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The wildest parts of Ireland: 2012 Links Golf Trip – day 4

October 8, 2012

Day 4 – This is our third trip to the NW coast of Ireland since 2002. The one course we’ve played all three times is the County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point. With good reason, it’s beautiful and fun. The first three holes climb up and then tumble back down a huge hill. The short 4th is a great par three with an almost perfect links green; inviting and almost impossible to get close. The fifth tee sits a hundred feet above the fairway and five through eight are four long, strong holes that play back and forth in the flattish ground. Walking to the top of the dune line you arrive at the ninth, another short par 3. This day it played strongly downwind, I think we hit mostly wedges but only made one par.

Ten and eleven are back and forth par fours which run along the top of the dunes and twelve is a straight forward par five that played directly into the stregthening winds.  Thirteen is a signature hole playing about 160 yards across the edge of the bay to a green set nicely below. Fourteen and fifteen are two beautiful, mid-length par fours that wind along the back side of the coastal dunes.  The strong cross winds made these two more difficult than normal.  Sixteen is a beast of a par 3 playing almost 220 from the back.  We played it around 170 yards but again the cross winds gave up only one par.  Seventeen is Sligo’s most famous hole. Here, we ran head on into the often quirky nature of links golf. It’s a long par 4, over 500 yards from the tournament tees with the last 200 straight up a steep hill. We played it at about 420 yards. Naturally everyone hit driver and 250 yards later we discovered that Mike and Marty, our longest hitters, had gotten opposite results from identical perfect tee shots. Mike’s rolled to the end of the fairway and into some light rough but sat up on a launching pad for the green playing more than 200 yards away. Marty’s rolled a few yards further but over the edge of a wash where it came to rest in a horrible lie on a downslope. The best he could do is advance it seventy or eighty yards. Tough hole, more sixes than fives in most groups I’d wager. Eighteen’s a common finishing hole in the links world, mainly a way to get back to the clubhouse from the dunes. Sligo’s 18th has a blind uphill drive over an aiming stone followed by a straightforward second to an uninteresting green. As we were beginning to get lashed by a strong Irish squall, two pars were quickly conceded ane we ran for the shelter of the excellent 2nd floor bar.

Day 4 Summary:  A wonderful and playable course in another spectacular setting. After the round we stopped at the little church in Drumcliffe for our traditional photo at the grave of W. B. Yeats before continuing on to Donegal for the night. Tomorrow we’ll visit the first of our hidden gems, Narin and Portnoo.

We “Cast a cold Eye” – Marty, Mike, Tom & Rick 2012

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From → Links Golf

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