Editor's note: This is the fifth and final article on Mancations provided by producers of the Dan Patrick Radio show and its host Dan Patrick. Dan and his staff work out of a self-designated “mancave” at the show’s studio in Milford, CT.
See Part 4: Pro Football Hall of Fame
When the guys on the show and I started talking about mancations, one of them said to me, ‘your life is a mancation.’ I will admit I’ve been able to spend most of my adult years traveling to sporting events with coworkers and friends. I’ve been lucky enough to ‘mancate’ to the Super Bowl, The Masters and The MLB All Star Game. I could try to convince you that the trips were all work, but that would be lame.
For me, the true mancation occurs when you don’t have work hanging over your head. You turn the cell phone off. You don’t want to be the guy looking down at his Blackberry all day. We make fun of that guy.
My top trip was a few years ago when I went with friends on a golf tour of Ireland. I had been to Ireland with family and friends, but not in this capacity. This was all guys and all golf. The only sights we sought were bunkers and beers. Arriving on a Friday morning, we were able to visit 3 courses in the span of 8 days. We started in the town of Killarney and played 3 courses, Ballybunion, Tralee and Lahinch.
On the links, we paced ourselves. We played 18 holes a day and took off just one day out of eight. I wish I could tell you that we saw the sights off the course, but unless pubs count as ‘the sights’, we didn’t.
The best part about golfing with old friends is that you can be a kid again and nobody is watching. But there was serious time, too. Our caddies easily cut 10 strokes off of our scores. These young men knew the courses so well that you had to trust every shot they told you to hit. I tried to argue with one young caddie and he promptly scolded me, saying “how long have you been in Ireland, mate?’ I listened after that.
Two main concerns when planning an overseas golf mancation are clubs and clothes. As tough as it is to bring your clubs, do it. You want to use your best and most familiar equipment on the tough links. Weather in Ireland changes fast. One morning we teed off to sunny skies and warm temperatures. By the 9th hole it was raining and chilly. By the 18th it was sunny again. I’m notorious for not bringing enough clothes, which forces me to pick up new stuff at the local pro shops. You should bring or buy a rain shirt or pullover. All the pro shops there have them.
For my friends and I, playing the courses in Ireland was like stepping into a golf time machine. We have fantastic courses in America, but in Ireland and Scotland they have history. For a person who grew up watching the British Open on television and was amazed by a lack of trees and the deep bunkers, playing golf in Ireland offered a firsthand experience of true links golf. A tough part was when I was so deep in a bunker that I could not see my friends who were standing on the green, but that’s golf in Ireland.
As good as the golf was, the clubhouses of the 3 courses were similarly impressive. The Guinness beer and the food was also top notch. We had beer battered Cod at Ballybunion, bangers and mash at Tralee and seafood chowder at Lahinch. For a bit of sustenance before you tee off, try the “Golfer’s Grill” (bacon, sausage, eggs, steak and mushrooms).
And now for the capper of this mancation: As much fun as I had joking with my friends on the course and the pubs, meeting the locals in Ireland was the best part of the experience. It took me a while to pick up the Irish golf jargon, but it was worth the effort. The banter at the bar with the locals was different from what I experience in the states because nobody there knew who I was or what I do for a living. They didn’t ask me about the Mets bullpen or the Vikings quarterback issues. I did most of the questioning. My favorite local was a man who called me ‘boy’ or ‘sonny’ for the entire conversation…I was 50!
I’m lucky enough to travel to a lot of great places for my job, but this was not about work. This was about relaxing and a new experience. I will be back.
See Part 3: The NFL Super Mancation
See Part 2: MLB Spring Training in Arizona
See Part 1: The Chicago Mancation Trifecta
Dan Patrick is the host of the daily Dan Patrick Show on DirectTV and radio. In that role, he monitors the “mancave” studio that houses the show’s production staff.