Warrenpoint target treble
TODAY we can announce the names of the elite golfers who have qualified for the final of the 2011 GUI-Irish Independent 'Most Improved Golfer' competition.
Since April, we have been monitoring the handicaps of the thousands of golfers who entered this unique challenge to their skill and persistence.
The Central Database of Handicaps doesn't lie. If you play well in club competition you get cut and that's the standard that truly reveals the quality of an amateur golfer.
We now have 40 golfers across categories 1-4, 10 in each section, who will have the honour of competing for the overall title of 'Ireland's Most Improved Golfer.'
The final will be played on the Montgomerie course at Carton House, headquarters of the GUI and the Union's National Academy, on Thursday, September 29.
A full programme of events has been arranged, with the golf competition the central part of the day.
All the participants will enjoy a golf clinic at the National Academy provided by national coach Neil Manchip, who also coaches a number of professionals, including Shane Lowry.
As befits a national tournament, the GUI will have two Rules officials on duty around the course.
They will deal with any procedural situations and to monitor the pace of play.
The Union's mobile tournament office, with scoreboard, will be on site.
At the end of the competition, the golfers will attend a dinner followed by prize-giving.
Over 5,000 entered at the start of the season and now we're down to the final 40.
The spread of finalists includes clubs from all over the country.
In category one, the top spot was claimed by Colin Wilton from Banbridge who lost 3.8 shots to get down to one handicap.
Alex Keaney of Old Conna was the best in category two. He started the year off 11.1 and lost six shots to reach 5.1 by the closing date.
Category three's biggest mover was Brian Brangan (Swords GC) who went from 19 to 5.5, losing a whopping 13.5 shots.
The top man in category four was Martin Clarke of Bellewstown GC. He opened the season playing off 28 handicap, and is now at 15.7, a drop of 12.3 shots.
The full details are contained in the 'Most Improved Golfer' advert in this section, but congratulations to all those who have reached the final.
However, those who were motivated by entering the competition and who lost shots can also congratulate themselves for reducing their handicap -- even if they didn't reach the top 40.
Last year the overall winner was one handicap Gary Brett of Claremorris.
He had started 2010 playing off 5.1, and got down to 1.1 to qualify for the final.
Gary produced a winning score of 37 points to pip Bryan McSweeney of Woodbrook on a countback and was thrilled to be the inaugural winner of this unique national event.
The Montgomerie course, which staged the Irish Open in 2005 and 2006 awaits the finalists, so the golfer who can cope with the challenge of the Monty layout and with the pressure of playing for a great title will truly deserve his victory come September 29.
WARRENPOINT Golf Club will chase a treble of national titles when the GUI Cups and Shields finals sponsored by Chartis Insurance Ireland take place at Castlerock GC from Wednesday to Saturday, September 14-17.
The Ulster club is set to feature in the Barton Shield, Senior Cup and Jimmy Bruen Shield semi-finals. Warrenpoint last won the Senior Cup in 2008, the Barton Shield in 2005 and the Jimmy Bruen Shield in 1987.
cups and shields finals
Wednesday -- September 14 -- Barton Shield semi-finals: Tramore v Athenry; Enniscorthy v Warrenpoint.
Junior Cup semi-finals: Ballina v Mitchelstown; Lurgan v Co Meath.
Thursday -- Pierce Purcell Shield semi-finals: Corrstown v Letterkenny; Woodstock v Athenry. Also: Junior Cup final, and Barton Shield final.
Friday -- Senior Cup semi-finals: Warrenpoint v Co Sligo; Muskerry v Portmarnock. Jimmy Bruen Shield semi-finals: Forrest Little v Warrenpoint; Claremorris v Faithlegg. Also: Pierce Purcell Shield final.
Saturday -- Senior Cup final; Jimmy Bruen Shield final.
golden moment for tuesdays
DAVID O'Hora, a member of The Curragh who has served as Chief Marshal at the Irish Open and Ladies Irish Open, has the honour of being the captain of the Tuesdays Golfing Society which celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year.
As O'Hora admits, he was only a year old when the Society was founded in 1961, but has been a stalwart member for many years.
The Society, which draws all of its members from The Curragh GC, was founded by a group of businessmen from Newbridge and Kilcullen, who took a half-day on Tuesdays.
Society stalwart Murt Moran has compiled an impressive booklet packed with photographs and reminiscences of the first five decades in the Tuesdays' history.
No doubt it will be going strong for a long time to come.
Incidentally, The Curragh -- which is known as the oldest golf course in Ireland -- has made a number of significant improvements to the playing and practice facilities.
The club has built nine new tee boxes, five new greens, four new fairways and added a new practice putting green.
They also have a new pitching green, complete with practice bunkers, which complements the club's driving range.
The Curragh is now 'sheep free' as well.
In the past sheep grazed across the lands of The Curragh, but due to co-operation with the local sheep farming community, the 'trespassers' are no longer gaining access to the course.
Boucher's week to remember
Marc Boucher of Carton House is a rising young star.
The youngster recently won the Scottish U-14 Boys title and then followed that up by having a great few days in Galway last week.
First, he emerged victorious in the 36-hole Irish U-15 Boys championship, scoring 72, 73 for a 145 total to win by a shot from nearest challengers Charlie McMickan (Athlone), and Rowan Lester of Hermitage.
Then, Boucher and Lester were members of the Leinster team which won the U-15 Boys inter-provincials, also played at Galway GC.
Tony Goode from Lucan captained the team and Jack Dempsey, who skippered amateurs Home Farm to win the FAI Cup in 1975, was the manager.
The members of the winning Leinster team were: Marc Boucher (Carton House), David Carey (Hermitage), Ted Collins (Rosslare/Dun Laoghaire), Caolan Kennedy (Forrest Little), Rowan Lester (Hermitage).