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Cracking The Golf Code

The County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point

by | March 31, 2018

The County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point 1894 designed by Mr Harry Colt.

Harry Colt & Alister MacKenzie were the two giants of design in the golden age of Golf Course Design. It is almost impossible to say which of the two was the greatest, suffice it to say both were truly great. In fact, they created what is known today as the golden age of Golf Course Design in the very earliest part of the last century. Harry Colt’s County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point is undoubtedly, my no 1 design.

It has it all, the drive out along the coast with Coney island to the left and the old world clubhouse is so uniquely beautiful, a West of Ireland beauty.

Exiting the car, you are hit with this almighty scent of Atlantic sea air smartening you up in no uncertain fashion. All you can think, is wow this is something else, this is links golf at its very best and this is going to be one hell of an experience.

The Links.

Hole 1 is a terrific opener. One is immediately struck, by the firmness of the links turf.  A medium length par 4. The green tucked under the hills is fair and overall a perfect opener.

Hole 2 climbs to the high point on the course. It hits the focal point of the site with 360 degree world class panoramic views, Knocknaree, Benbulben mountains, and of course the mighty Atlantic ocean underneath. It has it all. The panoramic view here is not ever going to be matched anywhere in the world. Colt throws the kitchen sink at the golfer here.

Hole 3 is a great par 5 with all laid out clearly below, a downhill hole and a truly great one at that.

Hole 4 The bunker less par 3 is one of the great one Shot holes worldwide. Miss on the right leaves an impossible,????. A par here is a great score.

Hole 5 “Clifftop tee box” What a tee box, what a view, what a hole. This hole changes everything, as you tumble down the hill onto lower ground. Suddenly it is all calm, another world. The green has a depth perception aspect to it, in that it hides a dip in the front, fooling the golfer into thinking the green is much nearer than it actually is. This is camouflage at its best, something Colt and Mackenzie used time and again .

Hole 6 is avery tough par 4. There is the O B very close right, two massive bunkers left and the wind invariably over the left shoulder. The green is very low and long hard to hit. A great hole.

Hole 7 is even tougher. There is trouble everywhere, left right off the tee and then the annoying babbling Brook in front of the green. It is so difficult, a par here is treasured.

Hole 8 is one beautifully designed hole, a left to right dogleg. Two mighty blows are needed to reach this green. One powerful par 4.

Hole 9 is a medium length par 3 with Yeats’ church off in the distance, behind the green, a wonderful view and a great par3, if you can.

Hole 10 is down a valley, words cannot describe the beauty of this hole. It is truly awesome. The mountains, sea and wild clouds in the blue sky, whipping by as you try to thread a drive through the eye of needle.

Hole 11 is in the opposite direction and invariably into the wind. This is a great par 4, especially the second shot to a green with a deep ravine in front of it. If there is a better par 4, I certainly have not seen it, and I have seen a few in my lifetime.

Hole 12 I feel misses an opportunity as the tee, in my opinion, is in the wrong place. It is much too near green 9 and off to the right there acres on top of acres where it could be pointed at the lighthouse out in the Atlantic. It is a great Hole, but It  could be world class.

Hole 13 is another missed opportunity. The tee box should be set much more out into the sea and the lovely angle across the bay played across.

Hole 14 gets full marks, no more, no less. The high tee beautifully designed hole has it all. The tee shot and second shot set at different angles one of the best par 4’s in the world of golf.

Hole 15 is a good hole. Simple.

Hole 16 is a very long par 3. A great one Shot. Long iron or driver may be needed here off the back tee. The green is hard to hit.

Hole 17 is world class.  A mammoth par 4. The green is so hard to hit. You have to really play this hole with everything you have got.

Hole 18 is unique not long but full of personality.  A lovely finishing hole.

Rosses Point is the no 1 links design in Ireland, in my opinion .


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40 years playing and teaching professional level, I strive to improve the game for all my students.

Mel Flanagan PGA

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