Tuesday, June 07, 2016

 Three Captains at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club
 Today's picture of GB and Ireland's Curtis Cup team captain Elaine Farquharson-Black (Deeside) flanked by Judy do Valle Ribeiro, the Dun Laoghaire Golf Club ladies' captain, and Norman Burns, the men's club captain, writes Colin Farquharson. 
"It's a great course with great facilities - and officials and members too! Everyone has been so welcoming," said Elaine who is pleased with the way her team have bonded since they arrived in Ireland last week.
It's a beautiful wooded, parkland course with three nine-hole circuits and towering hills in the background.
A press corps of more than 40 golf writers, the majority from Ireland, but two from the Czech Republic, who have checked in early, have registered their intention to attend.
The Curtis Cup record home attendance of 12,000 for a three-day match was set at  Nairn Golf Club four years ago but with this week's match at a venue close to a major city - Dublin had a population of 527,612 at the 2011 census - it is a fairly safe bet that that record will go by the boards here at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club.
There are reports of golf clubs all over Ireland, and north of the Border too, organising busloads of members to make the trip to cheer on a team that contains three Irish players - LeGona Maguire (Slieve Russell and Duke University), Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies) and Maria Dunne (Skerries) - and five English, Bronte Law (Bramhall), Alice Hewson (Berkhamsted), Charlotte Thomas (West Surry), Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough), Rochelle Morris (Woodsome Hall).
So a new record "gate" for a home Curtis Cup match is well nigh a certainty, even though it rains every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as is forecast.
The three-day match against the Curtis Cup holders, the United States, begins on Friday with three morning foursomes and three afternoon four-ball matches.
That will be repeated on Friday followed by the singles shoot-out that was decisive in GB and I's favour at Nairn.
"The speed of the greens are about 10.5 on the stimpmeter," said Elaine. "We had rain today and the forecast is for rain over the weekend so, if anything the greens will get slower."
GB and I last won at the 2012 match at Nairn with a final-day, come-from-behind surge in the Sunday singles.
On paper, this is a stronger GB and I team than the 2012 line-up.
A Curtis Cup match is as much a social as a sporting occasion.
Past GB and I captains seen so far include Diane Bailey, Ita Butler, Tegwen Matthews, Jill Thornhill, Belle Robertson, Claire Dowling and Irish legend Mary McKenna is sure to be along any day now. Same goes for Ada O'Sullivan, another Irish past Curtis Cup skipper.