Blog Entry #8 - Two For The Road (Aug. 15, 2009)
Part I - submitted by head coach Susan Holt
The old saying, "time flies when you're having fun," certainly applies to our Ireland trip! It is hard to believe that eight days have gone by and we head back home tomorrow. While I am personally exhausted from the pace of our travels, I can honestly say that this trip exceeded my expectations in every way! From the driver/ tour guide that was with our group every mile, to the spectacular golf, breathtaking countryside and exceptional dining, this has been a trip of a lifetime for all of us that shared the experience. Once again, I am grateful for the many benefactors that so generously gave to make this trip a reality. Thank you from the Lady Irish Golf Team. Go Irish!!!
Part II - submitted by sports information assistant Dan Colleran
After five consecutive days of golf, today it was all about sightseeing for the Irish. First, we left the Lodge at Doonbeg and traveled over to the Cliffs of Moher, located at the southwestern edge of the Burren area in County Clare. The cliffs rise as high as 700 feet above the sea below and offer amazing viewing points of the Galway Bay.
Once again, we had fantastic weather that allowed for great views of the cliffs and equally impressive views into the seascape, including the Aran Islands out in Galway Bay. As you walk up to the cliffs, the right side features a long staircase packed with tourists. We walked up these and took in the vibrant greens of the cliff tops, the darkened layers below and the ocean at the bottom.
Then, some of the more adventurous members of our group ventured over to the left side of the cliffs, where there is a sign warning visitors (in several different languages) to consider turning around. But, there were many people ambling over the beaten path, which offered the unique and powerful perspective of seeing the cliffs without a fence between the viewer and the edge/dropoff. It also made for a great place to take some pictures.
Then, after a quick stop for lunch at Monk's (one of Tony's favorite places to eat lunch) we ventured to the Aillwee Caves, also in County Clare. When bears still existed in Ireland they used the cave as a place to hibernate. The giant cave's best feature was an underground waterfall.
All in all, an amazing trip and I am grateful to the coaching staff for inviting me along (and giving me a few golf-related pointers) to hack up some of the world's greatest courses. What struck me most about getting to know the team - aside from their shot-making ability on the course -- which was impressive to say the least -- was their appetite to take in all that Ireland had to offer.
Check back with this page in the coming week to view pictures and video footage from the trip.
Blog Entry #7 - A (Fighting) Irish Foursome At Ballybunion (Aug. 14, 2009)
Today, we woke up early to check out of Killarney Plaza Hotel. Even though our stay was short, we feel that we got a good taste of Ireland in Killarney. After an early start, we headed to Ballybunion Golf Course. We both agree that Ballybunion was challenging, especially because of the windy conditions. This course wasn't as scenic as Old Head, but it did have its moments. So-Hyun played with Maggie, Jennifer and Jean and Julie played with both Katies (Conway and Allare).
Part I - submitted by junior So-Hyun Park
I was actually a little bit nervous to play with Maggie, Jennifer and Jean but I realized after the first hole that it was going to be a really fun round. I played well on the front nine but struggled a bit on the back nine when the wind really started to pick up. The course was very compact with tight fairways and small greens.There were times where we had to hit over other tee boxes and greens in order to play the following hole.
My caddie was great and she knew about the course very well.After the first nine, she told me that the back nine had some easier holes so I could probably get a few shots back but I wasn't so lucky with the heavy wind. Jennifer dominated the par 3s on the back nine and Maggie and Jean made some really great putts. Although they may not be the best golfers in the world, they definitely have the best attitudes.I feel like I learned a lot from their outlook on the game. After the round we had a nice lunch at the club house and we headed to The Lodge at the Doonbeg Golf Club.We took the ferry to get to our new destination.Having just arrived, all we can say is that this place is amazing! We look forward to having a fun dinner with the team and to sight seeing tomorrow :) Until next time, Go Irish!
Part II - submitted by senior Julie Kim
Ballybunion is an amazing golf course. It was challenging and fun to play ... of course it would have been more fun if I had been able to hit it a little straighter. The first five holes at this golf course were definitely deceiving. I parred the first couple of holes thinking that it was going to be a good day until we hit hole number 6. The wind started to pick up like crazy and the greens and holes all of a sudden became narrow and more difficult to play. I was surprised when my caddy, John, actually had me hit my 4 iron from 125 yards away from the pin. Trusting him, I hit it and barely made it, leaving the ball underneath the pin in front of the green. After that, I decided that it was probably better for me to just trust in him completely. John was an amazing caddy. After about five holes, he had all my yardages down and I basically didn't have to do any work except walk, aim and swing. :) All in all, it was so much fun playing with both Katies and our caddies were awesome.
After the round, we had a nice lunch at the golf course and headed to our second hotel/lodge. In order to get here (to The Lodge of the Doonbeg Golf Club - which is absolutely/amazingly gorgeous), we had to take a ferry. It was my first time taking a ferry. It saved us about 2 hours worth of driving time and Coach Holt, her husband Tim and I were able to see some dolphins pass by us on our way. It was so cool!
Anyway, we passed through a little town on our way to the Lodge and I'm excited to see what it's all about. It'll be different from Killarney, but its still part of Ireland. I'm looking forward to an exciting night and sightseeing tomorrow. Then, we're headed back to the States. Until then, Go Irish!
Part III - submitted by graduated senior Lisa Maunu
So, sad the time has come, the last golf day has ended. But can I just say, what a course to end on! Ballybunion was unbelievable. Now this is what I expected, true links. The wind was wild and almost unbearable at times. It was so ridiculous that I had to turn my hat backwards during shots just to keep it on my head. But the highlight of the day was Dan the Man and his first birdie of the week on hole number 11. It was awesome, I am very proud. And for some reason whenever I play with Dan the Man he plays unbelievable, I lost the match today, but I don't even care.
One final highlight of the day would have to be my shot from the fescue on the 16th. With the ball lying above my feet, well lets just say at eye level, I needed a baseball bat to hit it. Being resourceful I grabbed coach Holt's right handed club (I am normally a lefty) and from 110 yards, uphill, with a blistering wind I hit the 9-iron 30 feet from the pin. It was sick! Dan's caddy Jason even remarked that, after seeing the wrong-handed shot nestle up to the hole, he would never pick up a club again.So next time I go to play a course covered in fescue I will be sure to bring a right-handed club with me!
Part IV - submitted by senior Annie Brophy
The final round has come to an end, and Ballybunion was the perfect conclusion to a phenomenal trip.This traditional links style course proved to be quite a test - especially once the wind picked up on the back nine.Although the wind was incredible, we did manage to escape the forecasted rain.I played with Kristin, Becca, and Tim. We played a best ball match play and rotated teams every six holes.Tim managed to be on the winning team every time.How did we girls let that happen?! We all hit some great shots, and our last round in Ireland was one to remember.
I am writing this from a cottage at the Doonbeg Golf Club Lodge. The eight of us girls have our own cottage with four rooms and we are all taking a shuttle into town tonight for a late dinner. We are all very sad that the golf is over, but we still have one day left for sightseeing tomorrow.Ireland has been very good to us, and hopefully we will all have the opportunity to come back. And, of course, the craic has been mighty!
Blog Entry #6 - Spectacular Views And More At Old Head (Aug. 13, 2009)
Part I - submitted by junior So-Hyun Park
Hello from Ireland! We played at Old Head Golf Links today and it was totally worth the two and a half hour drive because it was the most beautiful golf course I have ever seen in my life. I played with Julie, Kristin, and Katie, teeing off at around 2:30 in the afternoon. The weather couldn't have been more perfect with clear skies and a light breeze from the ocean. Our group decided to play a match, juniors against seniors. Having been teamed up with Katie, we gave the seniors a "run for their money," but unfortunately we ended up losing the match by 1.
Julie and I shared the same caddie, named Ronin, and Katie and Kristin shared Karenan. Ronin had been caddying at Old Head for nine years and his experience definitely showed as he helped us on the course. When we reached hole number ten, Ronin told us that the hazard in front of the green was an actual ancient burial ground, meaning that there are dead people there! A little creepy, but interesting nevertheless. I'm glad I didn't hit into the hazard or else I would've made some scary new friends ... Haha :)
The views at Old Head were an experience of a lifetime. The entire course is basically surrounded by the ocean and every tee box left us in awe. Hitting tee shots with the views of the cliffs got Julie a little scared due to her fear of heights. I can easily say that this place is just out of this world. We took so many pictures that both Kristin's and Katie's cameras ran out of batteries after nine holes. On one of the holes we decided to take a jumping picture, where everyone had to jump at the same time to make it seem like we were jumping off the cliff. After about six tries, we finally got a good picture but by the time we got to the next tee, we were exhausted from jumping so much ... haha. When we were on the last hole, I really didn't want to finish. I felt like I was ready for another round of golf. I can't wait to get out there again and looking forward to enjoying another great round tomorrow at Ballybunion!
Part II - submitted by sophomore Becca Huffer
Today was another amazing day here in Ireland! We got to play Old Head Golf Links and it was unlike any course I have ever seen, let alone played. Today I played in the first group with Jean Gorman, Maggie McEnery and Jen Christopher. I don't think any of us expected the whole course to be so breathtaking, and I don't think I've taken so many pictures in one day in my entire life!! After the third whole - the first cliff hugging par four - I didn't expect to see even more beautiful holes, but that was only the beginning.
Conor, or "the mouth from the south" as he's called around here, caddied for Maggie and I. Paddy was Jean and Jen's caddie. Conor informed us that the 12th hole at Old Head is the best golf hole in all of Ireland and, so far, I think that I have to agree with him. From the back tees, with the best view, this hole wrapped around the cliffside and gave a spectacular view from the fairway to the Celtic Sea and the caves that travel under the narrow pathway of Old Head to the other side of the course. Too bad we didn't get to rent a boat and go through those caves like people are able to!
Along with the natural caves, there was a lighthouse built in the 1850s at the tip of Old Head that gave a nice backdrop for about half of the holes. There even is still a family that lives in the lighthouse year round, what a view! There were also scattered ruins and old 16th century walls that border fairways throughout the course.
We had a great time playing this afternoon and Paddy said it was probably the best day of the entire year at Old Head, oh the luck of the Irish ... women's golf team! It was a long day, but definitely well worth the bus drive. Can't wait for Ballybunion tomorrow, hopefully our luck will hold out on the weather! The craic is still mighty!
Blog Entry #5 - Fishing For Birdies In Killarney (Aug. 12, 2009)
Part I - submitted by senior Julie Kim
Today we played at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, which is a local club here in Killarney located about ten minutes away from our hotel. As a fishing club, members are able to go out and fish on the lake. But each day one you are allowed to catch only one fish. With that caught fish, you can be taken to an island in the middle of the lake where it can be cooked and enjoyed in good company.
The Killarney Golf Club was fun to play and it was interesting to know that this golf course hosted the Irish Open in 1992, which was won by Nick Faldo. Even though the sites cannot be compared with what we saw at Waterville and Tralee, the course was still beautiful and enjoyable to play. I played with Kristin and Becca today, and along with our two caddies, it was a relaxing day.
Afterward, we went to see what the Blarney Stone was all about. Before heading there, I did not know that you had to actually be held somewhat upside down in order for the stone to be kissed. Apparently, it is the cleanest stone in Ireland and if you were to kiss it, you would be cleansed and given the gift of gab... whatever that means. Anyways, we headed to Blarney Castle which was amazing and super fun. Along with the help of my team and encouragement from coaches and friends, I conquered my fear of heights and climbed my way to the top of the castle. When I reached the top, I am proud to say that I was able to kiss the Blarney Stone and did it without crying. :)
We even ventured into the caves where Coach Kyle almost fell into a huge puddle of mud and water ... which would have been funny had it actually happened, but it didn't. Ruth and two of our teammates actually went in after taking off their shoes. All in all, even though we got dirty, it was also a fun and an interesting experience.
All in all, I had another great day in Ireland and I absolutely love it here. Learning about the culture and the traditions and history is not only amazing but an experience of a lifetime. As a design major, I am definitely inspired by the sights of Ireland and cannot wait to see more. That's all for now. Until next time, Go Irish.
Part II - submitted by graduated senior Lisa Maunu
Oh what a day ... finally a course that reminded me of home. A parkland course they call it -- Killarney Golf and Fishing Club: tree-lined, thick, lush rough with large greens. It gave me a little bit of relief after the past two days. The rough had it in for me, but I think all my practice out of the fescue/long-grass or as most of you know it ... (you fill in the blank) ... was helpful. If my driver was on, my day may have been a little easier, but lucky enough for me I had a caddie that talked me through every shot. It was a good thing he was there, because without him, I don't think the girls team of Annie and myself would have been victorious over the boys (Tim and Dan). Dan was on his game and Tim was not far behind and it took a couple under par rounds to beat the boys. It was a great match, and a wonderful course.
The day did not end there. Afterward, we headed from the links to the Blarney Castle. Not being of Irish heritage, I had no idea what was so special about it. All trip long, Tony had been informing us to pucker up our lips and get ready for something sticky and warm. I was quite confused until we got to there, but then we went to kiss the Blarney Stone. From a distance down the road we could see the tall outline of the castle, what a scene! The castle was unbelievable and it was still in great shape. Touring through the 13th century castle was breathtaking, every nook and cranny had a story and an incomprehensible image. Up we climbed over 100 stairs on a winding staircase. Some people may think this was easy, but each steps width ranged from only 6 to 10 inches! Talk about thin!! Once we reached the top there were two guys sitting over this open hole that looked down to the ground. Now most people would never take that jump, but they were there to hold you by your feet in order to kiss the stone. You had to lay on your back with half of your body hanging over 100 feet in the air. Not only were you semi-floating, you had to tilt your head back to kiss the Blarney Stone. And yes, Tony was right, warm and sticky ... but certainly worth it! As the Irish would say, "a gift of eloquence was bestowed upon me." What an experience ... only one you would ever receive by being a member of the Notre Dame family. Another great day in Ireland.
Blog Entry #4 - Onward to Tralee (Aug. 11, 2009)
Part I - submitted by senior Kristin Wetzel
Greetings from Ireland to everyone back home! This is my first trip abroad and as a member of the Fighting Irish golf team, I cannot think of a better first overseas experience. The scenery both on and off the golf course is absolutely breathtaking, and I'm seeing shades of green that I never knew existed. Today we played the Tralee Golf Club, which had everything from sand dunes to rocky cliffs. I tried my best to steer clear of the long grass, and am happy to say that I had nothing worse than a bogey; "damage control" as Coach Holt would call it. I would also like to pat myself on the back for being 3 for 3 on sand saves so far in Ireland, two of which occurred today out of intimidating pot bunkers.
Today was also a day of competition against some local Irish golfers around our age. I played with Becca Huffer, and our playing partners and caddy (Daniel, Jason and Richard respectively) were wonderful company, and I'm not just saying that because the Lady Irish were victorious. Poor Daniel spent more time in the fescue rather than on the short grass, but we had a lot of fun as a group and he seemed to enjoy himself anyway.
I took a ridiculous amount of pictures, and I kept apologizing, as I worried they would start getting sick of the American with an addiction to a camera and poses with the Atlantic Ocean and Irish scenery in the background. They were good sports about it however and happily indulged me, for which I was grateful.
Well, that's all I'll say for now as I have some shopping to do in the charming little town of Kilarney; until next time, Go Irish!
Part II - submitted by sophomore Katie Allare
Hi to everyone back home! I am having a great time in Ireland! Last night was amazing! Yesterday after golf, the entire team went to listen to some traditional Irish music and instead, we ended up at a rock concert, as a small rock band was playing some great music next to our hotel. They played everything from AC/DC to the latest hits by Katy Perry. When we left, our ears were ringing, but our Irish eyes were smiling!
For our second day of golf, we played at Tralee Golf Club and it was an amazing time. The views were truly incredible. Across the water, we could see blankets of clouds hugging the mountainside, and, although everything looked incredibly tranquil, it was maybe the windiest day I've ever spent on the golf course. I could see my ball wobbling back and forth as I prepared to putt, and there were times when my caddy had me aiming thirty yards left of the green! Julie Kim and I played with two locals and beat them in match play. Our caddie was truly a part of the traditional Ireland experience. His name was Mike, and he has been caddying at Tralee Golf Club for the last twenty-five years! His advice was great, and he read our putts infallibly.
Just a shout out to my parents and brother back home! I am having a great time and looking forward to seeing you before school starts! Go Irish!
Part III - submitted by Dan Colleran, Sports Information Assistant
The seven active players on the Irish roster participated in a match-play event versus local college-aged players from Tralee and proved victorious, 7-0! Some specific highlights included So-Hyun Park playing the front nine at even par and Katie Conway impressing with a minus-one on the back nine.
Katie Allare beat Avril Peevers, 2 and 1
Julie Kim beat Conor Ringland, 3 and 2
Kristin Wetzel beat Daniel Kirby, 6 and 5
Annie Brophy beat Ronan Shanahan, 2 and 1
So-Hyun Park beat Joe Roche, 7 and 5
Becca Huffer beat Jason Peevers, 2 and 1
Tomorrow is it off to the Kilean course for the Irish, down the road in Kilarney. Unlike the previous two rounds of play, tomorrow's course (the Kilean) is not the traditional Irish links style, but more comparable to the courses back home.
Blog Entry #3 - Teeing Off At Waterville (Aug. 10, 2009)
The team took on Waterville in their first round of golf in Ireland. Over the years (Waterville opened in 1973) many elite professionals have found their way to Waterville including: Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Mark O'Meara, Payne Stewart and Tiger Woods, who all prepared for the 1998 British Open which was then won by O'Meara.
Part I - submitted by senior Annie Brophy
Day two of our Ireland golf tour proved to live up to the hype. After an early morning wake up, we left for Waterville Golf Club. It was about a two-hour drive, and we were able to stop a couple times for some serious photo ops. We girls have been using our cameras as weapons at every opportunity. The views of the countryside and coast on our drive over were breathtaking, and (our tour guide) Tony has continued to give us various history lessons all along the way.
As soon as we pulled up to the course, we saw a gentleman raising a Notre Dame flag right underneath the Ireland and American flags. As Lisa Maunu commented, "only the best for us!" We had just enough time to roll a few putts and get a feel for the greens before we teed off. I played in the first group with Jean Gorman and Maggie McEnery, both from which I received on-course lessons all day. We had a blast! It was one of the more relaxing rounds of golf we have ever played seeing as we had two caddies between the three of us. Jean and Maggie's caddy has been working at Waterville as a caddy for 10 years, and he is only 20 years old! My caddy, David, told me he plays the course almost every night and knew the greens like the back of his hand. Probably better! It sprinkled off and on all day, typical of weather here, but it really felt like we were getting the true Irish experience!
The course itself is indescribable. Pictures I'm sure can't even do it justice. Maybe Maggie said it best on number 17 when she said, "I know I've died and gone to heaven!" This links-style course was right along the water with breathtaking views on every hole. One of my favorite holes, number 12, was deemed the "Mass Hole" because in the 18th century when Catholics were being persecuted, the Irish would gather in a small vale to hold Mass in secret. This vale is now the carry to reach number 12 green. It's incredible to be visiting Ireland as an Irish Catholic attending an Irish Catholic school. The history is unbelievable and it is truly is a blessing to be here.
Until next time, the craic was mighty!
Part II - submitted by junior Katie Conway
Our plane only touched down in the Emerald Isle 33 hours ago, and already I have had more laughs, memories, and amazing moments than I could have anticipated the whole week adding up to! Ireland is more beautiful than I ever could have imagined, and I have never met so many people as cheerful and welcoming as the locals have been. While walking down the 16th fairway of Waterville today, a rainbow appeared in the distance. I am at a loss to think of a more perfect image to sum up our time here so far.
We have been guided through the countryside by a hilariously funny native Irish tour guide by the name of Tony, who has pointed out everything from the 13th century castles to Frank McCourt's childhood village to the places where leprechauns cross the roads (although I was a bit skeptical of this). Today he guided us through our trip out through the Ring of Kerry to the Waterville Golf Club from our hotel in Killarney where we were greeted by Notre Dame's flag being raised up next to Irish and American flags (so cool!). I've always been told that golf in the homeland is like nothing else, and it certainly was! Never have I experienced such a pure form of golf. Waterville is one of the most prestigious golf courses here, and the clubhouse was nothing more than two simple locker rooms, a pro shop, and a simple restaurant and bar. It was a place that was all about golf and nothing except golf. What golf is at home seems to be taken over by a world of swing mechanics and elaborate clubhouses. When I asked my caddy if people here worked on swing mechanics he replied, "Swing mechanics? I don't know what you're talking about. All you need to do is keep your head down and your body still and swing away!" I've never had so much fun on a golf course, and I enjoyed every minute of it (even my less than great shots). It was a great reminder of what I love about the game.
Tomorrow we are off to Tralee Golf Course, and then we will be playing here in Killarney on Wednesday. If our time here so far is any indication of what the rest of the week will bring, it will certainly be the experience of a lifetime.
Blog Entry #2 - Traveling to Ireland (Aug. 9, 2009)
Part I - submitted by Dan Colleran, Sports Information Assistant
After a long night of traveling via Chicago's O'Hare and Philadelphia's airports, most of the Irish contingent landed at Shannon airport around 9:30 a.m. local time. At Shannon, the team quickly passed through customs, claimed their bags and met with sophomore Becca Huffer, who overcame some travel problems of her own to arrive minutes after the rest of the group.
From Shannon, we met bus driver/tour guide Tony ("with a Y") and departed for Killarney, which lies approximately two hours south west of Shannon. The ride took us through the Irish countryside, where it was easy to see why Ireland is referred to as the Emerald Isle. The fields, hedgerows and lines of trees showcased every conceivable shade of green against a gray August sky. And the rain didn't even start until we reached Killarney!
As the hills rolled by, we drove though Limerick, made famous for many Americans through Frank McCourt's memoir, Angela's Ashes. Tony pointed out several places that appeared in McCourt's Pulitzer Prize winning work, including the cement factory that his father worked at for a couple weeks and the roadside where a young Frank picked up pieces of coal to help heat his Limerick.
Next we stopped in the small village of Adare, famous for having several old houses (now shops) with thatched roofs. We grabbed a bite to eat at a local pub (more on this from assistant coach Veltri) and made our way to the outskirts of Killarney, where we were able to look down on the town while catching a glimpse of the mountains (referred to as "reeks") that hang over the town's center.
Tomorrow, the golf starts and you will be hearing from several of the players after they complete their rounds at the Waterville Golf Club.
Part II - submitted by Kyle Veltri, Assistant Coach
Well we finally made it! All 12 of us! What a smooth trip we had from South Bend to Shannon, we even found Becca Huffer! :)
So after we ventured onto the tour bus, infamous Tony with a "y" (our tour guide for the week) scared us by driving on what he stated was the right side of the road (which in Ireland is the left)! Tony told us in the states we drive on the right side of the road but in Ireland they drive on the correct side of the road. We headed out into the little town of Adare, stopped by the Roman Catholic Church (constructed in the 1200's), which was breathtaking, then we had a quaint breakfast in a little pub built in 1806.
Dan and myself decided we would do the "mini Irish breakfast" that included pudding! Unbeknownst to us, pudding in Ireland is dried pig blood, but Katie Conway filled us in after we had already dined on the Irish delicacy.
Then it was time for us to head to Killarney where we will stay for the next few nights. Tony took us to an overlook which allowed us to view the highest peak in Ireland along with the three lakes that run through Killarney. The team played out a rendition from The Sound of Music that you will be able to view the pictures of soon. We finally made it to our hotel, which is located in the heart of Killarney. Everyone has unpacked, cleaned up and are getting ready to travel through the town before tonight's welcome dinner.
Tomorrow we will playing at Waterville bright and early!
As Tony would say the "Craic in Ireland is Mighty!"
Blog Entry #1 - Tour Preview
The Notre Dame women's golf team is headed to Ireland to play five historic courses as part of a preseason trip to the southwest portion of the country from Saturday, August 8 through Sunday, August 16. The five courses the Irish will take on include the Waterville Golf Club, the Tralee Golf Club, the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, the Old Head Golf Links and the old course at the Ballybunion Golf Club.
"When I arrived here 3 years ago as the head coach taking the team to Ireland was something I discussed during my interview and really wanted to make happen; now here we are just days away from our trip to Ireland!" said head coach Susan Holt. "This trip would not be happening if it were not for the benefactors that have stepped up and made this trip possible. Our players and coaching staff are truly grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. The generosity of the benefactors is greatly appreciated," Holt added.
Upon arriving at the Shannon Airport the Irish will check into the Killarney Plaza Hotel in Kenmare Place, Killarney Co Kerry, Ireland. The following day, the golf begins at the Waterville Golf Club located on the Ring of Kerry. Since opening in 1973, Waterville has enjoyed great popularity and has hosted some of the world's leading professionals from Faldo and Floyd to Stewart, O'Meara and Woods.
Next, the Irish tee it up at the Old Course of Tralee in the trip's only competitive round. Representing the first European design of Arnold Palmer, Tralee Golf Club in southwestern Ireland is one of the most spectacularly beautiful golf courses in the world. The seven active Irish players on the trip - Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.), Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.), Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y.), Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.), Julie Kim (Bayside, N.Y.), So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea) and Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y.) - will take on an assembled group of college aged male and female members from Tralee. The competition will be a match play format that pairs competitors based on previously established handicaps.
Then, on Wednesday, August 12, the Notre Dame squad heads to the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club where they will take on the Killeen Course. Nestled amidst the splendor of the Lakes of Killarney in the shadow of the majestic Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range, the Killeen Course is also rated amongst the world's top courses.
Thursday, August 13 features a round of play at the famed Old Head Golf Links, which is considered one of the most remarkable developments in the history of golf. With an Atlantic promontory that will never be rivaled in terms of drama and beauty, the course rises hundreds of feet above dramatic cliffs and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all sides. Eight of the holes play directly along the cliff?tops, providing an exhilarating test of golf and concentration.
To conclude the golfing portion of their trip, the Irish will play the Old Course at the Ballybunion Golf Club on Friday, August 14. The course has been rated one of the ten best golf courses in the world and is a true seaside links, meaning it is virtually treeless and has a distinct lack of man?made influences. Following play at Ballybunion, the Irish will check into The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare, Ireland.
"Our players are very excited to play some of the best golf courses in the world while in Ireland," said Holt. "They will have a golf experience like no other! The game is played differently over seas with the rolling terrain, thick heather, tiny pot bunkers and large undulating greens; not to mention the strong winds coming off the North Atlantic Ocean," Holt said, emphasizing the challenge that lies ahead.
On Saturday, August 15 the Notre Dame contingent will do a little sightseeing including tours of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aillwee Caves. Recently short?listed as one of the modern wonders of the world, the cliffs offer awe-inspiring views over the Atlantic Ocean. In the heart of the Burren, lies one of the oldest caves in Ireland, Aillwee Cave. The limestone area has been hollowed out by millions of years' worth of water slowly but steadily trickling through the cracks and crevices and the river has since subsided leaving Ireland's most stunning cave. "The golf and the cultural experience of this trip is bound to bring our players closer together which is always a plus with any team," Holt analyzed.
Aside from the memories of an adventure that are sure to last a lifetime, Notre Dame's trip across the Atlantic will serve to help prepare the team for the upcoming 2009-10 season. "I look for this trip to be a great way to jump start our fall season. Only two of our seven players have played tournament golf this summer," Holt said. "The rest of the team has been attending summer school and doing summer job internships so getting to play five rounds of golf in Ireland should prove to be a great way to get tournament ready," she added.
When the Irish return on August 16, they will be less than one month away from their first tournament. Notre Dame opens the fall portion of their schedule at Michigan State's Mary Fossum Invitational at Forest Akers West in East Lansing, Mich. on September 11, 2009.