The first year of the UCD Smurfit MBA Golf Society has drawn to a close. And what a way to finish; under the watchful gaze of the Sugar Loaf, in the beautiful environs of Powerscourt House and Gardens, the scene was set for some dramatic golf. Admittedly, with the members blessed with blue skies and farmer tan generating sun bursts during the previous two rounds, both Cormac and Andrew decided to up the ante(in both weather and prize stakes) for this final outing! Rain and a €250 blue book voucher (thank Michael McDonnell for the latter and God for the former) were the driving forces for the day on 23rd August last.
Another increase in participation helped to reinforce the Society’s existence as a fun and enjoyable networking medium for the UCD MBA crew. That aside, the 11 prizes up for grabs produced game faces unseen since the 2007 Ireland England Six Nations match in Croke Park (God Save Our Queen). Unfazed by his five point deduction, Dave Joyce strode into the clubhouse a mere 10 minutes before his tee time, while Declan Griffin, unfazed by fashion, opted for an Eleanor O Higgins inspired ensemble (somehow he wins both worst and best dressed male for his delightful chalk blue-green pants!!)
Others followed suit with consistent bravado, including the dark horse from the third outing, Dave Kelly and the epitome of calm, Jim Gannon. With all eyes on the prize(s), Dave Flynn, Gareth McCluskey, Chris O Connor and Dave Feighery took to a sodden first tee. These golfing stalwarts approached the round like titans of industry: aggressive, risk taking and at times completely delusional. Dave Feighery, our resident 6 foot 3” man mountain could not handle the pace, opting to pull up at the 12th, leaving the remaining three to battle through one of our tougher challenges since Brian McGrath revealed his project schedule in Semester 2! The greens were slick AND quick, hard to read, and left all from this and other groups scratching their heads. With hands shaken and a resignation that the course had somewhat defeated them, the remaining three decided “to hell with club rules, we’re hitting the Members’ Bar”, a theme which was followed by subsequent groups.
New members David Slevin, Deirdre McHugh and Caroline MacKell (all very welcome, especially the new Ladies) joined MBA Golf Society pro Charlie Weijer as the next Group out. Charlie showed the newbies how it was done on the front nine with an impressive 19 points. However, his round faltered on the Back Nine, leaving his playing partners a little underwhelmed with his chances of winning Top Prize. Deirdre McHugh on the other hand, notable for her unrelenting frugality, chose value for money over low scoring (300 shots is a new course record!!). Of course I’m joking, and she has already stated that the new season will bring an invigorated ferocious golfing legend (with no excuse of lagged MBA exhaustion). Caroline MacKell, in the absence of our two times reigning Lady Champion, Emma Fagan, commanded attention with some delicate chips and exquisite putting to take 28 points into the Clubhouse, claiming the coveted Captain’s Ladies Prize. David Slevin, unable to keep up with the champagne golf on display, opted to copy Dave Feighery and exit before the end of the round. Don’t worry, he’ll be back next year.
Female Powerscourt Golf Club Members and Staff were left a little hot and bothered upon seeing our next foursome collectively preparing for their round. Declan “smooth talker” Griffin, Seamus “I invented the Internet don’t you know” Shaw, Conor “whoops, there goes my T-shirt” Ryan and Ronan “I just did a thousand sit-ups” Sheridan hit the course, with little regard for the weather or any of these aforementioned ladies’ husbands! And the confidence of these Alpha Males showed with Declan Griffin racking up a significant 37 points, spanking the course into submission. Chest out throughout his whole round, he forced both Sherdian and Ryan to retire early and lick their wounds on the way home, while Seamus Shaw managed some impressive drives to prove he was up to the challenge. Unfortunately, similar to most combatants on the day, the greens left him frustrated and confused.
Unaware that the eventual winner on the day was ahead of them, Cormac Dunne (our future Captain), Dave Kelly (a contender for Player of the Year 2014), Andrew Bacon (the legend) and Kieran Dowling (the storyteller extraordinaire) took to the course. No one’s quite sure how this foursome, all in contention for Player of The Year 2013, would succeed or falter during the round. To ease any tension, Andrew Bacon, having found one of the many water features on the course, opted for a Seve Ballesteros style recovery shot from the lake edge (this has since been posted on YouTube, link to follow). It should also be noted that in spite of being in water TWICE on a Par 4, somehow a 6 appeared on hisscorecard!! This left Kieran Dowling laughing so hard that all he could do was relax, achieving a birdie on the toughest hole on the course (Index 1), good man. Also still laughing was Dave Kelly as he approached the 18th hole, smashing his tee shot a massive 306 yards to win Longest Drive (Mr Joyce, you can’t win everything, although admittedly yours was longer!!). Meanwhile, Cormac Dunne, “fresh” from his Gaelforce success (finishing in the top 250 athletes) used guile and panache on a course he knows well, narrowly missing a Top Three Finish.
Having patiently observed their peers entering the fray, it was time for our final group to depart to the first: Captain Andrew Bourke, David Joyce, Jim Gannon and Steve Kelly, all ready for battle. Kelly, a novice to the sport, with only two years since he first held a golf club, was still yet to grasp the gravity of how stringent the rules of golf actually are. Just off the 5th green, he declared that his foot had glanced the ball, hoping that we would tell him to play on. David Joyce, however, in keeping with the ethos of honourable play awarded a penalty to a dejected Steve (like a bold child, it’s the only way he’ll learn!!). Both Gannon and Bourke were exhibiting moments of brilliance around the course, with Andrew shooting a 2 over across 5 holes. However, a calamitous run of 3 and 4 putts left both himself and Jim out of the running for the top spot (did I mention the greens were ridiculous?!!). As this final foursome approached the 18th tee, a steely determination to end in style in front of the gallery of “fans” instilled a resolve last seen when Declan was selecting his outfit that very morning. Both Jim and David reached the green on this tricky Par 5 in two shots, while Steve and Andrew played the percentage game to attempt pars. David Joyce, knowing he needed something special to cap off a near perfect back nine, hit his second shot to within 3 yards of the hole, knocking in for a well-deserved Eagle. With the rain having finally cleared, hands were shaken and the time came to withdraw to the Members Lounge to announce the winners.
It should be noted that with an increase in the Prize Pot, a significant improvement in scores took place, with 9 people shooting over 30 points. The eventual top prize of the €250 Blue Book Voucher (graciously donated by Michael McDonnell) was awarded to Declan Griffin on 37 points, with a 2 ball for Carton House going to a very close second: David Joyce on 36 points (he actually managed to get around the course in 7 under par, impressive). Bringing up the rear with 34 points (after his penalty) was a delighted Steve Kelly (his handicap is currently being reviewed by the Committee). Longest Drive was awarded to David Kelly while David Slevin (one of our new members) achieved Nearest the Pin on the day. Ladies Prize went to a very commendable Caroline MacKell with a commanding 28 points, with Deirdre McHugh awarded a voucher for “most use of the course”! Spot prizes were also given to Andrew Bacon, Gareth McCluskey and Kieran Dowling who were delighted to have been drawn out of the hat. To round off the day, it was time to announce Player of the Year. With Steve Kelly on 33 points, Dave Kelly on 36 points, a very worthy David Joyce stood up to collect his prize. With 39 points overall across his two best rounds, he humbly received his trophy and prize.
With the golf carts safely parked in the garage (and a lot were used that day by the Society), it was time for many to hit the Dame Tavern, Hogans, and eventually Copper Face Jacks (a club befitting the exclusivity of the MBA brand) for a few drinks and laughs.
It certainly has been an amazing journey for myself and Cormac. From a conversation during the Induction Week, to finishing the first year of a growing UCD Michael Smurfit Club, which we created, has been special. A massive thanks must be given to the staff of the MBA program who have tirelessly supported us throughout the setup process and indeed the financial donations we have received over the course of the year. Most importantly, the biggest thank you of all must go to you, the players. Without you, this club would not exist. We are hoping that we have created a fun environment for you to mix with fellow MBAers, take a break from the sometimes stressful aspects of the course, and most importantly, have a few laughs along the way.
Thank you again for all your support and see you shortly for some more golf.
Andrew Bourke, Captain, EMBA 2014.
Greens and Fairways
UCD MBA Golf Society