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Tim_Weiman

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2011, 12:58:38 AM »
As a member, I feel a deep loyalty to Ballybunion, but I also feel Lahinch is one of the most pleasant places to spend an afternoon playing golf you will ever find. Perhaps only Dooks - with far less architectural interest - can compare.
Tim Weiman

Shane Wright

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2011, 02:39:02 PM »
I've previously recommended "Only Golf Spoken Here" by Ivan Morris as perhaps the best book on Irish golf. An ex international when Amateur still meant something he had been a member of both clubs for about 15 years when he wrote a Chapter on this very subject.  He has it all square on 17 and then....  
He says his verdict surprises many.
He's discussing the courses pre 2000, and interestingly though he talks of Hawtree's work and future plans, there's no mention of MacKenzie.



If someone would like to post the Chapter up on here I can email PDF's on Monday. N(My Photobucket account won’t work, sorry)

I've never been to Ballybunion but hopefully next June...

In the meantime here's Patrick Glynn's fabulous thread on Lahinch.

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,35729.0.html


Tony, thanks again for the recommendation on this book.  I ordered it, received it yesterday and read the Lahinch vs. BB comparison chapter at lunch today.  It is a great analysis.  He talks about the Hawtree work and mentions Tom Morris' two original green sites, one of which was changed by Hawtree.  He has been a member at both courses since the 60's.  I believe BB since 62 and Lahinch since 67.  He has Lahinch 1 up with some surprising picks thruout.  And as mentioned, these picks are pre-Hawtree work.  He seems to have an inclinatiion towards picking the tougher holes when faced with a difficult comparison.   He does not pick either the Dell or Klondyke holes and opines that the Dell hole should be retired.  He also talks about Ballybunion as being a 2nd shot course rewarding good shots and severely punishing bad ones.  He states that Lahinch is more of a challenge off of the tee and a more complete test.  It is a great chapter to read and I can't wait to read the rest of the book....thanks Tony

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2011, 03:31:52 PM »
I've previously recommended "Only Golf Spoken Here" by Ivan Morris as perhaps the best book on Irish golf. An ex international when Amateur still meant something he had been a member of both clubs for about 15 years when he wrote a Chapter on this very subject.  He has it all square on 17 and then....  
He says his verdict surprises many.
He's discussing the courses pre 2000, and interestingly though he talks of Hawtree's work and future plans, there's no mention of MacKenzie.



If someone would like to post the Chapter up on here I can email PDF's on Monday. N(My Photobucket account won’t work, sorry)

I've never been to Ballybunion but hopefully next June...

In the meantime here's Patrick Glynn's fabulous thread on Lahinch.

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,35729.0.html


Tony, thanks again for the recommendation on this book.  I ordered it, received it yesterday and read the Lahinch vs. BB comparison chapter at lunch today.  It is a great analysis.  He talks about the Hawtree work and mentions Tom Morris' two original green sites, one of which was changed by Hawtree.  He has been a member at both courses since the 60's.  I believe BB since 62 and Lahinch since 67.  He has Lahinch 1 up with some surprising picks thruout.  And as mentioned, these picks are pre-Hawtree work.  He seems to have an inclinatiion towards picking the tougher holes when faced with a difficult comparison.   He does not pick either the Dell or Klondyke holes and opines that the Dell hole should be retired.  He also talks about Ballybunion as being a 2nd shot course rewarding good shots and severely punishing bad ones.  He states that Lahinch is more of a challenge off of the tee and a more complete test.  It is a great chapter to read and I can't wait to read the rest of the book....thanks Tony

Sounds like a book I really must read Shane.... Incidentally, which two greens does he say are original Old Tom?

Thanks,
Ally

Shane Wright

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2011, 04:12:40 PM »
Ally,

The 9th and 11th are referenced as the only two original Old Tom greens.  Both had some changes to the holes (by Hawtree).  But it doesn't say in this chapter whether the actual greens were changed.  The 9th had a bunker moved to the line of play (near the green) and part of the hillock to the right cut down, the 11th was changed somehow, but the specific changes only stated that it could be a beast with the new added length going out towards the sea.

It also mentions in the book that Ivan played in over 100 amateur championships across the U.S., Ireland, and U.K.  This would partially explain his somewhat bias towards the more difficult holes in his analysis.

He also states, which makes  sense, that the discrepancy between high scores and low scores is much higher at BB than Lahinch.

So far, I like his ability to take a position in an amusing and thoughtful way.  I will post more updates to this discussion if they apply.

Shane

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2011, 04:47:34 PM »
Shane,

9 & 11 were widely thought to be the only remaining examples of Alister MacKenzie's greens prior to Martin Hawtree's work (although I found reference to the committee wanting to flatten the 9th green in 1935 along with some of the others)... I'd need to look back at my notes for which greens were from the very first layout... Dell was but Klondyke wasn't if I recall.... Certainly need to read that chapter though...

Thanks again...

Shane Wright

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2011, 05:04:16 PM »
Shane,

9 & 11 were widely thought to be the only remaining examples of Alister MacKenzie's greens prior to Martin Hawtree's work (although I found reference to the committee wanting to flatten the 9th green in 1935 along with some of the others)... I'd need to look back at my notes for which greens were from the very first layout... Dell was but Klondyke wasn't if I recall.... Certainly need to read that chapter though...

Thanks again...

I went back and looked twice at the chapter and he does reference "Old Tom" for these two holes, but maybe he meant Mackenzie.  I will either have to research it a little more or wait for someone on the forum with way more knowledge on Lahinch/MacKenzie.


Matt Schiffer

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2015, 01:22:30 PM »
I realize this is a very old post and also a well-worn topic but, having just seen these two courses myself for the first time, I feel a compulsion to add my two cents.

There is no question that these courses are bound to be compared with each other due to proximity, topography, history and tradition.  I'd bet that, like me, most people who are travelling to Ireland to play golf experience them for the first time during the same trip.  Therefore, it's a natural comparison.

There's also little question that they belong in the same discussion in terms of the quality of the playing experience.  They both have everything you'd want in links golf - the firm and fast conditions, the quirkiness and blindness and intimidating bunkers, the towering dunes and spectacular sea views, unpredictable and wildly changeable weather.

I guess when it comes down to comparing them though, it's a question of whether you like to ease into things and delay gratification or if you're the type of person who enjoys eating dessert before dinner! 

Frankly, my first few impressions of Ballybunion turned me off and made it a little difficult for me to recapture my anticipation and excitement.  The clubhouse is a bit of a monstrosity and reminded me of huge clubhouses in the US, not the rustic charm I was naively hoping for.  As has also been widely discussed, you don't get a hint of the ocean or big dunes until you've reached the 6th green.  I couldn't help but wonder if I'd come to the right place!  Maybe the first impression wasn't helped by the randomly patchy marram grass that had been planted on the first five holes last winter.  It hasn't established yet and looked a bit like hair plugs.  Finally, the caravans and road adjacent to holes 1 - 6 were difficult for me to tune out, despite the excellence of the holes.  Admittedly, these are all aesthetic impressions, unrelated to the actual golf holes but, you can't help but take it all in, can you?

Of course, when I walked off 6 green and looked down hole 7, I finally knew I was at the right place.  Holes 7 - 18 were each more spectacular than the last - a wild roller coaster ride of golf!  By the time I walked off 18 I was looking forward to the one hour ride back to Dingle, if only to decompress and reflect on those last 11 holes.  Wow. 

As for Lahinch, which I played two days later, the script was entirely flipped.  The clubhouse and connection to the town were much more at the "right" scale and in keeping with my expectations.  While the first two holes aren't the most spectacular, they were really good and holes 3 - 14 were unbelievable, perhaps the greatest stretch of links golf holes anywhere?  Certainly within the conversation.  After that, 15 and 16 certainly weren't bad, leaving a fairly lackluster finish.

I guess the point of all this is that the holes within the dunes for both of these courses are indisputably amongst the most spectacular, unique and memorable of any in the world (and the course rankings reflect this).  It's the holes that aren't within the dunes that are comparatively disappointing.  Maybe choosing a favorite between the courses ends up being personal preference - would you rather get the disappointment out of the way early, leaving yourself with the finishing impression or is the experience better if you're not initially let down and can get through the lackluster late holes riding on the momentum of that initial euphoria. 
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Paul Stockert

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2015, 06:01:40 PM »
Matt,

Thanks for bringing this old post to the front of the line, because I hadn't seen it before.  I can't opine on the better of the two, because I missed BB on my trip to Ireland a couple years ago.  Lahinch ended up being the single most-fun round of golf I've ever had that didn't include setting a personal best.  (And I loved Old Head, a Tom Doak 'hot blonde' course...bc like Tom eludes in the Confidential guide hot blondes have their value.  But it didn't stand up to Lahinch at all, and I'm pretty sure it was 3X the cost).

As far as which to play it was an easy decision for me because BB wasn't as drive-able from Galway, and I'll just have to go there on another trip.  But it's hard to imagine a more fun links course to play than Lahinch.  I spent my entire car ride back to Galway remembering my round,and appreciating every minute I had on the course.  I also looked around the course and the town afterwards and would have given anything to have my guys there with me for a 36 hole day.  Spectacular, fun, beautiful, and I can't wait to go back.  Top 5 all time course for me.

- PJ 
~ PJ

“Golf... is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.”
― P.G. Wodehouse

Brett Wiesley

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2015, 08:00:19 PM »
I played both a few years ago.  I had a blast at both, but found Lahinch to be my favorite.  The quirky dell and klondyke holes, along with just some phenomenal par 4's made for a great day.  We rerounded the same day, and enjoyed it just as much.

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2015, 08:26:51 PM »
*
"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

Keith Phillips

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2015, 10:01:00 PM »
Flying over Sunday night with my two boys - playing BB Old once and Lahinch twice - thanks for bringing back this old thread!

Frank M

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2015, 12:03:22 AM »
Lahinch for me. The scale and connection with the Town, as you say, wins me over and makes the less spectacular holes much less unspectacular. 

Doug Siebert

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2015, 12:38:17 AM »
Can't go wrong with either.  The last 13 holes at Ballybunion is probably the best 13 hole stretch in golf - not a weak hole in the mix.  Lahinch doesn't suffer from the weak start that Ballybunion does, its weak holes are mixed in a little better.

Weak of course being a relative term when talking about courses of this calibre.  Aside from the lackluster back to back par 5s at Ballybunion, any hole on either course could replace the best hole from over 99% of courses in the world and still leave it improved.
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Brett Hochstein

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2015, 01:40:04 PM »
I've been trying to answer this question since my first visit to both this past December, which was before the marram extensions at Ballybunion, which I don't care for from the few photos I've seen (too thick and penal, mainly).  

I think the inland holes are very good at both courses, but I do tend to favor courses/holes with more medium scale undulations since the ground game is a factor at more times.  I wished 7 tees at Ballybunion were lower so that the cool narrow 6th green was profiled against the sea.  I also wish I got to play 7 and 8 to the actual greens instead of the winter greens because they looked pretty awesome.  I didn't like the dunes transition at the end of Ballybunion (16) as much as the one at the beginning of Lahinch (4-5-6).  Lahinch has more appealing "real estate" along the eastern borders, fwiw.  Ballybunion on the whole has more 'old-character' greens, which I like.

For me, they are both great in their own ways.  Lahinch was outstanding, but with old greens like the 4th, 9th, and 11th (which I got to play because it is their winter green (best winter green ever?)), I was left wanting more.  The Hawtree work isn't bad and adds some character, but it has some repetition and 'shapiness' to it.  The work is good, but the course deserves great.  Top 3 time machine ventures for me would probably include going back to see Lahinch just after MacKenzie's influence.
"From now on, ask yourself, after every round, if you have more energy than before you began.  'Tis much more important than the score, Michael, much more important than the score."     --John Stark - 'To the Linksland'

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Jim Hoak

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2015, 02:43:01 PM »
I've played both several times, and I love them both.  Ballybunion has a slow start and a great finish; Lahinch may be the opposite, except that the finish isn't all that bad.  I like the less-promotional, more-understated nature of Lahinch.  I would hate to have to choose between the two.  I'd put them 1-2 or 2-1 in Southern Ireland.  Only Royal County Down and Portrush in the North are better.  Great places.  Thanks for bringing the old thread back.

paul cowley

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2015, 01:59:25 AM »
If it came down to a pick one over the other for a final last round....I would take Lahinch over BB for the same reasons I prefer North Berwick over Muirfield.
paul cowley...golf course architect/asgca

Mike Sweeney

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2019, 03:47:16 AM »
If it came down to a pick one over the other for a final last round....I would take Lahinch over BB for the same reasons I prefer North Berwick over Muirfield.


I probably agree with this, but BB Old is awfully special out on the cliffs:




In addition, we all like The Cashen as a second play of the day course.
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

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Sean_A

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Re: Lahinch vs Ballybunion Old
« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2019, 04:53:11 AM »
When I break down the matchup into thirds the courses match up very tightly.

1-6 comfortably goes to Lahinch, but the best hole in the lot is Bs 6th.

7-12 comfortably goes to Ballybunion and this was giving a half for 9th...both stellar holes with greens that are paradoxically quite similar even though Bs green is a manufacture job...regardless it is very cool. 

13-18 is halved

Individually I have 1, 3, 4, 5, 12, 13 & 14 going to Lahinch. 2, 6, 8, 11, 15, & 18 going to Ballybunion.  7, 9, 10, 16 & 17 halved (or is it tied). 

Difficult holes to make choices

#3...Bs long par 3 is a superb hole.  I could see myself picking B in the future.

#6...I like L's hole a lot, but again, making something architecturally perfect from level land wins out.

#7...I had to fight against intinct here not to pick L...I like uphill holes.

#9...Like the 6th, I went with architecture acumen in having B hang in there for the half.  If forced to pick, L would win.

#10...If forced to pick B would win this hole...I really like the green and surrounds.

#11...caveat...if the Dr Mac green was in play this would win the par 3 battle against the more famous B hole...one which I think rough spoils.

#12...both less than totally satisfactory holes..defaulted to the par 5 over 3.

#17...I like L's hole more, but appreciate what was created from tough terrain at B.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

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