Aug. 14, 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 Thursday’s second entry focused on the team’s competitions at Tralee and Old Head.
Day 3 — Tuesday, Aug. 12
Dia duit Notre Dame lucht leanÃƒÆ’Âºna gaily! (which means “Hello Notre Dame golf fans!” in Ireland’s official language, sometimes called Irish or Gaelic – it’s a language that about five to 10 percent of the Irish population regularly speaks).
Today, we traveled through more of Ireland’s beautiful countryside, heading northeast out of Killarney up to Tralee Golf Club, which Golf Digest ranked as the No. 7 course in Ireland. It was the first European course designed by the great Arnold Palmer, who once said – “I built the front nine and God designed the back.”
It’s a tremendous layout and even on the clearest and calmest days, you’re going to be tested. Our players took part in a team match against selected members of the Irish Women’s National Team, and after some early showers, the skies cleared up a bit and it got into the mid-60s again, although the winds were once again a factor, getting close to 20 miles per hour. In spite of the challenges brought on by links golf, the course, our competition and the weather, our Notre Dame players held their own, ending the match with Ireland in a 3-3 tie. It was a great opportunity and we were grateful to Tralee and the Women’s National Team players for their warmth and hospitality throughout the afternoon.
After our rounds, we returned to our hotel (the Malton) in Killarney for some more individual sightseeing time and dinner. We also discovered the famous Murphy’s and enjoyed some tasty ice cream to cap off another memorable day.
Day 4 — Wednesday, Aug. 13
It was an early wake-up call for all 22 of us in the travel party, with the bus rolling out at 7 a.m. for the two-hour drive all the way to Kinsale on the southern edge of Ireland and Old Head Golf Links, the No. 18 course in the country according to Golf Digest.
Actually, Old Head is located south of Kinsale on a strip of land that juts out into the ocean, where the North Atlantic and Celtic Sea come together. We would be playing on the Parkland Golf Course, and truly, words can’t express how spectacular the views are. You’re literally right along the water, with holes that overlook steep cliffs down to the ocean’s edge. Everyone was just in awe of the place — it’s unlike anything any of us had ever experienced before.
The weather was much like Tuesday at Tralee, and we all enjoyed our time on the course immensely. After the rounds ended, we retired to the patio of the main course building, overlooking the nearby famous Old Head lighthouse that was first established here in the 17th century.
Soon, it was back on the bus for our final night in Killarney. We’ve been treated so well by our friends at The Malton Hotel here and it will be sad to leave them, but we’re always looking ahead and our trip continues as we relocate to Doonbeg and upcoming rounds at two of the world’s top 65 courses — #27 Ballybunion (Thursday) and #64 Lahinch (Friday).
Until then, thanks for your continued support and Gaeilge TÃƒÆ’Â©igh! (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.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director