What a pleasant surprise!
Don’t really know what I expected of Ballyliffin Golf Club, but it was certainly a good surprise. There are two courses that are distinctively different:
Old Links (6450 yards from white tee) is laid out in the way good created it. Very natural in a flat landscape, but the fairways have the little hills everywhere and it’s very hard to find a place where you’ll have the ball on the same level as your feet – very challenging. Nick Faldo has done some refinement to the course and it’s really an old style links course – very enjoyable.
Glashedy Links (6722 yards from gold tee & 7220 yards from championship tee) is laid out among incredible dunes with panoramic views of countryside, coastline and ocean. Make sure you stay out of the many notorious bunkers! Make sure you also are ready for the very challenging first three par 4 holes – tough opening. This is a course that not easily will be forgotten.
Ballyliffin has a number of Swedish links aficionados as lifetime members since many years. They come over and play at least twice a year. They are primarily from Falsterbo and Ljunghusen in the southern part of Sweden. Falsterbo Golf Club is the only links course in Sweden.
Perfect day for golf, light breeze and sunshine. I’m on my own and no one is in front of me – great and I’m ready to take on the Glashedy Links. Playing off the Gold tee (6722 yards). The first three holes are tough:
392 yards par 4: keep it on the fairway and avoid the bunkers – made a bogey 5
383 yards par 4: slightly dog leg right and out of bounds all the way down the right. Big hitter can cut the corner, but don’t cut it too much. The front greenside bunker needs to be avoided – made a par
404 yards par 4: two long straight shots are needed to be on green and avoid the greenside bunker – made a bogey five after a very good drive, a 7 iron and three put.
When you get to the 4th & 5th hole you face the ocean and can see the Glashedy Rock out in the ocean – stunning.
The 7th holes is a favorite: tee box is on top of a huge sand dune and the green is 159 yards away, but it’s way below you. Depending on the wind it can be anything from an 8 iron to a driver!!!! In the light breeze, it was an 8 iron for me - 3 meters from the pin and one put for a solid par.
The signature 13th (525 yards par 5) needs to be mentioned. It’s uphill all the way and fairway is protected by sand dunes on each side. You’ll need three good shots to be on green, just avoid the 4 green side bunkers!!
The course has many bunkers that you don’t want to be in and they are all located on very strategic places – very tough, but i like it. The first question the Pro asked me after the game was how many bunkers I was in? I was only in two of them, so I did rather well. Perfect conditions for golf and the score was good, 39 OUT and 41 IN for a total of 80 (gross). Not a single birdie, but I’m very happy about it.
It only took me 3 hours to play Glashedy Links and the manager, John Farren, insisted I should also play at least 9 holes on the Old Links. I’m glad I did, because it’s a very good course. Totally different to the other course and more an old style links course built by nature. Fairways are not flat, you’ll find all these little hills which makes the ball bounce in mysterious directions and you’ll always be having your feet above or below the ball when making a shot – challenging.
I did play the back nine on the Old Links and they are very enjoyable.
The 206 yards par 3 is tough and make sure you take an extra club. You’ll not be long on this hole and in particular. A 3 iron off tee and a two put for a par.
The 530 yards par 5 is Faldo’s favorite and also one of mine. It’s climbing par five and is hard to reach in three, so a good drive to the left of the fairway bunker, a second long iron on the right hand side of the fairway and take an extra club for the approach shot. That’s exactly what I did and made a par.
I finished with 39 shots – 3 over par and I was hitting the ball good.
I favor the Glashedy Links, but the Old Links is a good course. One of the beauties with Ballyliffin Golf Club is that they have two very good courses that are distinctively different – The Glashedy Links which is a true Championship course and the Old Links with it natural old links style.
You must visit Ballyliffin Golf Club and play both courses at least once each and you’ll have a fantastic experience.
“Comment of the day” is when I asked the Pro from where in Scotland he is? The answer is “I’m from Belfast”. I actually believe i know the difference about accents..., I’m an idiot!!
GREAT THINGS ABOUT GOLF
A well stocked Pro-Shop
The words “sweet”, “shop” and “child” comes to mind. Rows of shiny irons, displays the latest drivers, a wall of gleaming shoes, rack upon rack of hats, tees, towels and endless packets of perfectly stacked golf balls. The very thought will have golf lovers salivating. In a brimming pro-shop you can become lost in a hypothetical world where your game is flawless and tweaking your equipment will be merely the icing on the cake.
Ballyliffin Golf Club - Glashedy Links
Ballyliffin Golf Club - Old Links