Last year my father-in-law organized a trip to Ireland, with stops at Waterville, Dooks, Tralee, Adare Manor, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club and Ballybunion. The country is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and the courses are stunning. In short, a terrific trip! I hope it becomes an annual event, but either way I’m putting my wife’s dad up for father-in-law of the year.
Carl Paratore Arlington, Massachusetts
The Wonders of Rwanda
I have enjoyed golf in many places, but the bizarre aspects of playing in Rwanda made it the most fun so far for me and my son. At the Gorilla Nest Lodge in Ruhengeri, we found a nine-hole course that had Big Bertha drivers and Callaway irons available for rent but only plastic bottle caps for tees and two old golf balls per player. The course was beautiful but neglected: weeds interspersed with coarse grass, and fairways barely discernible from the rough. Caddies came with many “assistants” who fanned out to spot wayward shots. Only one flagstick was used, held far out on the fairway as a target for drives, then held into the cup. On the bumpy, scraggly greens, putts bounced and zigzagged erratically. Curious observers appeared: children, teens and women with baskets on their heads or babies on their backs. The spotters often repositioned balls for a better lie—our protests were not understood. Bunkers were gravel depressions without sand, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they were burial sites from the genocide of fourteen years ago. Finally, keeping pace was no problem, because no one else was playing!
Jonathan Knopp Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A Sixty-Two at Pebble
My father, David, and I took a long-anticipated trip to Monterey last October for his sixty-second birthday. We had a phenomenal visit, staying at the Lodge at Pebble Beach for three days and playing Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach and Spanish Bay, in that order. Although we didn’t shoot great scores, it was a wonderful experience. On our last day, the skies cleared up and we caught a sunset that just had to be seen to be believed. What a great trip!
Andrew Shipman Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
A few months back, my wife proposed an interesting idea: “Why don’t you take my dad to Ireland for a golf trip?” As you can imagine, she didn’t have to ask twice. We recently returned from a week in the southwest of Ireland and enjoyed tremendous golf on such courses as Waterville, Tralee, Adare Manor, Ballybunion and Lahinch. The weather was fantastic (it didn’t rain once!), the caddies were full of great stories, the Guinness was delicious and the golf was nothing short of memorable. It truly was an honor to accompany my father-in-law to the country in which his family originated.
Jamie Zussman Delafield, Wisconsin
Hitting the Trails
Last year my oldest son, Matt, and I took a four-day trip to Bandon Dunes. Matt played thirty-six holes a day for three days; I played eighteen on two days and stayed in bed with a cold on the third. Here we are on the fourteenth tee at the Bandon Trails Course. Bandon Dunes is all about golf, friendship and food, and Matt and I had it all. We finished our trip with a round at Pumpkin Ridge outside Portland before flying home with stories to tell and many lifelong memories. We plan to make Bandon an annual golf outing.
Tom Jones Phoenix, Arizona
Harbour Town High
My dad and I have been visiting Hilton Head Island with our family for ten years. This year we decided to take the plunge and play Harbour Town Golf Links at the Sea Pines Resort. I shot a three-over thirty-nine on the front, then struggled to a forty-five on the back nine, which demands a lot more precision. Dad shot a respectable ninety-seven, then we had lunch at the Harbour Town Grill with my lovely wife, Michelle, who watched the kids so I could shoot my low round of the year!
Mark Kwiatkowski Cincinnati, Ohio