Monday, July 15, 2019

Golfing in Ireland - a few unusual hazards

Ireland has some great famous courses - beautifully maintained, pristine condition, pothole bunkers, lavish clubhouses. Ballybunion, Ballyliffen, Portrush, Lahinch etc. 

Yeah we’re not playing at any of those. We prefer to spend the €200+ those ones charge for a round on something like Guinness! Apparently we prefer the quirky, barely playable ones for €30-60. With more interesting challenges than mere bunkers or water holes. 

Our first one was Cruit (pronounced Crutch) Island. Follow a very narrow road for about 4 kms then make sure you honk to warn the golfers you’re coming since the road runs right through a couple of holes. 
Since there’s not much differentiation between the rough and the fairway, it’s almost impossible to know where to aim your ball and there are only two holes where you can see where the green is from the tee box (par 3s). Mostly it’s a guessing game. 
One hole has a gaping drop off to the ocean in front of the tee. 

But some of the views are stunning. 

Below, the view toward the green where Ross advised me my shot was about 100 yards, but turned out to be 70. Never saw the ball again after it dropped toward the ocean. 
Dunfanaghy golf course had its challenges as well. The road to the beach went right through the course so along with cars, there were groups of walkers and families with kids on bikes to watch out for. Most of them didn’t notice the golf happening. 
Also the locals took the liberty of walking their dogs across the fairway - you can see them up on the right in the photo below while Ross waits 'patiently'. 
But what a view. 

The most fun was at Gweedore. I believe it is technically a sheep pasture where golfers are allowed. They greeted us at the entrance. 

A few gates to pass through after teeing off. 

This green is surrounded by an electric fence. I guess the sheep cut down on the mowing. 
Sheep on the tee box rarely got in the way. You did need to watch where you stepped!
Finding the next hole could be an issue. This path was long and uphill. 
Then on 9 and 18, a fence, a ditch, a road, and another fence on your approach shot. Wait for the cars going to the graveyard or beach to pass. Also this course only has 14 holes so you get to play some twice. 
But again some stunning ocean views. 
They may not get any write ups in Golf magazines but we'll remember these courses much longer than if we played a regular course. My advice? Skip the famous ones and try a few rounds at the lesser known local courses that don’t require a second mortgage to play. 

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