Portmarnock Golf Club
Ranked 83rd on Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses – 2014
Ranked 25th on Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses – 2016
My first course in the UK was Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin Ireland, the journey to get there was much anticipated and I kept falling in and out of sleep on the plane over the pond. The plane ride itself was 8 hrs I managed to get a entire row to myself as the plane was fairly empty. After landing at Heathrow it was a shuttle around the airport to some other terminal. Security was extra tight as I checked in on the plain to Dublin as the Queen was visiting Ireland for the first time in 30 years. We flew right over Portmarnock on the way into Dublin and it was my first glimpse at links golf ever, what a sight to see the rugged sand dunes along the ocean. The fun part of the trip started when I got my car, if you haven’t driven in the UK not only do you drive on the left side of the road the manual transmission is also on the left side which made for a very interesting first 5 minutes of getting out the airport and on the way to the hotel. I got to the Marine Hotel around 7 pm local time no problem and checked in, I decided to go for a drive along the ocean as it reminded me of Victoria on Vancouver Island. As I turned into a neighborhood there was no room to turn around so I had to reverse which I couldn’t find the reverse on the stick shift, I had to backup a small driveway and glide backwards back onto the road. When I got back to the hotel I messaged my English friend and asked where the reverse was little did I know you have to push the stick shift down to get into reverse. The next day I was scheduled to play Portmarnock in the morning and Royal County Down in the afternoon and then drive up to Portrush that night
I got to the golf course first thing in the morning the head pro was ahead of me and opened the gate as I tried to go through I couldn’t put the car into gear and go stuck behind the gate, when he asked why I didn’t follow him I said it was my first time driving a stick shift on the left side.
Portmarnock is located in the Northwest part of Dublin on a sleeve of land that looks out on the Irish Sea. As you can guess winds can blow pretty hard hear off the sea, I was lucky as it was a nice calm morning when I played. Portmarnock was founded in 1894 and has hosted the every growing popular Irish Open 18 times. The course is very walkable course, the good majority of holes are flat and has the rumpled fairway look of many links courses you see in pictures of GB & I. At 7400 yds from the Championship tees its a very stern test.
I checked in and got a yardage book and went to the first tee, I took a few practice swings to warm up and my first tee shot hooked into the bay I quickly grabbed another ball and managed to find the fairway not off to the greatest start in my round on a true links course. After the round I was treated to a Irish style lunch that was included in the price of the green fee. The clubhouse has an regal feel to it, there are plenty of artifacts and pictures to browse on the history of the course.
My first trip oversees to play golf, first links course and first golf course in the top 100 that I’ve played. What a great place to start the journey.
The one common characteristic around Portmarnock are the sizes of the pot bunkers. They are all relatively small in size, if you get in one chances are you may have to play out sideways or backwards.
The hilliest part of Portmarnock Golf Club as you can see its a nice easy walk.
This has to be one hard green to hit when the wind is up. Its very narrow in width there’s not a lot of space to land your ball.