People rightly say the 18th is an average hole. They also mention 17 and, again, they might be right. But I’ve heard 16 spoken about too in such a capacity. How can anyone say anything bad about Rorke’s Drift, the long par three? The first hole of course has much made of it and quite rightly so. The drive is glorious, especially from the far back and left tees. But the approach fizzles out a wee bit, though the green's a good one. However, the second hole, which seems to be somewhat forgotten with everyone talking about the stretch of holes ‘from 3 to the turn’, is, I feel, a classic hole. I love the approach, hitting high onto the sand dunes where the rest of Machrihanish’s best holes are to be found.
Yes, get down here and play some golf. It’s very otherworldly, very very lovely. The front nine is perhaps the most interesting stretch of holes I’ve ever encountered. The greens are fabulous rollercoaster affairs. They’re not especially fast though in my experience. When Greg Norman visited (touching down on the first tee in his helicopter having given about 45 minutes notice) he stopped putting after a few holes because he was practising for The Open and the greens were miles slower than he’d get at Troon or Turnberry or wherever it was. In fact, I say the greens are rollercoaster affairs. But according to a book by Alister MacKenzie they’re nothing like as rollercoaster as they once were. If that’s what you’re after, go to the new neighbouring Machrihanish Dunes. It’s an amazing course. Check out the 13th green for the undulating putting experience. Then feast your eyes on 14, one of the most fun par 3s anywhere. 15 is a similarly excellent one-shotter. If I say Machrihanish itself has the most interesting consecutive nine holes of any I know then perhaps Machrihanish Dunes has the most interesting three holes of anywhere I know (until I get to Amen Corner anyway). ANGLOSCOT
Date: August 19, 2009