Trinity Golf aces the luxury golf experience – Golfer’s Lifestyle Magazine
February 29, 2016
As featured in Golfer’s Lifestyle Magazine, Feb. 2016
In the southwest corner of Ireland, just beyond the historic town of Kinsale in County Cork, waves of white foam from the Atlantic Ocean crash into dramatically beautiful cliffs supporting a seaside headland. Some 300 feet above sits Old Head Golf Links, where greens and fairways offer majestic views of this Celtic scene amplified by flirting dangerously close to the edge of those same cliffs.
Uniting natural beauty with brilliant course design, Old Head tests the game’s very best golfers, while meriting consideration as one of the most spectacular courses in all of Ireland, if not on Earth.
Indeed, a pilgrimage to Old Head has earned its place onto bucket lists of professionals and amateurs alike, right alongside courses whose names arouse even the casual golfer: St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Augusta National.
In an Irish pub just seven miles north of the course, two American gentlemen in their 70’s sit down and order a pint of Guinness. They discuss their recent round and lament a trip coming to its end.
Only one regret about checking off Old Head comes to mind.
With a tear in his eye, one friend looks to the other and says, “We should have done this 35 years ago.”
It’s a true story shared by John O’Connell of Harrisburg, who had just finished a round of his own at Old Head a couple of years ago and overheard the conversation from the other end of the bar.
He decided that day golfers in the U.S. shouldn’t put off experiencing this trip of a lifetime, so he started Trinity Golf, a luxury golf tour company that specializes in golf trips to Ireland and other spectacular courses around the globe.
O’Connell will tell you the two guys from the pub that day are among many who wait too long to take a trip like this or, worse, wish they will and never do.
It’s an experience he doesn’t want others to miss.
And that includes playing the high-end courses golfers think they can only play in their dreams.
“Through the course of my own personal travel, I came across a lot of different ways to go to these places,” O’Connell says. “And, over time, I developed my own belief of how a trip should go and the best way to experience Ireland.”
When many people plan their own trips, even if they desire that exceptional experience, they tend to cut corners, O’Connell says, and by doing so, they miss out on a true 5-star golf trip.
So that’s why Trinity Golf’s itineraries emphasize such luxury, including not only terrific golf but also staying at 5-star hotels and having an experienced concierge on each trip who manages every detail, from ground transportation, day trips and excursions, and bookings as requested for dinners.
“Some people wait their entire lives to do a trip like this,” he says. “If you’re going to do it, do it right.”
It didn’t take much convincing for Joshua Nowak, 42, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to see that a trip with Trinity Golf was going to be different than anything he’d ever experienced before.
He told his golfing buddies that playing in Ireland was on his bucket list – but it turned out to be so much more, he says.
“It’s like the Super Bowl of golf,” Nowak says. “As soon as you think you’ve been at the best golf course you’ve ever seen, you go to another one.”
Trinity Golf took his group last year on a weeklong trip that included rounds at Doonbeg, Lahinch, Tralee, Waterville, Dooks and Old Head.
While Nowak has played what he considers some of the best courses in the United States, nothing else lived up to the hype of Ireland, he says.
In today’s world of self-booking trips online, Nowak says, he believes he would have missed out if he tried to plan something on his own. With Trinity Golf, he says, he simply showed up and enjoyed one of the best golf experiences of his life.
That includes arriving at the airport and never touching your bags, never getting behind the wheel of the car and never wondering what’s next on the itinerary.
“From start to finish, Trinity Golf supplied really every detail that you can think of,” Nowak says. “And thanks to them, it couldn’t have been any better. It was absolutely spectacular.”
“When someone else can put all of those things together, and all I have to do is write a check – I’ll see you at the airport,” he says. “And I know I’ll go again.”
For the golfer who just can’t make it to Ireland for a weeklong tour yet craves a luxurious trip, Trinity Golf has teed up something rather extraordinary: A 36-hour trip to one of the hottest new golf courses in the world, Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Dubbed the second coming of Cypress Point and “best new course of 2015” by Golf Digest, Cabot Cliffs is the younger sibling to Cabot Links, and golfers who attend the trip will play a round at each course.
“We have a private jet over here in Harrisburg Airport,” O’Connell says, “then we fly up to Port Hawkesbury, which is very, very close to the golf course.”
If you were trying to get to Cabot Links on your own, you’d have to fly commercially into the Halifax airport, then take a three and a half hour drive up to the resort.
“We play golf that afternoon. Go to dinner that night. Spend a night in five-star accommodations. You get up in the morning, play Cabot Cliffs. Get back on the jet. You’re back here for dinner the next night.”
Trinity Golf’s crown jewel of trips is its $100,000 Irish Pro-Am, held Sept. 20-23 at Doonbeg and Lahinch, and the event has attracted a tremendous amount of excitement.
“We’re inviting golf professionals from clubs and public golf courses all around the world, literally, and we’ll take the first 30 teams,” O’Connell says.
The pro will compete individually for a top prize of $25,000, and the pro and three amateur partners will compete collectively for other prizes.
Along with four nights in 5-star accommodations, the entry fee includes a welcome reception, pairings dinner, awards dinner and an Irish breakfast every morning.
“I’ve traveled a lot of places and I’ve been to a lot of nice places,” O’Connell says. “Trump Doonbeg is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever been in.”
Registration is open, and O’Connell expects the tournament to be filled by mid-Spring.
On any trip to Ireland, while playing the best courses in the country might be the draw for a lot of people, there’s more to the Emerald Isle than just golf – and Trinity Golf makes sure clients don’t miss out on the Irish people, the villages and, of course, the pub life.
“You play these great golf courses, and then find yourself in a little street side pub in the country,” Nowak says. “That was a lot of fun to get that experience, as well.”
“If you want to feel like a king,” Nowak says, “that’s how you’re going to feel for the duration of your trip with Trinity Golf.”