It's a bucket list destination for many a golfer, but for Fairways + Greens Publisher Vic Williams, heading to Ireland's wild and golf-rich west coast just shy of his 52nd birthday is more than a dream come true, it's the opening of a new chapter in his 40 years as a golfer and 15 years as the magazine's longest-running principal.
May 7-12, Williams will join more than 100 other golfers at the incredible Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Course for the Great Irish Links Challenge, a three-day tournament that also includes rounds at Ballybunion and Lahinch, two top 100 links layouts perched on the Emerald Isle's most famous golf stretch — County Kerry and County Clare. He'll take part in a media-only tournament within the event, blogging each day between wind-lashed and rain-dappled shots … and between draughts of Guinness.
"I'm ready for any kind of weather Ireland can throw at me," Williams says from his office in Reno, Nev. — a mere 18 hours of travel time away from Shannon Airport, which will lead him to Doonbeg about an hour's drive away. "As long as I can stand upright and not fall off a cliff into the Atlantic, I'm game for an unforgettable trip and a week's worth of links play among new friends."
Owned and operated by the same group that runs Kiawah Island in South Carolina, Doonbeg should be the perfect home base for Fairways + Greens' first in-staff Ireland excursion. The course was designed by Greg Norman and rides hard by the sea among tall dunes, making it — and the stone lodge that rises above its 18th green — seem much older than its 10 years.
Here's a brief video from Doonbeg's website that gives a good overview of the resort's many charms. Not exactly roughing it.
Williams will shot some video and photography of his own and load them here and on the official Fairways + Greens YouTube channel. Stay tuned.