Portmarnock Old Course Review

This is, quite simply, one of the best golf courses in the world. Period. Bernard Darwin once said that it features the most memorable finishing five holes in all of golf. Was he right? Let's take a look.

The 14th is a 411 yard, par 4. The ideal drive needs to hug the right side, to avoid three tricky bunkers to the left of the fairway. The approach is to a well-protected green that features plenty of fiendish slopes.

The 15th is a par 3 measuring 204 yards. Its length presents problems enough, but there is no margin of error because the small-ish green is surrounded by bunkers and thick rough.

The 16th is a proper par 5, stretching out 577 yards in front of you. Bunkers and gorse bushes on the right make that side a no-go area, and if you decide to have a go at the green in two there are a series of cross bunkers to be carried. A great hole.

The 17th is a par 4 measuring 474 yards and is a real test. You have to split the fairway with your drive, which is usually struck into the prevailing wind, and your approach is to a large green with lots of slopes. Miss it and you will find sand. Miss it short and you could be spending the rest of the day trying to escape from the pot bunkers.

The finishing hole is another cracking par 4 that measures 452 yards. Again, it is usually played into the wind - the trouble this time comes in the form of bunkers on the right side of the fairway. The green is elevated and is protected by three bunkers and yet more gorse. So was Darwin right? He may well have been.

portmarnock old course

Find out more detail or to request a quote if you are interested in playing this course as part of your vacation with the golf travel experts at Golfbreaks.com.

Derek Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.