Jimmy Laydens 2013 Blog
Jim "Tour Caddie" Layden's Father & Daughter Adventure
Today is day one of the Father/Daughter Golf Tournament at the beautiful Doonbeg Resort in Ireland. The weather forecast is for unseasonably warm temperatures with plenty of sunshine. Not since I came here with my parents in 1969 have I seen such a forecast. I'm not sure what to make of it but I'll gladly take this gift from above.
My trip got off with a bang. I flew to NY to meet my daughter Mary and we agreed to have a late lunch on Saturday. At the agreed hour of two in the afternoon I showed up at her apartment on 89th street and she showed up at my hotel on 50th street. What a start! This is the kind of teamwork that leads to victory.
We had a smooth flight and two magical days of relaxation at Dromoland Castle. Mary and I have a unique talent for doing nothing. We can squander away our time with the best of them. We did manage to sneak in a little time at the practice facility where I was able to share my vast knowledge of the golf swing. Mary was a dutiful listener but told me in no uncertain terms that it was not possible to hit your sand wedge towards the target if you had the club face open and pointed right of the target. Let the games begin.
I had my first pint of Guiness in the Gallery Bar at Dromoland. It was everything I dreamed of and more. The music was good and I sang along. I tried not to embarrass my beautiful daughter but judging by her facial expressions I was a little loud at times. In any event having a Guiness in a castle while listening to music with your daughter is a great way to finish a day.
Gary and Elyse Jackson arrived this morning and together we headed off to Lahinch for a practice round before the practice round. It was a glorious day with only a slight breeze. For 5 long hours two young women had to endure hearing the fantastic stories, tales, and delusions of two broken down old golfers pretending they were still in their prime. As Van Morrison always says "the craic was good"!
We play the real practice round today at Doonbeg with a party to follow. I'll be on the look out for good material.
James "Tour Caddie" Layden
Fathers & Daughters
The weather did not disappoint. It was 75 and sunny with a nice ocean breeze. Our caddie Slasher (how good is that) told us that they used the fairway sprinklers for the first time in six years.
We had a great practice round. Mary saved me every time I needed her and I played well relative to my abilities. I hope we didn't peak too early. My good friend Gary Jackson who is a good player unfortunately had a case of the word your not allowed to say. Fortunately for him his daughter Elyse played brilliantly and all in all I think we're ready for the big event.
We had dinner outdoors on the lawn where we had a very spirited pitching contest to the 18th green. I'm happy to report that I got it closer to the pin than our host, Mr. Martin Carr, which is all that really mattered to me! Every father and daughter gave it a try and when it was over Chris Cosgrove from Dublin knocked it to a foot away.
We had a few pints afterwards and everyone spoke with great anticipation about the upcoming round at Lahinch tomorrow. It was a great day!
On a separate note Mary and I lost the remote in our room. We saw it fall off the bed but magically it was gone. After a thirty minute search and rearranging the room numerous times we found it in a nook in the base of the bed. I don't think it was my fault but it might of been.
On Day 1 of the competition we got up a little early to hit balls and then headed over to the world famous Lahinch Golf Club. The course was designed by Old Tom Morris in 1892 and in 1927 Alister Mackenzie came in and made a few adjustments. It is on some of the most spectacular links land you will ever see.
It was another beautiful day as the teams boarded the bus anxiously awaiting the start of the competition. After shaking off the nerves on the first tee we settled in and had a great day. I three putted the Klondyke and four putted the Dell which really set the tone for the day. I was striking it well but couldn't get it in the hole. I finished with an 83 that should have been a 72 (haven't you heard that sad story before). Lucky for me Mary showed up big on the back nine and we finished with 42 pts only 3 away from first. It's good to be near the top so you get a later tee time after pub night!
We had dinner at leisure and headed off to Comerford's Pub in the small village of Doonbeg. There was live Irish music and spirited conversation. I would say it took a good ninety minutes but our singing eventually drove the locals away. I sang Danny Boy, Four Green Fields, Fields of Athenry, Toora Loora Loora, and When Irish Eyes are Smiling. I know it sounds like a lot but my devoted fans demanded it. I tried to hand the mic back but they kept yelling for more. I received assistance from Mike Foster and Marty on a number of songs.
Mary, (not my daughter)who owns the pub, gave some ceili dancing lessons. Think of a square dance with a bodhran (Irish Drum), accordion, banjo, and guitar as accompaniment and you'll start to get a picture of what the room looked like. While the group was initially a little reluctant pretty soon the floor was packed and the party really got moving. The dancing inspired more song and we heard everything from The Lords Prayer sung in Armenian to the great Peter Keighery's rendition of Your Cheating Heart.
I know it is cliche to use the phrase "get away from it all" but you really can in Doonbeg. It's refreshing to communicate face to face rather than over a cell phone. It's almost seems novel to spend time with someone rather than pass time with them as we text or e-mail with someone else. When that someone is your little girl and you're in the west of Ireland, it is just pure magic.
The big take away from today is that the key to having a good relationship with your daughter on the golf course is having a good caddie!
James Tour Caddie Layden
We Want Some Crystal
Pub night is over and it's time to focus in on the prize. The top three teams will place and we want some of the Crystal.
Today we play at Doonbeg where we are staying. If I didn't mention it earlier, Doonbeg is one of the nicest golf resorts in the world. It's in my top 3 along with Sea Island and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Built by the folks who brought you Kiawah Island it is first class all the way. If you ask my girls about it the first things they will mention are the beds, pillows, and comforters. The clubhouse is something to behold. The golf course which is a little over 10 years old was designed by Greg Norman and it is a beauty! One of the marks of a great course is that it grows on you. You feel like you should be able to have your way with it but more often than not you come up on the short end of the stick. That sums up my relationship with the course but today is going to be my day.
Mary and I played in the last group with Wendy and Mike Foster from Connecticut who are playing for the fifth time and are looking for their first win. We've played with them before and I knew it would be a fun day. We got off to a rough start with 0 points on the first hole but Mary hit a miraculous 3rd shot with a 5 hybrid on the second hole to help right the ship. She also had a net one on the par three seventh( that 36 handicap comes in handy) and I birdied 9 which got us right back in the thick of things. We played hard and didn't give in on the back nine finishing with 41 points for a two day total of 83 points which was 4 shy of the Foster's score of 87. I thought we had second place only to learn that a team in front of us scored 50 points to win the title by 1.
Fourteen year old Paige Lee Garris and her father Randy Garris from Florida had quite a day. Paige who only a few years ago played to a 36 handicap and now plays to a six had three natural birdies on the front nine. She double bogied the last hole to shoot 78. Very impressive! Her dad also shot below his handicap and really had his putter working which resulted in their second title. Congrats to them and the Fosters.
We finished in third place and won some Crystal! Hooray! At first I was disappointed because I wished I'd played better for Mary but she was delighted with third and I have to say that made it feel as good as any first place I've ever had. Mary like my wife Joan (this sounds dangerous) has special powers over me. They both know how to keep me on my toes (no wisecracks Marty) and offer points of view that I might not have considered. I often marvel at their insights and their unique ability to push my buttons when I don't step in line. Of course this is part of why I love them both so much! I miss my Mary with her big eyes and beautiful smile who now lives across the country from me. Thank goodness there is a Father/Daughter Tournament in Doonbeg Ireland!
James "Tour Caddie" Layden