Great Pics! The shot of that valley you play through into 16 green brings back fond memories! I’ve got a great video of my buddy playing a ball that’s at least 18" below his feet. Tugged his 2nd just a bit and only missed the narrow fairway by less than a yard; ball was DEAD.
Portmarnock Golf Club (Championship)
Weather: Overcast, blustery-to-windy (25-35 mph relatively steady)
A Few Words: Simple (but requires thought). Playable (but not easy). Brilliantly fun.
Portmarnock was another relatively unknown for me on the trip. Of course I read & reread @Soly review of the place on NLU and also surfed their website to read about how great it was, but I definitely didn’t watch the 2003 Irish Open or the 1991 Walker Cup so I had no real feel of the place. We rolled in for lunch in the gigantic old school clubhouse before our round. The place was brimming with history and it was proudly displayed for all to see. Tons of cool pictures of the championships held there but what I really got a kick out of was all of the old boards with their ‘medal’ winners of various local events. I also checked out the current member roll call and was delighted to see a few long lost relatives (or at least people sharing the same surname) belong to the club. After lunch I was poking around the proshop when my dad popped in to tell me they moved up the tee times by 30 minutes and I was on the box. Crap. No warm-up for me (which at least is not that unusual). First hole is a par 4 that was playing dead into the fan with the sound 5 yards off the right side of the fairway. My typical first tee miss? High block miles right. Great. Somehow I popped one out down the right side and was left with a 180 yard 2nd. That’s when the block came, right into the sound. Luckily for me the tide was out so I was able to play it and scrap a bogey and we were off. The first thing I think of when I reminisce of the place is the perfectly round pot bunkers. They seemed to always be directly in the way of where I was trying to go. Just expertly placed. These were the only stacked sod bunkers on the trip and I don’t why more places don’t have them. They are significantly smaller than typical US bunkers, but way more penal (especially the ones in the landing areas on 4s & 5s). Much more of an actual ‘hazard’ than the bunkers I am used to.
The first 4 holes route along the sound in a horseshoe and eventually we got going downwind. Much like Hogs Head, yardages were completely irrelevant and everything was a BDC mental calculus exercise to align the club selection, shot type, landing spot, & run out. Luckily it wasn’t for millions of dollars and a nice guesstimate worked just as well most of the time. Who knew it could be so much fun hitting an 8 iron from 60 yards or lob wedge from 130? The best part is you are in the thick of it with friends. In paraphrasing Kyle Porter, I saw some unspeakable things. After a lucky eagle on the 16th my caddie turned to me and simply said ‘congrats, now you just have the two toughest par 5s on the course left, and they are both par 4s’. Shit. He was right. They were meaty 4s directly back into the wind. A couple of bogeys later I was still happy as hell to have played such a great place. It just felt so… normal. Not dramatic like Old Head or stuck up like Hog’s Head, it just felt like a nice golf club where there is a lively membership that actually plays golf. Of all the courses we played I think this is the one I would want to belong to if I had a choice. Having a 2nd course wouldn’t hurt anything either. We were the first ones back to the clubhouse and enjoyed a couple of pints in the bar before departing for the evening. I hope to be back to Dublin one day and if I do this will be on the top of the list.
Vibes: course is built for walking, and built for playing fast. I think our 4 ball got around in about 3.5 hours and could have been faster had the wind not reeked havoc on our traj. Clubhouse is huge & historic, but pretty inviting. I think they have a members only area we couldn’t access, but there were so many cool things to see in the open portion that I didn’t notice.
Sorry no pictures, I was having a blast and forgot to get the phone out. Just imagine an overcast day with mediocre golf and great company. Or go to their website, its probably the best one of the courses we played.
My wife and I went to Ireland a couple years ago for a week before heading to Scandinavia. I played one course in Ireland – Portmarnock. I was first off that morning, just me and a great caddie. Kind of a religious experience with wonderful weather and some breeze.
Thought I’d throw in a few pics since you couldn’t.
Sounds like a great trip! The great thing about Ireland is that you’ll never got all the courses in that you want on just one trip so there is a great excuse to go back.
Did you book everything directly or go with a Tour Operator?
Anyone have recommendations for the southwest outside of the obvious (Ballybunion, Tralee, Waterville, etc)?
Dooks, Ceann Sibael
sounds like tourist sauce season 4 will be Ireland. The guys mentioned on the latest pod that they organized the trip through a company called Experience Ireland Golf. Could be a good resource for those serious about planning a trip.
The toad might be the best logo ever
Dooks is class and Dingle (Ceann Sibeal) is beautiful also. There is the Cashen Course at Ballybunion as well and there is a decent deal to play both courses over a 7 day period.
Looking forward to having the guys over in April/May and thrilled to be able to put the trip together for them. https://experienceirelandgolfandtravel.com/tour/golf-itineraries/
Went on my first trip to Ireland with my wife in Summer of 2017. Wasn’t a golf trip, so didn’t bring my clubs. We spent three nights in Dingle and absolutely loved the town. Something like 50 pubs in a town of 2,000, and I believe we hit 23. She knew I was dying to play so she set me free on Ceann Sibeal for nine holes with rented clubs. Playing in jeans and a pullover in a constant mist. Was soaking wet. Not sure I have had that much fun in my life. My wife spent the time in the clubhouse bar/restaurant drinking tea and Guinness while listening to the ladies’ group one table over telling stories. We seriously want to move to the peninsula for at least a few years, and I would play that course all the time. It wasn’t jaw dropping, just a lot of fun links golf with views to the ocean.