similar links courses in Scotland as a kid. It took a play off to secure the title with fantastic putts made by knox on the 72nd championship hole and again similar putt on the 1stplayoff hole. As Knox said himself it is the sort of putts you dream of while on the practice green as a kid. It wasn’t to be for any of the Irish this week with all hopes falling away in round 3 though Shane Lowry looked impressive on Sunday with a round of 70, 2 under.

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: Ballyliffen Golf Club

BallyLiffin Irish Open 2018

Ballyliffin Golf Club consists of two outstanding, contrasting links courses and 36 wonderful holes, making up one of the finest golf resorts to be found anywhere in the world. The Glashedy Links is a Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock masterpiece fashioned around the incredible dunes andis rated amongst the best links tracks in the world and played host to a number of high profile amateur and professional tournaments including the 2018 Irish Open won by Russel Knox.

“Ballyliffin’s two courses are a must play on any golf trip to Ireland” - Rory McIlroy

Brooks Koepka 2018 US Open winner

Brooks Koepka is he possibly the most under rated golfer right now? After winning back to back US Opens, he seems like a guy who likes the big stage and the pressure does not phase him one bit. When you look at Koepka you might think American Football player but no he is a PGA Tour golfer and built with plenty of strength to take on the 7440-yard Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. It was certainly a big hitter’s course with some of the longer hitters on tour in Dustin Johnson and Tony Finau finishing in the top 5. It is nice to see the winning score nearer to par which we often only see in the US open. I like to watch the best players struggle to get the ball from rough to green like us normal golfers, it for sure gives us some hope in the game of golf. Now getting out of rough on a wet links course is a different story, Ihighly recommend just chipping out sideways to your nearest bit of fairway and try reach the green from there.

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: Co. Louth Golf Club (Baltray)

Baltray Golf Club Irish Open Venue

Founded in 1892, County Louth Golf Club, or Baltray as it is more commonly known, has established itself as one of Ireland’s finest links courses. Winner of the 2017 IGTOA Links course of the year and host to two Irish Opens the course stands as a par 72 and measures 7,031 yards from the Championship tee. Whilst the championship course is one of the purest tests of golf, a variety of teeing options are available to ensure enjoyment for golfers of all levels but like seen at this years US Open it has some challenging rough and interesting lies that will give you a test of golf as seen this weekend for the touring pros at Shinnecock hills.

monart destination spa wexfordWho doesn’t love a good spa day? If there’s one place in Ireland that your going to treat yourself or have a Ladies Day. Let it be the luxurious ‘Monart Spa’ in Co. Wexford! Voted in the Top 3 destination spa’s in the world, and I shall tell you why! Locked behind Iron gates just off the beaten track of Wexford is a gem hidden from the outside world, breathtakingly beauty landscape and an old style building the holds the most stunning décor you’ll ever see.

You expect luxury and its exactly what you get! Ladies, this one if definitely for the bucket list and must be experienced to be believed. The treatments will leave you feeling like a bundle of jelly. The hospitality is outstanding, and nothing is too much to ask for. The dining is that of what is expected from this resort and its mouth watering just reading the many menus on offer.

relax and unwind at monart spa wexford

I found myself thoroughly relaxed whilst lounging in my robe sipping on Prosecco with my closest friends. Its memories that can’t be replaced and I know, I won’t forget a single moment of my time there. Until next time Monart!

Patrick Reed US Masters Green Jacket Winne 2018

Patrick Reed held on to win his first major championship, he showed great courage to hold off Jordan Speith and Rickie Fowler in yet another fascinating US Masters. Something about Augusta National which manages to produce excitement and drama on the back 9 on Sunday year on year. The highlight of all over the years was Tigers chip on the 16th hole in 2005, I think every serious golfer remembers that one or at least seen it hundreds of times since across social media. Its only at Augusta National that dramatic golf is seen each year without fail. Many people are talking today about the behind the scenes lifestyle of Patrick Reed and his past but let’s put that aside and focus on the remarkable golf he played over the 4 days. It’s never easy to lead after 36 holes and go on to win. Patrick Reed played some fantastic golf, held his nerve when many thought he would fail. Hats off to you and enjoy the moment.

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: The Golf Club at Adare

Adare Manor JP Macmanus Irish Open Venue

Adare Golf Club course measures 7,453 yards and uses 230 acres of lush countryside. The parkland atmosphere of the demesne has been preserved with the course set amid magnificent, mature trees. The course contains many aquatic features, including a 14-acrelake and the River Maigue that meanders through the entire golf course. The course underwent significant redevelopment across 2016 and 2017 as part of a total redesign of the entire property.   Celebrated golf architect Tom Fazio has taken what was already an award-winning course and transformed it into a parkland paradise befitting a country in the top tier of global golfing destinations. When you step inside the gates of Adare it may be as close as you will get to stepping inside somewhere as special as Augusta National. The attention to detail here is first class, you are in for a real treat if you are lucky enough to play the golf club at Adare.



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