Rosses Point really turned my head this time round and I was terribly impressed. I guess that shouldn't be surprising as HS Colt made significant changes to the the Willie Campbell layout in 1927. I enjoyed seeing the course again with an opposite wind to last time. Rosses Point really is very, very good. That said, the rough was awful stuff, but it seems to be a standard deal these days amongst premiere clubs. Such a pity.
The 2nd isn't a bad hole because of the approach for those suckered into trying to reach the green. Cut the corner and come up short and this is whats left. I didn't fancy trying to fly the bunker and hold the green. However, running it over that bump is bargain either. The ball run right or left into a bunker.
The par 5 third. You get what you see.
The 4th holds a certain appeal to me. I like how the green is raised (as are many others), but one can still bounce one in - that is a very difficult shot!
The 5th is not a terribly imaginative par 5. The hole serves to quickly descend to the bottom part of the links, but those straaaaaight fairway lines are a menace. The 6th is where I think the course proper starts. A dogleg left around bunkers with a ditch down the right. The 7th is a magnificent longish par 4. The driving area is well protected by bunkers either side. One can layup, but face a long approach which is a devil as well. The flag is in a particularly good place. It doesn't look too harsh, but in fact for the greedy the water on the right comes very much into play and it is also a longer carry in this direction.
The 8th is another tough hole. It whips around to the right with water on either side near the green. For the aggressive players, the drive is over a mound and blind - otherwise one can layup out to the left. This hole is not for the weak! #9 is a lovely short hole. #10 would probably be my favourite hole on the course if the fairway were wider. Generally speaking, Rosses Point does alright in this department, but considering the wind and slope of the terrain, this fairway needs another 10 yards width. That said, its still a grand hole. The fairway is split between the high and low parts leading to a wonderfully sited green. The simplicity of these sort of holes please me to no end.
#11 is yet another magnificent hole. The stretch between 7 & 11 truly is world class stuff. There is a slight left to right cant to this fairway and I think the best shot is to hold a draw into it. Trying to play left to right risks running too far down the hill. Here is the long approach.
Things cool off for the 12th. A decent par 5 out to the point. I like the 13th. Its a drop shot par 3 and is very interesting downwind. Behind the green is a burn, but there is room to land shots between the front bunkers when there is a strong tailwind. #14 is a very good shortish par 4. The burn crosses the fairway and feeds a wee pond down the left which can't be seen from the tee. The more one challenges the water the better angle to this dogleg right green.
The 15th is one of those holes where one can take on as much as he chooses of the right dogleg, but it is blind. A good layup leaves something like this approach.
The course continues its journey back to the house with #16. The 17th is a man's hole which takes you halfway back up the hill we descended on the 5th. The drive is made troublesome by the fairway ending some 275 yards from the tee and by a green tucked on a plateau up the hill - a magnificent hole. #18 is a rather disappointing finish after the stirring penultimate hole. The drive is blind over the hill to a narrow fairway. Not a great combination, but thats life on the links.
I have a lot of time for Rosses Point and can easily see why it is the favourite course of many who visit Mayo/Sligo/Donegal. As I said earlier, my high opinion has gone up a bit. The many fine water holes lifts Rosses Point to a level commeserate with Ireland's most famous links. Rosses Point merits a 1* and should be included in any itinerary of Ireland's west coast. 1* 2008