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Dave McCollum

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Rosapenna-- Sandy Hills Photo Thread.  Donegal, Co. Ireland.  A Pat Ruddy design.
 
I stumbled on a bunch of photos and was wondering what to do with them.  It occurred to me to post them in case anyone was interested.  Iíve never done this before, so I just wrote this up and filed it away.  The photos are from October 2011.  The post begins with this disclaimer:  I didnít play the course.  During this trip I played for eleven consecutive days in every condition imaginable (no snow) and discovered my personal limit for how much of my crappy game I can stand to witness.  This was probably the best weather I saw, but I didnít feel like playing.  Instead, I borrowed a buggy and just took snapshots.
 
Iíll post a few shots and see if anyone wants me to continue.  When you are doing nothing but driving around a course snapping pics, you can do it pretty quickly and build up a hefty collection.   Not always, but I generally took a shot from the tee, the LZ, and the green.
Iím not sure if I was the only one on the course that day.  It seemed like that.  There were golfers around when I started out, but most of them were playing the other course called, I think, The Old Tom Morris Links.  I played that one the day before and found it fun and less demanding than my impression of Sandy Hills.  Thatís what folks were saying around the Hotel as well.
 
 Iím posting now, Masterís week for some insane reason, and will continue based on feedback.  I guess I have a perverse motivation to temp you with something other than a lush American golf fantasy.  Personally, I think of Augusta as a sort of Sistine Chapel.  Wonderful, but we only need one.  Definitely an approach we donít need to franchise.   Itís my most hated week in golf TV.  Also my favorite.  Makes no sense.  So, call me crazy.
       




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2nd Hole: 463/411/398/315.  Par 4.  One of the things I kept wondering when I saw a blind tee shot was is the fairway behind the directional pole as narrow as it seems.  The answer was usually yes. 














4th Hole: 438/346/301/238.  Par 4.  The safe route is to the left leaving a longer shot.  The more one flirts with the more direct line right, the more risk involved.
 







5th Hole:  493/445/417/337.  Par 4.  This one an exception to the blind question as there is a wide landing area over the dune.  Sill a big hole to a plateau green.   








6th Hole:  Again, whatís over the pole?   A pretty viewÖ and pretty narrow & tough.   






IMG]http://i856.photobucket.com/albums/ab122/fishman2010/DSC_3428.jpg[/IMG]





Thatís enough for now.  Let me know if you wish me to continue posting pictures.   Also, if you want to see the rest of the holes, but with fewer pictures.  I was just digesting the architecture with a camera and am subjecting you to the process on the questionable assumption that someone out there might be interested in my buggy ride.  I could easily edit the shots down to just the basics.  In fact, there were just a few features that really grabbed my attentionóand one worthy of discussion that I shot from several different angles that didnít turn out as dramatically on film (can we still say that?) as it was to my eyeballs at the time.  As I recall it was in the middle of the course, hole # 9.
Iíll just let the pictures speak for themselves.  For those wondering about all the plateau greens, blind shots, and such, understand that these are really big, rollicking dunes, some of the most dramatic Iíve ever seen (on which golf is played).
       
Since I didnít actually whack a ball around, I donít feel I should comment much about playing these holes in my head.  I did play a couple of Mr. Ruddyís other courses, The European Club and the Glashedy Links at Ballyliffin, during this trip.  I have described those courses as big, burly tests for my game and, I expect, for most golfers.  Iíll be interested in hearing your comments.

One more thing.  When I played at The European Club I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ruddy and his family.  He was very generous with his time and the hospitality was wonderful.  It was a very tough day to play golf with winds in the 40ó50 mph range along with the occasional burst of rain.  The birds were walking.  Yet everyone in our small group had a great time, thanks mostly to the fantastic welcome, great golf, and the informative and entertaining chat we had afterwards with Mr. Ruddy.  It was great day for us all despite our difficulties on the golf course.  We left lots of balls behind in the sea grass as a reminder of our visit.  Unfortunately, this was before I got to Rosapenna and Ballyliffin.

Tony_Muldoon

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Thanks Dave, please complete the tour!


I liked Sandy Hills more than TEC or Glasheedy and thatís despite it being IMO the most difficult.  Partly because I felt it was on an extraordinary piece of land.  You  feel like you are playing high above the dunes, closer to the clouds than the beach.  Yes once in a while, itís fun to take on a brutal test, and lose valiantly.


I do feel more could have been got from this land.  Many holes are similar to ones he used on other courses. EG Push up greens with a bunker in the front, seemingly placed for variety rather than strategy, are overused. I count 4 in your first 9 holes.   Also I do like the hole with the wide driving area but half of it is leading you down a blind alley, - thatís also a familiar Ruddy trick.

Look forward to seeing the rest and any good shots of greens.
This was the first of the three courses above that I played.  From the photo's there seems to be more interest in the fairways than the other two which were mostly flat?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 03:49:45 AM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

John Chilver-Stainer

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Thanks for the photos Dave.

Please post the rest. :)

The course looks to be on a great property, however as Tony points out the ďpush upĒ style greens makes it difficult to run a ball in from the fairway.

I like to see links course with multiple feed-ins to the greens so that one can choose to bump and run although the occasional raised or "Blocked" green can also be fun for the aerial challenge.

Iíll be interested to see how the rest of the greens are.

Mark_Rowlinson

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Do, please, complete the tour. Lovely to see.

Důnal ” Ceallaigh

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Dave, please continue. I played there last July and had a gloomy and wet morning (but no wind really).
I've got about 270 photographs, so if you've any gaps in your collection, I might be able to help you out.

Brad Tufts

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Very cool photos.

I had one of my best rounds ever over the SH links back in 2007 or so.  I shot -1 (no doubt from the middle tees), in about 30-40mph of wind.  There were several ridiculous turns of fortune, including hitting a huge fade off one tee blind over a hill into a football-field size area of fescue, only to find my ball on a 4-foot wide maintenance track perpendicular to the line of play, with a clear shot.  The gods were on my side that day!

We played the Old Tom course that afternoon, and despite the hill 9 being replaced at this point, I found it charming with many paintbrush-inspiring views of the countryside and coastline.  For an American like me too familiar with the Northeast metroplex hustle and bustle, Rosapenna was/is close to heaven.

If ever I disappear without letting anyone know, Rosapenna would be a good place to start a search.
 
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Dave McCollum

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Brad,
I know what you mean.  I arranged this trip through an Irish friend while I was traveling in SW Ireland the week before.  The folks at the Rosapenna Hotel thought I was some bigwig golf writer or something and gave me the royal treatment.  The view of the bay was taken from the balcony of my suite.  A very good place to disappear.
 
Tony,
The thing that struck me most about the greens was the use of short grass in the green complexes.  In many places a near miss would be greatly amplified.  This was true of most of the plateau greens, but, as youíll see, is most dramatically illustrated on the 17th.

Thanks, all, for confirming my stern test theory.  Sometimes when I just look at a course, I say to myself ďI can play thatĒ without really understanding the difficulty.  I felt SH was playable, but it looked pretty difficult.  It must have been a wet summer before my arrival in October.  I donít remember how many times I hit one out in the native grass, even a slight miss or a little misjudgment of the wind, and never saw it again.  At Portrush I was down to my last ball and was wondering if I would run out of ammo and have to walk in.

Dave McCollum

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OK guys and gals, here are the last 12 holes.  Nobody told me that less is more, so Iíll give you the full load.  After I posted the first 6 holes, I noticed I had one shot out of order.  Apologies in advance for any mistakes with this series.  As I said at the start, this is my first rodeo.
               


















OK, hereís the feature that I thought so unique.  Itís not a bunker.  Iíd call it more like a pit.  A natural pit in the dunes.  Itís about 30 feet deep, a centerline pit, in the middle of the fairway.  When I met this pit, my immediate reaction was, if one hit a ball there, donít even bother going down there to look for it.  Itís gone, swallowed up in the Maelstrom of native grass never to be seen again.  From the tee itís a hairy ridge up the hill.  Go right or left.   



Get closer, from the right side, itís a wild patch, as seen from what I guessed was the LZ.



Shift left, itís just a fuzzy line.



Look in, wow!



Look back from the green, a messy patch a hundred yards short of the green.



A closer look, same angle.



The right side option.  So, have you seen a feature like this before?





Good width, especially on the right.



















This, a back tee not on the card or sign.  Championship or some such.  It just looked really cool to me.  I wished I had my clubs here so that I could donate another ball to the thieving ball fairies.   



Zoomed in look.



From the regular tees.






















I guess they thought this green a problem, so they are building a new one next to it:



Maybe it was this side that seemed unfair to someone:
































So far, so good.  Hereís the green.


Now, a closer look.  Not e the fall off to the right, all short grass.


A wider look:


And now, a look from behind.
















Niall C

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Dave

Many thanks for the tour, and the way I like them with a continious roll of photos taken from the golfers point of view rather than lots of sideways camera angles.

It does indeed look a wonderful bit of property but without wishing to restart an old argument on a different course, quite a few of those fairways looked fairly flat on what I take to be intended landing areas. As for the greens, they definitely look minimalist, that is minimal contour and minimal effort to tie them into the surrounds. I hasten to add I've not played there but thats the impression I get from the photos. Fair or unfair comment ?

Niall

Dave McCollum

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Nial,
As I said in my post, I didnít play it either.  Just snapped pix.  Iíd say your comments were fair.  Not a lot of contour on the greens.  The difficulty, as I saw it was missing the greens and having the shot repelled by the surrounding slopes.  I never would have called the fairways flat as the course flows through these monstrous dunes.  You may be right, however, in that to get a course into this landscape there had to be lots of bulldozer work.  As another commented, you feel closer to the clouds than the sea.  Back in Old Tomís day, I can see why they routed the other course through the less extreme ground.  Iím just a golfer and observer, not an architect or builder, so I know only a little about such things, so consider the bulldozer comment speculation on my part.

We finally caught a nice day.  Iím off to a match.  Iíll check back later.

Jonathan Mallard

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Dave,

I thought SH was a sterner test than OTM. I should note that this was back in '09 before the re-routing. As an aside, I thought 13, 15, and 17 of the Coastguard 9 were fabulous holes. Especially 17 - you watched your ball fly for what seemed forever, then travel toward the lake, and arrived to find a second shot where the green was framed by the horizon. Stunning hole.

One of the other things I really liked was how many different views there were of all of the towns - both near, and across the water formations. I would go back if the opportunity arose.

Dave McCollum

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There is no question that SH was much, much more difficult than OTM.  Didnít play the Coastguard  9.  Didnít even know it existed except for a fragment of conversation I heard there and didnít remember until today.  It was mentioned as a sort of ďSheep RanchĒ option that you had to find between the seams.  Iím not really singing the praises of SH as much as Iím putting in a positive vote for Rosapenna as a golf destination, like Bandon.  Two good courses, one fun, one testing and difficult and beautiful, another nine (apparently) to add spice, fabulous hotel, great food, total isolation in a forgotten corner of Ireland, and whatís not to like?  My pictures tell the story:  a fabulous landscape for golf.  Who cares if itís hard?  Who cares if they missed making the most of the land?  Take the whole package together, mix in a few days of great golf and Irish hospitality, a total escape from the rat race, add in a sublime sojourn to a far corner of the world, and you have heaven on earth for a golfer.  I was lucky and caught a good day.  Letís be honest, the weather sucks.  But if you have a window of good weather, this is as good as it gets.  Magical golf.

Tony_Muldoon

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Thanks Dave.  Still lots of push up greens but less of the bunkers I mentioned. It's another one I lond to go back to.


How would you compare the fairways at Galsheedy and TEC to here, there seems ot be more natural contours?


Did you notice anything at the far end off the course?  This is the abandoned St Patrick's GC in 2008

Let's make GCA grate again!

Sean_A

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Jeepers SH looks unrelenting!  Beautiful piece of land.  Thanks for the tour.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Dave McCollum

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I donít think I can compare the fairways of the three Ruddy courses, Tony, at least not intelligently.  I played TEC in gale force wind, just rode around SH, and Glashedy (Ballyliffin) was the last course I played during this trip.  Eleven courses in 12 days.  Iím a geezer and donít do 36 a day any more.  Clouding my memory was an evolving personal tragedy:  my course superintent, a 22 year employee, was stricken with a brain aneurism when I was in Rosapenna and died the day I got home.  He was a good friend on whom I totally depended.  So, it was just one of those times when you are doing something you love, but really feel like you should be someplace else.  For lack of a better description, I was in a sort of golf burnout the last few days at Rosapenna and Ballyliffin.
 
This was my first trip to Ireland.  I donít know how to describe my emotional reaction to the golf other than a form of sensory overload.  Each course I played seemed like the best Iíve seen and the next one was more fun than the one before.  I donít consider myself a trophy hunter or critic of golf courses.  Iíll play anywhere and enjoy it.  So, when I stumbled into this lineup of links golf heavyweightsóWaterville, Ballybunion, Lahinch, TEC, Baltry, County Down, Portstewart, Portrush, and the two at Rosapenna and Ballyliffinómy circuits overloaded and I was blown away, especially toward the end when I had something else to worry about.  Something like spending 8 hours or days in the Louvre.  How to process it all?

Does this make any sense?  No, but it gets worse.  The first week was spent with a small group of supers and stand up comics.  Golf by day, a rolling comedy club in between, comedy clubs by night.  Very fun, but also a little intense.  This circus followed by a week of solitary golf.  Only at RCD was I paired othersóthree young flat-bellies from Kinloch, as it turned out.  (Not to jack my own thread, but , WOW, what a course!)

About all I can say is that TEC was the most manicured of the three and the toughest test.  I told Pat Ruddy that I wasnít sure I could play it very well on a calm day, let alone one when the balls were blowing off the greens.  As I said above, the native areas were so lush in Northern Ireland and Co. Donegal it was impossible to find a stray ball.  And, of course, there was wind.  Sandy Hills appeared a tougher test and bit more wild and wooly than Glashedy.  There were about 50 golfers staying in the Rosapenna Hotel.  I didnít see any playing SH.  Maybe because of the season (October), folks on holiday with their wives, and the remote location combined to make it feel like wilderness golf.  And as said above,  ďunrelentingĒ golf.

What I remember about Glashedy is a bit foggy for the reasons stated above.  The front nine through giant dunes was similar to SH.  The back nine less extreme terrain.  A front moving in, blowing hard, blasts of rain, playing alone, just trying to keep my ball in play.  Lovely.  I wish Iíd been in a better frame of mind.                 

Důnal ” Ceallaigh

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Thanks for the photos Dave; looks like you got a better day than I did. I'm glad you enjoyed my home county.

I am very sorry to hear about your young superintendent; that is tragic news. Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

I played Sandy Hills last July, as I was eager to find out if it was as tough as I had heard it was. To be honest it wasn't the brute I was braced for. I was fortunate to play it on a calm but wet morning. I played off the white tees, but some were a little forward, and were more like the yellows.

I hit my 3W about 220-240 yds and had no difficulty hitting the fairways. I did knock down drives at the 6th and 13th and pulled my drive at the 10th (instant lost ball). The only other fairway I missed was the 9th where I sliced it right into the hollow.

I found the fairways quite generous and was a little puzzled by all the criticism regarding toughness. There are no unreasonable carries off the tee, although the carry on the par three 11th is quite long. As with any course, if you play off the appropriate tees, you should have no real problems with the carries off the tee.

However, I can see where there might be a difficulty for shorter hitters. The fairways on the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 18th begin to narrow after the drive LZ and only widen again as you near the green. This is not always the case, but it's quite evident on many of the par fours. For example, I knocked down my drive at the 6th, and walked forward to see what faced me. The fairway was pinched from 130 yards out, all the way in to the green. I now needed to hit a dead-straight 3W and try to get within 70-80 yds of the green; I decided to lay up with a 5 iron and then play a 7 iron from about 140 yds. I felt the approach was too narrow, even though I really trust my 3W. I can now see how this hole could be a real ball buster for the shorter hitter, as the LZ for the second shot is at the narrowest part of the fairway. A similar situation occurs at the 18th.

I'd imagine the "crater" at the 9th would pose similar problems. The drive is a difficult one up the hill; one needs to hit it about 210 yds from the white tees, to make the crest of the hill. If you don't hit it that far, you then face an up hill shot of 150-160 yds to clear the crater. In this case, there is only a very narrow slither of fairway on either side. Things could get nasty if the wind is blowing.

In general, the greens do not contain any terrifying undulations, but many of them are slanted; mostly from back to front, and perhaps one or two from front to back (the 6th?). Most of the greens are "pushed-up" and this is what makes Sandy Hills difficult in my opinion. Many of the greenside bunkers are in sunken bowls, so while the bunker itself may only be 3 yds in radius, the catchment are is more like 6 yds radius.

The approach shots need to be precise and struck very well. Any approach shots landing short of the green, will stay short, as the fairway invariably slopes up to the green. Some of the greens are a little small; the 6th being only 21 yards deep; that's quite small for a 420 yds hole that is stroke index 1.

In many cases the carry from the tee looks more intimidating than it really is. For example, the green on the par three 7th appears from the tee, to be surrounded by think bent, but as you approach the green, a nice mown hollow lies before you.

I haven't played any other Pat Ruddy courses, but I wonder if this form of "visual intimidation" is something he incorporates in his designs. I walked back to the back tee at the 10th, and the visual intimidation is once again used here. Only a tiny patch of the fairway is visible from the tee; the rest is bent. Things are much clearer from the white tee.

I'd like to see a bunkering plan drawn up for the course. There are only two fairway bunkers on the course, and 21-22 in total (according to the strokesaver, there's a bunker short of the 1st green, but I didn't capture it in my pictures, and neither did you), so decision making on the tee is minimal. I pulled out my 3W each time and just hit it. I'd like to be asked a few more questions while standing on the tee. The problem with introducing more bunkers is that the critics would become even louder.

Regarding the old holes across the road, I recently started a thread on those;

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51551.0.html

Stayed tuned for more updates.

Tony:

St. Patrick's 2012 looks just the same. I walked it on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and have loads of photographs of the Magheramagorgan course (Eddie Hackett). I'll get around some day to posting them. A local farmer (presumably employed by the bank that repossessed the property) with a tractor and gangmower cuts the fairways regularly. He was cutting them the day I played SH. The fairways need to be mowed to avoid any environmental obstacles if/when they re-open the course. The tees are overgrown and the greens are indistinguishable from the fairways. The sandy scar in your picture is on the TrŠ Mor course, so the Hackett layout is still intact.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 05:41:14 PM by Důnal ” Ceallaigh »

Niall C

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"As with any course, if you play off the appropriate tees, you should have no real problems with the carries off the tee."

Donal

Interested in your comment above. I always thought that most traditional links had an element of elasticity about them with limited forced carries. Is that not the case at Sandy Hills ?

Niall

Důnal ” Ceallaigh

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"As with any course, if you play off the appropriate tees, you should have no real problems with the carries off the tee."

Donal

Interested in your comment above. I always thought that most traditional links had an element of elasticity about them with limited forced carries. Is that not the case at Sandy Hills ?

Niall

Niall:

My comment was a bit of a generalisation, but with regard to SH, the only way you'd get into trouble is if you decided on playing the back tees (7100 yds). SH has no more forced carriers than any other links course I've played. We're not talking huge (200+ yds) carries at SH from the white tees; it more like 60-80 yds carries, and in most cases it's less than that. The main difficulty as I see it, is the raised greens; there aren't too many holes where you can run the ball in. As with any other links course, if you play it in a 40 mph wind, be prepared to score well over par (nett).

Niall C

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Donal

Thanks for that. I agree, that kind of carry is fairly standard. Certainly looks well worth a play.

Niall

Dan Herrmann

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Thanks for the pictures!   Shoot - I really need to get back to the land of my forefathers (at least on my mother's side)!

Thomas Dai

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Recently I had the opportunity to play the Sandy Hills course at Rosapenna. One of the things that inspired me to play there was Dave McCollum's splendid photo tour above, so thanks Dave.

The course seemed essentially pretty much the same as Dave's tour shows, and very impressive it is to. Many challenging shots, big humps, raised tees and green plus fall-offs all over the place. In a very strong wind it must be a Pro V1 eater. And very different to the gentler OTM course that sits alongside it. 'Sandy Hills' is very well termed, for it's not built within sand dunes, it's built ON sand hills.

As to differences since Dave's tour, not many it seemed. A couple of bunkers added here or there, such as to the left side of the 1st hole and the left side of the 13th and we played the par-5 13th to the a green to the right of the 'usual' one, making the hole bend around to the right forever and ever. You can just make out both greens from the photos in Dave's tour.

A couple of points.

Firstly, the course planner was one of the worst I've ever bought. I generally prefer not to criticise, but sorry folks at Rosapenna, but it's a stinker.

Secondly, the 18th green has been red-done. Regrettably, I and my playing partners were not particularly impressed with the new green site, which to us seemed totally out of character with the other greensites on the course. Curious really, as that area of the property appears to have enough land available to hold a more impressive finishing green. Perhaps there was a maintenance, pin position or some other issue with the old green that necessitated it's revision, either way, it seems something of a finishing hole anticlimax after the other seventeen greensites. Such a shame as we really liked both Rosapenna courses plus the friendliness and helpfulness we received from the folk in the pro-shop etc was impressive and much appreciated.

Here are a couple of photos -

The new 18th green photographed from the bank on the right side of the fairway, where the hole dog-legs slightly.


Here's what it used to look like (photo from Dave's tour)


As has been mentioned on GCA before, the former St Patricks GC, just south along the coast, is now owned by the Rosapenna group. I asked what the situation regarding St P is and was informed that no decision had yet been made as to how or when to proceed with any St P development. The fairways were being cut however, perhaps just to keep the pot simmering on the stove from the planning etc regulations perspective. The dunes that St P sits on really do look huge, but smoother, almost flattened off, rather than rugged like Sandy Hills.


And finally, another photo, taken from near the 7th tee looking across the 6th green with Sheephaven Bay behind and Horn Head in the far distance. No reason for posting this photo other than simply because I like it!


Rosapenna, a splendid spot with two terrific courses, a place I could easily return to over and over again.

atb
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 05:01:40 AM by Thomas Dai »

Thomas Dai

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I can't comment on Ballyb' Old vrs Cashen, but I certainly get where you're coming from Brian about SH and OTM at Rosap'.

For example, if I was going to play a money match and I was playing well, I'd want the match to be held on the Sandy Hills course, every time. On the other hand, if I had the opportunity to play 10 friendly rounds at Rosap' and could play either course, anytime, it would probably be a ratio of 3 on the Sandy Hills and 7 on the OTM - and I'd choose the tees to play from on the SH depending on the wind strength and direction on the day in question.

However, if I was wanting to play a quick 9-holes in the evening, then that would most definitely be on the back-9 at OTM, which is wonderful and flows soo beautifully and holes 12-13-14 are just terrific. The others are pretty good too.

I do like the Sandy Hills course though - for a 'modern' links I prefer it to for example the Glashedy at Ballyliffin. I also like the 'new' front-9 on the OTM, but not as much as the back-9.

I didn't get to play it but there's also another Rosap' 9-holes over the road (once the front-9 of OTM?) plus there looked to be a crazily undulating pitch-n-putt course near the practice ground which looked like it would be a total hoot to play.

Wonderful place for golf though Rosap' and indeed the Sheephaven Bay area in general, what with the SH and OTM courses plus delightful Portsalon and the underrated and shouldn't be missed Dunfanaghy all in pretty close proximity. Somewhere I could be persuaded to return to very easily, just like the rest of Donegal in fact.

atb
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 05:10:40 AM by Thomas Dai »

Ronald Montesano

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Looks pretty lush to me. Might be firm, but still profiles as lush.
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Dave McCollum

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Just discovered that this old thread still has some modest legs.  Glad you guys find it of some use.  Really, this old geezer was so golfed-out at this point in my trip that all I could manage was a photo trek aroundóin a buggy, no lessóand, regretfully, wasted the best light and weather of my trip on photos instead of golf.  I didnít read my previous posts and may have mentioned this already (remember:  geezer author), but I must say that my time at this resort was exceptional.  A magical time that I remember most fondly.  I was traveling alone and just trying to soak up some links golf as part of my education and perspective. Great golf, great food, great accommodations.   I couldnít have been treated better.  I feel like I somehow misrepresented myself, unknowingly and not of my making, but such accidents happen.  Itís not that I took advantage of the situation as much as reflection of as the fabulous welcome extended by the owners of the facility (the Caseyís?).   Iím confident in saying that any guest might feel the same, as did everyone I chatted with.

In 2011, everywhere in Ireland was lush.  In October, and being the sort of golfer that doesnít agonize about lost balls and subsequent searches, it was disconcerting. Every lost ball potential was greeted by the optimistic appraisal that ďI can find that.Ē  Every search was rendered by ďforget that.Ē  In a previous tour of Scotland, I sold every golf ball in my possession to a local player, some three dozenóthe total ďextra balls I took less oneĒ that I took in addition to the random balls my bag.  He was delighted.  In Ireland, I had to buy more ammo.  Cheap balls is good advice.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Funny that Sandy Hills always comes in a good 20 or so spots ahead of the Old course in the various rankings - our group unanimously agreed that the old was better - primarily because it has a lot more variety and is on better land for golf. I think the constant diet of tight saddle fairways and raised greens at SH gets tiresome. I get the wow factor of the massive dunes / hills but beyond that we were hoping for more. I think in some ways it's a similar animal to the Cashen course at Ballybunion, but I'll probably be in a small minority here who thinks the Cashen is better.

Brian

Count me in your small group. I think Cashen is comfortably a more interesting design. 

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

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