This is hole number 8 at the Royal County Down Golf Club and the course ranks #1 in the world. Don’t I look happy? Can’t you see the glimmer in my eye? No? You’re right! This was me before I looked at my caddy and said, “I am fucking done. Take my clubs to the bus and point me to the bar. Now!” Before I looked at my good buddies and, without hesitation or regret said, “see you at dinner,” and walked off.
This course is ranked number-one in the world because it’s nothing more than a test of how often and how hard you’re willing to get kicked in the balls. If you like high winds and rain blowing directly into you; if the idea of trying to play golf on Larry Ellison’s Oracle sailing ship during an America’s Cup Race sounds like a great time; if 465-yard par 4’s with consistent blind shots over hills, with your caddy pointing to a tiny rock 200 yards out and instructing you to hit over it, into grass on the other side of that hill so high and thick that you can imagine a lion suddenly emerging from it and attacking you … if all that sounds like a party, then this is the place for you. Hop on a plane with jockstrap in hand and go nuts.
Please understand, I have an 8 handicap, which means I can play this game. But this course was so difficult, I could hit a great tee shot and see my ball nestled three feet deep and only three feet off the fairway. I got so tired of being startled by hares jumping out of the grass, I started to think I was Alice in Wonderland, about to fall down a hole. Fuck this! After seven days of extreme golf, I was done. I started trying to kick hares while looking for my ball and I could swear one of them said, “Hey, asshole, try hitting it onto the fairway instead of into my living room.” Fucker!
After throwing my clubs at my caddy, stuffing 100 Euros in his pocket and walking off like I just hit a home run, hands held high. I immediately hit the pro shop and purchased a stuffed hare, then went upstairs and ordered a pint of Guinness. I sat down and flicked the little fucker in the nose with my middle finger while I cussed at myself for the better part of an hour. Nobody in the bar looked at me or tried to communicate with me in any way. I guess they’ve seen this before and Ill reference a quote from Alice in Wonderland.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Did I mention that I have no more golf on this trip, and that I’m in Dublin tomorrow? I’m doing the Guinness tour and then dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant. A happier day, for sure. Last question I posed before I headed back to the hotel, “Hey, bartender, why do you call them ‘hares’ instead of ‘rabbits’?”
Check out a story I wrote about Ireland’s less than stellar Culinary scene, Ireland Culinary Suicide.