With just under four weeks to go till we tee-off for our 2019 British Golf Tour to Ireland and Northern Ireland, lets take a look at the spectacular The Island Golf Course, just outside of Dublin. This is our first round on the Emerald Isle.
About The Island Golf Course
Established in 1890, The Island Golf Club enjoys a unique setting bordered by sea on 3 sides. A classic links course set in a rugged terrain and nestled between the highest sand dunes along the east coast.
Top 100 Golf Courses in the World (Architects’ Choice)
Amongst many ‘top 100; and ‘best in the world’ listings, is Golf Course Architecture’s Architects’ Choice Top 100 Golf Courses in the World as voted by almost 250 golf course architects from 28 countries across the globe. The Island was ranked 7th in Ireland and 78th in the World.
The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses
Tom Doak describes The Island as having wonderful terrain and representing big golf with quirky charm, making it one of the few courses that has managed to pull off that combination. He describes the finish as rousing with the 15th one of the best par five holes in Ireland.
Emerald Fairways and Foam-Flecked Seas
James Finegan writes that, like the Old Course at St. Andrews, The Island places the emphasis heavily on the two-shotter with thirteen par fours. Finegan describes the first and last holes as classics and wonderful two-shotters. He describes the holes in between these as ranging from delightful to splendid and great. “The Island is a great course. Seaside golf at its best. The world should be beating a path to its door.”
Links of Heaven
Richard Phinney describes The Island as raw and stirring with a number of golf holes that burn into the memory. “The Island is like some long-neglected but lovingly renovated old building. It has quite suddenly blossomed into one of Ireland’s golfing treasures.”
Tips for playing The Island by member Philip Walton (Walker Cup 1981 and 1983, Ryder Cup 1995), taken from The Island Golf Club website at www.theislandgolfclub.ie
1. Partridge Hollow
An extremely tough opening hole, almost due east in direction. Best to play down the left half as missing the fairway on either side considerably increases the difficulty of the approach shot to a raised green which slopes from back to front.
2. Caul’s View
Named after our celebrated late head greenkeeper and international golfer whose work and direction played a major part in the implementation of the architectural changes to our links. A slight dog-leg left which requires driving to the right side of the fairway, especially if playing against the prevailing wind. A mid-iron shot at least is required to a severely sloping green.
Whatever your standard this hole is a challenge. Perhaps the toughest of the par fours this straightforward hole requires the utmost accuracy. Best drive is centre of the fairway allowing for approach shot with wood or long iron to two-tier green. Accuracy is vital on second shot because approach and green throws the ball to the right. One hidden green-side bunker on the left.
4. Skylark’s Nest
Dogleg left. Aim down the right hand side of the fairway for good look at the green. For safe play aim to front of the green.
The only blind driving hole on the course to undulating fairway. Drive over the pole or right side of fairway for best approach to well protected green.
Played from the highest tee on the links, there are three bunkers to negotiate. Two pot bunkers on the right and one fairway bunker under the sand dune on the left which deters the longer hitters from attempting to drive the green. The wise golfer will hit the tee shot short of the bunkers allowing for a full shot to the green which tends to be difficult to hold.
This slight dog-leg left is one of the best holes on the links requiring two excellent shots. for the best line to the green play down the right side of fairway. Sea buck-thorn surrounds the right side and back of green. Shots coming up short will run away to the right while missing on the left leaves you well below the green.
A short par four. The best approach is to drive short of the bank on the fairway, allowing for a full shot to the green. The undulating green’s location is typical of the traditional links design.
A straightforward one-shotter but by far the most guarded green by bunkers, having two fairway bunkers.
Dog-leg right off the tee to fairway which throws the ball right as you approach the green. Many brave golfers drive as close to the out of bounds as possible. Tempting two-shotter for long hitters but beware of the valley on the right.
11. Cricket Field
Favour left hand side of fairway for easier approach to green.
A challenging dog-leg left played over a valley to an elevated green. Play your tee shot as close as possible to the hill on the left. Any tee shot played too far right usually runs off the fairway and into the right rough leaving a difficult approach shot.
A classic short hole. If you clear the large grass bunker which guards the front of the green you may be rewarded with a birdie. Out of bounds on the right. The alternative is to play safe down the left side and chip on.
14. Old Clubhouse
A very intimidating hole because of the narrow fairway with a lateral water hazard on the right. It’s best to aim for the edge of the left rough off the tee which will throw the ball into the centre of the fairway. Missing the fairway on the right forces the ball into the water hazard.
A great links hole which is best played down the left side of fairway except on approach to green where a green side bunker awaits the wayward shot.
Par 3 – Long iron up the hill to the elevated green.
17. Ireland’s Eye
This difficult penultimate driving hole to a narrow back fairway tends to throw the ball to the right throughout it’s length. Beware of the large grass bunker on the left off the tee.
18. Boulia Field
One of the finest finishing holes on any links. Played almost to the limit of par fours, it demands a straight drive into or through the valley, depending on conditions. from the valley the hole opens up to a vista with the green on rising ground. Pin position is a major factor as the green is the deepest on the links.