Finally . . . The Sun

By: Aidan Bradley

Editor's Note: After unsuccessfully waiting for the sun to come out in Ireland in mid-July, our resident pundit-golf photographer decides to pack up his equipment and move on to shoot courses in Portugal. Here's his account of that banal travel experience.

After 10 days of testing my patience and finding no sun, I have decided to move on to greener pastures. Can't complain too much though as the Irish have just suffered through 54 straight days of rain. And you want to know why they drink!

Not being the best of flyers, with too many "Oh s***" flights, I decided to ease my concerns by prescribing a little pre-flight medication. The Dublin airport is very civilized, with bars opening at 6 a.m.

I asked the young lady behind one of them for a screwdriver, to which she responded, "A what?" "A screwdriver, you know vodka and orange juice." "Ah, right a vodka and OJ." "Never heard of a fu****g screwdriver before," she said. "Dat's a new one on me."

You've got to love a woman who feels comfortable cursing in your company two minutes after meeting you. I paid $7.50 for a measure of vodka so small that it evaporated before I put the change in my pocket. Glad I don't live over here . . . I would have spent my kids' inheritance by now. Oh well, they wouldn't miss the trip to Vegas anyway.

I'm flying the sunshine express to Portugal on Ryan Air, Ireland's answer to Southwest Airlines. The walk from the bar to the gate was so long that the sandwich I used as soakage for my "orange juice" had melted off my svelte figure even before I boarded the plane. I swear I passed through at least one time zone along the way. I felt like ordering a cab, but the 92-year-old lady huffing and puffing her way to the finish line made me feel guilty.

Flying Ryan Air is like being in a cargo plane and getting accosted by a sales person every 10 minutes. Four times on the two-and-half-hour flight I was forced to purchase a cocktail with the extra tease of a "two-for-one" special. I politely declined, telling them I had seen the great vanishing act at the bar earlier. They try to pedal cute teddy bears, watches, perfumes and every piece of useless tripe you've ever seen, instructing: "If you want a full list of all our junk please refer to our in-flight magazine." Sadly, there were only 30 magazines handed out to the first "lucky" passengers.

My thirst finally got the better of me and I asked for a beer. "What would you like, sir?" asked the flight attendant. "What do you have?" "The selection can be found in our in-flight magazine." "I was passenger 31, I don't have one," I responded. At which stage, the attendant vanished to find a copy. Apparently, the lucky owners of the magazine had put their copies in their check-on luggage. Hey, there are no towels to steal and the magazine makes a wonderful memento.

When given a copy, I finally located the appropriate section. But I quickly realized the selection was somewhat limited. "Why didnít you tell me you only had Bud and Carlsberg?" The attendant got that deer-in-the-headlights look again - must be a cousin of Natwitta (see

"Carlsberg please." I love a warm beer that, as soon as itís opened, serenades you with that Elvis song, "Iím All Shook Up."

Pretzels are extra.

There are more screaming kids on this flight than in a Rumanian orphanage. Parents were so busy trying to hide in-flight magazines that theyíre oblivious to their little angels attempting to shatter the plastic cups and my ear drums. We are commencing our final descent now, so itís time to move my butt two inches to the left so I can get a little exercise before we land. If the space we are allotted on this airline were any smaller, we would have to stand up. I know now why they have a weight allowance on this flight. Itís not for the luggage, itís for the passengers. One Irish sausage too many and thereís no place to sit. No worries though, as thereís another cargo plane on the way.

Cheers and God Bless . . .     

Aidan Bradley is regarded as among the best at his trade and is widely recognized for his ability to capture the excitement and mood of a golf course.

Over the years, Aidan's images have graced the pages of all the national golf publications and he is a regular contributor to golf coffeetable books such as "Nicklaus by Design," Golf Digest's "Top 100 Courses You Can Play," "Golf, The Women's Game," and many others. Titleist, Spalding Worldwide, Taylor Made, and Top Flight are but a few of the clients who have used Aidan's images in their ad campaigns.

Aidan was born in Cork, Ireland, where he lived for 21 years. He now resides in Santa Barbara, Calif., from where his work takes him to places that the most passionate golfer dreams of: St. Andrews in Scotland, Augusta National in Georgia, Ballybunion in Ireland, and The Challenge on the island of Lanai in Hawaii. Whatever the assignment, Aidan's focus on light and the surrounding natural environment consistently produces images that evoke a mood that even non-golfers find attractive and compelling.

For samples of Aidan Bradley's work, and more about this outstanding golf photographer, visit

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