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Great Weekend at Portmarnock
Article posted: 31 October 2017

Great Weekend at Portmarnock

What a great Weekend at Portmarnock where we were treated reasonably well by the weather. Saturday saw a cold westerly wind blowing up to 30 MPH but thankfully we stayed dry.

The day began at 8.30 am with a session on the range with Robbie Cannon. Robbie showed our 15 invitees ( 6 Girls and 9 Boys) a number of pre game stretches and exercises and gave a presentation on hydration and nutrition before and during golf with a view to maximising performance on the course.

Darren hosted a short game clinic and worked through a number of practice tips and drills on the chipping Green and putting green. Even though the 15 youngsters all have exceptional short game skills they were visibly impressed when the 2011 Open Champion demonstrated how to effectively use the bounce on his wedges and the different ways of using and controlling spin and run when chipping and the optimum drills to use when practising.

On the putting green Darren once again went through a selection of practice drills including a demonstration on how Jordan Spieth practices his 15/20 Footers and how he works on break and speed on a daily basis to deliver the incredible consistency and success that continues to amaze all golf fans.

After a quick lunch in the clubhouse the 15 youngsters were on the course at 12.30 and played the Yellow/Red Course (Par 73).  Darren played three holes with each of the five Groups. We were unfortunately reduced to 14 Players quite quickly as John Brady from Rosslare had a recurrence of a wrist injury and wisely retired. Conditions were tough as the wind did not abate and in fact probably increased slightly as the day progressed.

In the Boys Under 18's Mark Power displayed prodigious length off the tee and returned a fine 76 despite having a disappointing day on the greens. In the Under 16 Boys Adam Smith and Odhran Maguire led the way with 79's with Aaron Marshall one shot behind on 80. Annabel Wilson showed well in the Girls division returning a fine 75 gross for a three shot lead.

We had a fine dinner in the clubhouse at Portmarnock with our 15 immaculately dressed participants being joined by various dignitaries from Portmarnock GC, the R&A, the ILGU and the GUI as well as our host, Darren. The invitees split in to two tables and were joined by Darren who spent the first half of the evening at one table and the other half at the second table. As always he encouraged the youngsters to ask him any questions about golf, life on Tour, practice regimes, Ryder Cups and major Championships as well as the usual enquiries  about Tiger, Rory, Dustin etc.

On Sunday morning Darren hosted a long game Clinic on the Range and spent some time with each of the players watching them hit balls. As always Darren encouraged them and helped them with practice drills and tips. He emphasises that they all work with their own coaches and thus never suggests swing changes or major adjustments. He will focus in on things that they might work on throughout the winter such as routines and how to plan practice sessions to deliver maximum results.

The group were then on the first tee playing the Championship layout of Red/Blue and again Darren played three holes with each group. The weather on Sunday was pleasant and quite a bit warmer as the wind moved in to the North East and abated considerably and we saw some improved scoring.

Mark Power added a 70 to comfortably win the Under 18 Boys and Aaron Marshall scored a fine 75 to pip Odhran Maguire on the break of a tie in the Boys Under 16's. Scott Miller finished one shot further back on 156. There was a real battle in the girls and Annabel looked to have it sewn up after she completed the first 12 Holes in three under par. Unfortunately three double bogeys on the way in derailed her and she was beaten in to second on the break of a tie by Mairead Martin who shot a fine 73 to add to her Saturday score of 78.

The Competitors enjoyed Lunch with Darren and after a short prize presentation and a wrap up from the host headed for home.