Portmarnock Golf Club - Par 71 - 6,826 Yards
Portmarnock golf links is unquestionably one of the finest golf links in the world. Although visually less dramatic than its famous peers at Ballybunion, Royal Portrush or Royal County Down, Portmarnock's design probably makes the best golf links in Ireland from a pure golfing perspective.
The golf course occupies a small peninsula of links land to the north of the Howth peninsula. Indeed the Scottish businessman W.C. Pickeman and his friend George Ross rowed here from Sutton on their initial scout of the land in 1893. They found small sand dunes defining long valleys and small green hollows that had been used as a private golf course by the wealthy Jameson family (of whiskey fame) who owned a house just to the north (now the Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links).
Portmarnock's challenge is presented by 18 classic links holes none of which run in the same direction. Whether the change is dramatic or subtle from one hole to the next, the wind direction must always be considered and can prove difficult to judge. The terrain and holes layouts then require thought as to how to play the shot and a variety of techniques will be required throughout the round.
Further challenge is added by the greens, all of which are slightly undulating with incredible mixtures of little bumps and hollows. The subtelty of lines will test your putting skills to the limit. A variety of penalties are imposed for missing them: the traditional deep riveted bunkers require the green rather than the flag to be your target, while a variety of short-game shots will be required from the swales and hollows that otherwise surround these fine greens.
Providing no tricks or nasty surprises, Portmarnock golf links is and honest test of shotmaking skills.
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