So, the wind is blowing 40kph out of the west and just to complicate matters, I'm fighting a hook. That's the bad news. The good news is that this course is an absolute delight from start to finish.
Mr Hackett certainly knew how to find his way through sand dunes, the way the course meanders through them with the minimum impact on the terrain is quite brilliant. In my opinion it's fair to say he didn't so much design this course as discover it.
Others have talked about the lunar landscape, the scenery etc. so I won't repeat all that. Suffice to say that one goes round thinking that this is how golf was supposed to be. I don't think there's a weak hole on the course, and the challenge - especially in today's wind - is very considerable, but what hasn't been said below is just how playable it is. Playing to your handicap is tough, but unlike Enniscrone or Lahinch, being off line isn't necessarily terminal: it may cost you a shot, but you probably won't have to reload.
Is there a weak hole? Some might argue that the dead straight par 5 10th is a bit vanilla, but with the prevailing gale behind me it gave me a chance to get home in two, so I'm not complaining. (Coming back the other way, it took me four to reach the 13th) And it is followed by a magnificent series of holes from 11 to 14.
While playing I was thinking about the comment of an earlier reviewer here to the effect that the greens are too flat to be interesting, and that was the weakness of the course. I can see his point - up to a point. More contouring would turn the 7th from being just very difficult into fiendish, make the (already beautiful) 11th into maybe the best short par 4 you'll ever see, and elevate the 15th from being one of the few (maybe the only!) relatively straightforward par 4s here. But everywhere else I'd say there's enough subtlety in the greens to make challenging pin positions available if required.
A joy from start to finish - and the 18th is a great finish. It's miles from anywhere, but I shall certainly be back.
Date: March 21, 2018