Monday morning saw an interesting phenomenon at about 5:30am. A bright object appeared in the sky. It was yellow and we think is called the sun. It was something we have not been familiar with in Ireland (or most of Scotland either).
It was enough though to get Gary excited and he rushed out the door to go and take photos at Waterville, a two minute drive down the road.
After a quick photo shoot covering most holes thanks to a motorized cart being available we made our way to the club for our 9am tee time. The weather was glorious and it was great to be outside playing this beautiful golf course.
Waterville is a lovely course situated on a peninsula. Surrounded by water on two sides it presents a scenic picture with a backdrop of a beautiful mountain range.
The course was remodeled by Tom Fazio about 10 years ago and it is a strong test of golf when the wind blows – which it generally does. Today was a three to four club wind and is something we have become very used to as we have made our way around the various courses.
Waterville does not have towering dunes, and holes play in similar directions, yet the way it is routed makes you feel each hole is miles away from all others. Excellent playing surfaces and true greens gave us chances to make birdies – if our approach shots were good enough!
Waterville is popular amongst golf professionals who visit ahead of the British Open to play the course and get used to the conditions typically encountered with Open Championships.
Payne Stewart enjoyed a close affiliation with Waterville prior to his passing and a bronze statue of him overlooks the old course. Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara are members and Mark returns each year to play in the father and son event with his father.
Everyone at Waterville is friendly. From
Noel Cronin, the affable secretary, who was at the club at 6am on Sunday hoisting the Australian Flag in honor of our visit, through to Noreen and her daughter Linda who work in the golf shop. They were great in helping Gary choose which jumper goes best with his complexion!
Noreen’s husband Liam was the old professional prior to their son Brian taking over. Liam holds a special place in Waterville’s history with the course record of 65 that included 2 putts on every green except the 345m par 416th where he holed his tee shot for an albatross 1. Amazing!
Our playing partner for the day was Kerry, a fellow lover of golf visiting from Kansas City in the USA and combining business with pleasure (a bit like us). After some initial difficulty we soon got used to each others accents.
Waterville’s logo features a hare and the reason became apparent as we played the course. Hares ran from all different directions and added an extra element of interest to the round.
Coming to the end of our Links4032 trip we have realized how much walking we have done (around 400km) and have been very thankful for the ECCO shoes which have made the walk and the rounds pain free. Having comfortable feet is essential and we have had no issues in this regard thanks to our footwear!
We would strongly recommend you play Waterville if coming to Ireland. It is fair, fun and friendly – a good combination.
Shot of the day
After a slow start Gary came to the 6th needing something special. A long par 3 into the wind Gary’s 4 iron hit the green and the 20 foot birdie helped his cause en route to a solid round of 36 points.
Overall birdie tally
Gary (3 birdies, cumulative 48)
David (0 birdies, cumulative 17)
A long and winding 3 hour drive to Old Head awaited us after our lunch at Waterville. Average speed on Irish roads? 49km per hour. These roads are challenging with bushes lining the side of the road literally on the road itself. Beware a truck coming in the opposite direction. Stay tuned,,,,