#TravelBlog - YOU HAVE TO DO A GOLF TRIP TO NORTHERN IRELAND!

Take a step back...

Sometimes in life you need to take a step back and take a moment to realise just how good something is.

On Friday at about 4pm we were walking down the fifth at Royal Portrush. The sun was out. I was with three of my very good mates. I'd slashed a driver miles right because we didn't know the line to hit on but got insanely lucky, found a lie and knocked a wedge up to 20 foot before knocking in a birdie putt.

Now I'm a bang average golfer but these moments are why we love the game. We can all make a birdie just like Rory McIlroy or other greats who will have walked in those footsteps.

Stood on that green with the most amazing view I took a minute to just think about where we were. All the stress of modern life seems so far away when you've just made a birdie on one of the best golf courses in the world.

Obviously it went drastically downhill from there due to a combination of shocking chipping and a 3am alarm pre-Easyjet flight but here is the story of an amazing trip...

Seriously. Royal Portrush is as good as it gets. You have to play it. World class. #NornIron2k17

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Day One - Portrush

Seriously it's the best I've ever played. There is just an aura about it. You get some of these resort courses around the world that have had money chucked at them but they can't hold a candle to Royal Portrush in my opinion.

I totally get beauty is in the eye of the beholder but in this case she is a worldy, a 10/10 and you want to marry her.

At £190 green fee it's obviously not cheap for a round of golf. Like that's mental. But when people spend that on a pair of jeans or on a couple of nights on the piss you get a bit of perspective and realise you'll never forget your experience there.

We came off the course in agreement we never would forget it... saying that we did give it a very good go that evening by killing off the few remaining brain cells we have.

A short hop from the course we drove to our B&B, a quick turnaround and headed out for some of the Irish hospitality we'd heard so much about. 

The Neptune and Prawn by the harbour there is a buzzing place and the food was honestly as good as the golf course. 10/10. Authentic Asian food and wicked atmosphere with music and loads of people in there.

If you're that way inclined there were also plenty of attractive ladies in there which never hurt anybody... unlike the waiter who was determined we should be doing Jagerbombs all the time and the manager who is what you might call eccentric... but top value.

You realise straight away across Ireland that the people are up for the craic as they call it. They take themselves a lot less seriously than some people in London, make you feel relaxed and seem to love boozing... which is great.

Over the road there is a pub called Harbour Bar with pictures of GMac, Darren Clarke and Rory everywhere but the biggest celeb is the barman Willie. A local legend he got us behind the bar pouring and downing pints of Guinness.

After that there is live music upstairs and everyone is having a great time.

My time was so great that I misplaced my phone. Am now wondering whether I can invoice Willie for a Samsung Galaxy.

There's only One @darrenclarke60 @rydercupteameurope @teamism #harbourbar #portrush #shouldertoshoulder #ramore #portmagic

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Belfast 

With saw heads we drove over to the big city. Our designated driver was hating it that we all conked out in the back whilst he faced a hungover drive.

We had to visit the golf club of Northern Ireland's most famous export Rory McIlroy, Holywood GC.

We met a few of Rory's friends, checked out his shrine full of major trophies and had a laugh with some of the staff there before following the Saturday comp out... which was a bit of a mare #GetOnWithIt.

Some people might say the course isn't all that great perched in quite a small area on the side of a massive hill but to be fair I think that's harsh.

The views of the city are great and there are some nice holes out there but what I liked most was the people there. It's more of a working class golf club which means less snobs and way more banter. The members seem to be locals and seemed to take to us scumbags which was nice. We were made to feel at home even after we accidentally drove a ball 100 yards past the group in front because we couldn't see them over a hill.

"Ahhh... no worries lads. You're grand."

Let's just say it's not like that at all golf clubs is it!

We took the short drive back into town, got changed at our new hotel The Clayton, before flying out to get back on the beers pre-Joshua fight.

Deane's Restaurant was a touch of glass for a bit of wine and nibbles in our embarrassing attempt to look posher than we actually are before making fools of ourselves at Sweet Afton for the boxing. Great atmosphere but not too much where you get all the bellends who think they're actually in the fight shouting 'He should use the jab more'. Wankers.

I think we went ChinaWhites after that. Not really too sure. Don't know whether that's a good thing.

Sunday

As you get a bit older and slightly more responsible you soon realise you can't handle two days on the lash like you used to. We were what is known in the trade is absolutely hanging.

But the cure had to be golf so we headed down to the beautiful Malone GC. It's set around a lake and is a wonderful setting. You can see why lots of people say it's the best parkland in Northern Ireland.

It's fantastically maintained and isn't crazy difficult. Nobody wants to be looking for balls on a hangover!

There are three nines there which I always like and the 6th on the Ballydrain was class. A short par three over the lake.

Two lads in front we caught up knocked four balls in the water whilst we were sat watching in the buggy so we asked them if we could play through. Top banter. I think they took it well! Ha.

We got back to the clubhouse where the manager, who was a top guy, bought us four pints of Guinness.

Back to Sweet Afton for Spurs Arsenal before a quick curry at Nu Delhi, which was immense btw. Maybe don't ask for extra spice though like one of the lads who was in tears. Just like when someone gets hit in the balls you get absolutely no sympathy. 

Finally we went to the 20th anniversary at a rooftop bar called The Perch which is a great setting with a quality few DJ's playing live.

One thing you might say is the people there just seemed to be kind of standing about staring at each other rather than dancing about... I'm not sure we fitted in.

At the end of the night we were asked to leave for doing kick ups with lemons. Make of that what you will.

Overall you should def still check it out. Like I said great DJs and cool open air spot.

We retired back to the way too conveniently position hotel and had four final Guinesses at the hotel bar. The manager is a bit of a legend.

Writing this I feel absolutely brutal. Northern Ireland has beaten me but what a place.

Great golf. Great people. Great fun.

Round up your mates. Start a Whatsapp group. And book those flights.

You won't regret it.

#NornIron2k17

I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.