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Ran Morrissett

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Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« on: July 20, 2012, 01:51:17 PM »
At Tony Muldoon’s suggestion, I reached out to Ivan Morris for a Feature Interview and boy, did that turn out to be a great idea! Based out of Limerick, Ireland, Ivan has done just about all there is in golf from both a playing and writing perspective. Read his bio at the start of the Feature Interview as proof and what still bristles through the most in his Feature Interview is a man passionately in love with the game. In turn, the game has treated him very kindly but there is an overriding sense of how fortunate Ivan feels to have led the life that he has for 66 years. Best yet, the candle burns as bright as ever. Have a read of question 12 about Inch Island and you get the picture of a young boy scampering around, up and down over dunes, thrilled with each new view/discovery. Indeed, in question 1, he cites evidence from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden that golf does indeed add 5-7 years to your life (this is an especially good thing for us who follow the GolfClubAtlas.com Discussion Group because it definitely subtracts 5-7 years from your life 8)).

Like every big minded person I know, he is quick to praise other people and spread credit where credit is due. Listen to how he describes Eddie Hackett. “Eddie Hackett was a selfless and saintly man. He wanted to be a priest but failed the medical. While working with Fred Hawtree in Belgium, he developed an interest in golf architecture. When illness forced him to retire as golf professional at Portmarnock GC, the Golfing Union of Ireland appointed him as their first national coach and roving ambassador. He accepted that challenge in the spirit of a missionary, traveling the length and breadth of the country in a large van full of equipment for sale and as a golfing proselytizer and helping to expand interest in the game everywhere he went. He was a vital part of the Irish golf explosion in the 1960s.” Graciousness
is a virtue that has gone sadly lacking in recent times (if you ask me!) but not with Ivan.

Ivan’s new book Life as a Way of Golf as well as this Feature Interview contain sage advice that reflect wisdom from years of learning. Take this one, for instance: ‘If only I realized sooner that golf is a privilege and supposed to be fun. It’s not a crusade or an obligation. My life would have been more serene if I had realized that.’ The fortunate ones among us come to that realization in our own time and way but one thing is for sure: The sooner, the better!

One thing Ivan kindly did for us is to update his famous Ballybunion vs Lahnich comparison that was found in his first book Only Golf Spoken Here. His new match play has Lahinch stretching its winning margin to 2 up while his initial version from over 10 years ago had Lahinch eking out a 1 up victory. For sustained drama, there are no more better sand dunes in golf than at those two courses and thankfully great architects got to work in them.

Below is a photo of a father and son reading Ivan’s new book. It was sent to him out of the blue from a gentleman he has never had the pleasure of meeting. Yet it certainly speaks well about Ivan’s role in passing down the healthy, walking game of golf from generation to generation.



Ivan is a recent convert to the pleasures of hickory golf and it is no surprise that words like ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ are laced throughout his
Feature Interview. In part, they serve as a timely reminder for the exhilaration of links golf. We are hopefully going to be treated to a bunch of film and stories on Ballesteros this weekend and Ivan’s exuberance for the sport is the perfect lead in. Indeed, starting this year, we will make a point of having a Feature Interview up with a person from the UK or Ireland during the Open Championship. In the meanwhile, hope you enjoy this one!

Cheers,
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 01:53:50 PM by Ran Morrissett »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 04:50:11 PM »
Those pictures of Inch are pretty good.  I wish they'd get permission to build it.  If the routing by Dr. Spring is really bullet-proof, I would volunteer my own crew to go over and help get it built.

Regarding the 2-up victory of Lahinch over Ballybunion, as a great fan of both courses, I have to call into question what happened at the eighth and fifteenth holes which were given to Lahinch.  Were the Ballybunion holes disqualified due to balls oscillating in the wind?  :)

Robert Emmons

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 04:52:46 PM »
Tom....Nice...RHE

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 06:34:40 PM »
Though to balance those decisions, Ivan's obviously not a fan of Klondyke & Dell if Ballybunion's mundane brace of par-5's manage to win that stretch 1-up...


Sean_A

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 07:35:45 PM »
Those pictures of Inch are pretty good.  I wish they'd get permission to build it.  If the routing by Dr. Spring is really bullet-proof, I would volunteer my own crew to go over and help get it built.

Regarding the 2-up victory of Lahinch over Ballybunion, as a great fan of both courses, I have to call into question what happened at the eighth and fifteenth holes which were given to Lahinch.  Were the Ballybunion holes disqualified due to balls oscillating in the wind?  :)

I too am amazed that anyone would plop for Lahinch's 8th over Ballyb's.  Not that it isn't a good hole, its just that Ballyb's is all world.  Though, once one experiences the absolutely stupid rough on Ballyb's 15th, it is entirely plausible one would prefer Lahinch's tough par 4 - though I score it a draw until Ballyb comes to their senses. 

Ran - how did you find out about Mr Morris to interview him?

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 02:46:02 PM »
Thanks Ran will return to this tommorrow.  Here's the link

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/feature-interview/ivan-july-2012/


Oh and you are correct McDowell does have a weird accent. ;)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00bbkm2


BUt I ahve money on him to achieve a top 5 fininsh. "Go GMac"   
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 02:54:53 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

Mac Plumart

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 06:22:01 PM »
Those pictures of Inch are pretty good.  I wish they'd get permission to build it.  If the routing by Dr. Spring is really bullet-proof, I would volunteer my own crew to go over and help get it built.

Much respect, Tom. 
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 08:08:07 PM »
Which renowned, rustic course in Florida does he reference? My guess is Seminole, but I'm not certain if it is suitable for the country.
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
~OSU Grey
~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

Tiger_Bernhardt

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2012, 11:39:33 PM »
What are great interview.  
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 07:29:28 PM by Tiger_Bernhardt »

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 05:38:50 PM »
The rustic course in Florida that I compared Cork GC in Ireland with is Black Diamond not Seminole. Upon reflection (and a debate with several of my golf buddies, all of whom are regular players at Ballybunion and Lahinch) I believe that I made a serious error of judgement when giving my revision of the match between Ballybunion and Lahinch. Readers must bear in mind that this is a match, a head-to-head joust. Aesthetics or preferences are not involved. My mistake occurred at the 7th. I forgot what a pig of a hole Lahinch's 7th is - when it is played off the championship tee. We are talking about a championship match, surely? I doubt if many visiting golfers to Lahinch have ever stood on that back tee let alone hit a shot off it. I remember having a strong argument with Martin Hawtree about the 'overly-difficult' nature of the shot when it was first mooted. @ Tom Doak: From a difficulty standpoint, I see a 'no contest' between the respective 8th and 15th holes. If Tom played them as often as I have he might appreciate why I came to this conclusion.  We'll have to beg to differ! This change of heart means the overall result becomes a 4-hole margin. However, I have now decided to treat the 'weakish' 18th holes on both courses as a half, which means a 3-up result. FYI - Back when I was a fairly decent player, I invariably returned lower scores at Ballybunion. My best competitive score at BB is 67 and my best casual score 64. I frequently ‘broke’ 70 in competition and 'did' 68 to win The Captain’s Prize in 1980 in the foulest of weather. My best competitive score at Lahinch is 69 (a best casual 66) and in over 40 years of playing there I doubt if I broke 70 more than half-a-dozen times in competition. Playing in a competition from the back tees is what counts. Playing a match with your buddies for a few dollars or 'dinner' is not the type of golf I am considering. Since Hawtree instituted his changes at Lahinch in 1999, it wins hands down every time!     

Ed Oden

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 12:32:01 AM »
I doubt if many visiting golfers to Lahinch have ever stood on that back tee let alone hit a shot off it.     

Not me.  But I did snap this picture while standing on the 6600 yard tees...



I'm guessing it's another 120 yards or so back to the championship tee.  My initial thought was that playing from there to the 6th green would be a nice par 3.

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 03:45:50 AM »
Well spotted, Ed! I would need a rifle from back there to get into POMO from where I'd be going at the green with a 5 or 7-metal to a narrow, Ballybunion-like shelf green with the beach awaiting the slightest pull or an an impossible recovery from the right in prospect. The 7th and 16th (because of the excessive rolls on the green) are the two holes at Lahinch that I criticize most.   

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 10:46:13 AM »
It seems the photos of Inch got slightly mixed up - not that it matters, they are only ideas in Arthur Spring's brain at present. The first pic shows a glorious green site for par 5 16th. The 2nd pic is the 12th par 5 played in a westerly direction. The 3rd is a shot of the 2nd par 4 fairway, heading directly south.

Michael Goldstein

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2012, 06:00:51 PM »
Ivan: welcome! Good interview and I look forward to your contributions pal.

Do you play Lahinch 7th to the alternate green often? I quite enjoy it as a drive and pitch hole over there. And best of all from over there the tee shot on the 9th is sublime!!
@Pure_Golf

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2012, 05:36:10 PM »
Welcome Ivan and many thanks for the interview.


One are that was not really touched upon was the Amateur Golf scene in Ireland.

You’ve written about how in your day the top Amateur Competitions drew big crowds.  There still seems to be a stronger rota of top competitions for Amateur Golfers in Ireland than most countries.  They are still reported in the national press.
http://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/murray-delighted-tradition-has-won-out-at-lahinch-3182192.html

 Of the Current four Irish major winners only McDowell chose to play College golf in the US before turning professional. This crowd would appreciate that these competitions are to the best of my knowledge played on the classic links courses.

Can you give us a run down of the important events?

Does the Mid-am concept have any weight in Ireland?
Let's make GCA grate again!

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2012, 03:22:46 PM »
First of all my apologies - when I mentioned the 16th hole at Enniscrone - it should have been the 15th! Like most places, amateur golf in Ireland these days is dominated by AMNOs - amateurs in name only, full time players who receive varying amounts of sponsorship from the GUI and other sources. The mid-amateur scene hardly exists but there is a thriving seniors circuit. It's rare for a working, family man to win any of Ireland's six amateur 'majors' which are: The Irish Amateur Open, The Irish Amateur Close (both of which are nearly always but not exclusively played on one of our top links courses.) In some ways, the four provincial championships are even more highly prized because they are EXCLUSIVELY played on the same links each year and enjoy massive tradition and support. The South at Lahinch; the North at Royal Portrush; the East at County Louth (Baltray) and the West at County Sligo GC (Rosses Point.) The Irish Am Open and East are played by 72-holes stroke play but the others are contested by match play. All of the provincial championships still attract good crowds but the other two are hit or miss affairs depending on the venues. There is also a highly-competitive national inter-club scene that is taken very seriously. We still have a few, important 72-holes scratch cup events - notably, Mullingar, Waterford and Carlow that often attract overseas entrants and 'oodles' of one-day, 36-holes scratch events. Despite what I sometimes say amateur golf is still alive and well in Ireland!       

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2012, 04:01:20 PM »
@ Goldy- Not quite sure what you are driving at Michael. Is there a loss in translation or, are you talking about the 'right' 7th hole? What alternative? Just back from Northwest Donegal where Marie and I enjoyed easily the best day of Irish sunshine in 2012 playing hickory golf at the Sandy Hills and Valley courses at Rosapenna. The former is one of Ireland's most demanding and picturesque links, whereas The Valley is as old fashioned and as quirky as you would expect having been laid out by Old Tom Morris and modified by Harry Vardon over 100-years ago. Rosapenna Golf Hotel is my favorite place in Ireland for a few days of good golf, good food and r & r.

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2012, 04:13:16 PM »
You are right, Ally! I'm not a big fan of the Klondyke or Dell holes. On balance, I'd leave the Dell alone - too much tradition but I wouldn't mind bombing the Klondyke Hill and inverting into a 'mine' similar to the one on the 6th or 13th holes at Lahinch. That would turn the hole into a fantastic par-4 and it would be a much safer proposition. I've almost been beheaded at that spot a number of times and so has any regular Lahinchite.     

Mike_Trenham

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Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2012, 11:04:46 PM »
First day i met Ivan, we played Lahinch.  Playing the Klondike hole we both hit good drives into the vicinity of the Klondike.  Seeing Ivan with a wood in hand I took out my baffler and hit the best five wood of my life, Ivan stopped put his wood back in the bag and hit a mid iron.  As we walked to the green I was informed by my father that I had hit the ball over the green and out of bounds.  Ivan just smiled.  I got screwed and a great memory, Dad and I went on to beat Ivan and his son David that day.  One of our best triumphs.

My last visit to Lahinch it was "blowing a gale" according to Ivan but we played the medal tees.  As we teed off he hand me and my two friends score cards and said "notice boys I gave you a card but no pencil, it is way too windy for a pencil", Ivan finished strong and shot 68 I think!  He the drove me back to Limerick while sending texts (scary) to his brothers with news of the recovery of his game.

You will have to search long and far for a person with Ivan's passion, talent, knowledge, wit and ability write about our game.
Proud member of a Doak 3.

Ivan Morris

Re: Feature Interview with Ivan Morris is posted
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2012, 04:18:34 AM »
Oh my goodenz! Thanks for that, Mike. My game is still in and out of recovery mode unless I play with my hickories - then, and only then, do I really have fun on the golf course. 

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