Four ball in the morning, foursomes pm. First of four days in Ireland. Fantastic friends even forgiving of my hozel rockets which, by close proximity, spread like measles to all bar one who was inoculated at any early age against such diseases.
A great dog leg opening hole into the towering dunes; the target getting smaller, higher and more precarious as you advance; driver, five iron to the neck, gap wedge and a missed putt; can’t complain. These dunes swallow up the fairways and greens and make dramatic holes which are less intimidating second time around. I think that is a credit to the design. You have to think your way around, be not afraid, and you are forgiven for being human yet walloped for being a cretin. I was walloped more than once but I was still smiling. These six holes constitute a modern and tough links experience but then on the flatter original part of the course there are some classic twisters, up turned greens, cunning changes of angle and experienced bunkering.
And then a ‘dunes stand’ finish where banks of marram grass rise, terrace like, above you as intimidating as the Kop stand to one dressed in blue bearing down on a vacant goalmouth. Simply exciting. A wonderful course and amazingly quiet. The last few days in July and we had the place to ourselves.
We stayed in the beautiful Newport House Hotel little more than an hour from the courses we played. Faded grandeur but excellent food and nothing shabby about the wine list or the welcome. Unfairly unused. Go there now and play all of these courses. Not a dud amongst them. One of the very best touring destinations
Seagulls view 31/36
Greens & Bunkers 15/18
Links experience 16/18