I don't know where to start with Askernish. I could go on about this course forever and never run out of superlatives. It's a challenge to get to but is worth every effort. This is without doubt the most natural Golf Course I have ever seen, nothing else comes close!!
The understated little Clubhouse (more like a Cabin) is perfectly adequate where the Golf is what this trip is all about. A reasonable range of goods and a warming beverage (or a cold one) is available but the eager anticipation to get out on the course prevents you from caring too much about either.
Having never played the course before and having set aside the day for the experience I chose to walk the course armed only with my camera first of all. I am so glad I did. The prospect of playing this course blind on a day where the wind was only blowing gently and a sea mist and drizzle covered the course; it frightened the life out of me. The first time I walked off the course I would have settled for double bogeying every hole.
After another warming brew I set out again, this time with Golf Clubs in hand.
With so little course furniture on the course it is pretty hard to get your bearings, so you just follow the course maps on each hole and hope for the best. The first few holes are a relatively gentle opening, a mid length par 5, short par 3 and very short par 4 are all easily playable. The 4th starts to give you the first feel for what Askernish is all about. Tight driving holes, very penal rough, elevated greens with contours that will leave you baffled as to how to get a putt or even more likely a chip even close to the pin. 5 is again a good driving hole with an approach up to an elevated green but the 6th is where Askernish starts to really show it's true colours. A long par 5 with the tee set back on the dunes with the Atlantic at your back. The approach to the green starts at 250yds all uphill!
The 7th would be my favourite hole on the course (S.I.1 Par 4). I don't think this hole would look out of place on some of the great links courses around the world. From 6 through to 11 the holes are framed by the dunes with the roar of the Atlantic to the right. As fine a stretch of holes anywhere. Hole 12 starts to take you back inland and 13 to 18 run inside the outbound holes.
Don't expect precision cut tees, vermin free carpet like fairways and feature less greens running at 12 on the stimp meter. The tees are small levelish areas of ground, the fairways dotted with excavated sand from the multitude of rabbits and the greens managed to an approx reading of 8 - 9 because to go any faster would make them impossible to play!.
You will either love it or hate it. You might prefer your golf courses manicured to perfection by an army of greens keepers or you might just love the ruggedness of this environment and that this is lovingly cared for by two men who want to share this experience with you.
I just love it!
Date: September 09, 2021