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Nov 9, 2023Liked by Richard Pennell

I’ve heard great things about Portrush, ah more to add to my list. Now as to that scholarship.....

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Now that's a story for another day, John!

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Richard Pennell

Another fabulous, memory invoking post, as Portrush may well be my favorite of the links courses I have had the privilege to have played in my trips "across the pond." From peeking into the darkly ominous-looking shelters found in the dunes (and wondering just how bad the weather has to be to make one even consider going in there), to practically falling down laughing as one of my compatriots flailed away attempting to exit from the Big Bertha bunker, to looking down at the course from the hotel we stayed at in '02 (can't recall the name, but it was on a hill to the south and well above the course, with touristy telescopes you put a coin in on the balcony), and actually having a place we could hit a few balls before our round to actually "warm up" (I know, driving ranges are kind of an American thing, but what can I say?).

The other courses in the neighborhood are, of course, equally pleasing-- notably Castlerock and Portstewart, but if you get back up there any time soon, look up a tiny little course which is probably east of Portrush called Ballycastle. It was on the road we took from and to Belfast, after ferrying across from Scotland. Probably not much more than 5000 yards long, we played in a driving rainstorm with the wind howling, and were the only people on the course. 450 yard par 4s downwind were driver and a pitch, and 325 yard 4s back into the breeze were driver, 3 wood. The islands just off the coast were visible, then invisible, depending on the rain and fog. Magical, much like everything about that beautiful thing we call links golf.

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Mark, I hesitated to reply to your latest message, mainly as it blew me away! I love how golf, and perhaps golfing trips in particular (may I call them pilgrimages? They sort of are to me) have the power to tag our memories, and in many of your kind and thoughtful responses, I see someone else who is right there in the action for those trips over here. I joke about my bucket list being never ending, and as I add another couple to it (Portstewart and Castlerock were already on there; Ballycastle's second mention in a week seals that, plus someone mentioned Minehead yesterday!), the truth is I have no compulsion to tick them all off. It's more that it helps me choose where to go if I find a window of opportunity, but if I were to never play again - to butcher Bob(by) Jones' quote about The Old Course - I would still have had a rich, full life. Thanks for tuning in again, Mark. It means a great deal to me, though we've never met.

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Richard, I most look forward to that meeting some day. . . and maybe a match with dueling 6 irons!

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A fine nostalgic journey and, a shared love of Kundera - so long since I read his books, perhaps I should return to his old haunts. I am guessing/half remembering we also share a passion for Murakami.

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Yes, Murakami is a master! We may have discussed...I can’t remember!

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Nov 5, 2023Liked by Richard Pennell

Thank you, Richard! I’ll be looking up Kundera this morning - and I’m sure the dog you played like was of the most fun and friendly kind!

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