I was back in this glorious part of the world this past week playing Strandhill, Rosses Point, Carne & Enniscrone. All four courses are completely different. Rosses Point was certainly the star in terms of the combination of land forms, burns & bunkers to create architectural interest. I previosuly wasn't overly keen on this course, but this additional visit confirms that the course is better than I thought. There are still aspects I didn't like and wonder why simple changes aren't made, but there you go. Another surprise for me was Strandhill. The contrast of this very natural course with Rosses Point's almost obsessional attempt to create strategy is striking. There is no question Rosses Point is the better course, but I am not so sure I would rather pay double the green fee for the privilege on a regular basis. First up, a brief look at Strandhill.
The 1st is an interesting opening hole with a slideaway green. This bunker is also very interesting.
A cool short hole follows.
I like the shelf green 4th.
The 5th, however, is probably the best hole on the course. The drive from high above is as hard as one wants to make it, but the real highlight is the humpty bumpty fairway.
The 6th is a good hole, simple hole. Drive right for the best line in with safety and harder approach down the left.
Not a bad hole, but the 7th doesn't take advantage of its prime location along the beach. The 8th is a good short par 4 with a tricky green.
The next four holes are all goodish, but the 12th stands out as the best of the group. The following hole, however, is the one folks will likely remember most. The drive is downhill and blind, but it is crucial to hit the fairway because the green is out of this world.
A tough as old boots par 3 follows...how to keep the ball on the green when playing downwind?
15 takes us back up to high ground as a lesser verson of the 12th.
From here the course cruises home and finishes with a good 18th playing uphill. Given the course sits on 95 acres the course works wonderfully well. However, because of the handful of blandish holes I couldn't give Strandhill a star, but I would recommend it. Many in our group were so so on Strandhill, but I was taken with it and in terms of favourites would only place Strandhill slightly behind the others. As we all know, Ireland has become frightfully expensive. Not so with Strandhill. With its 40 Euro day rate it competes with the best of the bargain courses to be found in GB&I and I will certainly seek a return engagement if prices don't go Irish wild. 2008