Playing on links (the land between the sea and arable land being labeled links) courses is a challenge not only because of the wind but because you never know where your place is going to be. Undulating fairways, sandy bunkers and high rough are features of most links golf. Below we have a description of some links courses and all of them little gems!
ROYAL COUNTY DOWN
A classic links course in the seaside resort of Newcastle This is one of the best courses in the world. A bold statement? Not at all! It has played host to some fine championships and this year, 2007, it will play host to the amateur version of the Ryder Cup the Walker Cup. The fairways are there to be hit but the rough !! Well it’s just waiting to grab your ball. You start off with the best of intentions. No drivers off the tees. But by the fifth hole you have to use a driver just to clear the rough in front of the tee!
Royal County Down is a great course. It will test every shot that you can make. One word of advice – they have local caddies who they recommend. To really enjoy the experience you need to have local knowledge and they will help you. For a visitor to Ireland it’s a must. For those fortunately enough to live in Ireland grab the opportunity to play when you can. Greenfees are lowest off season but the course does not know that !!
LAYTOWN & BETTYSTOWN
Less than an hour North of Dublin this County Meath course is near the sea. It runs parallel to Bettystown strand and is a true links course. With a fine clubhouse and tennis courts it is a great place to play.
Being a true links course means that they never have temporary greens and the land undulates as you would expect. A course that depends on the wind and the rough for it’s toughness it is a good test. Coupled with the other courses around it like Baltray, Seapoint, Navan and Headfort it is a fine place to base your stay and you will not be disappointed with the golf. Best avoided during July and August if you like to have a quiet time!
ROSSLARE LINKS GOLF CLUB
Based in the family resort of Rosslare the golf club is over 100 years old. Nestling between the sea and the road there are times you think that you are right out to sea and you would be correct.
An easy test as long as the wind does not blow !! But this is Rosslare and the wind is never far away. Keep straight and the course is no problem at all (but they are not all like that ??). Stray off the fairway and you very quickly find out why it is called rough! It’s not that they feed it with fertilizer it’s just that they do not cut it!
A homely clubhouse with excellent cuisine and you have a great mix for your golf. In case you find 18 holes too much they have another course down the road which is only 12 holes in length and has been designed by Christy O’Connor Jnr.
The locations are full of advice up in Portrush. “If you’re more than six feet off the fairway forget it! You’ve lost your ball.” Not what you want to hear before you go out. But it’s not all bad. The views are great and the holes – stunning. Any course that has names like Himalayas, Calamity and a bunker called ‘Big Bertha’ has to have some good points.
The bunker, by the way, is not a bunker it’s a sand dune !! The course is tough but fair. As with any links course you have to be straight or you will be punished! By the time you have reached the 14th Calamity you should know what to expect. You have to stay right or you will find out why this hole is so called. The next hole is simply named being called Purgatory. Can only imagine what it must be like to play this on a wet windy day in winter.
The clubhouse is warm and inviting and there’s always a welcome smile even if it’s only in sympathy! A great links course and one to be marked onto any golf holiday.