A little like the first time I played RCD, very blustery and overcast weather did its best to interfere with my review of a very fine course (and it was the twelfth 18-holes I’d played in six days so a little mental and physical fatigue was maybe creeping in as I carried my bag round the course). However, the inclement conditions could never detract from my appreciation of a Tom Fazio renovation that didn’t have a single weak hole anywhere along its routing.
I was surprised in places to see one or two areas of rather lush fairway, clusters of imported tropical vegetation and a fair amount of artificially created grass mounding – the last of these should, of course, blend into the landscape over time. To compensate for the slightly more manicured aspects of the layout, there were many patches of lovely yellow gorse in full bloom and the bearded bunkering looked terrific throughout. I really liked the new holes at 6 and 7, where great use has been made of a diverted stream on both fairways whilst “Tranquility” and “Mass Hole” (11 and 12) were brilliant back-to-back holes on the back nine.
Waterville is a stern test where the fairways flow one after another in an unrelenting fashion, culminating in three mighty holes in the dunes beside the sea. The club, like others on the west coast of Ireland, has its hands full coping with the sand and sea spray blowing in from the Atlantic at this part of the course but efforts at keeping nature in check are well worth it as the trio of “Liam’s Ace,” “Mulcahy’s Peak” and “”O’Grady’s Beach” form a fitting finish to a fantastic round.