Word is spreading fast throughout the streets (of Blackrock mainly) that the MBA Golf Society is becoming one of the most popular clubs in UCD Smurfit history. With yet another increase in participation from the last outing in Druids Heath, the prestigious K Club served as the backdrop for the club’s penultimate event of 2013. As the temperatures reached a tepid 27 degrees, the competition for Player of the Year continued to heat up, with a noticeable air of excitement (and camaraderie) building in the Clubhouse.
The K Club, home to the Ryder Cup in 2006, certainly lived up to its reputation as an exclusive venue, with Andrew Bourke kindly reminded early on that “shorts, if they absolutely must be worn by visitors, should be tailored”. To avoid any risk of offence caused by his combat style pocketed shorts, Andrew was safely placed in a pair of black slacks for a meagre €110 (apparently all that was available in the Pro Shop on the day). With this minor obstacle surmounted, all players arrived suitably early for their respective tee times to discuss strategy and double up on their sun cream dosage. Some, namely Andrew Bacon and Declan Griffin, (believing it to be Ascot) were aiming for Best Dressed Male, putting the extravert golfer Rickie Fowler to shame. Also notable for his dress sense was David Kelly with his all black number (black shorts, black shirt and black cap). Among many overheard comments in the changing room were, “There’s a ninja on the course” and “He’d use black golf balls if he was allowed”.
With the prizes again graciously sponsored by the University, the battle to obtain these much coveted accolades was ready to commence. Ray O Gorman, Andrew Bacon, Declan Griffin and Cormac Dunne took to the first tee with all the bravado and showmanship of prize fighters… with only one decent drive between them as a result. Already the heat was wreaking havoc. This did not stop an intense driving rivalry from developing; Griffin Vs Dunne. They just could not wait until the 16th for the Longest Drive competition. By all accounts, Cormac was the victor, probably using the strength he’s been developing while training for Gaelforce West!
Next up were the intellectuals: Kieran Dowling, David Joyce and Jim Gannon. “Fresh” from his holiday in Spain and fully acclimatised to the heat, Kieran was ready to take on the top two players from the last outing. David Joyce, our resident scratch golfer, was using this round as a mere practice session before an epic 54 hole weekend that lay ahead, while Jim was using his excessive IQ to course manage his biggest challenge yet, the River Liffey. Rumour also had it that David continuously had one eye out for the Course Manager with a view to becoming the resident course professional. This threesome impressed throughout with touches of elegance around the green coupled with shots unseen since Padraig Harrington’s numerous final round collapses during many, many Majors! It should be noted that these lads admirably lost the least amount of balls during their round with a mere 26 balls!
The time to let the more mature gentlemen enter the fray was upon us with Chris O Connor, Ciaran Hynes and David Kelly looking relaxed and in control. However, by Hole 4, they looked dishevelled and forlorn. Actually in fairness, David Kelly was making the K Club look like a pitch and putt course! By all accounts it was one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf he has ever played, possibly a direct correlation to him just finishing the full time MBA course.
Unaware that a new champion was playing ahead of them, Ronan Sheridan, Conor Ryan, Joe Kenny and Andrew Bourke looked the epitome of MBA class approaching the first tee. Andrew seemed a little shaken though, quickly revealing he had committed the cardinal sin of drinking the night before a competition. With a pitiful 5 points in the first 8 holes, and being driven around in a buggy by a factor 70 wearing Joe, he looked desperately for the drinks cart (for water people, for water). Conor Ryan, on the other hand, playing off 28, used the first 3 holes to rack up 8 points, and was notably the first person to wear a sleeveless extra small polo shirt to the K Club! Ronan, who had moments of brilliance, could obviously not stop thinking about his future wife long enough to string two decent holes together, while Joe attempted to capitalise on his team mates’ weaknesses, waiting until the back nine to demonstrate his true golfing panache.
Finally, Steve Kelly (the reigning long drive champion), Emma Fagan (the current female champion) and Charlie Weijer (the champion for 2nd year MBA causes) aimed to challenge right up to the gallery that awaited them on the 18th. Emma, arriving just one minute before her allocated tee time brought her mother along for support (that’s how serious these competitions are taken). And she still found time to change out of a black and into a pink top during the first hole. Steve, having secretly played nine rounds in the previous two weeks maintained a quiet confidence throughout, racking up points while keeping the natives behind the final threesome at bay. Meanwhile, Charlie who earned a free baseball cap (resulting from a welcome credit card machine malfunction) was thoroughly enjoying a little freedom from his Capstone Project. It seems that these three were not the only players to enjoy this course.
As the summer sun started to make its way deservedly to the horizon, the final few joined the jubilant masses enjoying a drink in the luxurious clubhouse. With the numerous buggies safely parked and sun cream long gone (due to persistent sweat), talk turned to longest drive and nearest the pin. It seems that, yet again, hitting the fairway and green respectively would have been sufficient to win either award, with only two participants managing both. Charlie Weijer waited until the 12th to bring his best work, pinging a perfect 6 iron 970mm from the hole while Jim Gannon smashed his drive across the 16th chicane to claim yet another prize (we’re starting to realise we’re fund his outings).
Meanwhile, the point’s race was again slightly unflattering with only two players achieving 30 points or over. Thankfully David Kelly, with 39 points, led by example for next month’s Captain’s Day in Powerscourt on the 23rd August. Second with 30 points was David Joyce, with Cormac Dunne claiming third with a modest 27 points.
Yet again, it was recognised by all that the MBA Golf Society, although created upon the premise of networking, presented an arena for witty banter and adolescent regression (where the relaxed atmosphere spilled over onto the wee hours outside the Dame Tavern, hosting a band and many many pints!)
With representatives from midweek, weekend, full time, first and second year MBA classes present at the K Club, the society is certainly gaining momentum. It should also be noted that the club cannot keep giving the female prize by default to Emma Fagan (step up to the challenge ladies). And there’s always room for more male contenders, considering the relatively low winning scores.
Finally, a little note from the creators of the MBA Golf Society: We (Andrew Bourke and Cormac Dunne) started this club on an absolute whim, from a conversation that started in the canteen during our first week. However, as this club goes from strength to strength, we endeavour to create a club befitting the ethos of MBAs worldwide. Therefore we thought, “Why not use the society’s popularity to showcase Ireland as one of the best golfing destinations on earth?” To this end, we would like to announce at this juncture that we intend to present Ireland the hub of the first ever MBA Golf World Trophy, a competition that invites every nationality sharing our educational experience to join us as host in one of the most prestigious events on the MBA calendar, rivalled only by the MBA Rugby World Cup. More will follow, and thank you again for your support.