Played The Royal Dublin Golf Club on July 20th in the late afternoon. The links is a par 72 that measures 7,297 yards from the blue tees to 6,488 yards from the yellow tees. Royal Dublin is relatively flat and played hard and fast on this day and by our last hole a dense fog came in from the Irish Sea. The fog was so dense that could not see our tee shots or our second shots. Fellow golfers started walking in from other holes as it was difficult to see over 100 yards. The greens putted true and the fairways were in excellent condition. Was a great day to play this Harry Colt classic that is a traditional out and back Scottish type links. The Martin Hawtree redesign helped update the links for the modern longer hitting game. The contouring of the greens is excellent and when missing greens had to be creative to play the undulations. One way I judge a great links is if it makes me hit all my clubs and Royal Dublin afforded that opportunity. For this review will use the distances from the white tees.
The front nine is about 600 yards shorter than the back nine predominately because it has 3 par 3s against only one par 3 on the back nine. The par 3s on the front ranged from 163 yards on the 9th to 187 yards on the 7th. I enjoyed all of the par 3s but thought the 9th was the best as the front half of the green was surrounded by 4 bunkers to a green that can be very tricky to putt and control the tee shot. The 2 par 5s on the front ranged from 467 yards to 573 yards. Both were excellent designs with well placed bunkers and were good birdie opportunities with well placed shots. The distance on the 4 par 4s on the front ranged from the 387 yard first to the 446 yard fifth hole. All the par 4s required accurate ball striking and I thought the fifth was the most difficult.
The back 9 has 6 par 4s with five of the holes ranging in distance from the 422 yard 17th to the 463 yard 18th. The only short par 4 on the back was the 285 yard 16th which is driveable but is protected by seven well placed bunkers and is a nice short par 4. The other 5 par 4s were all good tests and I thought the two most difficult par 4s are the 441 yard 10th hole which has a ditch that protects the entire front of the green and the 18th that is a dogleg right with out of bounds down the entire right side of the fairway. The lone par 3 on the back, the 183 yard twelfth, is a nice par three that is protected by 2 bunkers on the right and one bunker left of the green. The first of the two par 5s on the back is the 544 yard 11th hole that has 6 well placed bunkers on the tee shot and 5 bunkers on the lay up and another bunker just short of the green and another to the left. This green is very undulating and a good test for putting skills. The other par five on the back is the 545 yard 14th that is a good birdie opportunity but for me it was necessary to lay up short of the ditch that is about 50-70 yards short of the green.
The Royal Dublin Golf Club was a pleasure to play and would highly recommend it to any golfer that enjoys the challenge of a classic links. Royal Dublin has hosted many championships over the years and some of its champions include the great Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, and the legendary Christy O'Connor Sr. Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwX0MqChaUQ to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
Date: August 04, 2014