Saturday, 7 May 2011

Ireland – Day Four – Enniscrone

Every once in a while when you travel to see golf course, you are left completely astonished by what you find.

the landing area on the 2nd hole

Enniscrone begins with an impressive run through a massive set of dunes for the opening four holes. The highlights are the two impressive and thoroughly entertaining par fives that are as good as any of the great par fives in the World. The opening four holes are so impressive that you think a trip to lesser land would be disappointing, but its not.

The 5th then features an elevated tee shot that must be carefully placed between two fairway dunes in the landing area. The returning four plays back along the same ground before finishing up at a really nice raised green site. The next five plays back off an elevated tee and bends slowly around a lower gentle dune line dotted with blowouts before ending up an elevated green set in the side of the dune. The par three 8th plays off the dune line and out to well bunkered green site set in a flatter area. Finally the 9th plays up the other side of the large gentle dune and features a massive blow out along the right side of the landing area and the ocean all the way down the left before finishing at a nice green. The point is even the “lesser” holes in the routing features some fun shots, plenty of character and some interesting architecture.

4th tee shot

The back nine begins with play up the main dune line and back into the main dunes of the site. The short three that follows is a gem featuring a super cool reverse redan setting for the green site. The hole that follows is one of the better short fours I have played. The scale of the dunes, the all or nothing carry over the blow out and an awesome plateau green set against one of the biggest dunes I’ve ever seen creates a hole that you will never forget. The short four that followed was quite tricky, but prudent play off the tee sets you up for a lovely pitch into a low bowl.

approach to 12th green

Now the really fun stuff comes. The 14th a long five through incredibly massive dunes is as fun a tee shot as there is in golf. The approach is tricky because rather than a typical elevated or green the green is set down inside a large bowl. Not conventional, but sure was fun. The next two holes are standouts, a long par four playing between low dunes on the left and massive dunes on the right all while looking at the town across the bay. The par five employs a similar setting but curves gentle around the mammoth dune before finishing at a green site surrounded by dunes.

The finishing three is played from a high plateau to an elevated green that drops off on both side. I liked the concept a lot but found the “shaping” around the outside of the green to be out of character with the rest. There was some minor over-shaping at the 15th too. The final hole is a long four played through two massive dunes followed by a long iron into a well bunkered green. Once gain the extra target bunkering on the right and over-shaped surrounds identified the work was done during a renovation.

16th hole looking back

All in all the course was outstanding. The set of fives is so good it rivals Highlands Links (which has the best set in my opinion). I would comfortably vote for Enniscrone to be in the top 100 in the World.

2 comments:

  1. Ian

    I guess I am not crazy afterall. There is a fantastic mix of holes running through wonderfully varied terrain. The combo of Steel and Hackett is pulled off very well with a few exceptions. All in all Enniscrone is top notch and should be mentioned in a grouping with all the greats of Ireland.

    Sean

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  2. Live not far from the course and while some criticize the amount of local knowledge required, particularly off the tee, in my opinion it is an outstanding layout.
    The previous layout incorporated 3 Par 5's and a long Par 4 in the 1st 4 holes, often into the prevailing headwind. These ran parallel to the dunes on the flat land and was at times like the Bataan Death March, leaving you exhausted before the round got going.
    The remodel is brilliantly achieved.

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