This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
Sean:If you had 10 rounds to split between Dunlace and Valley and cost was irrelevant, what would your split be?
Excellent review and pictorial Sean! The Valley Course was definitedly a hidden gem for us on our trip to N. Ireland/Ireland last fall. In some ways it was a discovery like The Island was on my first trip--a 'lesser" course that was anything but. Your comparison to Brora is apt too.Holes I really liked: 5 (a wonderful short par 4 with a great green complex), 6 (very tough par 3), 9 (another neat short par 4 with the 2d shot over the brow of a hill), and 16 (love the location of the fairway bunker and green). The stretch of holes 6-8 was really challenging. #10 is just plain weird but hey we like quirk, right? #14 was deceiving to the first time player as the tees point you right at the encroaching hill (where I ended up!) and there really is a ton of room to the right. Some subtle but interesting enough greens, though the multi tiered #17 green seemed out of character.
A really fun golf course to play match play. I am a member of Royal Portrush, and so have played The Valley many times through college. While there are not nearly as many bunkers on this course as compared to the Dunluce, and many of the greensites sit flat on the land, it is a very enjoyable test and nice breather if you play the Dunluce in the morning.A funny story about the Valley. When Darren Clarke was on Tour in the early years, he would often play Portush on his off weeks, and many times would arrange games with my brother and other low handicappers, choosing the Valley for the match play fun that can be had. One particular day my brother David was in the group and through 5 holes thought he was pretty long, because his drives, as were the others, were keeping up with big hitting DC. For those that know the course, the first 5 all travel in the same direction, with a prevailing down wind. This is why they were keeping up with Clarkey.Now they turn into the wind on 6, 7, 8 and 9. All of a sudden they were 40-50 yards behind Darren, because as he turned into the wind he simply changed his ball flight to slip under the wind, while the "amateurs" only had 1-ball flight, which got hit by the wind. It was then that David realized who the pro in the group was. Links golf is so much fun and allows creativity unlike any american course I have played.David Tepper - FYI my Dad was the tournament Director for "The Bush" for over 20-years, recently retiring the duties to Jackie Graham, and was honored by the Queen on her New Year's Honors list back in 2002 (I think) for his efforts towards the promotion of golf and tourism in Northern Ireland. My hero and role model, he was an ambassador for golf all of his life, and I am trying valiently to follow in his very large footsteps. I echo your sentiments that it is a great event, and too many people in my opinion are missing out by not traveling to Northern Ireland to play the golf courses there. I just got back 2 days ago, and Royal Portrush in my opinion is one of the finest in the world. Interestingly enough I counted 12 holes where they have lengthened the yardage since I left for the States 15-years ago. A great track, and one not to be missed.