~ ~ Woodbrook Golf Club is one of the institutions of Irish golf. It was founded back in 1926, and is perched on the soaring cliff tops overlooking the Irish Sea between the villages of Shankhill in Co.Dublin and Bray in Co. Wicklow. I have personally played Woodbrook on countless occasions. Many of my golfing friends and buddies ... are members of this prestigious old course, and one is even an ex-Captain of the club. My golfing season wouldn’t be complete without a round or two at Woodbrook, which is generally made even more enjoyable by the fact that it’s a course that I generally play well on, and which holds many happy memories for me in terms of trophies won and good scores achieved.
~ ~ As you approach Woodbrook up the long tree-lined drive to the clubhouse you immediately realise that here is a club that is steeped in history and tradition. The old clubhouse, built in the old timber and brick style with its verandas and terraces, is yet another reminder of golf from yesteryear. But step inside and its old-fashioned outward appearance belies a thoroughly modern interior, where every creature comfort a golfer could require is well catered for.
Step into the comfortable locker room and you are surrounded on all sides by framed photographs and press clippings of the world famous players who have competed here at Woodbrook. For many years during the 1960’s and 1970’s Woodbrook was home to the Carrol’s Irish Open which attracted both the cream of Irish golf and overseas stars such as Gary Player, Peter Thompson, Sam Torrance, Bernard Gallagher, and Tony Jacklin. So it was perhaps appropriate that in the 1980’s when the Irish Open was re-instated on the European Tour it was Woodbrook that was chosen to host the inaugural event.
~ ~ The course itself has suffered somewhat in recent years, mostly as a result of the many innovations in equipment in the sport, which allow the modern golfer to hit the golf ball so much further than any previous generation.
Woodbrook was never a particularly long golf course, and as a result many of its holes were simply becoming too short and too easy to provide a stiff enough test for the top players. The club went some way towards addressing this problem during the late 1990’s, when a leading golf course architect, Peter McEvoy, was given the task of lengthening and redesigning many of the holes, as well as slotting in many new bunkers and laying sand-based greens. But even at its new Championship length of 6,863 yards Woodbrook is still not a long golf course by modern standards. This perhaps explains why it has never really attracted back many of the top tournaments, the only event of note in recent years being the 1998 Irish Senior’s Open.
~ ~ Woodbrook is a flat golf course, with no real hills to cope with, and despite its close proximity to the sea, it’s not a real links (seaside) golf course. The soil isn’t of the required sandy variety, and in fact in the winter season the course has a bad habit of retaining too much of the “Irish Sunshine” (rain) and water logging quite badly. When I last played at Woodbrook (Christmas, 2006) the first four holes were unplayable because of this problem, and the rest of the course was extremely wet and boggy underfoot. So if you’re visiting the course in the winter (or if it’s wet weather) then you might be well advised to phone up first to ensure that it’s in play. That said, the drainage isn’t really a problem in the spring and summer seasons.
The views are extremely pleasant, with the Irish Sea to one side and the Dublin/Wicklow mountains to the other, with the picturesque village of Bray in the near distance.
~ ~ My two favourite holes on the front nine are the par-4 sixth, and the par-3 ninth.
The 6th hole measures 401 yards from the Championship tee, and is a dog-leg from left to right. The trick here is to get your drive into the right position for your approach shot to the green. Too far left and you’re in trees. (And in trouble) Too far right, and there are even more trees and a large hedge and ditch. (Even bigger trouble!) The ideal tee-shot is down the left hand edge of the fairway, but even then your problems are only beginning. The green is fronted by an enormous tree, which you must hit either over or around in order to land your ball on the putting surface. To add to the difficulty, there’s a small reed-covered marsh just to the right of the tree, which will catch out any wayward shot. Or sometimes even a GOOD shot, if you happen to tangle with its branches! A difficult hole, where a par-4 often feels like you’ve made a birdie.
The 9th hole, at only 157 yards, is at first glance a fairly straightforward par-3. The trick here is to land your ball softly on the fairly small green, as the bunkers at the front tend to make you overclub yourself slightly and take a wee bit too much club. Do that and you’ll find yourself off the back of the green, and at the bottom of a fairly severe slope which makes it extremely difficult to get your chip back anywhere close to the pin to give yourself a chance at your par. And don’t hit your tee shot too far left or you’ll be over the course boundary and find yourself re-loading! The ninth hole is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
~ ~ On the back nine the beach (or rather the cliffs) come into play. One of my favourite holes is the par-5 fourteenth. At 551 yards it’s relatively simple to reach the green in the stipulated three shots to set up a par. (Or possible birdie) But you’d be well advised to not hook or pull your ball left on any shot, or it will be lost forever over the cliff edge and swallowed up by the Irish Sea. Cross bunkers come into play for your second shot, which you have to carry in order to set yourself up with a relatively easy pitch shot to the green. A harder par-5 than it looks.
The last hole, the par-4 eighteenth, has been the ruination of many a fine score. At 371 yards it’s no more than a good drive and a short iron to the long green. But when you stand on the tee and look at the railway line on your right, and the practice ground on your left (both out of bounds) your nerves have a way of jangling, and the palms of your hands become just a tad sweaty! Get your drive away down the middle or right hand side of the fairway and a par should be a formality. But take care with that tee shot. I’ve ruined a few good cards on this hole myself!
~ ~ Woodbrook has all the modern amenities demanded by today’s golfer. Despite its old-fashioned outward appearance, the clubhouse has been extensively renovated and extended in recent years. Visitors now have their own designated changing room, (small) and the showers are good and hot. There’s a small but well stocked professional’s shop where you can purchase all your golfing requisites from tee pegs to full sets of clubs, or rent yourself a caddy cart or ride-on buggy.
The bar is pleasant, comfortable and well stocked, with a couple of large flat screen TV’s mounted on the wall, which are usually tuned to either a sports or news channel. Outside the bar windows and overlooking the first tee and one of the two practice putting greens, there’s a veranda with outside seating. Very pleasant to have yourself a long cool one after your exertions on the course or even to slip out for a wee smoke if you happen to be a smoker.
The catering is good plain fare, and excellent value for money, ranging from simple sandwiches or bar snacks through to full meals in the dining room. One wee word of caution. Woodbrook is a club of the “old school”, and a collar and tie for men are still required in the dining room after about 5PM.
The practice facilities are excellent, with a couple of putting greens, and a pitching green and small practice area at the back of the clubhouse. There’s also a larger practice area over the railway track and adjacent to the 13th and 16th tees, and yet another practice area to the left of the 18th fairway.
~ ~ Green fees are not extortionate by today’s standard. The current visitor’s green fee is €75 (£51 Sterling) for a round during the week, and €80 (£54.50 Sterling) at the weekend and on Bank Holidays. If you go out before 10AM on a weekday this reduces to €60 (£40.86 Sterling), and the green fee is also a standard €60 throughout the winter season. (1st October to 31st March)
~ ~ To find Woodbrook head out of Dublin on N11 Wexford Road. At the Loughlinstown roundabout (well signposted) take the first exit and drive on through Shankhill village. Woodbrook is on your left-hand side as you leave the village. Alternatively, take the second turn off the Loughlinstown roundabout, and continue on up the Wexford dual carriageway for a couple of miles, then take the first slip road for Bray. At the roundabout on the end of the slip road bear left, and the entrance to the golf club is about 400 yards up the road on your right-hand side.
You could also take the bus or Dart (suburban train) to either Shankhill or Bray, and then make your way to the course either on foot or by taxi. (A bit of a trek, mind you!)
Address: Dublin Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
6,863 yards - Par 72
Patrick F Byrne General Manager
Phone: +353 (0) 1 282 4799
© KenJ April 2007
Read the complete review
Golf Club Paradiso del Garda (Peschiera del Garda)
~ ~ One of the essential requirements when I go off for my summer holiday is that the region and the place we are staying is on or adjacent to a good golf facility. The last two years (2004 and 2005) we spent in the Biarritz area of the south of France, where you are spoiled for choice such is the plethora of great golf courses in the ... region.
This year my wife wanted to return to her favourite European holiday destination, Italy, and to an area we had never visited before, the beautiful and picturesque Lake Garda region in the north of the country. Lake Garda wouldn’t be a spot that springs immediately to mind when it comes to golf tourism, but on further investigation I discovered that golfers are, in fact, well catered for, with no fewer than 8 championship golf courses surrounding the Lake.
~ ~ We eventually settled for a week’s stay in a small village called Peschiera on the southern part of the lake, and were delighted to find a huge golfing holiday facility surrounding a new Championship golf course called Paradiso del Garda which only opened as recently as 2004. We chose a one bed roomed self catering apartment in the huge Golf Residence accommodation complex that surrounds the golf course, which includes four separate large blocks of apartments that are allied to the two luxury hotels in the complex. This gave us full use of the facilities of both the Golf Hotel Paradiso and the adjacent Parc Hotel, which included no fewer than half a dozen swimming pools, and a choice of other leisure facilities plus a couple of very good standard restaurants. (I’ll review the hotel and residence separately from the golf course)
~ ~ I was a little worried that with the golf course being so new it would still be going through a maturing process and experiencing teething problems, but this certainly didn’t seem to be the case. The course, a par-71 from the Championship tees, measures 5961 metres (6519 yards) so is not particularly long by modern day standards with most new golf courses now measuring 7000 yards plus. I would imagine the slightly shorter length is to make the course more “golfer friendly” for the many high handicap visitors which it was specifically designed to cater for. Coincidentally, the course was designed by an American golf course architect by the name of Jim Fazio, who was also responsible for another Italian golf course just outside Rome that I played a couple of years back called the Marco Simone Golf Club. As I loved the Marco Simone course, this was a point in its favour even before my feet hit the first tee!
~ ~ As you would expect with an American designer, the course itself is very American in nature. It’s parkland (as distinct from seaside links) with lots of both large and small water features ready and willing to swallow up the ball of any golfer who happens to hit their shot offline. It also has lots of dogleg holes, where you are hitting your tee shot out to the apex of a corner, and the hole then turns right or left to the green for your second (or third) approach shot. There are a fair number of shrubs and trees dotted about the place, which makes life difficult if you contrive to end up amongst them.
The course, at least during the busy summer period, tends to be very busy, and it’s essential that you book a tee time either directly with the golf reception or through the information centres in either the hotels or apartments. More on the actual cost of playing later, but you do get a 20% discount on the green fee tariff if you are a resident of the complex.
~ ~ After a gentle start of a fairly straightforward par-4, followed by a relatively easy par-3 and a simple par-5, the first hole that really grabs your attention is the par-4 fourth. Measuring 360 metres (about 400 yards) from the Championship tees, its difficulty is not so much in its length but in the fact that you MUST pick out the right spot in the fairway with your tee shot if you are to have a chance of recording a par score. The hole doglegs sharply a full 90 degrees from right to left at 224 metres (245 yards) so it’s difficult enough for the average handicap golfer to simply get the ball out there far enough to leave themselves a straightforward shot into the well protected and contoured green. If you are long enough you can attempt to carry your tee shot clean over a huge area of rough ground and bog to the left hand side of the fairway, which will foreshorten the hole considerably. I actually attempted this the first time I played the course without really realising the length of the carry through the air that was required. Needless to say, I got myself into trouble, and ended up with a double bogey six! (It was the last time I attempted the carry!)
If you go too far right with your tee shot, then you’ll either be out of bounds (penalty shots) or caught up in two very strategically placed fairway bunkers. There’s also a huge bunker measuring over 120 yards or so in length that runs up the full length of the fairway from where you land your drive, right up to the green. Not for nothing is this considered the fourth most difficult hole on the golf course.
~ ~ The other hole on the front nine that require great care and attention is the par-5 sixth. A bit of a monster this one, measuring 510 metres. (558 yards) Once again it’s your tee shot that must be extremely accurate if you want to have a chance of walking off this hole with either a par 5 or a birdie 4. From the Championship tees you have to carry your ball in the air over 200 to get over a large rise which is flanked on both sides by mature trees. The gap between the trees is very narrow, so when you stand over your ball on the tee you feel as though you’re looking down a very narrow alleyway. Get your tee shot out there past the gap and you find a large, wide, generous fairway and you’re left with a relatively straightforward par-5. But miss that drive and the hole could easily cost you a double bogey seven! (Or worse!)
~ ~ There are many fine holes on the inward nine, but the two that really stick in my memory are at the very end of your round, the 17th and 18th.
The 17th is a brilliant “risk and reward” hole measuring a mere 293 meters. (320 yards) The problem here is water. The hole doglegs at 90 degrees from right to left around a huge lake, and the green is perched temptingly on the far side of the lake with a carry of 190 meters (208 yards) to clear the water with your drive and possibly find the putting surface. The sensible shot is a 5 or 6 iron out to the corner of the dogleg, which leaves you a short chip shot with a wedge. However, it’s terribly tempting to load up with a three-wood or driver and attempt the carry over the water! The problem is the green is fronted by two bunkers as well as the water, with another bunker at the back of the green and trees all around.
So even if you clear the water hazard you have no guarantee of finding the putting surface. The first time I played the course I used two balls, hitting one over the water into one of the front bunkers, and the second out safely with an iron to the corner of the dogleg. I made a birdie three with both balls (thanks to a good bunker shot) but in all honesty if I was playing the hole in serious competition then I’d be inclined to play the “safe” shot every time.
~ ~ The 18th hole is a monster of a par-5 measuring all of 527 meters (576 yards) from the Championship tees. You have out of bounds on the left hand side of the fairway (the hotel grounds) and a large lake all the way up the right hand side. Your drive stars out over the corner of the water, and you better make sure you hit in long and straight as there’s a 210 yard carry before you get past the end of the lake and find the (relative) safety of the fairway. With your second shot you have to once again choose whether to carry it over a large, boggy area of reeds which stretches all the way across the fairway, or else lay it up short of the trouble, which leaves you with a much longer third shot to a well protected green. I have bad memories of this hole, as it cost me a win in an Open Competition I played on the course. A par-5 would have won me the competition outright, but I (wrongly) opted to go for the long carry with my second shot and ended up taking a bogey-6 on the hole as a consequence! Still, I managed second place and won three very nice “Tommy Hilfiger” designer polo shirts for my efforts. (Mind you, it took my 15-year-old daughter to tell me they were actually designer shirts and very expensive. I just thought they were being a wee bit mean with their second prize!)
~ ~ Anything I don’t like about the course? In common with a lot of Continental courses (at least during the summer months) it’s necessary to keep the fairways and greens constantly watered in order to stop the grass from quite literally burning up and dying! The whole week we spent in Lake Garda the daytime temperature never dropped much below 40 degrees Centigrade. (Over a 100 degrees Fahrenheit!) This meant that the ground staff had sprinklers on both the fairways and greens on an almost constant basis, and a lot of the time you were squelching your way through puddles of water on the (admittedly) perfectly manicured fairways. This constant watering also meant that you were getting no “run” on the ball once it landed, making the course play exceptionally long, and that the greens (putting surfaces) resembled sponges where the ball simply plugged where it landed. So, in effect, you were playing target golf and there was very little scope to play wee inventive running shots, or delicate pitch and run shots around the greens.
Once you got off the manicured fairways the “rough”, which is supposed to punish a bad shot, was little more than sparse scrub, and it was as easy to hit a shot out of it as playing from the fairway. (I’ve found this to be a common problem with many Continental courses down through the years, as the rough isn’t watered like the fairways.)
The heat was also a constant pain in the posterior. For visitors from the UK and Ireland, where we are used to a more moderate climate (to say the least) heat of this magnitude is very unpleasant if you are doing anything more strenuous than lazing around the swimming pool. It meant I was constantly pumping out sweat, and having to permanently take on board extra liquid to ensure I didn’t suffer from dehydration. It also meant that walking around the course wasn’t really an option, and you had to go to the extra expense of renting a ride-on golf cart. (Mind you, this is a small crib, as this is something I tend to do when away on holiday in any case, and hang the extra cost!)
But overall this is a very pleasant and fairly challenging golf course which is in superb condition considering its relatively new and the large number of visitors who play it during the summer months.
~ ~ The facilities, as you would expect at a course of this standard, are nothing short of excellent.
The golf reception is immediately adjacent to the course and part of the main Golf Hotel complex, and the players have full use of the hotel facilities, including a “Wellness Centre” which includes showers, a steam room, sauna, indoor swimming pool, Turkish bath, and Jacuzzi. A separate ticket for the Wellness Centre on its own will cost you €12.
The reception area has a well stocked bar and snack bar, and an impressive golf shop stocking all the latest in golf equipment and designer golf gear. (Although the prices in the golf shop are FAR higher than at home in Ireland!) If you fancy a full meal after your round then the hotel boasts an award winning a la carte restaurant called “El Pirlar”, where you can sit in a bay window or out on an open air balcony overlooking the course. I didn’t avail of the restaurant facilities while I was there, (other than the snack bar) but if it’s even half as good as the other restaurants dotted throughout the hotel complex then you’d be guaranteed a good meal at reasonable prices.
Adjacent to the hotel is a full golf practice area, including a range with both a practice putting green and numerous driving bays. A bucket of 24 practice balls will only cost you €1.50. You can even avail of golf lessons from one of their resident professionals at €40 per hour.
~ ~ How much will it cost you to play a round at the Golf Club Paradiso? A very reasonable €57 on weekdays, rising to €67 at weekends and on public holidays. (Deduct from this the 20% discount that you receive if you are a resident at the complex.) A ride-on golf cart (a must during the summer) will cost you an extra €35 which isn’t too bad if you’re sharing it between two players, but is a wee bit over the top if you are renting one on your own. There are also various “all-in deals” if you purchase a set number of rounds, along with season tickets and a 50% reduction for junior golfers. For more details go to the Golf Club Paradise website at http://www.golfclubparadiso.it/default.asp.
~ ~ The Golf Club Paradiso del Garda is located only about 1 kilometre from the motorway exit for Peschiera del Garda on the main A4 Milan to Venice motorway, and about 2 kilometres from the centre of the village.
Recommended if you ever find yourself in this beautiful part of Italy.
Parc Hotels Central Reservations (Italy)
Tel: 0365 954174 - 913540
Fax: 0365 954447
© KenJ October 2006
Read the complete review
Isle of Harris Golf Club (Scarista, Scotland)
~ ~ As a golfer for over 50 of my 55 years I’ve often pondered what golf courses must have been like when the sport first began to be played in my home country of Scotland way back in the 15th and 16th centuries. The really old seaside links courses (like St. Andrews) were simply fashioned from the small strip of land adjoining the ... sand dunes on the beach and the more fertile farming land. In other words, on land that the early golfers could get for nothing!
Somebody simply looked at the layout of the land, decided what would be good spots for tees and greens, and then cut the fairways and greens out of the rough seaside grass and sand. Job done, and there was your golf course.
Nowadays countless millions are spent buying the land, and designing, manicuring and building golf courses that take years to develop, and which then cost the average golfer nearly a month’s salary to play even one round!
~ ~ You might think that to play an original links golf course as it would have been back in the mists of time would require you to borrow Dr. Who’s time machine, the Tardis. But one such golf course still exists today! It’s the Isle of Harris Golf Club, located at Scarista on the wild, remote, and unspeakably beautiful Atlantic coastline of the Hebridean island of Harris, and about 20 minutes drive from the main town and ferry port of Tarbert.
I didn’t know that this golf course even existed until I carried out a “Google” search for golf courses prior to my recent holiday (August 2006) in my home country of Scotland. A week of that holiday was spent with family in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, and I was simply curious to discover if there were any other golf courses located in the Hebrides other than the fine 18-hole parkland course in Stornoway itself. Not only did I discover this hidden gem in Harris, but I also managed to obtain an entry to the Isle of Harris Open Golf Championship to make my visit even more interesting.
~ ~ The Isle of Harris Golf Club is, quite simply, links golf as it was meant to be played. The course was designed by nature, and was simply cut out of the “machar”, the seaside grass and dunes that lie between the magnificent Scarista beach, and the inhospitable Scottish moorland. Driving towards the course from Tarbert you begin to wonder whether or not someone has simply been playing a huge practical joke on you and whether or not the golf course actually exists, as your only companions are the ever present sheep and the (very) occasional passing car at the passing places on the single track road through the lochs and moor.
Then you crest the brow of a small hill and there lies the Isle of Harris golf course in all its splendour. Or rather, there’s the little sign on the right hand side of the road that tells you you’ve arrived. Blink and you’d miss it, because the golf course has no fancy clubhouse or driveway; simply a wee sign and a gate through the wire fence leading to the first tee!
On the Saturday that I played it was easy enough to spot mind you, as the club and its members had pulled out all the stops for the Harris Open Golf Championship, with two or three small marquees erected for players to sign in and change into their golf gear. A larger marquee served as a catering tent, where bacon butties, sandwiches, and refreshments were served all day for the visiting players. (And very nice they were too) Normally the facilities consist of a couple of old shipping containers that have simply been slotted into the side of a small hillock and had doors and windows added. No fancy clubhouse, catering facilities, changing room and showers, or pro shop here. No ride-on buggies or golf trollys to rent. In fact, you even pay your £10 green fee by popping it into an envelope and putting it into an “honesty box”.
But don’t let the lack of facilities put you off playing this magnificent wee links, which has been awarded the honour of being listed in the top ten “hidden gems” in the world by a leading golf magazine, and which has been lauded both in the media and by top professional golfers such as Nick Faldo and Ronan Rafferty.
~ ~ The course is currently only nine holes, which you play twice in order to make up your round. At a mere 4,864 yards in length (2,432 yards for the nine holes) with a par of 68, and with three par-3’s, five par-4’s, and one par-5 you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s something of a pushover. But don’t let its short length fool you into thinking you’re going to have an easy time of things, as what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in degree of difficulty. In fact, many modern course designers could learn a thing or two from the Isle of Harris, as they persist in making modern-day golf courses longer and longer in order to increase the difficulty level. A golf hole DOESN’T necessarily have to be long in order to be difficult, as the nine holes here in Harris prove.
I won’t describe all the holes, as you can always go to the Isle of Harris Golf Club’s excellent website at “http://www.harrisgolf.com/” where they are admirably illustrated. I’ll describe just three holes which particularly took my fancy.
The second hole is a devilish par-4 measuring 288yards, especially if you tend to hook the golf ball (hit it right to left) as I do. The tee is set out on a little point overlooking the bay and beach, and when you look up towards the narrow strip of fairway all you see in front of you is a mass of rocky shoreline which you have to carry your ball over in order to reach. Even if you manage to clear this natural hazard, you have to ensure you hit your shot well up the right hand side of the fairway, as it slopes savagely back towards the beach and gathers your ball back towards the rocks. But if you hit it too far to the right then you’ll find yourself buried in the deep rough, and simply hacking out for your second shot. And when I say rough, I mean ROUGH. Get anywhere off the fairway at Harris and you find yourself buried in the natural “machar”, which is not tended and manicured as on some modern courses but allowed to grow wild and free. If you manage to hit the fairway, then you’re left with a short iron to the green, but again you have to aim well to the right of a VERY small putting surface and allow your ball to feed in naturally of the slopes. On my first nine holes one of my playing partners effectively ruined his scorecard on this hole, hitting two balls onto the beach, and running up a nine on the hole. On my second nine holes, my other playing partner fell foul of the rough on the right, losing a ball despite the best efforts of the team of local boys and girls the club had organised as “spotters” for the day in order to minimise the number of time spent hunting for balls in the rough!
I managed to hit the fairway on both occasions, despite my extreme trepidation and nervousness both times I played the hole. An absolute belter of a wee par-4 this one!
The sixth hole is another very short par-4, measuring a mere 247 yards. In fact, on most golf courses it would be very close to being considered a par-3, as it is eminently possible to hit the ball the required distance in order to hit the green with your tee shot. But you do so at your own peril! The hole doglegs sharply from left to right, and in order to hit the green with your drive then you need to carry it nearly all the way in the air over that ever present machar. (Rough) Even if you take the shot on and hit it well, then there’s a fiendish little bunker right in front of the green which is highly likely to gather up your golf ball. My playing partners both lost balls on this hole attempting this shot. I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and hit a little 5 wood out to the corner of the dogleg on both occasions, which left me a straightforward sand wedge to the again extremely small green. My cautious approach worked, as I parred the hole first time around, and birdied it on the second nine.
The ninth hole is the only par-5 on the course, and measures 483 yards. The 483 yards are all uphill, with the narrow fairway cut between two high sets of sand dunes. Even if you can manage to hit the ball far enough to reach the green in two shots to set yourself up for a birdie 4, the chances are high you wont find the putting surface. The entrance to the tiny green is one of the narrowest I’ve ever seen, and a far better strategy is to lay your second shot somewhere up the left hand side of the fairway with a mid-iron, which will leave you a relatively easy pitch in. Not an easy hole by any stretch of the imagination, and I was quite happy to walk off with a one over par bogey 6 and a par 5 the two times I played it.
~ ~ These are the three holes at Harris that particularly stand out in my memory, but in all honesty, there isn’t an easy hole on the course. I was blessed on the day I played it to be right in the middle of a blue streak of scintillating form, where my golf ball was behaving itself perfectly almost every time I hit it, and I was slotting the ball into the hole with my putter from all over the greens. It doesn’t happen too often these days, but on this occasion I ran out the overall winner of the competition with a nett score of 60, eight under the par of the course. For my efforts I won a fantastic made to measure Harris Tweed jacket especially commissioned in a special Harris Golf Club tartan designed by the local Luskentyre Harris Tweed Co. and paid for by the competition sponsor the Isle of Harris Knitwear Co. The jacket was the brainchild of the ever industrious and ever enterprising current captain of the club, a very pleasant fellow called Willie Fulton, and the idea was “stolen” from the prestigious green jacket presented to the winner of the US Masters Tournament at Augusta each year. (So there’s one in the eye for you Tiger; I now have a better quality jacket than you! Heh, heh.)
I also received a splendid inscribed silver drinking bowl to remind me of my win in the years to come, and which now has pride of place in my display cabinet at home.
~ ~ Even if you don’t play good golf on your visit to the Isle of Harris Golf Club, you can rest assured that the local scenery will more than compensate. You are surrounded by views that quite literally take your breath away. To the south are the hills of the Uist islands, and to the north the imposing mountains of North Harris. Then, of course, there’s the spectacular sandy beaches that stretch for as far as the eye can see, and which are almost totally devoid of people. This is scenery at its most beautiful, and is simply not to be missed.
~ ~ As I mentioned earlier, a round of golf at Harris will only cost you a meagre £10. In fact, so long as you don’t live on the island, you can purchase life membership for only £250! The life membership scheme is the brainchild of the Captain Willie Fulton and his enterprising Club Secretary, Hugh MacLean, in order to raise much needed funds for the on-going development of the golf course. I can only hope that they don’t develop it TOO much in the future, as its main appeal is in its rustic layout and design. But who knows, maybe in years to come it may be developed into a full 18-hole course. Certainly it has fans in high places, as Nick Faldo left a signed £5 note in the honesty box when he played the course that the club has now framed and play a competition for each year. Ronan Rafferty, who now commentates on Sky Sports, also has nothing but praise for Harris, as do a literal plethora of well known golf writers and personalities.
~ ~ Let me simply add my own few words of praise for the course and its friendly members, and highly recommend it to any golfers visiting this remote and gorgeous part of Scotland.
© KenJ August 2006
Read the complete review
Golf Sporting Venue
Killeen is situated near Kill, just off the N7. The Club is ideally located within the greater Dublin / Sporting Venue /Kildare catchment area and is less than 15 minutes from the M50.
Sporting Venue / Address: Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland Telephone:+353-65-81003 Type: Championship 18 holes links and 18 holes course
Sporting Venue / Dunluce Road, Portrush, Co. Antrim, Ireland BT56 8JQ. Tel:01265 822311 Type: 18 hole natural seaside links and 18 hole flat seaside links.
Sporting Venue / Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland Tel: +353-(21)-778444 Type: Spectacular 18 hole links course
Sporting Venue / Address: Strand Road, Portstewart,, Co. Londonderry, Ireland BT55 7PG Telephone number: 0126583 2015 Type:Two 18 hole coastal links and one 9 hole.
Sporting Venue / Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, Ireland. Tel: +353(21)883700, Type: 18 holes parkland course
Sporting Venue / Castlewarden, Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Tel: +353-01-4589254 Type: 18 hole parkland
Sporting Venue / Little Island, Co. Cork, Ireland. Tel: +353(021)353451. Type: 18 hole parkland scenic championship course
Sporting Venue / Mahony's Point, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Tel:+353-(64)-31034 Type: Three 18 hole parkland courses
Sporting Venue / North Bull Island, Dollymount, Dublin 3, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Tel: +353(01)8336346. Type: 18 hole seaside links and 18 hole Championship course.
|Golf Sporting Venue Recommendations 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 back next|
|dooyoo Results 71 - 80 of 126|