We were very much looking forward to playing West Cliffs given its high ranking and other positive reviews. Unfortunately for our group it didn’t live up to the billing. Our main criticism is that the course just wasn’t that much fun. As others have mentioned it is very challenging. Most fairways are not narrow but if you miss them it’s a lost ball every time.
It is worth noting that our group of 6 included a decent spectrum of golfers with respectable handicaps (0,3,4,7,10,17). It also wasn’t the case that we played particularly badly. I suspect that the course would be especially challenging for higher handicap golfers.
The other thing we didn’t like were the long walks between greens and tees. This contributed to a long and tiring round. For those who like playing in buggies and don’t mind 4.5 hour plus rounds this wouldn’t be an issue but not for those looking to walk and get round in less than 4 hours.
The conditioning of the course was patchy and the greens were somewhat inconsistent and not nearly as good as Praia d’el Rei’s. We played the course on an overcast and occasionally misty day so did not get the best out of any views. From previous reviews (and the name of the course) we thought that some of the holes might be along the cliffs with spectacular views but that was not the case. It was welcome to see heather sprinkled through the rough adding colour to the course.
On the plus side there were some really interesting (albeit challenging) holes. 17 and 18 in particular presented a great finish where you needed to hit very good shots to score well.
Overall a disappointing experience. The trend in recent years has been for newer courses to be playable and fun with the challenge on the second shot, e.g. Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie. It would make a marked difference if West Cliffs could soften the course and do similar.
Date: October 06, 2021