Royal Portrush will host the Open Championship in 2019, adding two new holes and some new tee pads for the event. Even with added length, it seemed to me that the greens (and, of course, wind) will constitute the Dunluce course’s best defense. As of May 2016, there’s only one fairway bunker that would threaten a drive: the one at the current # 7. (The holes will be renumbered for the Open, but I’m using the current numbers.) As the course does feature doglegs at 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 16, (as well as the second of the new holes) there will be opportunities to drive through the fairway—or come up short. But there’ll be plenty of times when something less than driver will be in use from the tee—even when the planned length is added—and this will mitigate the severity of this challenge.
Along with wind, the course’s stoutest defense will be the hole locations. The greens are big enough and contoured enough that it shouldn’t be difficult for the R & A to find four challenging hole positions, though it remains to be seen if they’ll choose to do so. Among the most dastardly will be back right on # 6—where there’s a tiny corner; right side of # 7, where the green drops away precipitously and the very front of # 11, a short par 3 that often plays downwind……there’s bunker in front and the green falls away from the bunker.
Date: May 30, 2016