Destination Golf Ireland 2018 * - Page 124

Co. Sligo Co. Sligo An old and timeless links which sits out at the end of Rosses Point, commanding sensational views over Drumcliff and Sligo bays, distant mountains and, most dominant of all, Benbulbin – the flat-topped mountain creates a daunting backdrop to the 9th and 10th holes. And if the seting is majestic, then so too is the golf course. Laid out over a dunescape of contrasting rhythms, this is where the acclaimed Harry Colt created 18 intriguingly individual holes. Indeed, there are almost three courses in one, such are the changing landscapes: in places it is flat, in others it is bumpy and unpredictable and in still more it is steep, even mountainous. But they all combine beautifully and it is all on show from the tee. And then there are the perfect greens and four tantalising par threes. Connemara Eddie Hackett’s name sits in the design column of many Irish golf courses and the links at Connemara is yet one more. The course also boasts a fascinating evolution thanks to a local priest. There are 27 holes here, tucked away in the remotest spot south of Clifden. The drive across the barren beauty of Connemara, however, is just one of the joys of playing here. The course matches that barren beauty, its holes wrapped around an impressive clubhouse which sits up high and allows visitors to take in so much of the course. Flags flutter in every direction, towards the Twelve Bens, beneath rocky hillocks and in front of raw seascapes. The fairways - like the views - are generous, which they need to be when the wind whips in over the often exposed course. Strandhill The sea squeezes this stunning links on two sides. Surfers ride the waves to the west, while horseback riders favour the south. You’ll see them from a course that hugs the water but also rises up in the centre, sending holes scattering down the bumpy slopes to some severely undulating, natural greens. There’s no magic design formula (the members did most of it), which works in Strandhill’s favour because holes like the 5th, 13th and 15th are off the charts. The smart clubhouse sits at the top, too, showing off much of the course. Appreciate it for what it is… an absolute gem. 122 There are 27 holes here, tucked away in the remotest spot south of Clifden.