University of Arkansas head women’s golf coach Shauna Estes-Taylor is spending a week on the road recruiting. What is special about this week is that Estes-Taylor is representing the Razorbacks at events in Ireland. Check back over the next couple of days to see how her adventure is going.
I must begin by saying that Ireland has always been a dream destination for me. I love the game of golf so much that being here makes me think back to the beginning of this great game and all of the wonderful places that it has taken me. The rich history and links style of golf are amazing! I feel very blessed to be here representing the University of Arkansas at one of the largest international junior girls’ golf tournaments in the world.
My blog will begin with our arrival in Ireland because it makes for a great laugh for those who know me and Adam. Our adventure began when our plane landed in Dublin, Ireland. Adam and I gathered our bags and headed to the dreadful car rental counter for our stressful beginning to driving on the opposite side of the road. This will definitely test our new marriage as I am the driver and Adam is the navigator. He keeps me informed as we make turns that I need to stay on the left. I will need a hair highlight upon our return because it is very nerve racking. Our first goal was to find our hotel in Dublin as our flight was overnight and we were exhausted.
Adam and I spent two days in Dublin before we headed North to the start of the British Girls Championship hosted at Royal Belfast Golf Club. We toured the city on the first day and on day two we got our first taste of links style golf at PortMarnock Golf Club. It is a very famous golf club that ranks as one of the top links courses in Ireland and not to mention the favorite course of my golf idol Seve Ballesteros. This was my first round back after my hip surgery and I ended the day with a smooth 80–not too bad after not swinging a club for 9 weeks! Adam played nicely as well and we had an amazing time on this unbelievable test of golf. I hated to see the day end, but we had to get ready for our journey North to where my work begins–Belfast, Ireland.
We again loaded in the car, me driving, and Adam navigating us on our two-hour drive North. No one will ever believe what happened to us next. As we were cruising (on the left hand side as I am reminded by Adam) we see this huge statue of a Razorback on the side of the road. I slam on brakes, make a quick U-turn, and we pulled over for a must take picture moment. I can truly say the Razorbacks are taking over the world! GO HOGS! If I could pack it in my bag I would bring it back, but the cost of shipping might break my team budget.
We jumped back in car and proceeded to our final destination: Belast. Of course we don’t have a Garmin with us, but after a few U-turns and one stop at the Sparq (gas station), we found our hotel locatedone1 mile from the tournament site. This place is absolutely magnificent! Our home for the week is located on the Irish Sea.
Our first night in Belfast, Adam and I went to an amazing Chinese restaurant on the Irish Sea. I know it sounds funny to not be eating Fish and Chips, but it was so yummy! We awoke early this morning (Sunday) so that I could get to the golf course to get my recruiting strategy down for the week. One tough thing about recruiting overseas is that we have no idea what year the girls are that will be competing. The only information we have is hometown, handicap, and that they are all under the age of 18. This makes for a tricky week, but with some good research done prior to my arrival I should be ready for action. As I was standing on the first tee for about four hours, I met an Irishman who offered to host Adam and I for a late afternoon round at Clandeboy Golf Club in Conlig, Ireland. As it turns out, the kind gentlemen that I met on the first tee happens to be the former president of the Clandeboye Golf Club. I completed my recruiting strategy plan, gathered my belongings, and Adam and I made the quick 20 minute drive to an amazing hillside golf club with spectacular views of the Irish Sea that was so kindly offered to us by the Mr. Victor. We played a quick round in under three hours and for those wondering, my second round after hip surgery was one-over par. I am getting better with age! I must also say that it t has also been so much fun to share this experience with Adam. To see the look on his face when we are playing is priceless! We ended the round with the best meal we have had in Ireland. We ate with the Club Captain and a dozen other Clandeboye members. It was a great evening, but we needed to return back to the hotel because my really busy days begin at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.
Off to find our four leaf clover here in Belfast, Ireland!! GO RAZORBACKS and ’til tomorrow……