Doonbeg Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,824 Yards
Doonbeg Golf Club is set fair to become one of the most talked about links courses in Ireland. Tough and uncompromising, the Standard Scratch Score of 74 gives an indication that this course, though just over 6,800 yards, is not going to be easy.
The site at Doonbeg was originally proposed as a golf links in the late 19th century by Scottish Guardsmen stationed in Ireland. Though superior to the other site mooted, Doonbeg was considered too far from the railway station - and so they built their golf course at Lahinch and founded Lahinch Golf Club instead.
The owners of Kiawah Island golf resort purcahsed the site over 100 years later and the Doonbeg story began. Greg Norman was commissioned to design the golf course, and like the great man himself the course is bold, brash and with a great deal of style. It is also controversial - visitors tend to either love of loathe Doonbeg to one extreme or the other with very little in between.
The course lies beside White Strand on the west Clare coast, 20 miles south of Lahinch. The beach is one of Ireland's remotest and beautiful stretches of sand, defining Doughmore Bay with the Atlantic Ocean stretching beyond in every direction. Sand dunes mark the edge of land, high above the beach and the golf course plays out and back towards Carrowmore Point to the north.
The most memorable hole is the par-3 14th, a short iron across a deep valley of dense dune grass to a green perched on the very edge of the coast line. The huge three-tiered greenlooks very small from the tee and must be found. Putting as with many greens will require skill and patience.
The designer himself rates the par-4 15th as the golf hole around which the course is built. A long far-4 through a funnel of dunes to a 150-yard long green.
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