Add golfing in Ireland to bucket list

Portrush Dunluce Course

Portrush Dunluce Course

If playing golf in Ireland is on your bucket list or you want to go back and experience it again, you might want to consider one of the two trips that Texas golf professional Pete Hessemer has put together for this summer, providing a chance to enjoy your experience on the Emerald Isle touring in a bus instead of driving yourself. A couples trip is planned July 9-18 while a buddy trip for guys is planned July 30-Aug. 8.

Hessemer has the necessary experience to ensure that all participants will have an enjoyable experience since he has been taking groups to Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the past 17 years after falling in love with Ireland when he qualified for the British Senior Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club back in 1995. In fact, he will stay over in Ireland between the two events to see even more golf courses and sights.

“Some things are unforgettable like your first love, your first car and especially our first glimpse of the beautiful Emerald Isle as your plane punches through the clouds to reveal a patchwork of green countryside in Ireland,” Hessemer described his introduction.
Emphasizing his love for Ireland, Hessemer added, “If I only had a year to live, I would spend my final days on this earth playing golf in beautiful Ireland.”

Here’s a quick rundown of the courses to be played for both events:

*Royal County Down Golf Club, one of the top 15 links in the world nestled beneath the Mourne Mountains that run down to Dundrum Bay and appear to be purple due to the heather growing there. “I know you will enjoy your round, but you may not enjoy the ‘gorse’ and ‘tussocky’ grass that fronts the bunkers throughout the course,” Hessemer said.

*Portrush Golf Club Dunluce Course. “For some reason the wind seems to always blow across every fairway and usually in a left to right direction, not usually good for slicers,” said Hessemer. “Royal Portrush holds the honorable distinction of being the only club in Ireland to ever host the British Open–excuse me, ‘The Open’ that is.”

*Ballyliffin Golf Club Glashedy Course, located in the northern most part of Ireland. Designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock, it offers panoramic views of the country side, coastline and ocean as it traverses incredible dunes.

*The K Club, a former site for the Ryder Cup where the Europeans dealt the U.S. its worst loss in history. “This golf club for sure is one of the two top Parkland courses in all of Ireland,” Hessemer added.

*Portmarnock Golf Club Old Course, Hessemer’s favorite links course in Ireland. “The course seems to get harder as the round progresses,” Hessemer warned. “The course backs up against the Irish Sea and you will love or hate the famous par 3 15th hole where often four is a great score. It ranks as perhaps the toughest par 3 in all of Ireland.”

*Druid Glen Golf Club. “It’s without a doubt the most beautiful Parkland course in all of Ireland,” Hessemer noted. “The landscaping, shrubbery and flowers will tend to make you lose your concentration. The course is set on the rolling hills and terrain of Wicklow County, Ireland’s Garden County over-looked by the Sugarloaf Mountain range with the Irish Sea in the distance. The architect was Pat Ruddy, Ireland’s premier course designer.”

Killeen Castle, a Jack Nicklaus design which hosted the Solheim Cup, and Castlerock in Northern Ireland will also be included for the couples event while Royal Belfast, the first course in Ireland, and the Old Course at Ballyliffin, offering rolling fairways that ride like waves, will also be included for the guys trip.

While golf will be the featured attraction on these trips, Hessemer mentioned that there will be time for some sightseeing, including the Giants Causeway and downtown Dublin.

I’ve only had the privilege of playing both courses at Ballyliffin and Royal Country Down, but it sounds like Hessemer has put together what could be the trip of a lifetime at under $5,000. If interested, contact him at 936 756-9457. Don’t delay as plans need to be made as soon as possible to ensure that participants can use their mileage for air fares and to finalize deposits for the hotels and golf.

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