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Sean_A

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This thread includes tours of Ballybunion Cashen, Ballybunion Old and Lahinch.

Improbable, immense, incredible, impressive, imperious; all are apt ways and means of characterizing Lahinch and Ballybunionís pair of courses. Their quality, beauty and charm have been written about extensively so I shall not attempt to match the pens of previous scribes.  Rather, I will offer random observations accompanied with photos. 

THE CASHEN

It is clear to me that The Cashen is not in the class of Ballybunion Old or Lahinch.  The course is far too tight with severe penalties for missed shots.  To borrow from Mr Kirk, The Cashen needs to accommodate more marginal shots Ė many more marginal shots. 

The golf starts out pleasant enough with a manageable par 5 even with a strong right to left wind.


The second covers a valley in much the same ilk as the opener; perhaps a bit more of a severe uphill approach.  Unknown to us, some work was being carried out so there was a temp in place, very bad form on the part of the club. 

#3 is a fine one-shotter which played about 60 yards longer than indicated on the card.  Next is a weird down n' up par 4 which has a raised path cutting the start of the fairway into two narrow strips.  To further complicate matters a nest of bunkers cuts off the middle of the fairway. Into a strong headwind this design set-up proved to be less than ideal.  In the group ahead was a fellow GCAer and is band of gypsies.  By the end of the day, I wish I had a cart - heavy sigh. 


The short two-shot 5th is one of the best holes on the course.  Its unusual in that the long ball play is to drive away from the green up the left rather than try to reach the green. 


The short sixth plays over a giant hollow to a green spurred off the dune. 


#7 is one of my favourite holes on the front along with 5 & 9.  The fairway bends right between a dune ridge and water then rises to the putting the surface.  At just over 300 yards the hole can still be quite a challenge.  After a succession of short 4s ands 3s the very long three-shotter 8th comes as a shock to the system.  I didn't think it was necessary to have a sharp angle of drive, uphill approach and a difficult green combined with 590 yards. 



We now head straight for what was once described as a Kroger's, but I think the Ballybunion house is more akin to a German bunker one would find on Juneau Beach in Normandy.  I would be most curious as to who on the Ballybunion Committee thought this structure was remotely appropriate for its setting. 


Wonderful contouring feeding into the green.


The back nine starts with what must be RTJ's homage to Klondyke.  I don't think it works very well as the hole bends in the driving zone effectively reducing the already non-existent fairway.  However, if we just walk the ball to a good spot in the fairway, the approach is excellent.


#11 is a superb short hole requiring a very accurate strike as there isn't a lot of room.


More to come.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 07:15:49 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mark_F

Re: CLARE & KERRY: Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 07:56:22 AM »
Emphatically, The Cashen fails the ďhow does my grandmother get it roundĒ test with flying colours. 

Sean,

Does this aspect really matter in a two course club?

jeffwarne

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Re: CLARE & KERRY: Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 08:41:33 AM »
Emphatically, The Cashen fails the ďhow does my grandmother get it roundĒ test with flying colours.  

Sean,

Does this aspect really matter in a two course club?

OK confession time.
I was the GCAer in the buggies(it sounds less dirty when you say it like that) ruining Sean's fantastic pictures (great work as usual Sean-my apologies ;) )
Imagine Sean's surprise when he came over the hill to the second tee to find a group of arseholes(that would be us) waiting with no group in sight on a par 4.(they had just finished and driven out of sight in THEIR buggies)
As Sean was to find out, it was a temporary very difficult par 3 and we had met the same surprise  fate of a group waiting when we arrived at the tee.
That coupled with the next hole being a par 3 made for a bit of a bottleneck start with a lineup of groups starting after lunch, particularly no doubt felt by Sean's group in a threesome.

The cart certainly releived the drudgery of the 200 yard uphill walk from 2 temp green to #3 tee. ::)
 My first cart ever in the UK and ireland (at the polite suggestion/insistence of the host pro)and I must say it was a good choice, particularly as I was nursing some sore feet from wearing traditional golf shoes(never again) in the morning in the rain on the Old.
Two of my amateurs were going to walk and by the third hole were firmly planted in the carts, which a majority of the players in front of us were using :-[ :(

and I must say for the record, I played with Sean's grandmother ;) ::) and he/they(hdcps 15-18) quite enjoyed the course.
Our group plays BB match play and no one knows what they've shot(unless their ball counted every hole) so the occasional odd severe hole works fine.
I play quite conservatively when on tight links courses and found the course quite playable as did my group and in fact found it as playable if not more so than the Old course, particularly given that the wind was up quite a bit in the afternoon round on the Cashen.
On the par 3 3rd I hit a hooded 6 iron from 125(and won a bet off the starter who insisted I would never par the hole)

The 10th is quite narrow as Sean mentioned but my cold topped 3 wood worked quite well ;), resulting in a layup iron and one putt par.

and Mark great point about a two course club.
The course certainly felt softened from my last go round 15 years ago.
All in all it's great fun with the right attitude about medal scoring, although a decent score can be had with a conservative plan.

Again great pictures Sean!
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 09:05:20 AM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Sean_A

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Re: CLARE & KERRY: Irish Eyes Are Smiling New
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 09:29:41 AM »
Jeff

It was very strange seeing you appear from nowhere.  I thought I recognized the fellow in red, but didn't say anything.  You then popped up and I was sure I met you. When you spoke the penny dropped.   

15-18 capper grannies?  Thats above standard average.  We had a proper Granny - more like a 50 capper! 

Mark - if generating money is the goal, I would think it always pays to keep granny in mind.  Currently, the club gives the green fee away with a game on The Old!  That sends a bad message straight outa the gate.


CASHEN TOUR CONTINUED

Another short hole to follow, the 12th - not bad, but something isn't quite right.  I suspect this is not an original hole.  Onto the 13th, a seemingly benign 374 yarder was the first of the Dr Jekylly/Mr Hyde holes.  The blind drive is straight into a forceful wind.  I thought my ball was fine down the left, no accommodation there!  Never mind as I am sure my next would have had the same fate.  I popped my head over the crest of the hill - the second being blind as well) and could only laugh.  This is a prime example of designing without weather in mind.  #14 was a bit awkward from the tee as the landing zone isn't clear.  The hole isn't bad though - just stay left or lay-up!


I liked the ground movement shy of the green.


#15 is yet another roller coaster hole.  The second is completely blind to a narrow fairway eventually leading to a plateau green.  The final par 3 is a knob to knob hole parallel to, but set back from the shore - another good short hole.


Our second Jekyll n' Hyde hole comes next.  With the wind off the left the drive is tough, but nothing compared to the approach.


Most holes would seem sedate after the 17th, but the 18th is good.  While I can't say The Cashen is one of my favourite courses it certainly does get the blood pumping.  I constantly felt like I was playing a parkland course near the sea.  Its hard to play a links game because so many of the greens are elevated and the turf is quite lush.  In the end analysis, there are too many extreme shots required, however, if one is playing The Old and hasn't seen The Cashen, he should do.  There are several good holes and on a calm day at least a few more holes would be good as well.   2012

BALLYBUNION OLD

For many, to play Ballybunion Old is as much a pilgrimage as THE Old Course.  Many, perhaps proclaim too softly to be heard above the ghostly howls of long dead Scotsmen, think Ballybunion's version of antiquity is superior.  The land is certainly far more turbulent, the rough more demanding and sadly, the fairways less generous than at St Andrews.  In the end, it could be the beauty of Ballybunion which wins over a significant percentage of its admirers.  Make no mistake though, Ballybunion has more than its share of great holes, perhaps more than any other course on the planet.  The usual rap is to proclaim the Old Course a snore until we reach the 7th.  However, that stance would overlook the uncompromising second, brilliant long par 3 third and the not to be forgotten 6th.  Indeed, the only hole among the roadside openers which cannot claim some sort of elegant demand on the golfer is the 5th, and it is far from a poor hole.   Onto the course.

The first is what I would call a perfect starter; gentle and uncomplicated, but bogey can be had with a moment's lapse of concentration. 




Without warning, the second takes play up to high ground, the hard way...with the approach. 


I don't know why the virtues of #3 aren't sung to the heavens as this is a superb hole which Simpson redesigned in 1936.  This hole is every bit the quality of #8.   




Has anyone ever played back to back par 5s which didn't feel a bit dull?  Some courses resort to chewing up less exciting land with a thousand yards of par 10.  Unlike at Harlech or Woking, Ballybunion's back to back three-shotters are in the same direction and suffer a bit for it.  That said, if going for the 4th green in two, the approach is as good as one will see most anywhere.  First, we must tee off to a fairway leaning right toward obscured bunkers.  The go for it approach is also to a green leaning right.  A pet peeve of mine is fairway lines encompassing sand.  It is often the case that on parkland courses the rough cuts bunkers off and at Ballybunion this too is a consistent problem with the course set-up. The fairways are actually very narrow, but the relative lushness and first cut of rough offer some respite from the strangling rough.


#5 is an alright par 5 which doesn't really add anything to the course.  #6 though is an outstanding mid length par 4.  The eccentric Tom Simpson built a new green in 1936, one of a few major changes and several more subtle alterations he carried out.  I think more people would trump this hole if not for the backdrop.  For some reason, this hole feels like it belongs at Dornoch.  Anyway, the drive is to a progressively narrowing fairway which turns toward the shore.  If the wind is from the rear or left, driver is a dangerous call.  The hidden hollows left and right of the green are hard to discern.  The left.


The rear.


More to come. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 02:52:41 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Ash Towe

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Terrific thread Sean.  looking forward to the remainder.

Tony_Muldoon

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Nice review of the Cashen course but I'm not sure that rolling all the courses into one thread gives it a fair shot.   I will definitely Ďplay it againí, Sean.  I had read what to expect but until youíre there with the wind in your face, you might expect it to be odd, when really itís an adventure.

The only hole I'd absolutely condemn is the 8th.  You don't have a lot of room, across the slope,  to hit a  driver, and it's 600 yards from the Tips!  However apparently the course as a whole has been improved and I believe the Club should keep working at it as itís a real asset to them.

So is there anywhere you can really compare it to? Iím struggling to think of any. Some of the changes in elevation reminded me of Wallasey, but thatís a far more conventional course. The huge elevation changes are a little Cruden Bay like, but again thatís forcing the analogy.   No I think it should be celebrated for being Sui Generis, an over used phrase on here but this time I think it applies.  Definitely the archetypal course best played in a friendly match and on no account should you attempt to keep score.  Stableford was OK, but card and pencil would not be appropriate.

Iíve not been to Carne and wonder if thatís itís natural twin?

I will admit to being a sucker for superb views, even if I suspect the routing may have been compromised to give us these. There were guys hand pulling Salmon nets in the Cashen  (the River that gives the course itís name) as I looked back from the 4th tee.

Finegan called it Top 10 in Ireland. I think he used noís to try and inject a little controversy into his books, but overall itís a great place to Golf and isnít that exactly what weíre looking for?
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Padraig Dooley

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'#6 though is an outstanding mid length par 4.  I think more people would trump this hole if not for the backdrop.'

I think it's Tom Watson's favourite hole!!
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  - Pablo Picasso

Sean_A

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Spangles

The Cashen is like Carne (or maybe Perranporth) on steroids.  I am not as enamoured as you with the course, but as an add-on it works fine. Unlike you and Jeff, I don't really separate out matchplay and card n' pencil courses.  I just see it all as good, bad or indifferent golf.  In general a good design should accommodate marginal shots regardless of what form of golf one plays.

BALLYBUNION OLD CONTINUED

While I think the course emphatically started when I saw the graveyard, many think Ballybunion starts with #7.  If that is one's belief it is one hell of a place to begin a game.  While the setting of the tee shot is enchanting, the hole is really about the mounded fairway and green.  One gets a sense that staying left is safe and god willing there will be a kick in off the dune.  Not so, as on the 6th, there are falloffs left and right. From the 8th tee.


The superb one-shot 8th. I think the contours of the green can be seen in this photo.  This is one of the strengths of Balllybunion; there is enough happening with slopes and contours to keep one busy, but if the greens are kept at 8 or 9ish there shouldn't be too many problems with wind playing tricks on the greens.


A typical hidden Ballybunion fall-off on the right of the green (left in photo).


The side ends with nasty long par 4 with a great green which was the handiwork of of Simpson's 1936 visit.  There isn't anything remarkable to experience until we discover that one cannot approach from the right. 


I would like to see at least one drivable two-shotter and #10 is the shortest par 4 on the card, but it takes a serious flat belly to get home.  The drive slips left between dunes to a green raised as if on a plinth.  This is a very good hole which rarely gets a mention.
 

One of the most endearing aspects of Ballybunion is how the routing brings the golfer to the shore on several occasions; 6/7, 10/11, 15 and parts of 16 & 17.  The beauty of these holes (with the exception of the sixth) goes a long way to covering up the fact that just as many of the best holes are not on the shore, yet it is the shore holes many will remember most.  The 11th may be the most memorable hole of all. While grand, I am not nearly as taken with it as most.  The fairway reminds me of an descending escalator with its three tiers eventually dropping to the green set behind sentinel dunes.  The fallaways are evident from this angle near the 12th tee. 


A very testing wind hole follows as one gets the impression of trying to hit a flattened volcano.  This is one of my least favourite members of the Ballybunion family. 


While a short par 5, #13 seemed plenty long into a unceasing 20ish mph wind.  Again, other than the usual humpty bumpty fairway, nothing much is happening until the green is reachable.  Resting in the lee of the high dune used for the 14th tee, this is a wonderful green site - as most of Ballybunion's are. 


A sneaky stream can just be made out on the left. 


A bit artificial looking, 14 heads uphill to a green (which appears flat as a plate) squeezed between dunes.  There isn't a safe miss unless one is lucky enough to be short right.


More to come. 

Ciao   
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 03:15:50 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Patrick Glynn

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Hi Sean,

Seems the weather wasn't too bad in BallyB. How did you enjoy having the course to yourself in Lahinch?

*We have our club championship (36 holes stroke) last weekend over Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday being a shotgun start. Sean's group had the first tee time after we finished so there was literally no one else on the course when he teed off (better have played in 3 1/2/ hours!).

Patrick

Sean_A

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Patrick

It was good to meet you Saturday night.  We had the first time alright.  Unfortunately, the starter, in what had to be bone head move, allowed a 4 ball ahead of us.  Net result, 4:55 later we returned - pissed off.  To top it off, the starter gave us grief on Monday morning about 4 hour rounds.  I "politely" reminded him of his ace call in allowing a 4 ball to cut in without asking our permission - very rude indeed.  Luckily, Monday was great - played in comfortably under 4 hours, but it meant teeing off at 7:15am - ouch.  Mind you, the pace of play both days at Ballybunion was terrible as well.  I spose its the price of touristas making yearly dues cheap. 

I spose the conditions at the Old Course were similar to your first day at Lahinch - rain and 20mph winds. 

BALLYBUNION OLD TOUR CONTINUED

15 & 16


#15 could be a great hole, but something is lacking and it isn't rough.  The long stuff totally snuffs the fun out of this hole.  On this long par 3 in testing conditions one can be 25 feet left of the flag and dead.




While I can't say the par 5s are poor, they certainly aren't the high point of Ballybunion.  The 16th starts off well enough, but I dislike hitting through an uphill, narrow pass. 


Fortunately, things improve for the finishing two holes.  In fact, along with #6, the seventeenth may be the most interesting drive on the course.  One can cheat left and be left with possibly a blind short iron, or lay-up and be left with a longer iron and a full view of the green.




As on a few earlier holes, we tee off over the previous green for the last.  While not a great hole, I do wonder why there are two fronting bunkers when cloistered dunes seem ample protection for the 18th green. 




Before teeing off, I was convinced Ballybunion was one of the best five courses I had ever played.  That opinion may have slightly changed compared to 15 years ago.  This has nothing to do with the design and everything to do with the set-up; there is too much damn rough everywhere and there is no question it kills some of the fun that Ballybunion should be.  Still, one measure of greatness is featuring wonderful holes and Ballybunion has at least five in 3, 6, 7, 8 & 11.  Arguably, there are three more in 2, 9 & 10.  Furthermore, many people would count a few holes not mentioned as great or among their favourites.  Such a spread of talent can almost result in a blase attitude if one isn't careful.  All should see Ballybunion at least once in their lifetime.  1*

Ciao   
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 03:53:32 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Tiger_Bernhardt

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Sean used nice language to say the courseis notion special  ifeel the same way and if I hadnot had a great match to take my mind off the holes is that  areas uninspired as an American course it' is.  The ashen needs to be redone in a bad way. The land is good enough for a great course

Tony_Muldoon

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Sean used nice language to say the courseis notion special  ifeel the same way and if I hadnot had a great match to take my mind off the holes is that  areas uninspired as an American course it' is.  The ashen needs to be redone in a bad way. The land is good enough for a great course


I recall Tom Doak saying on here that the land is so severe he doubted if he could have come up with anything much different. Thereís a danger that if they keep tinkering they could end up with something much fairer and still rather odd, but without the Ďspillsí that go with the Ďthrillsí.
 
We'll have to agree to disagree on this, because I think itís unique and should be celebrated as such. (which is a short way of saying what I rambled on about when I was very tired last night!).
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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean used nice language to say the courseis notion special  ifeel the same way and if I hadnot had a great match to take my mind off the holes is that  areas uninspired as an American course it' is.  The ashen needs to be redone in a bad way. The land is good enough for a great course

Tiger

I think you missed some of my gist.  There is no question Cashen has a lot of excellent shots and is inspired architecture.  I happen to think its too severe in that what must be common weather is not properly taken into account.  It could well be that the club requested this sort of design and/or there wasn't enough money to make the course truly playable. 

LAHINCH GC

Wow!  Comfortably the most impressive course on this trip.  Even so, I was disappointed to see narrowed fairways.  The rough was a bit more forgiving than at Ballybunion and this made a huge difference.  While roughly half of Lahinch is by the hand of Dr Mac, what sets Lahinch apart from a design perspective is the funky stretch of holes from #3 through #7; holes which pre-date Dr Mac except for the 3rd and the Dr Mac version is NLE.  Ballybunion can't offer anything to this degree and to top it off, these holes, while seemingly crazy, are very playable and thus immensely enjoyable.  While I am not sure about altering #13 (it strikes me as easier) and relegating the Mackenzie 11th to winter status, I do think that on the whole the Hawtree work improved the course.  The greens are more interesting and the 12th is an improvement as a par 5, especially with wind off the left.  One detail which I really appreciated are the grass paths.  I don't recall seeing these before on a links and I wonder why.  The grass paths look far better than the stone or sea shell variety and they are easier on the soft spikes. 

The course starts off gently with a moderate length par 4 edging uphill. 


There are no prizes for being short.


The second scrambles downhill back toward the house.  This hole was definitely altered as it used to be a much more reachable par 5. There is an odd kink in the middle of the hole making it wise to stay left off the tee.   


The second is quite exacting if one is going for the green.


Not knowing exactly what changes were made, I went to the third looking for the green.  Instead, I was greeted by the tee shot of the old 4th which now plays as #3.  I spose the new, and very good 8th acts as the front nine one-shotter replacement.  The third now plays steeply uphill and flat bellies can run out of room on the plateau.

Love or loath the following two holes, Klondyke (designed by C Gibson) & Dell (designed by Old Tom) one cannot deny these are the very soul of Lahinch.  I am amazed Dr Mac allowed these holes to stand, but I suspect the club big wigs stamped their authority on the project.  Being such a unique endeavour (Lahinch probably being his best project in GB&I), I suspect Dr Mac kept his griping to a low murmur.  In any case, it would be great to know the story of Klondyke and Dell. Kondyke features what has to be in the running for the narrowest tee shot on the planet, but the sparse rough up the right is perfect.  One can drive it 15 yards off-line and be in the middle of the fairway or stuck up the bank.  This level of uncertainty is what rough should nearly always be about. I want doom in a bunker and hope in the rough. 


Trying to clear Klondyke from the right rough is no joke.

The hole does offer respite once over Klondyke, but its best to approach from the right.  Notice the turfed wall to the rear of the green.  I spose this prevents the bounce back thus making the club selection for the go for it second more exacting.


Dell




From the 6th tee there is no hint of glory for the drive is a bit mundane following a fairway which looks like a road plowing through a hill.  What can't be seen is magnificent hole placed dead centre where the short grass dead ends at around 250 yards from our preferred green tees. 


I would prefer if the pit was solid sand, but the idea is great.  After one sets this distraction aside, the downhill approach is none too easy.


A look at Lahinch from #7 tee.


The funky run comes to end on #7.  Much like #3, this hole climbs a hill in the saddlle of dunes and turns left.  While 50 yards shorter than than the third, I think this hole is superior.  The approach to a very long green is very difficult to decipher.  Additionally, there is a drop-off midway up the left side of the putting surface. 


Hit the drive too far and one gets this view for an approach.


The Hawtree 8th is a fine hole nestled in the sadlle of dunes even if it does look a bit out of place.


The side finishes with a cracking short two-shotter; its green hugging a right side dune.  From the highest point on the course, a drive up the right leaves a nasty approach down the dune and over a bunker. 


The green is quite long and narrow.


The 10th turns back on #9 and curves gently to the left - hiding a significant portion of the fairway.  The approach is straight forward, but long and made longer still by the incline leading to the green.


Hawtree built the 11th as well.  Its certainly a pretty hole, but I prefer the Dr Mac version set on lower ground to the right of the new tee. Below is the Hawtree hole.


Taking aim at what remains of O'Brien Castle, the 12th runs along the Inagh River estuary.  Hawtree converted this long par 4 into a reachable par 5.  When the wind is off the estuary playing the hole as a true three-shotter is probably wise. 






#13 is yet another hole altered by Hawtree.  My memory isn't great, but I recall this being a more difficult and dangerous hole to attack.  I played the hole with exactly opposite wind in two days.  It wasn't reachable on the first go, but on the second it was comfortably reachable.  In any case, the whimsy presented by the funky stretch and this hole seals the deal on why I prefer Lahinch to Ballybunion. 




14 is a super, but brutal hole following what seems to be a hardened theme of playing between dunes.  Much of the landing zone is hidden so the hole looks tougher than it is.  Mind you, playing from the left side of the fairway is not an easy way to hit the green as there is a covering bunker blocking that path.




Turning back on #14, the 15th is a tough hole as well.  If the wind is at all up, one of these holes will feel more like a par 5 even though they cover only 430 yards apiece.  The hole feels like it should be open, and it is, but the lay of the land hides the landing zone.


The approach too is tough, a bit uphill to a green which deceptively continues the incline.  This photo demonstrates the importance of position to better control ball flight.  Into a head wind and for safety, many golfers will be forced to use a higher loft club than they would like.


The green.


If I had to pick weakness of Lahinch, it woud be the one-shotters.  The 16th strikes me as much like most of the par 3s at Lahinch, very competent, and with the exception of #5 (which can rightfully be seen as an awful hole!), not stirring.  In these photos, the reader gets an idea of Lahinch's style of greens.




The strength of Lahinch is unquestionably its par 4s.  The variety of lengths, use of terrain and wind and how they counterpunch the fives and threes and even other fours is outstanding.  There isn't a hole in the group that can in the least be considered indifferent. The penultimate hole fits the above description perfectly.  There is more room left off the tee than it appears, but two blind bunkers on the corner of the green make this safe play troublesome.  An elephant's graveyard runs down the middle of the fairway pushing drives left or right. As on a few earlier occasions, there is slight step-up to the green which mandates an extra push for the approach.


Sadly, the round must come to an end.  We play across the 4th fairway with the guidance of the marshal on Klondyke.  The obvious trouble is a pair of bunkers down the right, but being left is infinitely worse. Anyway, after the drive, this par 5 fizzles a bit, but does offer a good chance for a birdie. 


What a golf course!  I came here with great memories and left with many more.  Lahinch is most famous for Klondyke and Dell, and while invigorating to play, there are several holes which are far better.  However, the course would definitely not be Lahinch without these two and the three holes which bookend them.  If there was ever a course which beckoned golfers to book a plane ticket, Lahinch is it.  If they put the Dr Mac's 11th hole back in play I would probably give Lahinch 3 stars, until then, 2* 

SCORECARD (daily tees)
Par 72
6613 Yards

1. 373
2. 523 !
3. 418
4. 472 ?
5. 148 !!
6. 412 ?!
7. 366 !
8. 156
9. 391 !
10. 424
11. 156
12. 514
13. 267 !
14. 451 !
15. 439
16. 192
17. 408 !
18. 503

   
Ciao.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 06:26:30 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2012, 09:36:11 AM »
I think others have done the BallyB VS Lahinch matchup, but since I have flip flopped on which I think is the better course, I want to give this a go - and I don't know the outcome. 

#1  Both are good openers, but I think Lahinch just pips it if only because its prettier. L+1

#2  I like both holes and especially the wee kink in the middle of L's par 5, but B's is and manly and epic stuff.  E

#3  This is the part of the L which I think either makes or breaks the course.  L's third is quite similar to B's 2nd, even so, I am totally smitten by B's brutal par 3.  B+1

#4   Klondyke!?!?  I have to pick this hole because 1, it is iidiosyncratic, 2, it is far more forgiving (and easy) than it appears and 3, a turfed wall.  E

#5  No brainer as B's par 5 is fairy dull.  L +1

#6  Man, what a tough choice!  B's is a great hole which is so deceptive, but L's is incredibly heroic and beautiful.  I think a draw is a far result.  L+1

#7  Again, two awesome holes with B's being more brawny.  Both have great greensites and both ride the shore.  Still, I have to pick B's.  E

#8  L's is a very good new hole, but B's is one of the best holes on either property.  B+1

#9  Another difficult choice is testament to how good these courses are.  Both have great green sites and both require approached from the left.  Only one conclusion - draw.  B+1 

So, it would seem L's funky stretch only drew level with B's 3-7.  I don't think this bodes well for L.

#10  I like the cool greensite of B's.  B+2

#11  A new par 3 for L against one of B's most famous holes.  B+3

#12  I will pick a good par 5 over most holes all day long,  This is no contest as I dislike B's 12th.  B+2

#13  I will pick good short 4s over most holes all day long.  L in a landslide.  B+2

#14  L's par 4 is very cool against a rather conventional par 3.  E

#15  I wish I like B's hole more, but the rough practically kills all the joy.  Even so, I think it worthy of a draw against L's very good long par 4.  E

#16  I am not totally sold on either of these holes, but I really dislike the clausterphobic approaching to B's par 5.  L+1

#17  L's fairway seals the deal for me.  B's is a pretty hole, but the fairway is flat.  L+2

#18  Neither are great holes, but I do like the approach of B's once one knows that long is the miss.  L's is a straight forward par 5 once the drive is safely away.  L+1

I am surprised to see Lahinch on top, but I do think it is the better course by just a titch.

Thoughts?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sven Nilsen

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2012, 10:44:27 AM »
Sean:

Great photo tours, seeing Ballybunion Old and Lahinch never gets tired.

I also agree with you on your preference for Lahinch over Ballybunion.  I think a lot of this has to do with the width and nature of the rough at the two courses, as Ballybunion seems to require a degree of precision that is tough to pull off when the winds are howling.

After playing Lahinch, Ballybunion Old/Cashen and Doonbeg in 2009, I found myself thinking about holes on those courses that had a degree of similarity (the 9th holes at L and B being an example).  There's a hole at Doonbeg that sweeps to the sea that reminded me a lot of one of the holes at Ballybunion.  Despite this, and even though the courses are on somewhat similar land and all bordering the water, each has its own distinctive feel.  I attribute this to the variations in the dunes and the routing choices made to negotiate them.

The 10th on the Cashen is very similar to the 10th at Arcadia Bluffs, and I think the US version is the better hole.

Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Doug Siebert

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2012, 11:17:56 AM »
Love the pictures, Sean.  Brings back some great memories!

On the picture of Klondyke's green there's a house in the background between the two others, the one with the two chimneys.  When I played it the first time the wind was blowing in excess of 50 mph.  I was about 200 yards so I took what I thought was an easy 8, but flew the green and the road, and ended up in the garden of that house!  Then I turned around and hit a full bore 2i to barely make the green on the Dell.  What a fun day!
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2012, 03:29:47 AM »
Sean,

The design of the Cashen didn't have much to do with what the members wanted. It was probably more about how good Kevin Frost was when he hit balls for Mr. Jones. For example, Kevin would routinely go for the green on the old 12th, even in pretty strong winds. When I first saw that back in the 1980s, I couldn't imagine anyone even thinking about what Kevin did.

Actually, the members did kill at least one idea Mr. Jone had: water in front of 17 green. That would have been nuts.

The Cashen remains my favorite place in all of golf. Not the best course, but no course has a more epic feel and does more just to make one happy to be alive.
Tim Weiman

Rob Rigg

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2012, 01:18:39 PM »
Great tour Sean! Makes we want to book a ticket and get back there.

I preferred L to B when I visited about 15 years ago - Really want to get back and experience both again (never played the Cashen and would probably do another round on the Old instead of playing it).

Sean_A

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2012, 06:49:44 PM »
Sean,

The design of the Cashen didn't have much to do with what the members wanted. It was probably more about how good Kevin Frost was when he hit balls for Mr. Jones. For example, Kevin would routinely go for the green on the old 12th, even in pretty strong winds. When I first saw that back in the 1980s, I couldn't imagine anyone even thinking about what Kevin did.

Actually, the members did kill at least one idea Mr. Jone had: water in front of 17 green. That would have been nuts.

The Cashen remains my favorite place in all of golf. Not the best course, but no course has a more epic feel and does more just to make one happy to be alive.

Tim

Who is K Frost and why would Mr Jones use him as a guide for design? 

I can fully understand why you consider The Cashen your favourite course on the planet.  Though I will say I wasn't happy to be alive after seeing the results of some of my efforts. 

Rob

I think The Cashen is worth playing if you make it to BallyB and the game is chucked in for free.  I almost look at the course as a series of shots rather than holes.  Some of the shots are outstanding and they are worth a play.

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Tim_Weiman

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2012, 11:53:33 PM »
Sean:

Kevin Frost is a long time Ballybunion member who helped Mr. Jones both as an artist - sketching holes - and as a golfer hitting balls. Both Neil Regan and Tom Doak can testify to the fact that there may not be a better ambassador for Ballybunion - certainly there is nobody better at the art of Irish social golf than Kevin. But, when Mr. Jones designed the course, Kevin was also a near scratch player and especially capable of playing in the typical Ballybunion wind. If the course is too hard, it just may be that Kevin convinced Mr. Jones that the shots he designed could be played.

It is now almost 25 years ago, but I can still remember playing the old 12th thinking Kevin was crazy going for the green. But, he thought nothing of it. No wonder Mr. Jones built a monster. It didn't scare Kevin.

I was honored several years ago when Paul Daley invited me to contribute an essay on Ballybunion in his Golf Architecture series and especially delighted that Kevin could contribute a few of his paintings to the book. Kevin deserved the honor. I am not sure I did!

As time passes, it is harder to find people who remember the Cashen being built and over the years there has been so much pressure to soften it. The original was a bear to walk and a venue that certainly violated Mackenzie's advice on lost balls, but no course ever had such an epic feel.

For fun I'd rather play North Berwick or Prestwick, but for sheer joy I will always take the Cashen.
Tim Weiman

Ash Towe

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2012, 04:05:39 AM »
Sean,

Thanks for a very enjoyable and informative thread.

If you were to make a once only trip would you play RCD, Portrush, Ballybunion and Lahinch all times 2, or spread your time out and play other courses?

Neil Regan

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2012, 04:12:50 AM »
Here is a photo by Brendan O'Neill of the original 10th Green on the Cashen.

The green was substantially rebuilt about 18 years ago.

The new green, IMHO, has yet to mature into a satisfactory replacement for the original.
The original had faults but was about as perfect a natural greensite as I have ever seen.
It is sorely missed.



Grass speed  <>  Green Speed

Bart Bradley

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2012, 11:56:58 AM »
Sean,

Thanks for a very enjoyable and informative thread.

If you were to make a once only trip would you play RCD, Portrush, Ballybunion and Lahinch all times 2, or spread your time out and play other courses?

Ash:

I know you asked Sean, but there are so many great Irish courses that you are leaving out.  The Island is just one such example.  It is not to be missed. 


Bart

Michael Latham

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2012, 02:49:35 PM »
Tim,
Your Kevin Frost anecdote brought a smile to my face on a grey day.
It is a lovely story but I am afraid it is only that, a story, like the hare on the Cashen that was so big it would sit up and fight back when disturbed.
Sean,
Lovely pictures and lovely thread. I wrote here once before that the "secret", ( if such a thing exists) to scoring well on the Cashen was never to hit your tee shot out of sight of the tee box. This was passed on to me by the oldest living member and for me at least it works. try it next time, even on the 8th. Kevin Frost played no part in passing on this wisdom.

Philip Gawith

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Re: BALLYBUNION CASHEN, OLD & LAHINCH:Irish Eyes Are Smiling
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2012, 03:18:50 PM »
"I want doom in the bunkers and hope in the rough!" Amidst the analysis some poetry and philosophy too!

As for the Cashen course, I found parts of it laughably severe and do not remember it with any affection. Maybe just a bitter afternoon round judging by some others......

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