This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.------Volume 2 of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses has started to ship!
Bryan:As I mentioned before, the decision to go west off the first tee was mostly to keep from playing eight straight holes into the wind in the middle of the round.When you have a clubhouse in the middle of an east-west oriented golf course with returning nines, you are screwed one way or the other ... either you play into the sun off the first tee, or up the 18th. I don't like either, but I don't really have a preference between them.
18 is a strong finishing holeI particularly like the approach shot with the beach on the right and a green with some very entertaining pin spotsFor me it is often a long shot in , but the line of approach and indeed the type of shot attempted varies with the pinIn the early days the entire right side of the fairway was a thin strip of marram grass then a sandy beach which was in play - it was fun to find your wide ball on the beach and attempt the heroic shot back to the greenThese days the beach has almost entirely grown over with marramOne point of contention for me is the tee shotI have shared many a red with Clayts on this issue and agree to disagreeFrom the back tees the hole is almost straightaway , and partially blind - but it is wide , directly into the prevailing wind , and you can see where you are meant to go - no problem there!Most golfers however play off the terracotta or blue tees which are shorter but 50 metres right of the back teesWhen originally shaped you could see a sliver of fairway from these tees - enough to give you a sighter , and also see the top of the flag to show your ultimate destinationHowever heavy weather at grow in stage moved enough sand so that with the consequential growth of marram on top of the sand the high point on the corner was high enough to block out any sight of the fairway landing area over the hill or indeed the flagSo these forward tees have an almost totally blind tee shot at an angle to the fairway with no sighters , prevailing wind into and across , and marram both left and right blind . Depending on conditions it can be quite a difficult shot to hit the fairway even for those who know where they are going - for Joe Public it means lost ball too often in my view .I reckon it is the weakest tee shot on the course from the terra cotta , and detracts from a very good hole in other respectsI have no issue with blind tee shots as such and acknowledge that many of the great courses like County Down have more than their share - but not too many would play diagonally blind across the wind and fairway with death both sides if you miss...I am not alone in this view - I have hosted many with golfing or design credentials around Barnbougle , and it is often a hot topic after the round . But what a lovely finish with a challenging approach and a fun greenBrianIs the 19th hole next?
David:Are left and right backwards down there? I assume you mean to the right.
Is this going to be the case at Old Mac as well?