A slice of Wicklow heaven at breakfast, dinner and tee time

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Golf is an efficient stroll spoiled, Mark Twain is claimed to have stated.

wish to stroll. I’m not a golfer. Within the lockdown I did two issues I’ll bear in mind: I took up tennis once more for the primary time since faculty, and I’m nonetheless good at it; and I additionally proposed engagement to be married. My wife-to-be is a golfer. Properly, she used to play. She continues to be pretty useful at it. And so it was that we discovered ourselves within the Tulfarris Lodge & Golf Resort close to Blessington, Co Wicklow, over the summer season.

You have no idea strain till you do that: it was a stunning day, the solar shining down. We have been pre-booked to play 18 holes at 10.50am. Ten minutes after us, the Irish Junior Open was to tee off. These younger golfers take it very severely. They gown the identical as the professionals you see on tv; they stroll the identical, as if a TV digital camera have been on them; they put on the identical hats with sponsors’ names on them.

Their mother and father take it severely too, very severely. Amongst all of them that morning have been in all probability the following Rory McIlroy or Shane Lowry. So, I bought right into a buggy, with my wife-to-be. She drove. I’ve by no means pushed a golf buggy earlier than – that’s how uninitiated I’m on this sport. We had bother beginning her up, however with a little bit of throttle, away we went, heading for the primary tee. There was an excellent crowd across the first gap teeing-off space, as you’ll count on initially of the Irish Junior Open. That is strain.

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Par excellence ... stunning greens of Tulfarris on the shores of the Blessington lakes

Par excellence … gorgeous greens of Tulfarris on the shores of the Blessington lakes

Par excellence … gorgeous greens of Tulfarris on the shores of the Blessington lakes

I place my tee and a ball atop and stand as much as drive off, tons of (in years to return, 1000’s) wanting on. I’ve not hit a golf ball in earnest in 10 years, perhaps 15. Fact is, I’ve by no means actually ever hit a golf ball in earnest. So, that is strain.

The crowds are watching – in all probability questioning why we have been teeing off 10 minutes earlier than the Irish Open. So I reverted to my hurler’s grip. I bear in mind what my wife-to-be stated within the buggy: “Don’t fret. Hold your head down. Take a look at the ball.” And that’s what I did, and whoosh, away it went down the golf green, at an inexpensive peak, veering somewhat to the suitable. Not dangerous, not dangerous in any respect…

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The true golfers studying this might be appalled, perhaps somewhat envious. How does a non-player like me get to play a fantastic golf course? And Tulfarris is a good golf course, probably the greatest round, and solely half an hour or so from the M50. It has all to do with staycations. This text is certainly one of a number of to induce folks to contemplate holidaying at residence. I selected Tulfarris due to its proximity, with out figuring out it was a golf resort. It was solely afterwards I found it was all about golf. And imagine me, it’s all about golf.

There may be lots to do within the space: walks, excursions, procuring. It’s near Kildare Village, the place we visited, and Naas city, which we additionally visited, and Russborough Home, which homes the Beit assortment of artwork. So in case you are a husband, or the husband-to-be, of a golfer, or vice versa, there may be nonetheless lots to do. However you actually would must be a golfer to go to Tulfarris. In case you are, you’ll not be upset.

The meals is nice, for an additional factor. The four-star resort, owned by the PREM Group, had simply opened the Fia Rua Restaurant earlier than lockdown, then needed to shut it down, and it reopened per week earlier than we arrived. I’ve additionally been instructed by the golfer on this home to say the wild garlic pesto and, sure certainly, it was wonderful. So that’s golf and meals.

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Jody and his wife-to-be Mary enjoyed a round or two
Jody and his wife-to-be Mary enjoyed a round or two

Jody and his wife-to-be Mary loved a spherical or two

Jody and his wife-to-be Mary loved a spherical or two

Did I point out the hospitality? This can be a very welcoming resort. All of the workers have been getting used to their face masks and practising social distancing after we arrived. They have been all exceptionally pleasant and useful, and if I may particularly point out Bernard, who’s an actual treasure.

On our second day, this time strolling at a slower tempo by the 18-hole course, with no strain from behind, I used to be struck by the good pure fantastic thing about the place, on the shores of the Blessington Lakes. At a number of factors we noticed herds of purple deer roaming about, often once I was on the lookout for my misplaced ball. For it is a troublesome course, and a protracted one, with slim fairways, difficult tough terrain and well-placed bunkers. You’d need your wits about you. However golf, it seems, is an efficient sport, a loopy sport. I got here away that day considerably obsessed. Within the queue for breakfast, I used to be practising my swing in gradual movement.

Now, you golfers are going to be actually jealous once I let you know what occurred subsequent: the touring skilled at Tulfarris is Simon Thornton, who final week gained the Irish PGA Championship. Anyway, there was Simon on our last morning, and lo and behold, a lesson was organized for us with him. What a deal with. I felt no strain in any respect. He’s a stunning man. So, he has reversed my grip from hurler to orthodox, and by the point I had completed the lesson – I swear to you – I used to be driving as much as 200m (properly, greater than 150m), as straight as a die; and my iron play was immaculate, popping the ball exactly to the place I needed it to go. I assure you, Simon is a genius.

In order that’s golf. Onwards on our trip we went to Rosslare, the place I went out on the native membership with my father-in-law-to-be, Shay, who’s aged 80 and has been enjoying golf for 60 years, at one level with a handicap of two. Now, Shay can also be a genius in some ways, and gently affected person.

However that is golf: that day in Rosslare, each shot I performed went wayward, each putt properly vast, all of my well-learnt classes gone awry. Take 50laptop off, Simon and Shay would inform me – off the ability behind my swing. I preserve forgetting that, in golf and life. At some point I might be as smart as Simon and Shay.

Tulfarris golf course was designed by course architect Patrick J Merrigan. Except for the Irish Junior Open that day, it has additionally hosted the EuroPro Tour PREM Irish Masters in 2018 and 2019. So it’s quick creating a repute. There’s a new driving vary too.

Tulfarris can also be a sensible choice for a marriage, small and enormous, the utmost capability being 250 visitors for dinner. We could also be again.

Jody stayed on the four-star Tulfarris Lodge & Golf Resort in Blessington, Co Wicklow. The Play Keep And Dine package deal prices from €104.50 per particular person sharing and consists of 18 holes of golf on the Championship golf course, a connoisseur three-course meal within the AA Rosette Fia Rua Restaurant, and an evening in a deluxe bed room. Please e-book your tee-time upfront with the professional store on (045) 867 609. www.tulfarrishotel.com; (045) 867 600

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