Doonbeg storm update: "Sorry... Greg Norman is on the other line"

Doonbeg storm update: "Sorry... Greg Norman is on the other line"
 Greg Norman on the design visit to Doonbeg. Picture via  Doonbeg Lodge

Greg Norman on the design visit to Doonbeg. Picture via Doonbeg Lodge

Course designer Greg Norman was straight on the phone to investigate as Doonbeg denied "rumours" that several holes had been lost to the massive storms that have lashed the west coast of Ireland in recent days.

 The 14th at Doonbeg has so far survived the ravages of the Atlantic storms, according to the club.

The 14th at Doonbeg has so far survived the ravages of the Atlantic storms, according to the club.

Head professional Brian Shaw was forced to cut short a phone call explaining the extent of the damage with a phrase that makes your ears prick up: "Sorry, I have to take this. Greg Norman is on the other line."

That Norman was on the phone to get a first hand report is perturbing, though not necessarily confirmation that the County Clare course has fallen to the wild Atlantic waves.

And while Shaw revised up last Saturday's storm damage update of "sand deposit" and fencing loss to report more serious damage to the links, he vehemently denied rumours that several of the holes lovingly created by the Great White Shark had been lost to the ocean.

"We've taken a real hammering in the past few days," Shaw confessed. "We've heard the rumours that are out there but the story is that while the storms have taken the back tee at the 18th, it is still too soon to assess the full extent of the damage and the undercutting.

"We got lucky last night because the storm hit to the south of us but I can report that all of our fencing is gone and we have lost a path behind the fifth green.

"The 14th [the iconic par-three featuring a green cut into the top of a lone dune] is still intact but it's clear with the steepness of the slope there that we are going to have to take steps [regarding anti-erosion measures] there."

We await further reports on the fate of the links and the jobs that go with one of County Clare's biggest tourist attractions. 

 Doughmore Beach at Doonbeg. Picture via  Doonbeg Lodge

Doughmore Beach at Doonbeg. Picture via Doonbeg Lodge

Though nowhere near the 960,134 that visited the Cliffs of Moher - up 10 percent on 2012 figures - or the droves of overseas golfers travelling to take on mighty Lahinch, Doonbeg is a significant local employer.

Lahinch Golf Club, incidentally, reported flooding to low-lying areas and superficial damage to tees and greens following last week's storms.

The town itself suffered severe damage to its promenade.

Other links courses, such as County Sligo at Rosses Point, also suffered erosion damage.