Aug. 12, 2014
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Notre Dame women’s golf team — led by head coach Susan Holt and six veterans (five returnees plus recent graduate Kristina Nhim) as part of a 22-person travel group — is in the midst of its first foreign tour since 2009, spending eight days in Ireland, playing some of the world’s top courses and enjoying some of the country’s greatest landmarks. Assistant coach Kyle Lynne Demeter will be keeping us updated throughout the tour with photos and diary entries, with Tuesday’s first entry covering the team’s arrival and first day of competition.
Day 1 — Sunday, Aug. 10
Hello Irish fans!! After our overnight flight from O’Hare Airport in Chicago to Shannon, Ireland, we were greeted by smiles of excitement from our tremendous Anthony Travel representative, Ann Roepke, and our tour guide for this week, a charming man named Dennis. We then make a quick stop for some coffee (hey, we all needed to wake up after that long plane ride!), a chance to hit the local ATM and even visited a gorgeous little church nearby.
Then, it was off to one of Ireland’s most famous spots, the Blarney Castle, and a chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone. Everyone took turns kissing in the traditional backwards and upside down form the 600-year-old stone, which is supposed to give the person “the gift of gab.” The castle itself is amazing and we all took some time to take in the impressive layout and remember all the history behind its construction.
Following a bit of shopping and lunch, we headed to Killarney and the Malton Hotel, our home base for the first half of our tour. The rest of the day was spent catching up on our rest from the trip across the Pond, exploring the town of Killarney and enjoying our opening night “welcome” dinner at the Malton Hotel, along with announcing the pairings for each of the six rounds of golf we’ll be playing this week.
All 22 of us are so excited to be here, to represent Notre Dame and to enjoy this amazing and beautiful country. In fact, here’s a quick rundown on who else is joining us on the trip: Susan Holt, Tim Holt, Justin Holt, Kyle Lynne Demeter, Kyle Joseph Demeter, Kristina Nhim, Ashley Armstrong, Kelli Oride, Talia Campbell, Jordan Ferreira, Jaine Fineis, Sara Liebscher, Pam Porter, Jean Gorman, Catherine Almquist, Jim & Norma Creighton, Kevin & Karen Keyes, Larry & Giovanna Mastrovich and Cindy Parseghian.
Now it’s off to bed and to get ready for our first round of golf on Monday at the Waterville Golf Links!
Day 2 — Monday, Aug. 11
We’re now rested and set to tee off at Waterville, which is ranked as the No. 34 course in the world by Golf Digest. But before we head to the links, we needed a hearty Irish breakfast to fill up, and the Malton Hotel delivered with a tremendous spread that included eggs, bacon, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, although we recommend watching out for the Irish sausage!
On the way to Waterville, we traveled through several small Irish towns, along the Ring of Kerry, which is a noted tourist route with numerous great sights along the way. When we arrived at the course, we were greeted by Jack Connolly, who is Waterville’s Membership Chairman and also a huge Notre Dame fan. In fact, I think he had a major role in raising the massive Notre Dame flag that was flying high over the course when we pulled in.
Our five groups teed off around 12:30 p.m. under good conditions in the mid-60s, with some bits of sun, a few clouds and even the occasional shower. But the real challenge was the wind at close to 25 miles per hour –welcome to links golf!!
At the end of our rounds, we received a huge surprise, courtesy of Jack Connolly and Marty Carr (the CEO of Carr Golf Ireland). They had arranged for us to meet Ireland’s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, who met with our team and the entire travel party and posed for some pictures. What a great memory for all of us — it’s not every day you get to meet the leader of a major country like that!
We then followed the Ring of Kerry back to the Malton in Killarney and looked forward to our second round of golf on Tuesday, this time at the Tralee Golf Club, where our team will play a match against some top local players. More on that coming soon, but until then, GO IRISH!
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s golf program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s golf Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @NDwomensGolf) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.