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Dan_Callahan

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St. Patrick's Course Photos (more pics added)
« on: July 23, 2022, 05:00:42 PM »
Coming off two rounds at St. Patrick's, with another to come on Monday, I was trying to describe the course to a friend and struggled to convey just how massive it is. I'm not sure there's a single other course I could compare it to. It is unique, amazing, compelling, and a hard place to leave.

Here's a little bit about each hole (I was able to get a few drone shots on one of the evenings that give a clearer view of some of the holes). I played from the Slate tees, which total 6,490 yards (par 71), although on several holes the slate tees were pushed back to the tips (I was told that was to preserve some of the tee boxes).



From above, you can see the entire property hugs Sheephaven Bay. Many of the inland holes are elevated, providing incredible views of the water even when you aren't right on the shore.

Hole 1: 369 yards, par 4



The opening hole lets you know right off the bat that there is going to be some blindness and visual confusion. You can't see the green from the tee, and on first play it's hard to know if this is a driver hole or not (it's not). If you can send it down the left side, youíll carry a ridge and have a great angle to the green that is nestled in a bowl.



The green on the opening hole. Shots that miss to the right will run down a slope toward the hole provided they clear the bunker.

Hole 2: 358 yards, par 4





A view of #2 from the tee and from above. Again, the play is down the left side, because the fairway bunkers on the right are reachable. From the fairway, itís an uphill approach to the green.

Hole 3: 167 yards, par 3





The first par 3 on the course is spectacular. The huge green is difficult to miss, and there is lots of room out to the right if you want to play safe. But if the hole is cut on the left, itís almost impossible to stop a ball that is coming from the right side, because of a severe slope that runs away from you.

Hole 4: 508 yards, par 5



The first par 5 you encounter is stunning. The elevated tee box gives you sweeping views over the water. There is a pinch point in the fairway that comes into play roughly 300 yards out and is easily reachable with the rollout you get on the firm fairways. I ended up hitting 2-iron off this tee, and even so it was reachable in two (it was also playing mostly downwind, which helped).

Hole 5: 214 yards, par 3



The 5th hole had the tees set in the back. Normally from the slate it would play 153. With the flag toward the back, it was 225 yards, uphill. It was also downwind, and despite the cavernous waste area in the photo, thereís plenty of room on the other side of it to land short and run one up. A very different hole from the par 3 third.

Hole 6: 522 yards, par 5



The par 5 6th hole plays significantly downhill. Even though it was into the wind, a giant waste area was very much in play. From just short of the sand, it was still a long way in. This picture is from behind the hole, looking back at the fairway. In the distance you can see the waste area and fescue that cuts across the fairway. The green has a significant slope in the front that your approach needs to clear or else itís coming all the way off.

Hole 7: 399 yards, par 4



The 7th is a very fun par 4. Loads of room off the tee. It was downwind, and tee shots rolled forever, leaving just a wedge into a completely blind green that is sort of a punchbowl. There is an aiming pole on the hill that I figured was roughly 20 yards beyond the flag. On both days I played, the hole was in the same location, so it meant subtracting 20 yards from the pole, and the pin was on pretty much that line. As long as you clear the fronting bunker, youíll kick down onto the green. There was way more room left than I expected.

Hole 8: 318 yards, par 4



The 8th is a great risk-reward short par 4. And it is here that it hits you just how varied the holes on the front 9 are. Thereís a little bit of everything (other than a long par 4, but you donít need to wait long for that, because it will crush you on the very next hole). The huge bunker on the right can be taken out of play with a driver, leaving a short second shot. Or the safer strategy is to hit a shorter club out to the left, which leaves a longer shot into a very tricky green. An approach that is long and left is in trouble.

Hole 9: 460 yards, par 4



The final hole on the front 9 is a beast. A bold tee shot will hug the left side, leaving a manageable second. But Iíd wager most will find themselves bailing out to the right. From there, you have 200+ yards, and you have to clear a massive depression that fronts the green. Judging by the number of divots down there, it is rapidly becoming an (un)popular but inevitable spot to find yourself.

Hole 10: 400 yards, par 4

The back 9 begins with a run of three holes that are the farthest inland youíll get. Running parallel to each other, 10, 11 and 12 run up and down a slope with rolling, bumpy fairways. While not as dramatic as the oceanfront holes, this stretch presents some serious challenges. In the photo below, the 10th is on the right, 11 in the middle, and 12 on the left.





The 10th plays uphill with a generous fairway. The challenge here is in the approach. The green is extreme when the hole is cut back left. To say the green has a significant pitch from left to right would be an understatement. Virtually any shot to the left is going to end up back right. In fact, Iím not sure how any shot that hits the green doesnít end up back right. Furthermore, a miss left will see your ball roll for about 30 yards down a hill in front of 11 tee. What seemed like a birdie hole from the fairway ends up being a knee-knocking par.



Looking back at 10 green, the photo doesnít begin to convey just how severe the slope is.

Hole 11: 450 yards, par 4



One of the longest par 4s on the course, the 11th plays downhill to one of the bumpiest fairways Iíve ever seen. It makes the 18th at Narin & Portnoo seem tame. Getting the right kick can mean the difference of 30 to 40 yards, and can leave you in the middle of the fairway or off in the rough. The difficulty with this hole is both in its length and, once again, the green. Both times Iíve played it, the hole has been cut on a plateau on the right side of the green. Iím not one for calling something unfair, but this is Ö damn close. Given the length of the hole, Iím not sure I see the need for such an outrageous green element, but it did make for some entertaining putts Ö and putts Ö and putts.

Hole 12: 546 yards, par 5



Sticking to the long hole theme, the 12th is 546 yards, all uphill (although some dramatic rolls in the fairway can give you some added length). The layup presents an important choice: a mound of dense fescue guards the left side of the fairway, while a bunker guards the right. You can lay up short of trouble and have about 140 yards in (but the shot will likely be somewhat blind), or you can try to take it past the trouble. It really all depends on your lie in another uneven fairway.

Hole 13: 343 yards, par 4





This is a very fun short, uphill par 4. The first time I played it, I hit 2-iron off the tee to the right side of the fairway, which meant my next shot was fairly blind because the pin was tucked behind a dune. On my second play, I hit driver down the left and had a chippy wedge with a clear view of the green. From above, it look like a fairly tame hole. But at eye level, you can see just how intimidating that bunker can be.

Hole 14: 365 yards, par 4

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We head back out to the ocean at the 14th, a hole that Iím sure will be a favorite for many. It provides a little bit of everything. Along with an amazing the view, the gradual dogleg around a large bunker gives you choices off the tee. Obviously those who take it over the bunker will have a much shorter second shot than those who play safe out to the left. Furthermore, both times I played it, the wind was blowing hard into and from right to left. So even though itís a relatively short hole, it played much longer than the yardage.



Looking back down the fairway from behind the green, you can see that this is another case of a steep face to the putting surface you need to clear or else you will roll off.

Hole 15: 125 yards, par 3



The 15th is a very fun uphill par 3. At only 125 yards, it isnít intimidating, but the putting surface is far enough above the tee that you canít see the bottom of the flagstick. So hitting it close isnít easy. This picture is taken from above the green to the left, toward 16 tee.

Hole 16: 487 yards, par 4



After a bit of breather, along comes 16 and knocks you on your ass. The hole is 487 from the slate tees, and 534 from the tips. It plays downhill, but it was also into the wind both times I played it. The 16th has one of the widest fairways Iíve ever seen. You can literally swing out of your shoes Ö and you need to if you want to have any sort of reasonable second shot.



A dune protects the right side of the green. Youíll likely have a long iron in, but fortunately there is room to the left, and the ground is very firm so you can land well short and still run up.

As great as this hole is Ö and I do think it is a great hole Ö I wonder why it wasnít built as a par 5. There is only one par 5 on the back 9. It seems like they could have put the slate tees at 534, and there is room even further back on top of a dune to tip it out at probably 560ish? Were there environmental restrictions that prevented that? Itís not like there arenít already some very long, difficult par 4s on the course. Or maybe as a par 5 it would have been too similar to the 6th?

Hole 17: 176 yards, par 3



The penultimate hole is built with a big shoulder on the right. You can hit it right and deep and then watch your ball work itís way down the shaved bank and onto the green. Itís one of those holes you could sit out there firing ball after ball just to see what happens.

Hole 18: 344 yards, par 4





The 18th is a blast. I heard a few people after the round say they didnít think it was difficult enough for a finishing hole. I disagree. It is fun as hell. The tee shot plays downhill. There is some interesting stuff going on with how they are maintaining it, where the mowing pattern is leaving patches of wispy fescue that has a very cool look to it. If you crush driver and venture too far right, you can easily end up in a cavernous gully or, even worse, in the greenside bunker. The green isnít as severely contoured as many others on the course, so if you are on in two, it feels like a good chance at a birdie. I only played it with the pin in the left middle. I can imagine a back hole location could cause some train wrecks, because the green gives way to a canyon off the back.

Not sure what else I can say about St. Patrickís except Iím counting the days for this damn weekend to end so I can get back there on Monday and play it again.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2022, 08:43:25 AM by Dan_Callahan »

Mike Sweeney

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2022, 08:20:13 PM »
Dan,


Fabulous random perspective of seemingly REAL photos. Love the non-editing. Just curious, did you bring a Drone or rent a Drone in Ireland? (I am not part of the Drone Police, just curious...)


Yes, I need to play The Old Course, but Saint Pat's seems to consistently live up to the hype.



"We need to allow people to make decisions for themselves and their local communities and families. Trying to tie everything into one package simply does not work." 5/11/21

PPallotta

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2022, 08:33:40 PM »
Thank you, Dan! That's a wonderful tour.
My goodness, what marvellous work it looks to be -- Tom D and his team seem to be at the very height of their powers.
Lucky you added the drone shots, because if you hadn't I would've sworn I was looking at a Sean Arble tour of some lesser known gem built c. 1920!


Tim_Weiman

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2022, 11:29:01 PM »
Dan,


Thanks for posting such a nice collection of pictures. Really look forward to seeing playing the course.
Tim Weiman

Dan_Callahan

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2022, 04:11:13 AM »
Yes, I need to play The Old Course, but Saint Pat's seems to consistently live up to the hype.


If I could pick any course for my next round, it would either be the Old Course or Augusta. Iíve never played either, and their influence in the game would put them at the top of my list. But if I was choosing one place to play my next 10 rounds? St Pats would be in the running. And in another few years when itís fully grown in, itís going to be even better.


As for the drone Ö I use one quite a bit for my work. Theyíre now very small and easily packable. Iím in Ireland for three weeks and figured it would be a fun evening activity so I donít find myself in pubs every night.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2022, 05:27:17 AM »
Dan, Iím in Strandhill all day Thursday prepping for October / November work if you happen - on the off chance - to be playing around Sligo that day. Be good to say hi.

Ben Stephens

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2022, 06:59:22 AM »
Having not played St Pats and now seeing the hole by hole pics - there doesn't seem to be a single centreline/cross bunker on the par 4s or par 5s is there a reason why?

Tom_Doak

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2022, 09:24:37 AM »
Having not played St Pats and now seeing the hole by hole pics - there doesn't seem to be a single centreline/cross bunker on the par 4s or par 5s is there a reason why?


Actually the bunker on #10 is a center fairway bunker (you just canít see the fairway around to the left of it) and  thereís a contour on #12 thatís a cross hazard for the second shot without needing sand to work.


But the answer to your question is that I donít really have a checklist of design ideas I have to include on a new course.  The most interesting feature of St Patrickís will always be the fairway contours and I didnít feel the need to punctuate them.

Tom_Doak

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2022, 09:26:27 AM »
Dan:


These are lovely photos.  My friends are starting to get excited about the Renaissance Cup in September and these may put them into a frenzy.

Dan_Callahan

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2022, 10:27:07 AM »
Thanks, Tom. St. Patrick's is an incredible place (I even like the "clubhouse", even though I know it is temporary. The low profile really fits the site.) And the three courses at Rosapenna are all excellent, with each one presenting a different style.


Question for you: did you ever consider making 16 a par 5? It looks like there is room to go farther back for another tee box. And as a par 5, that would be a hole where a center bunker would make you think on the tee. Unlike many of the other holes, that fairway didn't have a whole lot of movement, so on the tee, your only strategy is to hit it as far as you can. And not that it matters, but it would give you two par 5s on the back 9.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2022, 10:30:28 AM by Dan_Callahan »

Dan_Callahan

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2022, 10:30:00 AM »
Dan, Iím in Strandhill all day Thursday prepping for October / November work if you happen - on the off chance - to be playing around Sligo that day. Be good to say hi.


Hi Ally ... as luck would have it, I'm actually playing Strandhill on Thursday (St. Pat's and Old Tom on Monday, Murvagh on Tues, Rosses Point on Wed, Strandhill Thurs, and Enniscrone Fri, with Carne next Monday). I think my tee time is at 1:00. I'll look for you when I get there.

Peter Sayegh

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2022, 10:56:54 AM »
Dan, thanks for the tour and photos (more screen wallpapers).
Is there anything you didn't like about the course?

Thomas Dai

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos New
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2022, 11:06:07 AM »
Splendid photos Dan. Thanks for sharing.
Your narrative is interesting as you seem to have played the course in a very different wind direction to the one I played the course in. Wind direction is extremely important so I hope that when you play the course again on Monday the wind is in the opposite direction to your previous games as this should give you an insight into how the course plays in different conditions.
Atb


PS - Not the best place to hit your tee shot on the par-3 5th (it's not me!).
« Last Edit: August 03, 2022, 02:58:36 PM by Thomas Dai »

Dan_Callahan

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2022, 11:16:19 AM »
Dan, thanks for the tour and photos (more screen wallpapers).
Is there anything you didn't like about the course?


Honestly, there is nothing I didn't like. I don't think there is a single weak hole. Some have complained about long(ish) green to tee walks. I didn't think it was bad at all. There are some uphill climbs, but that's what makes the property so amazing ... getting up high and experiencing the views.


You can certainly tell in spots that it is a new course. Fairways and greens are still filling in. A few days prior, I played Ballyliffin, and Glashedy with its fairway irrigation is obviously more lush and manicured. But I think as St. Pat's matures, it's only going to get better.


On a very windy day, I would certainly want to bring plenty of extra balls. Tom has designed some of the widest fairways I've ever seen, but if you miss them and get into the fescue, it's almost certainly a lost ball. Compare that to Glashedy (and Ballyliffin Old), where the corridors are more narrow, but outside of that is fairly tame and wispy. I wonder if over time maintenance at St. Pat's will thin that a bit in the common miss areas.

Dan_Callahan

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2022, 11:19:17 AM »
Your narrative is interesting as you seem to have played the course in a very different wind direction to the one I played the course in. Wind direction is extremely important so I hope that when you play the course again on Monday the wind is in the opposite direction to your previous games as this should give you an insight into how the course plays in different conditions.
Atb


I agree. I played on Wed and Thurs last week, and the wind was from the same direction. It never blew super hard. Certainly enough to affect shots, but not to the point where I was overly concerned. Tomorrow is looking like it might blow 20, which should make for a very different course.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2022, 11:19:49 AM »
Having not played St Pats and now seeing the hole by hole pics - there doesn't seem to be a single centreline/cross bunker on the par 4s or par 5s is there a reason why?


Actually the bunker on #10 is a center fairway bunker (you just canít see the fairway around to the left of it) and  thereís a contour on #12 thatís a cross hazard for the second shot without needing sand to work.



And thatís neglecting to mention the Hellís Half Acre on number 6, a genuine (penal) cross-bunker / hazard to go with the (strategic) centreline hazards on 10 and 12.


Plus Iíd consider the fairway bunkers on 8 an example of a true heroic carry hazard.


And thereís a cute & tiny centre bunker on 18 for the slightly shorter hitters.


Dan,


Thatís good news. You will definitely see me on the course, most likely around 3 & 4 or around 11 & 12. Iíll look out for you.

Ben Stephens

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2022, 03:11:13 PM »
Having not played St Pats and now seeing the hole by hole pics - there doesn't seem to be a single centreline/cross bunker on the par 4s or par 5s is there a reason why?


Actually the bunker on #10 is a center fairway bunker (you just canít see the fairway around to the left of it) and  thereís a contour on #12 thatís a cross hazard for the second shot without needing sand to work.



And thatís neglecting to mention the Hellís Half Acre on number 6, a genuine (penal) cross-bunker / hazard to go with the (strategic) centreline hazards on 10 and 12.


Plus Iíd consider the fairway bunkers on 8 an example of a true heroic carry hazard.


And thereís a cute & tiny centre bunker on 18 for the slightly shorter hitters.


Dan,


Thatís good news. You will definitely see me on the course, most likely around 3 & 4 or around 11 & 12. Iíll look out for you.




Ally,




People have different interpretations I would say that the 6th is a waste area like Dan had said in his thread more like a 'hazard' not specifically a 'cross bunker' would Brancaster's 8th and 9th marsh/waste areas be a cross bunker?[size=78%] [/size]


Toms work at St Andrews Beach (which i have played) Pacific Dunes and Old Mac have a number of cross bunkers. Also bunkers in places where there is risk to carry it or play away from it which is more common at St Pats


Also is the wide fairways mainly aimed at the American market to make it more playable in contrast with Sandy Hills course (which i have been told is tough and tight)




Cheers
Ben




Tom_Doak

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2022, 10:17:31 PM »

Question for you: did you ever consider making 16 a par 5? It looks like there is room to go farther back for another tee box. And as a par 5, that would be a hole where a center bunker would make you think on the tee. Unlike many of the other holes, that fairway didn't have a whole lot of movement, so on the tee, your only strategy is to hit it as far as you can. And not that it matters, but it would give you two par 5s on the back 9.


We didn't decide until the very end whether to call it a par 4 or par 5. 


Par, of course, doesn't really matter.  But I voted to make it a 4 because it's often downwind and I thought you'd be able to rip drives way down the hill, and because it's a shorter walk that way after climbing the hill, and, honestly, because if it's a par 5 it would be considered a pretty easy hole with nothing to do on the second shot, while as a par 4 it's controversial and demanding and unfair.  ;)

Tom_Doak

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2022, 10:24:39 PM »

Also is the wide fairways mainly aimed at the American market to make it more playable in contrast with Sandy Hills course (which i have been told is tough and tight)



The wide fairways are a consequence of the native roughs being so wild and mossy, and the accompanying threat of lost balls.  I wish it were "fescue" everywhere so we would just mow it!  It's extremely rugged and it is just not practical in that setting to open up 200+ acres and re-grass it all . . . so we will have to do it slowly over the years to come.

jeffwarne

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2022, 09:44:53 AM »

Also is the wide fairways mainly aimed at the American market to make it more playable in contrast with Sandy Hills course (which i have been told is tough and tight)



The wide fairways are a consequence of the native roughs being so wild and mossy, and the accompanying threat of lost balls.  I wish it were "fescue" everywhere so we would just mow it!  It's extremely rugged and it is just not practical in that setting to open up 200+ acres and re-grass it all . . . so we will have to do it slowly over the years to come.


Along those lines, Sandy Links has been widened considerably by "mowing" (or whatever method they are using )the marram grass.
I avoided it for several years on trips but I must say when I played it last summer I was very pleasantly surprised by the width, the views and the the quality of the holes.
I was really impressed by it on what was probably my 4th or 5th play over it since 2007, compared to probably 10-12 times over OTM dating back to 1997
A true three course resort with something for everyone
"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

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2022, 10:07:28 AM »
I am hoping to get there in October, if all goes well. The course is an interesting combination of looking both new and like it has been there for a century.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Thomas Dai

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2022, 12:08:04 PM »
Along those lines, Sandy Links has been widened considerably by "mowing" (or whatever method they are using )the marram grass.
I avoided it for several years on trips but I must say when I played it last summer I was very pleasantly surprised by the width, the views and the the quality of the holes.
I was really impressed by it on what was probably my 4th or 5th play over it since 2007, compared to probably 10-12 times over OTM dating back to 1997
A true three course resort with something for everyone
Sandy Hills more than most courses Iíve played necessitates playing from the tee colour most appropriate to the ability of the player. Some of the carries are marginal for the shorter hitter or lessor player and can be narrower nearer the tee than further up the hole. Play from the appropriate tees and SH can be enjoyable and yet still challenging. If the player letís their ego get the better of them then ball hunting and disenchantment is highly likely.

Both the OTM and StP are more playable from further back than SH although whether theyíre more enjoyable this way is another matter.

And as usual on a links course wind direction in relation to each hole is key.

When playing social as distinct from formal competition golf on links courses my regular playing partners and I will often play from a back tee downwind but a forward tee into the wind. Thereís still usually plenty of challenge but far less ball hunting.

Interesting comment from Tom above about the wild and mossy native rough at StP. The sponginess of some of the wilder rough areas I ventured into (looking naturally for other players golf balls!) were notably soft and mossy to the extent that walking especially on slopes was quite difficult at times. StP must have been awkward, time consuming and very tiring when walking the site establishing the routing, features and other details. Likely the same I imagine when initial on-site work commenced.

Atb
« Last Edit: July 27, 2022, 03:55:11 AM by Thomas Dai »

Tom_Doak

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2022, 12:31:19 PM »

StP must have been awkward, time consuming and very tiring when walking the site establishing the routing, features and other details. Likely the same I imagine when initial on-site work commenced.



It is unlike anywhere else I've been.  I had my iPhone in my pocket while working on the routing one day and it counted that I had climbed 110 flights, because I would have to pick my feet up to my knees and let them sink back down in the moss.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2022, 02:29:43 AM »
Tom


As far as youíre aware, is the hill the sixteenth tee sits on just a sand dune, or is there rock underneath?
Adam Lawrence

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Tom_Doak

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Re: St. Patrick's Course Photos
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2022, 01:36:43 PM »

As far as youíre aware, is the hill the sixteenth tee sits on just a sand dune, or is there rock underneath?


Adam:


As far as I know, it's a sand dune.  We didn't really dig much on top of the hill, so I have no idea, but there is that original "punchbowl" green that Eddie Hackett built on the other side of it, and the blowouts that Nicklaus' effort started on our side, so it's sandy a good ways down.  It does seem unlikely that it goes from the lowlands next door to a hill that high based entirely on blown sand, but I've seen no indication of rock or even soil underneath.

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