The par-4 5th hole 'White Rocks' on the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- Here’s a textbook case of how not to do a golf trip: 8 days, 11 courses, four hotels, 700 miles. I always tell people not to cram too much into a golf trip. But what do you skip when canvassing Ireland’s northern coastline?
In our case, not much. Irish Links Tours & Travel had arranged an aggressive itinerary for our group of 24 Golfweek course raters.
Shortly after arriving in Dublin, we were whisked to Enniscrone Golf Club, where we warmed ourselves in the modest clubhouse on the island’s far northwest corner. It quickly became apparent that we were going to get the full Irish golf experience, starting with horizontal rain as we made our way through the towering sand dunes along Killala Bay.
That proved a tame introduction compared with our subsequent visit to Carne Golf Links, which, like Enniscrone, was designed by Irish legend Eddie Hackett.
Everything about this place, on the northwest shoulder of Ireland, was more remote and extreme. The dunes had more kick to them, and the wind howled at 40 mph, making it difficult to walk, much less stand upright, and rendering our pull carts useless. Someday I’d like to go back and play the back nine under rational conditions. This is surely the most exhilarating, if maddening, stretch of quality golf I have ever known. Back-to-back extreme reverse-camber short par 4s; a downhill par 3 where I had to aim my 6-iron more than 45 degrees left of the target to allow for the wind; and a wild buckaroo of a par-5 finishing hole. The pillbox of a clubhouse served as a perfect little storm ...
Click here to continue reading