Portstewart and the much smaller Castlerock are separated by the River Bann, the longest river in Northern Ireland.
The land set along the Barr Mouth is the very definition of classic linksland and it was eventually put to good use in the mid 1980s. The design was completed sometime previously by Frank Pennink and built by Castlerock Greenkeeper Billy Kane. The club seems to do its best to keep this course a secret as there is little indication of it's existence. Behind the club is a caravan park, maintenance area and practice ground which need to be tackled before arriving at the rather inconspicuous first tee.
While pleasant, this short two-shotter is not something many will commit to memory. So after playing the opener I was not at all prepared for what was to come. Upon stepping onto the 2nd tee the picture is comely. To the right is an uphill tee shot for the 6th. To the left the 5th comes rumbling toward us. Down the middle is the second...a modest length par 4 which plays uphill. The fairway kinks at a large dune, a feature I imagine gives flat bellies pause before swinging a driver.
It quickly became apparent this course is no joke.
Looking toward the tee.
Now wondering what would come next, I was delightfully bewildered by a sub 100 yard hole. So far as I recall, the only bunker on the course I saw is on this hole, in the front-left pit. The zig-zag nature of the green affords many great hole locations. Most shots missed right will leave a kiss on the card.
More to follow.