County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point held the Irish Amateur Open the week prior to my visit and it is understandable why a prestigious venue such as this is deemed worthy of holding a tournament of this ilk.
The real beauty of Sligo, however, is that it has the ability to mix championship brawn with quirkier elements across its more undulating terrain and in the case of the short 4th serves up a truly wondrous and unique golf hole.
Many a visiting golfer may tie in a visit here with Carne and Enniscrone. I’d wholly recommend that strategy as Sligo offers an excellent alternative (breather!) to the big dune golf at the other two venues yet the quality is not compromised in the slightest.
The green complexes at Sligo stand out as being superior to most with large putting surfaces and standout bunkering. At a number of holes the length of the green is so vast that bunkers flank the putting surface often pinching in between a third and two-thirds of the way back - not always fronting the green like you find at many courses.
Excellent use is also made of a couple of ditches running through the property, not least at the marvellous 7th where chasing a right-hand flag is a fool’s errand.
The only arguable blot on the landscape, especially on the exceptional front nine, is the drive at the second hole which is a touch too steep although the skyline green is lovely and quickly makes amends for an uninspiring tee shot.
Indeed the outward half is one of the best nine-holes of golf I have played. And at a push I could go as far as saying the first two-thirds of the course.
Although much lauded the run for home which traces the beach didn’t quite live up to the staggeringly good golf through the first 12 holes in my eyes. There is absolutely nothing to dislike though and there are some very fine holes on these closing six holes – maybe it was the tailwind on the day which meant they didn’t quite play their best?
The standout on the homeward stretch is the remarkable uphill, doglegging 17th which requires some plotting, due to the uncertainty of where fairway meets broken ground, but at 470 yards brute force is also an asset.
In summary this traditional links layout utilizes the natural contours of the landscape to great effect. The end result is a course filled with dramatic undulations, elevated tees, and excellent green sites. Rosses Point is a stylish course, worthy of holding any top amateur championship but it goes a little further than this and delivers some individualistic holes which the travelling golfer will find extremely fulfilling.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Date: June 20, 2019