Co. Sligo Golf Club - Par 71 - 6,647 Yards
Arriving at County Sligo golf club is a spiritual experience. The lovely clubhouse of the traditional links style houses a host of memorabilia of past tournaments - the annual West of Ireland Amateur Chamoionship is played here every year and there have been several major international amateur tournaments. An then there is the apt lesson on the Beaufort Scale.
The Beaufort Scale is the international standard for measuring wind speed. It's relevance to this fine links cannot be understated - the wind here appears to blow like nowhere else. Stand on the fourth tee on a 'moderate day' and aim fifty yards left of the green and chances are your second will be played from well right of the same green.
Rosses Point essentially runs in a north-south direction with the Atlantic ocean running the entire length to the west. The prevailing wind usually means the wind over your left shoulder and 'helping' going out, against and from the right coming home.
The first three holes form their own mini-loop before the otwared journey really begins. The first is a classic links opener, a drive towards the left hand side of the fairway that can run and run - two bunkers on either side lurk. The green slopes from the back and past the flag is not the place to be. The 2nd is a short par-4 with a blind tee-shot and out-of-bounds lutrking on the right. The correct line and perhaps not a driver are the keys here.
The best view of the surrounding ocean and Ben Bulben is from this high part of the course. Enjoy it before going fore everything on the downhill par-5 3rd.
The next 3 holes start out in a northerly direction and the wind direction usually means that the OOB on the right hand side is very much a danger. The 5th in particular is a fine driving hole requiring accurate judgement of line to the left to allow the wind bring the ball back to the fairway.
Although the seventh veers towards the east and downwind it is the hardest hole on the golf links. Long at 432 yards, the approach is played diagonally across a burn which protects the green. Two bunkers to the left of the green protect the conservative side. A great golf hole.
Another long and difficult par-4 and a treacherous short hole complete the outward half and take you the far end of the golf course. The inward half begings with three holes that run in and east-west firection before the turn for home at the par-3 thirteenth. The next four holes run along the shoreline and usually against the wind. The 16th is a fearsome par-3 when the wind is blowing - long and difficult to find the green.
The 17th hole is the signature hole at Rosses Point. A long and diffiuclt par-4, requiring an accurate drive to the right hand side of the fairway before turning to the left and steeply uphill to a green featuring a steep slope at its front that throws any short approaches back towards the fairway. Plenty of club is required for the second shot and all sorts of bother awaits in the grassy banks to the left. A deceptive par-4 finishes the round - be careful.
County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point is a great championship test that most club golfers will fail miserably! Those that play within their limits, keep the ball in play and accept bogeys gracefully at the more difficult holes will be well rewarded.
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