Strandhill Golf Club
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Founded in 1931 as a nine hole course, Strandhill has gone through many changes over the years. By 1973 the famous Irish architect, Eddie Hackett, finished a completely new course which has subsequently been altered here and there by members. Located across Sligo Bay from its illustrious neighbour, County Sligo Golf Club, Strandhill rests at the foot of Knocknarea. At over 1000 feet above sea level, this monolithic appearing mountain is striking and is thought to house a Neolithic Passage Tomb on its summit.
HOLES TO NOTE:
Strandhill begins in grand style with a short three-shotter played across a valley and directly toward Culleenamore Strand. The uphill second is complicated by a rather fiercely sloped front to back green.
The second is an outstanding par 3. The same wind which made the opening hole quite reachable in two harangues the tee shot from the right.
The 5th tee is high above the fairway with acres of space to play to double fairwa. The brave line is over considerable gunge to a fairway in plain sight, but the difficulty is in judging the carry distance.
The blind par 4 eighthis quite reachable from the tee, but is a very risky prospect as heavy rough guards the left side of the fairway and beyond the green. A lay-up leaves a fairly straight forward approach if one manages to avoid the centreline bunker.
The course covers less admirable terrain, working up and down a hill until the 13th tee is reached. One of several short par 4s, this hole is most perplexing. One senses there is severe trouble left and more room right than it appears off the tee. Indeed this is the case, but to commit to the utterly blind shot to the right requires fortitude that many don’t posses. The funky nature of this extremely downhill hole continues with the green nestled in a bowl. As on the tee, one may guess there is more room to the right than it appears and a friendly kick plate indeed proves this to be the case.
The 14th is quite a narrow short hole with a prevailing tailwind. It doesn’t seem to matter that it is hopeless trying to nestle the tee shot close to the flag.
The following hole continues in this downwind direction, but turns abruptly left and climbs a sharp incline to a green close to the 13th tee. Trying to hold the fairway and green is as strong a test of one’s imagination as a golfer will likely face. Below is the approach.
At 430 yards uphill into the wind with a vicious right to left sloping green, the home hole can most certainly be called a corker.
Golf in Ireland can be frightfully expensive, but not so with Strandhill. The modest green fee is as good a bargain as one is likely find. That isn’t to say the golf isn’t excellent for it surely is. Of course Strandhill isn’t consistent enough to be favourably compared with the Ballybunions and Portmarnocks of Ireland, but I would contend that it has just as many outstanding holes as many of the famous Irish links and therefore shouldn’t be missed if travelling to play Carne, Enniscrone, Rosses Point and Donegal.
County Sligo GC: a majestic links on Rosses Point, practically next door to Strandhill.