Enniscrone manages to tread the tricky line between quirk and championship golf perfectly. The blend it creates produces a catalogue of unique, enthralling and funky holes.
Holes 2, 3, 4 and 14, 15, 16, (four them par fives) all located on prime duneland, belong to Steel and each is wonderful with just a hint of a modern feel and the hand of man visible but otherwise very natural in appearance. Whereas Steel has gone through the dunes Hackett wasn’t afraid to go over them and this adds a nice spice to the course especially when mixed with a few breather holes during the middle of the round as well.
The stretch of holes (5 to 10) on the inland side of the course do not quite match the thrill of the extravagant dune holes but there is still much to admire with the green complexes at the 6th and especially the 7th are of a very high order. The 8th is a sound par-three too and there is nothing to dislike about the ninth and 10th which both run close Scurmore Beach.
However, the best of Enniscrone can be found among the opening stretch and the closing eight holes. These 12 holes provide brain-scrambling good golf at times, many of which slowly reveal themselves during the passage of playing them.
The way the holes gently unfold means there is a real curiosity to Enniscrone. Green complexes often emerge gradually, initially just giving the golfer a peak of the putting surface before the rest of the contouring is unfurled before our eyes. This gives the golfer a sense of anticipation whilst playing through the twisting and weaving dunescape.
A number of greens are sited within an amphitheatre of sandhills, none better than the first which unlike the other holes exposes its green in the dunes with a bang after you reach the turn in the dogleg fairway.
This enigmatic course is a thrill-seekers paradise. Shotmaking abounds, daring golf is required and the endless recovery shots you are likely to face require skill, ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking. At times your misses can be severe but at the same time lots of fun. As you would expect the downside is that the walk is stern but I have faced much worse.
The par 73 layout can play as long as 7,029 yards from the blue markers but I would advise not trying to beat yourself up from the tee because it’s likely the dramatic green complexes will be more than enough to test your game.
If heading to the West of Ireland then Enniscrone should be close to, if not top, of your list.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Date: June 20, 2019