I was fortunate to attend The Open Championship at Royal Portrush last year so managed to walk the course and see the layout. The terrain in which the course is set seems almost too perfect for golf with the huge dunes, sea side setting and almost perfect conditions for agronomy.
Royal Portrush is a very challenging course with elevation changes, doglegs, cross winds and huge runs offs around greens to contend with but it is magnificent! I cannot think of any weak holes and the new ones blend seamlessly into the routing.
I think its easier to point out my favourite holes such as 4 a long par 4 with OOB right which requires a precise approach shot through a narrow entrance to a green that is deceptively large…although the player cannot see this until they reach the green. The 5th is one of the works most photographed holes. You tee off from an elevated tee and have to decide how much of the dog leg you with to cut off…you can reach this green in the right conditions but if you veer offline a double bogey comes into play. I really like the 8th as well which is one of the new holes with its plateau fairway which once found leaves a short iron to this undulating green.
The standout holes for me on the back 9 are 15 which requires an accurate tee shot before leaving a short iron to this smallish green set against the back drop of the sea. Hole 16 is a brute of a par three which does allow some room for the player bailing out to the left but if the tee shot is pushed to the right a cricket score will soon be racked up! The 17th is a fun short par 4 which the players attempted to drive in The Open. The ideal tee shot leaves you at the top of the hill so you can see the green below you but if you’re feeling brave then why not have a go at the green…you will need to cut off the corner though which is fraught with danger.
I cannot speak highly enough of Royal Portrush from the staff, the course and the conditioning all first class! I have played a few of the world's top 20 and Royal Portrush thoroughly deserves its spot!
Date: October 22, 2020