John Murphy wins prestigious GCAA Byron Nelson Award

John Murphy

John Murphy has won a major US college golf award, he was confirmed as the winner of the prestigious Byron Nelson Award.  Three weeks ago Murphy was shortlisted as one of the three finalists and late on Thursday evening he was announced as the winner.  The Byron Nelson Award is awarded based on the winners golfing and academic performance as well as their character.  Although his senior year was cut short, the win was a great boost for the Kinsale man.

“I am still overawed to have been honoured with this award and to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Byron Nelson,” said Murphy.  “To be recognised for what I do both on and off the golf course is incredible and I am so grateful that the committee put their faith in me.  I feel incredibly lucky Continue reading


O’Regan Shoots the Stars

Golfer and photographer Cian O’Regan combined his interests recently when he captured some pretty unique shots of Cork Golf Club.  Unusually the shots were taken in the middle of the night, something that doesn’t happen too often.

“The idea of taking pictures of golf courses at night first popped into my head a year ago when taking pictures one evening down in Cork Golf Club.  It was nothing more than an after-thought, I wondered what the place would look like at night.  I never took it any further until I went down during lockdown after the travel radius was increased to 5km and captured the images of the 5th, 6th and 7th.”

The quarry holes in Cork are the oldest part of the course, reclaiming the limestone quarry that dates back well over 200 years.  The 6th and 7th in Cork closely align with two of the original holes that date back to 1899.  Planning and timing were essential to a successful shoot, and the results were exceptional with five great shots.  The International Space Station features in one picture of the 5th green, while the stars are the focal point in a shot of the 6th green.

“My biggest concern about this shot was the composition of the photo.  Even though I was shooting using a really wide-angle lens, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to be able to get the North Star and the 6th green in the same shot.  I knew that the hole is pointed roughly South to North when walking from teebox to green, but I did look up the course on Google Maps before heading down to figure out what my heading would be, to figure out where the North Star would be positioned over the green and house that overlooks the quarry.”

The response from Cork golfers has been very positive with many ordering prints from Cian.  It’s certainly a unique view of well known areas of the golf club.

Check out Cian’s website

“I really like how these photos are making both myself and other people who might be lifelong members of Cork – who have probably played the course a thousand times over – see the place in a new light.  Combined with some beautiful drone imagery that’s been shot at the club recently to show off changes that have been made to the course over the winter months, it’s always nice to be able to show off the course from a different perspective – whether it’s taken 300 feet above the course during the day or from the ground at 1am!”

And Cian is planning for more night-time golf shoots, combining his passions.  As soon as the current travel restrictions are lifted he plans to contact a few courses with a view to capturing some more unique shots.

“I have some pretty cool ideas about capturing some cool Milky Way shots this summer to include some of Ireland’s most famous golfing landmarks under the stars.  I’ll be posting them all on my new website which I’m just about to launch where people can be mounted and framed prints of these photos and many more.”

Swift End to Murphy’s College Season

John Murphy

11 days and it was all over.  On the 13th March the NCAA announced the cancellation of the college golf season, and by the 24th John Murphy was on a plane heading home.  Instead of heading to Sawgrass CC in Florida for the second last regular season tournament, John Murphy was headed home.  Although he had planned to sit things out in Louisville, the fear of missing a summer of golf in Ireland was part of the decision to come home, and after three years in the University of Louisville, college life looked like it was over for the Kinsale man.  The plans to compete in the NCAA Regionals and the NCAA Championships were gone, the exams and graduation plans were changed, and an important trip to Louisville for his parents Carmel and Owen were all cancelled.    While the wider public health issues are far more important, it was a crushing blow for Murphy who was having a really strong season.  Murphy had two individual wins on the Division One circuit and three team wins.  It was a great season for Murphy in many respects.  He comfortably maintained his ranking in the WAGR top 150 and he came back to Cork with his head high, happy that he had seen more improvements in his game in his final year.

“My senior year certainly filled me with confidence” explained Murphy.  “It was great to be recognized on a national stage and I had a lot of fun on the golf course and continued to learn and grow as a player.  I had certainly put in some good work the last few years and put myself in a Continue reading

Bandon Redevelopment Plan Continues

The changes to the bunkers on the 1st in Bandon were completed in  phase one of the course improvement plan.
Picture: Donal O’Donovan

The course developments are continuing in Bandon with the second phase of planned improvements currently underway.  Last year Bandon commenced their ambitious plan to redevelop several areas of the course, and the progress to date has been impressive.  In 2019 a new short game area was opened as part of the project, and while work in 2020 will be delayed, phase two is close to completion.

Bunkers form a major part of the redevelopment project.  There were 52 bunkers on the course and under the new design plan this will reduce this to 41.  This will include three new bunkers and the re positioning of another six. The design will also make the bunkers more visible from the tee box and approach shots to the greens.  The installation of EcoBunker artificial Continue reading

East Cork’s Ready to Reopen

East Cork’s 11th green looking well after the ongoing maintenance during the Covid 19 closure.

Excitement is building among golfers as the sport is re-opening on Monday next.  And that’s certainly true in East Cork where the club members and everyone involved is looking forward to hitting the fairways.  Since the start of March the club and the owners have worked together to get through the current crisis.  Initially it was social distancing, then it was temporary closure, and more recently it has all been about the re-opening of the course.  East Cork owner Clare Moloney has been driving the plans, and she too is happy to see the course re-open.  “Fortunately, the greens staff fall under the category of essential workers, and our greenkeepers have been working tirelessly to make sure the course is in top condition when some of our members can return on May 18th. In the interest of health and safety, a rota Continue reading

Golf’s Reopening

In 11 days most golf courses in Cork will reopen following the Government announcement on Friday last.  Most golfers will have welcomed the inclusion of golf in the first phase of the lifting of restrictions although questions remain on the 5km limit for non-essential travel.  This sparked plenty of debate online over the weekend with many citing that the majority of members would be excluded if the 5km rule was not relaxed.

Despite that restriction the good news is that clubs will reopen on the 18th, and golf will return to a similar format to what golfers experienced prior to the lockdown.  Social distancing, no course accessories like flags and rakes, and small groups of two or four are likely to feature in the initial phase.  With the restrictions still applying to hospitality settings it’s unlikely that clubhouses and restaurants will open on the 18th May.  The work of the governing bodies has been instrumental in ensuring that golf was included in the earlier stages of relaxing the lockdown rules.  The GUI and ILGU have been busy in the past few weeks, liaising with the authorities on a range of issues.  Those topics included the essential maintenance of courses which was not initially included in the original restrictions, as well the financial impact of the crisis on clubs and building a pathway for the safe resumption of golf.

A statement said that the governing bodies “have prepared a comprehensive draft protocol on the safe resumption of play on which we have been engaging with the Government over recent weeks.  We now intend to finalise this protocol in the coming week, in consultation with the Government, and issue clear advice to our member clubs well in advance of the reopening of courses on 18 May.  That advice will emphasise the absolute necessity of golf clubs adhering to the terms of the protocol for safe play.”  The statement asked club and golfers for patience until the final advice is released.  “In the initial stage, play will be for members only and competitions will not be permitted.  We would ask clubs to refrain from opening timesheets for booking until the protocol is published, as it will contain vital information on group sizes and timesheet intervals.”

The statement also confirmed that the governing bodies will also continue to work closely with the Government in the coming weeks and months to seek support for golf clubs that have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions.  There has been lots of commentary on the impact of the closure of courses for over a month, the reduction of future green fee and society bookings, and the knock-on effect that it will have on the financial position of many clubs.

Jimmy Bruen – Cork’s Greatest

It’s likely that 2020 will produce few enough golf headlines, but 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Jimmy Bruen Jnr.  Born in Belfast, the Bruen family moved to Cork when Bruen was 5, his father took up a job with Dwyer & Co, another family closely associated with golf in Cork.  Bruen is associated with both Cork and Muskerry.  Although he had played in Cork Golf Club as a teenager, Cork’s rule of not allocating handicaps to those under 18 made Bruen look to Muskerry.  He wrote to the club when he was 15, seeking a handicap in line with the Muskerry club rules.  According to golf historian Tim O’Brien, Bruen submitted his three cards but was asked to play a round with the club captain before a handicap was approved.  Bruen must have impressed in that round as his starting handicap was six.  That handicap was god enough to gain entry into the 1935 British Boys in Royal Aberdeen, and with experiences like that, it didn’t take Bruen long to get down Continue reading