Club Of The Month Archive

October 2009

The Island Golf Club

Club of the Month Archive

When it comes to links golf, The Island Golf Club is a “must play” championship links golf course.

The Island is a golfing sanctuary that can be found the village of Donabate just north of Malahide in North County Dublin. It is one of a number of high quality links golf courses on the East Coast of Ireland. The Island Golf Club

Everyone of the beautifully sculpted 18 holes is a masterpiece and provides breathtaking beauty and requires a great deal of skill and precision to outwit golf’s greatest designer – Nature!

It is surrounded on three sides by the sea and is a unique piece of land that is unsurpassed for natural beauty. It has the highest sand dunes of any of the Irish links golf courses and is a haven for wild flowers (different species of Orchid and striking Red Hot Pokers) and birds. These include the visually striking Stonechats, and chirpy, cheerful, even noisy, Skylarks, as well as Meadow pipits, the occasional hawk, and a variety of seabirds.

The Island Golf Club

The Island Golf Club was founded in 1890, at a time when most of its members travelled from Malahide via boat over the Broadmeadow or Malahide Estuary. (Discontinued as recently as 1973) This saved the seven mile trek by land to reach the golf club.

Unlike many of the more well known golf courses through the world, The Island Golf Club has never courted publicity, but quietly gone about its business in a most unassuming manner. Essentially at its core, The Island Golf Club is a members golf club and not one of the more fashionable resort style golf clubs that are appearing more and more in our countryside.

The Island Golf Club is an Open (British Open) qualifying course from 2005-2011 and that is the regard that The Island Golf Club is held within the golfing fraternity. It also has hosted the Irish Ladies Close Championship (1990), the Irish Close Championship (1997) and the Irish P.G.A. tournament for top professionals (1999), with Darren Clarke carding a course record 63 in his second round.

An interesting point to note about The Island Golf Club is that quite uniquely the first 8 holes of the course are Par 4’s, at this point there may be some murmurs of discontent over a lack of variety from those who have never set foot in the place, however, those fears could not be further from the truth.

Each hole provides its own challenge, from the intimidating drive at the first, to the tricky approach shots to the many raised or cleverly protected greens. On the second tee you may be left wondering where the fairway is amongst the sea of dune grass ahead.

The Island Golf Club Island Golf Club 1st Green

The one piece of advice that is given the world over, “is to stay out of the rough”, and that advice is never more relevant than at The Island Golf Club as you will be punished heavily if you do not adhere to that simple instruction.

One of the finest holes on the course is the Par 5, 10th hole which Dog Legs right around the natural shape of the Broadmeadow Estuary beach. The beach is of course out of bounds and this somewhat limits your options in terms of “cutting the corner”. It really has to be played as a conventional Par 5. The second shot is no easy shot either with the contours and slope of the fairway before having to hit a deadly accurate 3rd shot into a well protected rolling large green.

When playing golf at The Island Golf Club, you always will have a chance of catching your playing partner, because, at the last three holes anything can happen (and often does!). The Island Golf Club, Donabate

The 16th is a par 3 to raised green with no lee way whatsoever, if you don’t hit the green, you will be left with an undesirable second which could prove costly. The tee shot has to be carefully thought out, as not only will you have to take into account the tough layout of the hole but also the gusting winds when the ball reaches above the parapet. This is the wonderful challenge of links golf.

The Island Golf ClubThe IslandGolf Club 16th Hole

The 17th is a great driving hole, that is if you are a great driver because it is not a “driving hole” the way one may imagine! It is a Par 4 of 391 metres, if you drive slightly right you will be lucky to find your ball in the dunes and if you drive right you can easily hit the water hazard that is the sea. If you are fortunate enough to cope with the pressure & find the fairway you will be richly rewarded with a second shot that is playable even though it still may be difficult to hit the green! Open Qualifying Course 2005-2010

The 18th is one of the finest finishing holes on any links golf course. At 421 metres, it is played almost to the limit of par fours. A beautiful driving hole from an elevated tee playing into the lunar style valley that is the fairway & towards the quaint red roofed clubhouse, wind in your hair you know that you have been blessed to play this course. The Pin position is a crucial factor also as the green is the deepest on the links and can easily deceive.

Coming in for a bite well deserved snack at the end to count your score and contemplate what was and what could have been will allow you to relax in the lovely clubhouse with unbeatable views over the course  and the estuary. It is not difficult to realize why Golf World Magazine voted The Island Golf Club as the 26th best course in the world.

The Island Golf Club

Play The Island Golf Club – you simply must!

The Island Golf Club is the Greengolfball “Golf Club of the Month” for May 2007

Jonathan Bryans

Greengolfball Ltd

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