Gary and David on the 12th – yes there is a fairway up there!
The setting of Old Head Golf Links has to be seen to be believed. Situated on a promontory of land that juts into the Atlantic Ocean it is exposed to all elements that are thrown at it on an almost daily basis – wind and rain being amongst them.
The spectacular views are only challenged by Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand and in many ways surpass these views. Because the course is located on a thin, almost island piece of land, the golfer gets to see water on three different sides – and each view and aspect is completely different. What it also means is the wind will affect your shots differently on each of the 8 holes located on the edge of the cliffs.
We found the course to be in extraordinary condition with very true and fast running greens, manicured fairways and challenging but extractable rough. When the course was first being constructed one of the main challenges was getting the grass to grow. They overcame this challenge and Old Head now boast some of the best playing surfaces in Ireland.
The golf club has a number of onsite suites that provide 5 star accommodation in elegant surroundings. The lodge is set into the hillside and not viewable from the golf course yet offers outstanding views over the 17thand 18th holes from a large balcony sitting atop the lodge suites.
As with any good clifftop course, Old Head features a working lighthouse that frames a number of the holes perfectly. It is a prominent feature and a series of photos in the clubhouse that show waves crashing at the base of the lighthouse (40 metres up from the ocean itself) gives an idea of how dramatic the weather can be in this part of the world.
We were fortunate to be paired for the day with the Director of Golf Danny and an Old Head member and fellow Australian Mark. These guys were great in providing lines off the tee and especially reading the greens for us.
The General Manager Jim O’Brien was fantastic with his hospitality and providing a complete history of how Old Head developed. In the early times the challenges were great but the resilience of the owners helped this golf course come into being. Old Head enjoys a reciprocal relationship with David’s golf club in Australia – NSW Golf Club so our catchup provided a good chance for David and Jim to get to understand each others golf clubs further.
In terms of holes there are many which are memorable and in particular those located on the ocean. In our opinion however the 12thbeats them all. A long par 5 it plays directly along the cliff and as the golfer gets closer to the green the fairway becomes narrower. Miss the fairway left and say goodbye to your ball. Prominent warning signs make golfers aware of the danger of proceeding beyond a certain point.
We faced Old Head with relatively calm weather conditions that in many ways we were thankful for. All in all a great round on a very memorable course with excellent company.
Shot of the Day
An unlikely par on the 8th hole for David. After struggling with the par 5 off the tee David proceeded to hit a lob wedge over a knoll and into the hole for a well deserved par.
Overall birdie tally
Gary (2 birdies, 39 points, cumulative 50)
David (0 birdies, 31 points, cumulative 17)
After golf we made the 3 hour drive up to Druids Glen – located just south of Dublin and in close proximity to tomorrows challenge – The European Club and a catch up with our old friend and owner Pat Ruddy. Stay tuned…