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Tim Gallant

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Best hole at St Patricks
« on: January 07, 2022, 02:34:41 PM »
I think a fair few here were able to play St Patricks last year in its opening. In your mind, what's the best hole on the course and why?


I'm going to nominate the 9th, a stout par-4 with one of the coolest green complexes. While the blind drive at RCD is invigorating, in my mind, the 9th at St Patricks is a far more interesting hole, particularly around the green with a kicker sideboard, a massive drop-off short right, and a green that (at least in my memory) runs slightly front to back, which helps feed the ball to a back pin from what will likely be a long iron / wood. The challenge off the tee is interesting as hugging the left and the line of charm will cut some of the distance, but also put one on higher ground for a good view. A feeble drive to the right will be left with a lot of work, and makes it more difficult to use the sideboard.




Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2022, 03:42:13 PM »
I too love the 9th for many reasons but primarily for the way it was routed diagonally over a couple of dune ridges. It was not an obvious hole on the raw site but it’s a great one.


I also love the 17th - my favourite of the par-3’s.


And finally, I’m going with the 1st. The bones of that hole were there previously but it’s been vastly improved and it’s an absolutely cracking start.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2022, 04:05:47 PM »
I think I'd say the first. I don't necessarily think it is the absolute best hole on the course, but the scale of the fairway movement is like nothing I had ever seen before. It smashes you in the face right from the start. It was, I think, a very brave piece of design to offer that to the golfer as the opening shot.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2022, 06:15:15 AM by Adam Lawrence »
Adam Lawrence

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Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2022, 06:46:29 PM »
I think I'd say the first. I don't necessarily think it is the absolute best hole on the course, but the scale of the fairway movement is like nothing I had ever seen before. It smashes you in the face right from the start. It was, I think, a very brave piece of design to offer that golfer as the opening shot.


Most of the fairway is intact, but there is a piece just before the corner of the dogleg where we had to do some significant work.  The hard part was always to find the right spot for the tee, since it's a bit of a quick dogleg and through the landing area there's a boundary fence.  All credit for that part goes to Eric Iverson, who found and built the tees long after I'd departed.


I will take more of the credit for the 9th and 17th, though.  ;)

jeffwarne

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2022, 09:53:41 PM »
I liked #1 a lot, but really wasn't prepared for it(either time ;D ;) )
But I gotta say the 10th-we saw some pretty cool pins the two times I played it..
Amongst the par 3's I liked the 5th best.
"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

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2022, 02:48:04 AM »
I liked #1 a lot, but really wasn't prepared for it(either time ;D ;) )
But I gotta say the 10th-we saw some pretty cool pins the two times I played it..
Amongst the par 3's I liked the 5th best.


I think the 10th is really cool for the best line being hidden off the tee by a carry bunker (which reminded me of 9 at Riviera)…. and then for the green tucked in behind a natural dune that makes that best line important.


I too like the 5th, especially for the left side pin-positions where a feed-in shot is best used to avoid the bunker eating in to the green. If I wanted to be picky, I was just a little bit disappointed that the giant sand scrape wasn’t truly visible from most tee positions. But that has no effect on the playing of the hole.

Paul Jones

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2022, 02:02:55 PM »
Tim,


Please post pictures for the ones who have not played.
Paul Jones
pauljones@live.com


Jeff Johnston

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2022, 05:56:39 AM »
All good points on 5, 9, 10, 17, for me though it is another vote for 1 as the best hole. All the reasons Adam mentions, and that's not even getting into the slow reveal as you get up to the corner! A gorgeous approach, beautifuly framed, subtle green, and loved the gentle trap door left (even though I teetered through it).

I also enjoyed the easy flow of 1 into 2 into 3, the 3 holes have a lovely rhythm to get things under way.

Tim Gallant

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2022, 03:36:38 PM »
All good points on 5, 9, 10, 17, for me though it is another vote for 1 as the best hole. All the reasons Adam mentions, and that's not even getting into the slow reveal as you get up to the corner! A gorgeous approach, beautifuly framed, subtle green, and loved the gentle trap door left (even though I teetered through it).

I also enjoyed the easy flow of 1 into 2 into 3, the 3 holes have a lovely rhythm to get things under way.


Jeff,


Great point - there are so many good 'runs' one the course 1-3, 3-6, 8-12, 16-18. It's funny that many of the holes mentioned are not those that have the most spectacular sea views (via 4 and 14), which I think are also terrific holes.


Ally,


I agree with your assessment on 5, we played to a back left pin that was tucked behind the bunker, and it was so much fun to think about slinging a shot in there.

Niall C

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2022, 01:33:31 PM »
Having recently had the great pleasure of playing St Patricks a number of times the other week I should be well placed to answer the question of Best Hole however I have a couple of problems. Firstly it is usually easy to reduce the number of candidates on a course by immediately discounting holes that aren't really in with a shout which on most courses is most of them.

At St Patricks the only hole I'd maybe discount is the 7th and that is only because it doesn't suit my game. In saying that it perhaps has one of the best greens on the course however the ridge in front, not to mention the bunker set in the ridge, were too great an obstacle for me. I'll further caveat my comments on no. 7 by saying that I was itching to try and play down the adjacent fairway (8th) and approach the green from there but thought that the architect might have considered that bad manners ;D

So, having whittled the number of candidates down to 17 the second problem faced at St Patricks is the variety of pin positions and how dramatic a change they can make to a hole. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than on the 11th. Robin Hiseman and I went out and had a very entertaining half hour putting to different hole locations including "Clyde's shelf". I'm not sure that a change of pin position on every hole would dramatically or even significantly change how I would approach some of the holes - I'm simply not good enough - however the pin positions could significantly change the degree of difficulty on the greens and also where best to miss. That may happen on a lot of courses you may say, which is true, but I don't think I've seen it to such a degree as at St Patricks. How therefore do you judge a hole when it can change so dramatically depending on the pin position ?

St Patricks isn't all about the greens but they clearly are a big part of it. Another aspect of the course that I liked were the number of diagonal carries off the tee which is a feature I always enjoy. Thinking of the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th and the diagonal carry on the 2nd shot on the 6th.

So having said all that, what are the best holes ? Well, I agree with the plaudits for the 1st which is a hole that does suit my game. I also agree that the 9th is an excellent hole and I really like the 14th. Then there is the 10th which probably has my favourite approach shot. But that is before you look at the par 3's of which the 17th is my favourite having managed to birdie it to win 5 skins ! Really there are any number of holes that would be in the discussion and that I think is the strength of the design, it doesn't just rely on one moment of brilliance.

Niall

Ted Sturges

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2022, 02:28:39 PM »
I had the good fortune of playing SP two weeks ago.  Below are my comments regarding my favorite holes:


-I loved #1 as an opening hole.  I loved how the hole was carved out between the dunes.  Blind second shot for many, but with lots of room up there.  Fun hole.
 
-#3 was also a favorite (probably my second favorite one shot hole).  A natural green site and a very fun green.  Fun shot to hit.
 
-#4 was probably my favorite hole on the front 9.  The anticipation of playing the first 3 holes toward the sea was met with an amazing view from the 4th tee.  Loved the way the hole invites the golfer to try to knock it on the green in 2.  I never did, but played the hole in one under for 2 plays, getting it up and down from the left front greenside bunker for a birdie the second time around.
 
-#5 was my favorite one shot hole.  I loved the green and really liked the back left hole location and how you could use the slope to get over there.  Fun hole playing beside the sea.
 
-#7 was a hole that I liked a lot.  It probably won’t make the favorites list of most golfers, but I liked the view from the tee and I loved the blind approach and the green complex.  The more a golfer played that hole, the better they would get at playing that approach as there are slopes that will help you if you know how to use them.
 
-#9 was my second favorite hole on the front.  Just a big, bold golf hole with plenty of room to play.
 
-#11 green was something else.  The first day I played the back tee, hit a pretty good drive (probably 260’ish) and had 220 left.  I hit a hybrid and bounced it onto the left fringe.  But, with the hole being back left, I had to putt straight down the severe slope, and I knew it would not end up close to the hole.  I tried to putt it over to the right side of the green and use the slope and I got my putt to within 15 feet, which I thankfully made for par.  Honestly, from how I played that hole the first day, I didn’t even notice the high right portion of the putting green.  The second day, we played the next tees up and I hit a good drive and had about 200 yards left.  I hit a really good 4 iron right at the flag, and it didn’t quite make it up the severe slope and rolled back down into the valley.  From there, my chip ended up left, and it was really hard to get the ball up on that portion of the green and keep it close to the hole.  Truly, it is a green that must been seen to be believed.  Not many architects in this day and age would build a green like that!
 
-#14 is the hole everyone will say is the “centerfold” of the golf course.  What a golf hole!  I hit good drives into the fairway both days…and made 5 both times.  One approach rolled off the green and down in the collection area short left, and the other ended up on the front of the green but I 3-putted.  Very cool hole.
 
-#16 was one of my favorite holes on the course.  Standing on that tee makes me want to play golf.  Playing downwind, it just invites you to really rip a drive into that massive fairway.  I never parred the hole and never hit the green, but I loved trying.  I think more plays would help the golfer know where to aim to bounce it onto the green.

Mike Worth

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2022, 04:16:15 PM »

I played there 2 weeks ago today.  Like Ted, I also like #1 for the reasons stated.  But #16 was my favorite hole.


Playing downhill/downwind, I hit a 3 wood but pushed it right.  I hit the drive well and was suprised I got within 20 yards of the right fairway bunker.  This left me 180 yards, but blind, over the fairway bunker.  I opted for 7 iron as I felt 6 iron in that wind would put me over the green and into the unknown.  I thought I could hit the 7 iron short and bounce it it. 


I felt I hit the 7 iron how I wanted.   Maybe a forensics or physics expert can say for sure how my ball ended up in the green side bunker as i don't see much of a splash or trail where it rolled.  I think I hit the landing area but bounced right.  I scored a bogey 5. 


The hole was a constant test to get the ball left of center, being given 2 chances to do that, and whiffing both times.  It was fun and I'd like to do it again. 


« Last Edit: October 04, 2022, 04:29:22 PM by Mike Worth »

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2022, 05:32:22 PM »
Mike, those two bunkers at 16 green gather everything short and right of centre. That’s a harder green to bounce one on than you would suspect given the downhill nature.

Mike Worth

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2022, 08:37:10 PM »
Mike, those two bunkers at 16 green gather everything short and right of centre. That’s a harder green to bounce one on than you would suspect given the downhill nature.


The caption to this photo on my FB page was “rat farts.“  Thanks for the explanation that confirms this sentiment  ;)

Joe_Tucholski

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2022, 10:30:59 PM »
it is usually easy to reduce the number of candidates on a course by immediately discounting holes that aren't really in with a shout which on most courses is most of them.


I agree with Niall on this and can't give a favorite.  I don't think I'm smart enough to pick up on a favorite hole after my one play.  Maybe in a half dozen or so rounds I'll be able to provide an answer.  That's honestly the way I feel about most of the Doak courses I've played.

Sean_A

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2022, 01:15:09 AM »
I am very fond of 9-12. Also like 1, 3, 8, 15, 17 & 18. After a few plays and a good long walk around the course I can't pick a favourite hole.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2022, 04:37:06 AM »
Struggling to pick stand out holes leaves me wondering if it really is that good. I conclude it really is that good. Congrats to all involved.


One felt like  a mirror of Portstewart's opener. Without the tee view but with a much more interesting green.


9.10.11.  Simply outstanding holes.


But for me it's 17.  Didn't like the look of it at first play but next morning had it all to myself and saw how much fun it really is. Tried 8 different chips from short right and I had a different option each  time.  Saw tee shots feed from waaaay out right and one that fed down from the very back of the green.


No bunkers, mid length and yet its magic.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Niall C

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2022, 05:07:01 AM »
Tony


I totally agree about 17. It takes a true shot maker to play it properly.


Niall

Dan_Callahan

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2022, 10:46:39 AM »
I've played three rounds at St. Patrick's. For me, the safe play on 17 (especially on a windy day) will always be long and right, because every time I hit that shot, it funneled back and to the left and ended in the middle of the green. With a front hole location, I wouldn't mess with anything that might come up short and in that gulley in front of the green. That's a double just waiting to happen.


I would have to pick the 4th hole as my favorite, even though it is probably the most obvious hole on the entire course, running parallel to the beach. I thought the placement of the pinch point in the fairway was brilliant, and it really forces you to think. With driver off the tee, the green is easily reachable in two. But a drive pulled even a little bit left ends up in that waste area and a definite lay up for your second. And a ball that goes through the fairway to the right can get lost in the gnarly gunk. The fairway bunker on the right, well short of the green, also gets you thinking if you are laying up, and forces you to make a decision about whether you want to stay safe and be short of it (leaving a longer 3rd), or lay up down the left, which then brings more dense fescue into play.


My only issue with the hole was that on first play, it wasn't obvious how you got from the tee box to the fairway (I was also paying more attention to the view than to where I was going) and I ended up staying too far left and found myself out on 6 fairway and had to bushwack my way back to 4. Not my proudest moment.

Adam Uttley

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2022, 01:09:41 PM »
This thread just proves how good the course is.  So many different holes named and I’ve read through it like a nodding dog thinking “yep, that one’s great”.  Yet my favourite is one not mentioned by anyone else, the 6th.


It’s suits a slightly longer hitter and I’m just long enough to get the thrill of going for it in two off the right tees.  I couldn’t carry the drive over the fairway so had to place a 4-iron into the far left corner of the first part of the fairway, risking going long or pulling it.  From there is a thrilling shot with a 3-wood, trying to draw it in.  It needs that shot to get over the front ridge and onto the green but avoid the left bunker. 


The course has countless of these shots and they’ll be different for different players. Loads of fun.

Peter Flory

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2022, 01:42:28 PM »
I really like 13 for some reason, especially the approach.  13-15 is the stretch that comes just at right moment in the round.  I had heard that the nines were flipped at some point in the creation process and I think that was probably a good decision. 

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2022, 04:30:02 PM »
This thread just proves how good the course is.  So many different holes named and I’ve read through it like a nodding dog thinking “yep, that one’s great”.  Yet my favourite is one not mentioned by anyone else, the 6th.


It’s suits a slightly longer hitter and I’m just long enough to get the thrill of going for it in two off the right tees.  I couldn’t carry the drive over the fairway so had to place a 4-iron into the far left corner of the first part of the fairway, risking going long or pulling it.  From there is a thrilling shot with a 3-wood, trying to draw it in.  It needs that shot to get over the front ridge and onto the green but avoid the left bunker. 


The course has countless of these shots and they’ll be different for different players. Loads of fun.


I’m going to play Devil’s advocate just for the sake of some counterpoint.


I have played the course around eight times and think I have played this hole with almost the exact same clubs - bar the occasional missed shot - each of the eight times: 4-wood, 5 iron, 58 deg wedge over the front ridge.


I too love the hole, the angles, the shots, the aesthetics; but going for the green in two doesn’t seem worth the risk for the minute chance of pulling it off.

Tom Dunne

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2022, 07:23:09 PM »
The great reveal at the 4th reminded me of a similarly wonderful moment on the 4th at Ballyneal--cresting a ridge and seeing the landscape unfold for miles. That is a beautifully bunkered hole with a charming green sitting low inside the dune wall. On my last nine I visited the left greenside bunker--a significant hazard that I hadn't even noticed before! I thought this hole partnered very well with the other par-5 on the front, the 6th. They run parallel to one another--separated by some 70 yards of unplayable stuff--but they're so different in character. On our visit, the wind flipped 180* between day 1 and day 2, which changed them even more.


I loved trying to nudge up close to the big fairway bunker on the 14th to shorten the hole and get an angle. I was able to do it with 3w but not with the driver. Same at the 16th--go ahead and blast it out to the right, you'll just have a blowout in your face for the second. Just really satisfying strategic golf in an awesome natural setting.


15 and 17...lovely par-3s. I saw so much creativity on 15. It's a short hole and shows so much short grass that it just "feels" like it's asking for some kind of knockdown or other linksy shot. 17 is obviously much longer and more about shape--trying to sling it in from the right while avoiding that woeful-looking pit short/center-left.


The 1st...there aren't many opening holes that have made me as excited about the adventure to come. That wild fairway and hideaway green site...what fun.   


SPL is a special golf course. Hope to play it many more times to come to a definitive conclusion on its "best" hole.

Jake McCarty

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Re: Best hole at St Patricks
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2022, 07:37:36 PM »
St. Patrick's is so good, and I think it's my favorite course in the Ireland/N. Ireland (I'm too stupid to know the politics) over Royal Portrush and Royal County Down (where I've played more). Sure it'll mature, get more firm, etc...


I'd pick four, but that's because I've only played it once. So take my opinion with a grain of salt and I might be the person saying 16 CP or (gasp) 17 at Sawgrass are my favorites.


Truthfully I'm not sure if I like Castle Stuart or Dornoch more, but like that compariso,n the walk is more difficult on St Patricks and Castle Stuart. I'm young and healthy and walk a ton, but I found it tiring. I've played both of those a lot and flip flop every round.

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