County Down Walk Off Homer

Newcastle, Ireland

Number 8 at the Royal County Down Golf Club 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 groovy; if 465-yard par 4’s with consistent blind shots over hills, with your caddy pointing to a 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 hoot, 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 is so difficult, I can hit a great tee shot and see my ball nestled three feet deep and only three feet off the fairway. I get so tired of being startled by hares jumping out of the grass, I start thinking I’m in Wonderland, about to fall down the hole. Fuck this! After seven days of extreme golf, I’m done. I start 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.”

After stuffing 100 Euros into my caddy’s pocket and sending him off, I immediately hit the pro shop and purchase a stuffed hare, then go upstairs and order a pint of Guinness. I sit down and flick the little fucker in the nose with my middle finger while I cuss myself for the better part of an hour. Nobody in the bar looks at me or tries to communicate with me in any way. I guess they’ve seen this before.

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. “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.

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