Doonbeg is a jewel and one that simply must be played
A Greg Norman masterpiece that was opened in 2002. Norman’s layout follows a course designed by nature – 14 of Doonbeg’s greens and 12 of its fairways required no changes but a simple moving of the grass. The most natural routing within the existing dunes resulted in an uncommon combination of five par 3’s and five par 5’s. You also have a stunning view of the Atlantic on almost every hole.
This is a brilliant golf course, but from my point of view it’s two things that prevents it from being exceptional:
· The dune land has not been sufficient to accommodate 18 holes and there are about 4 holes that are good holes, but on flat ground and not the impressive as the other holes.
· It’s a mix on very well manicured and rugged natural bunkers. I personally like the rugged natural, but I believe it’s either or, not a mix.
With these two “flaws”, shall people travel all the way to Doonbeg and play it??
Absolutely YES, it’s worth every penny to come and play it. It’s an amazing and challenging gold course that must be played. Playing 6,911 yards from the back tee and the speed and direction of the wind will determine how tough it’ll be. Most holes also features five or more tee locations to allow for a range of conditions and abilities.
My personal favorite Holes:
1st Hole – 540 yards par 5
One of the best opening holes in golf – wide fairway that narrows towards the green that is set in a bowl in front of huge sand dunes – magnificent golf hole.
6th Hole – 285 yards par 4
It’s not a long hole, but it’s a tough challenge. Try to drive the green is risking way too much and will punish you. The tee box is up on a dune with the ocean right on the left side. The ocean/beach is on your entire left hand side, you’ll have a huge bunker about 200 yards out on the right hand side and four deep pot hole bunkers are surrounding the green at the front. So, an intimidating shot off the tee and a very precise second shots are a must to hit the green – brilliant golf hole.
14th Hole – 106 yards par 3
A spectacular hole with a small green on the side of a sand dune and the ocean behind it. An intimidating tee shot, which can be anything from a wedge to a 3 iron depending on the wind. Don’t be short, you are in a deep gully, don’t be long, you are on the beach, don’t be left, you are on top of a sand dune… – stunning golf hole.
18th Hole – 437 yards par 4
Elevated small tee box on the beach edge, slight dogleg right, the beach along the entire right hand side, two large bunkers on the left hand side and most likely a right to left crosswind. Take a tight line towards the green and if slightly off to the right, you’ll be on the beach. To safe and you might end up in a bunker, so just nail it down the middle and have a long iron left to the huge green – excellent finishing hole.
The 12th Hole needs to mention. This is a unique hole, which has a quirky detail – it’s a bunker in the middle of the green!!!!! You will not see the bunker from the fairway, so if you don’t know about it, you may have an unpleasant surprise when you get to the green.
I’ve played the course a few times before in the early days when the clubhouse was a very small building half way up the 1st hole. Now it’s a total different thing with an amazing facility that will make your experience a pure indulgence. It has it all and more – very impressive.
What also impress me is the friendly and service minded attitude among the people working at Doonbeg – very welcoming and professional.
I had the pleasure to play with Francis and Mary from Dublin and Pete from the USA - great group of people. Francis knocked down two 30-foot puts for two birdies – well done.
Pete is on his own mission – play the best 100 golf courses in the world. He has already played most of the courses that I have on my list. Pete, keep on swinging and finish off your 100 courses in style.
The local guy, Stan, was the fifth guy in the group – my caddie. Thanks for the good work.
What about the game then? Front nine was very good with a one over par 38. Back nine was not that good, but ended up with a five over par 40. Total of 78 shots which is one better than handicap. Three birdies and a solid game with very strong iron play. I’m hitting the ball rather good now, but the driver and putting can certainly be improved.
One thing is for sure; I’ll be coming back to Doonbeg many times in the future.
GREAT THINGS ABOUT GOLF
TAPPING IN FOR A BIRDIE
The world seems a better place when you’re nudging the ball into the cup to record a red figure.
Doonbeg Golf Club