Trump Aberdeen, Scotland

Trump Aberdeen is a relatively new links course set amongst the great natural landscape of Scotland. You drive through the landscape on small roads and arrive a what could have been a course created many years ago. However the facility, clubhouse, short game area etc.. is what makes you realize that is of recent times. I started with a bit of short game practice.

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short game area with view of the clubhouse

Short game area is quite good and you immediately get an idea of what condition the course should be with nice greens and tightly maintained run off areas.

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Driving range
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Hole 1, par 5

Good starting hole and very much like the course is designed. Naturally integrated into the landscape.  Visually demanding as the dunes makes the fairway narrower, but actually more space than the eye sees.

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Hole 2, par 4

There is a burn running across the fairway and puts a bit more pressure on hitting a good tee shot. I hit a 3 wood safely right which left me with a 6 iron to the green.

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Hole 3, par 3

Raised green with run off areas or bunker in play with a poor tee shot like mine. I hit a 7 iron right of the green and made bogey.

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nice views of 3rd green
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Hole 4, par 5

A really good and challenging par 5. Water up the right hand side and bunkers well placed in the fairway.

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Uphill approach to the 4th green

Always difficult to gauge the distance and pin position from a fairway like this. I came up front edge of the green and 3 putted for a bogey.

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Hole 6, par 3

I came up short in the bunker on this good-looking par 3. There is more space on the left hand side than visual from the tee, but well designed hole and bunker to punish any off line shots.

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Hole 7, par 4

A short par 4 with a narrow entrance to the above green that i elevated. I played safe from the tee with a 6 iron and wedge to the green.

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View of putting green when walking towards the clubhouse and 10th tee
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Hole 10, par 5

10th hole has a tight entrance to the green as you can tell from above. Requires a good second shot to get a feel for where the green and pin is positioned.

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Hole 14, par 4

The stunning par 4 where you stand raised up from the fairway with beautiful views. I hit a perfect drive but a poor approach shot to make bogey.

 

 

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Hole 16, par 3

A lot of well placed bunkers on this hole which is where I went from the tee to set up another bogey.

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greenside bunker on 17th
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Hole 18, par 5

Definitely my favourite hole and one of the most spectacular finishing holes I have played. The starter told me to play this hole from the back tee at 651 yards. 2018-07-18 19.04.22-1

I hit a perfect drive and a solid 3 wood to leave below approach shot.

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Lob wedge to set up a pretty birdie chance which would have been an amazing to finish on this hole, but had to settle for a par.

I really enjoyed the course and understand why it gets a lot of good reviews. The design, layout and condition of the course is difficult to find any better for a new course like this one. Obviously has not got the history as many other great courses in Scotland, but a really good course. I shot 82 with 2 double bogeys in decent weather with moderate winds.

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Royal Aberdeen, Scotland

Royal Aberdeen is a links course that has hosted many tournaments. Probably has one of the most understated entrances as you can tell below.2018-07-19 10.48.03.jpg

I visited the course during The Open 2018 when it was played at Carnoustie. The course was very busy, but they allowed me to go out early on my own.

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Hole 1, par 4

A fantastic view on the opening hole. A slight downhill par 4 where I hit my drive into the left hand rough and couldn’t get to the green. Made an opening bogey.

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Hole 2, par 5

You can just see the narrow fairway in the middle running along the natural environment.

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Quite undulating fairway on the 2nd hole
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2nd green which is a small target with all the run off areas that most likely will end up in a bunker
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Hole 3, par 3

A difficult hole where my tees bounced over the green and resulted in a bogey.

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Narrow fairway on par 5 hole 6
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6th green where my second shot ended up in the bunker.
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Hole 8, par 3

Needless to say that it requires a good tee shot and most shots that miss the green is bunker bound. It is a relatively short hole and I hit a perfect 9 iron to set up a birdie.

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Blind tee shot on 10th

There is a pin to aim for depending on the tee you are playing from. I opted for a hybrid from the tee which is more than enough and leaves a wedge to the green.

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10th green

My approach shot came up short and rolled back down from the green.

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Nice views of 12th green
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13th green
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14th green
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17th hole
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17th

The par 3 17th is just amazing, especially in the condition I was playing with little wind and clear blues sky.

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hole 18, par 4

A strong finishing hole slightly uphill to the green

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Looking back down 18th
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Great views from the clubhouse

I didn’t have any expectations before arriving, but I was impressed with the course. It is a true links course and deserves to be played if you are visiting the area. The condition was not 100% as they had some maintenance work done on some of the holes. Greens were good and running well. Overall highly recommendable.

 

 

 

 

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Turnberry, Scotland

Turnberry and the Ailsa course is another Open course that I was looking forward to playing. I spoke to several people who played the course both before and after the redesign by in 2016 by Martin Ebert. They all appreciated the transformation and had positive appraisal of the course. We stayed at the hotel that also had undergone a renovation and it was really good. The rooms were nice and the dinner at night overlooking part of course and sea was a great experience.

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View from hotel
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Hole 1, Par 4
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1st green with the well shaped and deep bunkers
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My approach shot to 5th green, not chance of getting on
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Good looking par 3 6th
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Hole 9, Par 3

Probably the most iconic hole and most well-known. It is a really good challenge and pretty intimidating, especially from the back tees.

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The iconic light house where the half way house is located
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Hole 11, par 3

Another well designed hole. It just seems like the green has been there forever.

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The narrow tee shot on 17th hole par 4
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Tee shot on 18

The challenging finishing hole. It visually looks narrower than it is, but that’s easy to say after you have played the hole.

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The famous duel
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18th green

We had a great day with nice weather. The stay and play experience is good, even though it is a pricey one. It is understandable that this course is well renowned,  but to me the best part are the holes running by the sea. Overall the course doesn’t rank amongst the best I have played and therefore not the first place I will return to again.

 

 

Gullane, Scotland

Gullane is on the same coast line as many other famous links courses in Scotland and we mainly decided to play Gullane due to the history, location and they where playing The Open qualifier and Scottish Open the same period as we where visiting.

This was the first golf course we played on our trip and we had fantastic weather. I think we all thought that this would be just a warmup to some of the more well-known courses on our trip, but I was positively impressed with the course.

We arrived a bit earlier than our tee time and had a short practice on the driving range which is located across the road at the new clubhouse.

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The old club house with a putting green in front and close to first tee
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Hole 1, par 4

The opening hole where you can see that they were setting up grandstands for the tournaments a couple of weeks later than we played. They didn’t play this hole, but used a combination of the holes from this and another course. It is a pretty short opening hole, but well bunkered along the fairway. I went for the green and ended up just a bit long. Maybe not the best course management wise, but still an opening par.

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Hole 2, par 4

A slight dogleg right to left uphill to a very narrow green. Really need to hit the fairway here as the rough was pretty thick and you are unable to get on the green. I hit a 3 wood and wedge to the green.

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2nd green
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Hole 3, par 5

A downhill par 5 with 3 bunkers on the left you want to try to avoid. If was playing downwind so we all had a short iron to the green in two. I hit driver, 8 iron to the front edge, but missed out on birdie which was disappointing.

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Hole 4, par 3

Even if avoid the 2 bunkers short the green still slopes away. I hit the green but 3 putted for bogey.

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hole 5, par 4

A long and difficult par 4. The fairway is pretty wide, but the second shot is tough. It was into the wind when we played. My tee shot hit the bunker and I had to lay up. Hit a good 5 iron approach shot and rolled in a midrange putt for par which was a really good save. This hole I would take par any day.

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View of the green hole 5

 

 

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Hole 7, par 4

Difficult to see on the picture how much downhill this hole is. We opted for different strategies from the tee. Some hit iron and others driver. I was on the driver team and hit it far right into the rough. Advantage was that I was close to green with only a wedge left and made par.

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Hole 12, par 5

A relatively short par 5 and if you hit the fairway like I did you get a lot of roll.

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Approach to 12

I only had a 60 degree wedge to the green and couldn’t stop it near the hole. It was playing downwind and difficult to get the distance right, but very much links like golf where it is mostly better to stay close to the ground. 3 putted for par… missed opportunity

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Hole 13, par 3

Difficult par 3 slight uphill and with well placed bunkers and a steep run off in front of the green. I missed the green but managed to make par.

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Huge bunker in front of 17 green
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18th hole, par 4

A short par 4 to finish, but can play a lot longer from the back tees.

I shot a 78 with zero birdies. Had some good birdie chances, but also made som decent par saves, so all in all a satisfactory result.

The course was in decent shape and overall I enjoyed the course. Some good holes and more height variations than I expected which gave the course more character. Definately worth visiting and would probably recognized even more if it wasnt for the other great courses in the area.

 

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Prestwick, Scotland

Prestwick is considered the birthplace of The Open and I visited the course during the summertime. The weather was really good and I was looking forward to the course even though I had read mixed reviews beforehand.

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View of the putting green and clubhouse

There is no driving range at Prestwick which is not uncommon to many similar courses. However there is a chipping green to practice a bit before tee off.  It is located close to town and the first hole runs along the railway as you can see below.

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1st hole

Quite a short opening hole with a hidden green behind the mount.

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hole 3, par 5

One of better holes on the course where you need a precise tee shot to give yourself a decent chance of getting on the green in two.

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Hole 5, par 3

A blind tee shot with an aiming disc on the mount. I am not a big fan of blind tee shots, but this was actually a fun challenge. The green is well protected by bunkers especially on the left hand side. Difficult tee shot.

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Hole 10, par 4

A long uphill par 4 that really requires some good shots. Keeping the ball on the green can be tricky as you will most likely be coming into the green with a longer iron.

This was pretty much all the pictures I took from the course which is very unusual for me, but basically it was a disappointing experience. With all the history the course has I had higher expectations. The last part of the course is extremely compromised and all holes are very close to each other. It resulted in very long waiting times but I can live with that if the holes are good, but unfortunately they are not. 16 is ok, but the rest are just average in my opinion.

We did consider whether we should play this course when planning the trip due to the reviews. You are very spoiled for choice of good courses in Scotland, so even though it is always easy to look back in hindsight, we should have chosen differently. Anyway, for 99% of the time the courses we play are fantastic experiences, so this is the first one.

 

 

 

 

North Berwick, Scotland

North Berwick is one of the links courses located in the same area as Muirfield, Gullane and many other great Scottish courses. It is consistently ranked amongst some the best golf courses in the world. Dated back to 1832 and set in the city similar to St. Andrews with some beautiful natural landscape with true links golf.

I played the course in June during fantastic weather conditions which made the experience even more special. We had a nice welcome by one of the members who introduced the club and specifically underlined that as guests you are considered a member for a day with the same privileges. A fun little feature and true Scottish attitude, which makes it very difference to many other top courses you can visit around the world.

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The driving range which is located inside the course. You need to take a short drive and walk across the course to get to the range. Nice with a short warmup, but obviously a bit of work to get there. 
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Great little statement in the clubhouse…. if only that was reality
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The putting green next to the first hole with views on the city

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Hole 1, par 4

A short opening hole where the starter gives you a bit of guidance with the tee shot. Either a risky drive or mid iron. We all opted for the mid iron which basically leaves a wedge to the green. I hit a 7 iron and gap wedge to set up an opening par.

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Approach to the first green, where you can’t really see the bottom of the green. there is plenty of space left, so need to go flag hunting on the first hole.
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Views down the first hole, amazing….
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Hole 2, par 4

A really good golf hole with the water running all the way up the right hand side, city in the background and of course – clear blues skies…

There was a 2nd hole starter as well that assisted with good advice on how to play the hole. I went with driver and hit a good shot to wedge distance. Just a bit long on the approach shot as the greens are firm, but managed to save par.

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Hole 3, par 4

There is a stone wall running across the fairway which we hit short of. Just a 3 wood from the tee and I went just left in the rough. The rough was not too bad, but enough to make it difficult with longer irons. I hit a 7 iron approach shot which bounced over the green even though I tried to hit short of the green, but that is just the beauty of links golf.

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Hole 4, Par 3

A visually tricky par 3, where you can’t see much of the green. It is a short iron, so shouldnt be too big of a problem, but visually demanding.

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Views of the 5th green
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Hole 6, par 3

Obviously want to avoid the bunker in front, but also allow for the ball to bounce. It was a bit downwind, so went with a wedge which still ended up on the back edge of the green.

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Hole 7, par 4

A large green, but protecting with a small water hazard in front.

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Hole 10, par 3

Happy to avoid the bunker on the 10th, but unfortunately didnt manage to get up and down.

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My tee shot on 11th, par 5

11th running along the ocean and slight dogleg right to left. I hit a decent drive just off the fairway.

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13th, par 4

As you can see from above the green is protected by a stone wall in front and a long narrow green.

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14th green with nice views of the ocean

It is a blind approach shot and unfortunately I never found my ball but most likely hit it to far. Double bogey.

 

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Hole 15 par 3

15th has been copied many times on other courses and is a difficult par 3 where you can hardly see the pin. The ball has to carry to get on the green. I hit a 5 iron into the middle of the green and was happy to walk away with a par.

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Hole 16, par 4

There is water running across the fairway, which you can carry from the tee, but the green is difficult.

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16th green

Above gives an idea of the elevation around this green and you just have to hit the perfect shot to stay on the green. I didn’t and rolled of left side, but hit a really good putt to make par.

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Hole 17, par 4

A good drive on this hole will definitely make it a lot easier, but that goes for most holes. However the approach shot is blind and preferably you want a shorter iron for the second shot. One of my playing partners carried the ball onto the green and was long which leaves a tricky chip. You can play it quite short of the green and roll it down the hill on the green which I did and made par.

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Hole 18, par 4

Very similar to 18th on St. Andrews which also is a risk/reward hole. There is plenty of space left and I went for the driver and hit a draw (lefthanded) just short of the green. 2 putts and a really nice birdie to finish of my round of 78.

I did leave a few shots out there, but overall pleased with the round. I really enjoyed the course and it was a great test of golf. Many really good and well designed holes. The condition was not 100%, with slightly slow greens and some very dry fairways due to lack of rain. But nothing that impacted the experience and I will certainly be back one day to play it again.

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looking back the 18th green

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Walton Heath, UK

Walton Heath is located south of London and designed by Herbert Fowler. It has a long history with Open Championships and the Ryder Cup in 1981. I had been looking forward to playing the course and only heard good things about the course. We got to the course in the morning and had breakfast. The breakfast was really good and the hospitality, welcoming and service by everybody we met was fantastic.

 

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The ryder cup room with lost of history

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We played the course on an autumn day and started with 5 holes on the new course for a quick war up. We were extremely lucky with the weather in the beginning of the round as it was around 0 degrees. After 7 holes we got a little snow and the wind picked which made it more challenging and of couse colder.

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1st hole, par 3, 193

Opening hole is not an easy one. The green is protected by bunkers and it takes a good shot to hit the green. My tee shot ended up right of the green and I started with a bogey.

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Hole 2, Par 4

2nd hole a par 4 with a large dip in the fairway and it gets narrower the further you go. Can be a difficult approach if you miss the fairway due to overhanging trees. I hit a good drive and was left with 138m.

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Looking back down the 2nd hole. Decent approach shot, but didn’t convert for birdie.
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Hole 3, par 4, 197m

It was playing really shot for a par 4 and even though the green is protected and trees down the left it is too tempting not to go for it. Hit a great shot as you can see below and managed to get a birdie.

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6th green
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11th green

 

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12th green

 

 

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par 5 13th

A good-looking par 5. Even though it’s a relatively open the bunkers are well placed and you definitely want to miss the heather.

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Approach to 13th
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16th tee shot
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green side bunker on 16th, needless to say that you should try to avoid that one

16th is a shot par 5. I had 180m to the green, but came up short and only made par on what is a really good birdie opportunity.

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Par 3, 17th my favourite hole on the course. A well designed hole with an elevated green protected by bunkers. Relatively short, but still needs accuracy.

 

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18th tee short, par 4 uphill
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18th green. The bunker in front is not really in play, but still intimidates you eye from the fairway. The green is uphill and it as difficult approach shot on the final hole.

I shot 81 and thought it should have a been a least 2-3 shots better. Made some poor short iron shots and missed to many drivers into the heather which is a real penalty. Extremely difficult to get the ball anywhere from the heather.

If you keep the ball in the fairway the course is straight forward, but that goes for most courses. It is not particularly long and many greens are pretty flat with minimal undulation. Many of the bunkers are real penalties and you just have to advance your ball, but that something I like about these old courses compared to many newer courses.

The courses didnt live up to my expectations. Maybe because I compare to the many other similar courses around London where I prefer the layout and design of the holes – sunningdale, st. georges hill, swinley forest etc… It will of course be a different experience during the summer months, but that doesnt change the layout and architecture of the course. Still a good course, but just not up there with the other golfing opportunities you have in the area.

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Cruden Bay, Scotland

Cruden Bay is a little gem north of Aberdeen. When you get close to the course and drive along the houses you don’t realize that there even is a golf course hidden behind the small country road.

I played on a rainy and windy day or typical Scottish as some would say. It wasn’t too bad, but made it more tricky of course.

Hope 1, par 4

First hole I hit my drive in the left hand rough and couldn’t make it on the green in two. Poor pitch and started with a bogey.

Hole 2, par 4

2nd hole is a short par 4 with small bunkers running along side the fairway. It is steep uphill to the green. I hit a decent drive and had a lobwedge left. Made par.

That is a sign that should be put up more often…
Hole 3, par 4

3rd is driveable but as you can a narrow entrance to the green. I missed my drive left which wasn’t too bad. Lip out for birdie.

Hole 4, par 3

This is a tough par 3. It was playing 181 straight into the wind. There is not much room for missing the green and short will run back down the hill as you can see below. I hit a solid 3 wood pin high and was very happy walking off with a par.

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Run off area in fron of 4th green
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5th tee elavated from the fairway
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Uphill to the 7th green which requires a really good second shot
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7th green with the pin right at back

The 7th hole is a dogleft left and the drive is straight forward, but the second shot is a real challenge. It is uphill and when I played the wind was straight into. The green is relatively narrow and long. I hit a hybrid for my second and ended up on the front edge of the green. A good putt to where you can see above and a par that I would consider a decent score every time on this hole.

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8th hole

I actually thought the was a par 3 and only realized it was a par 4 when putting in my score on the app walking off the green. I was playing 212m and I hit a 3 wood to the right off the green.

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Run off on 8th green

As you can see from above the green is difficult to hit and I was left with a short chip to the hole and made par

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View of the ocean and the 8th green
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View from 9th tee where I was told by a few members that you can see 16 of the 18 holes. check out video below
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9th hole
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9th green
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10th tee

10th hole is a par 4 and was quite deceptive from the tee. I didn’t checked distances before teeing off and actually only cleared the right side of the rough to make onto the fairway. It was playing into the wind, but I thought I could cut more off the line that it actually appeared. I had a 5 iron to green and came up just short. Made bogey from there.

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Par 3 11th

From the tee the hole looks pretty straight forward and was playing 133m. I hit an 8 iron and walked to the 12th tee to leave my bag. There is a small path through the bushes to the 11th green and only then they I see this little area with water and the run off to the right side of green. Really good feature to the hole and note to myself is – read the course guide or look at the app….

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14th hole uphill

Uphill all the way and to a long narrow green as you can below

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14th green
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15th tee shot – yes its as blind a shot as it gets…

I aimed to far left and actually it is pretty much straight down the middle of hole between the hills and the green is big enough.

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16th hole a really good par 3 almost hidden in the mount and really no place to miss it.
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17th tee shot 

I missed my drive left and never found the ball which resulted in a doubble bogey.

As you can see below I shot 80 on a typical scottish weather day. I prefer the back nine holes of course and thought it had some terrific holes. The course is in a unique location and you are one with the elements when walking close to the sea and listening to the ocean. A good test of golf….

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Doonbeg, Ireland

Doonbeg is a links course designed Martin Hawtree. We stayed at the resort which was convenient when playing some the Irish west coast courses. The rooms, food and service was good. We used the practice facilities on site and enjoyed what turned out to be some quite nice weather.

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Eggs benedict for breakfast
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Driving range on an early morning
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Chipping and putting green

We booked the first tee time and was on the tee at 7AM for a round of golf that was going to be better that we anticipated.

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1st hole a straight forward par 5
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Really well placed and designed first green with the encapsulated by the dunes
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Great short par 4 along the ocean

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Some of the huge bunker landscaping on the par 5 13th
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Fantastic short par 3 with
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Approach to the par 4 15th
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A strong finishing hole with the resort in the background
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My approach to the 18th green

I was positively surprised by the course and thought that many of the holes were very well designed and naturally incorporated into the landscape. The condition was not great with extremely slow greens, however overall a nice experience and worth considering when in the area.

I did not play well and shot 87 with a really poor front 9. Didnt manage to find many fairways and too many lost balls.

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Finca Cortesin, Spain

Finca Cortesin is located on the south coast of Spain and is a resort that has received many awards and played host to the Volvo World Match Play several years. It is a course I have always wanted to play and during a summer trip in 2017 I booked a tee time. The course is open to visitors and was very quite when I played.

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The range is spectacular and located just in front of the hotel with views of the ocean
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The clubhouse with golf carts lined up
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Hole 1, Par 4, 374

The first hole is slight downhill par 4 where you aim just right of the tree in the fairway. I hit a good opening drive and was in the fairway with an 8 iron to the green. I missed the green, but made par.

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approach to 1st green

They had just established new greens and changed to Bermuda grass. We knew that beforehand and were told they were 80-90% perfect and that was fair. As you can see from the pictures the course has some brown patches with didnt effect play, but obviously would have been even nicer if in perfect condition.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 173m

Quite a difficult second hole and was playing 190 into the wind. I hit a great shot with a hybrid and managed to follow it up with a good birdie putt. As you can tell the are a lot of building work going on and I am sure it will look really good once finished.

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my birdie putt on the 2nd hole
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Hole 3, Par 5, 450m

One of the shorter par 5s on the course but with water in play on the left hand side and bunkers on the right.

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approach to 3rd hole

My tee shot was good and I decided to go for the green in 2. Hit a wonderful shot that ended up a bit long in the fringe and resulted in another birdie.

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Hole 4, Par 4, 256m

I was too tempting not to try and hit the green with my drive and it was nice to pull it off for once and be in the fringe of the green in 1. Another birdie on the card and 3 in a row which is rare for me.

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Hole 5, Par 5, 462m

A par 5 where you need an accurate drive to hit the fairway. You can’t see the fairway behind the left hand bunker. I aimed just right of the bunker and ended up in the middle of the fairway with just over 200m to the green.

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approach to 5th  green

I hit a really poor second shot into the left hand hazard and had to take a drop and got a bogey.

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Hole 6, Par 3, 180m

I made double bogey on what should be a pretty straight forward par 3. Hit a 5 iron into the left hand bushes and came from being 3 under par to 1 under par on holes I should have played better.

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view from 6th green
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Hole 8, Par 5, 485m

A dogleg right where you can be aggressive with the line over the corner.

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Approach on 8th

I was in the fairway and had 234m to the green uphill and it was out of reach for me. Decided to lay up but didn’t concentrate enough and hit the ball in the bushes on the right which resulted in bogey.

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Hole 9, Par 4, 311m

The finishing hole on the front 9 is a short par 4 uphill. There is a well placed bunker in the middle of the fairway and up both sides of the fairway. I was driving the ball well so decided to go over the middle bunker and leave a short second shot. Made a good par, but with 3 birdies I should be out in par as a minimum.

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9th green
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Hole 10, Par 3, 172

The back nine starts with a par 3 that is severely downhill and was only playing 125m. I hit a 9 iron and made par.

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Hole 11, Par 5, 510m

The longest hole on the course and an intimidating tee shot with a narrow landing area. I aimed just right of the bunker and was in the fairway.

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approach to 11th

I still had a long way to the green and hit my 3 wood followed by a sand wedge. A good long par 5 that requires 3 good shots to get on the GIR.

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Hole 13, Par 4, 322m

I liked this hole even though I hit a poor tee shot into the right hand bunker. It is a short par 4, but well designed.

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approach to 13th
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Hole 14, par 4, 275m

Another short par 4 where I decided to take the driver after being in the bunker on the previous hole with my hybrid. I hit the driver well but slightly to the right in the rough. Quite close to the green so made par.

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Hole 15, par 4, 393m

A good looking hole where you need to decide how much to carry from the tee to give yourself the best approach to the green. I aimed over the middle bunker and hit a good drive but still had 149m to the pin on an elevated green.

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15th green

My second shot went in the right hand bunker and I made a bogey.

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Hole 17, Par 3, 125m

A well designed par 3 with a premium on accuracy. The green is quite narrow on the left hand side where the pin was placed. I hit a good 9 iron that just stayed in the fringe and resulted in a poor bogey.

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Hole 18, par 5, 450m

A blind tee shot uphill where I aimed just over the right edge of the left hand bunker.

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One the nice houses on the course

Check out above video from the 18th fairway.

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approach to 18th

My drive was in the middle of the fairway and with 184m to the pin. I was in between clubs and didn’t commit to the shot resulting in a drop from the left hand bushes and a finishing bogey.

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view from 18th green

I shot a 76, but felt it should have been close to par, but that is golf…….

The course was a nice challenge with variations of long and short holes with risk reward opportunities which I enjoy. The condition could be better, but it was as expected. The service and experience of the resort is good. The hotel looks really nice and a place I will return for vacation one day.

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Sunningdale – Old Course, UK

The old course is ranked higher than the new course on the world top 100 and after playing the new in the morning we were looking forward to the Old Course.

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good short game area
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view back at the clubhouse from the 1st tee
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Hole 1, par 5, 449m

A slight dogleg right opening par 5. It is an easy opening hole and even though I missed my drive into the left hand rough I almost reached the green in two.

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first green with beautiful bushes and trees
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Hole 3, Par 4, 292m

A short par 4 where I played a hybrid from tee, but made bogey due to a poor approach shot.

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Hole 4, Par 3, 143m

A slight uphill par 3 which I hit in regulation but 3 putted for bogey.

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Hole 5, Par 4, 383m

A really well designed hole with the water and bunkers in play from the tee. You stand a bit elevated and I decided to go for the driver down the left hand side. Hit a solid drive but a poor approach again resulting in bogey.

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5th green
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Hole 6, par 4, 395m

An uphill par 4 where I hit my drive straight into the trees and made double bogey. It is a really good looking hole.

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Tee shot on 7th.

Completely blind tee shot on 7th where I my driver. Even though I hit the fairway it is too risky as you can go long into the trees and not an approach shot for the green. I will definitely be taking a shorter club next time. Made a nice par.

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approach to 7th
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Hole 8, Par 3, 176m

Uphill par 3 where I hit my 6 iron into the right hand bunker. The bunker was extremely hard and literally no sand. Hit a poor shot and made double bogey.

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One of the houses you can see from the course. hole 8
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Hole 9, Par 4, 249m

I decided to go for the green and reached it on my drive. 3 putted which was really annoying after a decent drive.

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9th green
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Hole 10, Par 4, 434m

A fantastic par 4 with the halfway behind the green. We had a bit of wind against and both hit perfect drives down the middle and had a rescue club left to the green and made par. A really good hole that requires solid shots to make par.

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Approach to 12th hole
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Hole 13, Par 3, 169m
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Approach to 16th with the beautiful bunkers influencing your mind. They are placed well short of the green but looks to be closer and distract you.
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17th dogleg right par 4
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17th green with the clubhouse in the back
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Hole 18, Par 4, 389m

A good finishing par 4 uphill where I hit a good drive in the fairway.

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18th green

The Old Course is a fantastic golf course and was perfectly conditioned and maintained when we visited. It is a good test of golf and has some long par 4s that requires good shots to score well. I understand why both courses are ranked amongst the top 100 and you experience why the Old Course has been there for more than 100 years on a great piece of land for golf course design.

I shot 85 which wasnt satisfying, as I felt it could have been better and too many loose shots and missed GIR out there. I will certainly be back one day to play both courses again.

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Sunningdale – New course, UK

Sunningdale is located just outside London and has 2 courses in the world top 100. We played both in the same day and started with the new course.

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The opening hole is pretty tough. It requires a long drive up the left hand side and the ball will feed down the hill. I had 185 to the pin and came up just short by managed to save par.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 156m

Slight uphill par 3 where I missed the green right but got up and down for par.

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3rd green and the well designed bunkers
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Hole 5, The best par 3 on the course

A very good looking par 3 where I made my only birdie of the round. Hit a solid 5 iron to almost a gimmie.

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5th green
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Hole 6, Par 5, 466m

A dogleg right Par 5 where I managed to find the green in 2 shots, but was left with below putt. As you can see there is a large slope and I 3 putted.

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6th green
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Hole 7, Par 4, 345m

There is more space than it looks from the tee, especially on the left hand side. However still requires a good shot, but it is relatively short par 4 so you don’t need a driver from the tee. I missed my drive right into the rough and couldn’t reach the green in two, so a bogey.

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Hole 9, Par 4, 421m

A long par 4, but it is downhill and if you hit the fairway you will get some extra meters roll. I just missed the fairway on the right but a good lie, but missed the green and made bogey.

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Hole 10, Par 3, 190m

A great looking par 3 and it looks shorter than it plays. We both came up short and should have taken a longer iron from the tee. bogey time…

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Approach to 13th

A good long par 5 with a well placed bunker in the middle of the fairway.

 

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Hole 14, par 3, 174m
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14th green
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Hole 15, Par 4, 394m

A slight dogleg right where you hit across the fairway and need to decide how much to take on. There is lake on the right hand side as well. I hit a good drive, but into the sand on my second shot resulting in a bogey.

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Hole 16, Par 4, 361m
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Hole 18, par 4, 428m

A short par 5 where you really need to hit the fairway. The tree on the right hand side is well placed and is where I ended up. I played my second down the 1st fairway and unfortunately missed my approach shot and a finishing bogey as a result.

I shot 80 which was a reasonable good score for me. The course is really nice and challenging. A good warm up before heading out to the old course.

 

 

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Carnoustie, Scotland

Carnoustie is one of the old traditional links courses in Scotland that has been a venue for The Open since 1931. I was looking forward to visiting the course and we decided to stay in the hotel on the course.

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The new clubhouse was being build of the Open in 2018
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Beach next to the course. We made some wonderful walks by the water enjoying the scenery
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Hole 1, Par 4

There is no driving range on the course, so I hit a few balls into the driving nets and spend most the time putting before tee off. I played with another 3 single players where one of them had played the course before. That was helpful as the it was very windy.

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3rd green
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Hole 6, Par 5
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6th green

I hit a really good 3rd shot that was just a little bit short and rolled back into the bunker.

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Hole 7
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Hole 8, Par 3

The wind was really strong on this hole and made it tough to get the ball on the green. I started my shot just right of the pin and ended up to the right of the green. It left me with a really difficult pitch shot downhill and I ended up with double bogey.

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Hole 9, Par 4

A long par 4 with well placed bunkers. I missed my drive right, but had a decent lie and 8 iron to the green. I got a flyer and went over the green. Almost holed out for birdie, but was happy with a par.

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10th green
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Hole 13, par 3

A short par 3. It was straight downwind which made it difficult to stop the ball. I hit a wedge which just carried onto the green, but ended up well past the pin.

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Hole 14 with the big bunkers in front of the green
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Hole 16, Par 3

A really long par 3, but playing downwind it was only a 7 iron.

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Hole 17, Par 4

17 and 18 are very well known holes and the 17th is a long tricky par 4 with water in play. I hit a 3 wood left into the rough and had to lay up short of the green. Made bogey which I was happy with considering the conditions.

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17th green
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Hole 18, par 4

 

 

I hit a decent drive but went over the green with my second shot and there is a small runoff area behind the green. Made bogey to finish with.

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18th green

I shot 83 and actually felt I was playing better. The condition where extremely difficult with very strong winds that made all shots more difficult. It effected the putting quite a bit more challenging than normal. It is probably some of the toughest conditions I have ever played in and a great challenge experiencing the true links in typical Scottish weather conditions.

The course was in good shape. It is obviously quite open and well bunkered. Most fairway bunkers are hazards and well cost a shot or put a lot pressure on your short game skills. It is not the most memorable course I have played and one I wouldn’t return to play it again as there are so many other choices in the area that I think is a better experience.

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Valderrama, Spain

Valderrama has for many years been amongst the best courses is Spain and located in the Sotogrande area close to Gibraltar.  I have played the course a couple of times and recently (July 2017) during a holiday in Spain. We booked a tee time online where they are open for visitors at several mid day tee times. We arrived a couple of hours prior to tee off and had lunch before we went on the range for a bit of warmup.

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Proshop with a good selection of items.

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Locker rooms for guests
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A nice driving range with good greens to aim at.

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Good sized putting green close to the 1st tee
We also booked a caddie to guide us around the course and that turned out to be a good decision as he was especially good a giving putting directions.

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Hole 1, par 4, 339m
I played the course from the white tees and the course is relatively short, but you need accuracy from the tee to score well.

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approach to 1st green
I hit a good drive and had 95m to the pin. As you can see the approach is narrow.

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1st green
It is only when I reached the first green I realized how narrow it is. Generally the greens are quite small targets on Valderrama, but very good and running well.

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Looking back down the first hole

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Walking off the first green we saw this little advertisement installed in a tree. Probably they have noticed yet, otherwise I would assume it would have been removed.

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Hole 2, par 4, 345m
Another short par 4 but again you need to be accurate to give you a good angle to the green.

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approach to 2nd green
My tee shot hit the tree and ended up behind the it as you can see above. It was contemplating how to play it – either through the V in the tree or just play it safe under and leave myself a short pitch. I went for what my Caddie called the “Seve” shot through the trees and it was one of the few times I actually pulled it of and it went perfectly through and landed on the fringe of the green which was turned into a par.

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hole 3, par 3, 153m
A downhill par 3 with a couple of well placed bunkers and run off on the other side of the green. I hit a good shot 2m from the pin, but missed the birdie putt.

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Hole 4, Par 5, 488m

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4th green
Hole 4 is beatiful with a small green protected by water. I hit what a thought was a perfect approach shot on my 3rd from 78m, but it just landed in first rough and stayed there. The green has several tiers and I was chipping downhill from a poor lie and got a bogey. Again it requires precise approach shots to small greens and you are immediately put under pressure if you miss the greens.

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looking back down the 4th

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Hole 5, Par 4, 332m
Again a short par 4, but I missed my drive left into the trees and had no shot to the green. Had to play it out safe and made bogey.

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5th green, well protected…

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Hole 6, par 3, 138m
A really nice par 3 and well designed with all the bunkers around it. My first shot went into the front right bunker and resulted in another bogey.

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Hole 7, Par 4, 390m
One of the longer par 4s where I missed my drive left and had to lay up.

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approach to 7th
I hit a really good pitch shot and made a gimmie par which was after 3 bogeys.

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Hole 8, Par 4, 296m
A short par 4 which is pretty straight forward and requires a 200m shot into the fairway to have a good line to the well protected green. I hit my hybrid right into the trees and again had to rely a good approach to save par.

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Hole 9, Par 4, 386m

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Hole 10, Par 4, 333m
I really liked the 10th hole. A short dogleg right where you can get close to the green if you drive over the corner, but it brings water into play. I played safe with a hybrid to the corner of the dogleg and left myself a 9 iron to the green.

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Approach to 10th green
I came up a bit short of the green and the slope took the ball well down the fairway and left myself a really difficult chip up the hill to the green. I actually thought my approach shot was quite good, but learned that being short is not an option – double bogey.

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Hole 11, Par 5, 476m
A nice par 5 uphill. The tee shot is actually quite forgiving if you miss it left, so one of the easier driving holes, but on the other the green is extremely small protected by large bunkers which I found.

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approach to 11th

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hole 12, par 3, 180m
Another good looking par 3 with lots of trees and bunkers. It was playing 190m with the wind and made a tough hole. I played it poorly and made double bogey again.

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12th green

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hole 14, par 4, 315m
A short par 4 where I played a hybrid just short of the rough where the fairway ends and you have a severe uphill shot where you can’t see the pin.

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Approach to 14th
I hit a decent approach and made par which was a relief after 2 double bogeys.

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Hole 15, Par 3, 183m
It was playing close to 200m with the pin to the right. It was like the par 3s where gradually getting more and more difficult. I missed the green left and didn’t hit a good chip…made bogey.

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View from the 17th towards the clubhouse

 

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17th green
I had really being looking forward to this hole after watching it on TV many times. It is a fairly short par 5 and if you hit a decent tee shot is definitely reachable and a good risk/reward hole. I made bogey after a poor tee shot and approach shot.

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Hole 18, par 4, 397m
A strong finishing hole where I hit the perfect tee shot over the trees on the left corner.

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approach to 18th
Unfortunately I didn’t follow my tee shot up with a good second shot. Missed the green left and didnt manage to get up and down.

I shot 86 after a back nine in 47 with 3 double bogeys. My tee shots where just not good enough to really shoot at decent score on Valderrama. Too many shots into the trees which left me with no approach shot and thereby resulting in bogeys.

There is a few holes I would have played a bit differently, but all in all my game was just poor. I will be looking forward to coming back and improving on the score.

The course was in good condition. You could see that the course was being used quite a bit with a few greens that were not 100%, but overall a good experience.

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St. Andrews, Old course – Scotland

St. Andrews is of course on my list of must play courses and this was my first to Scotland to play golf. Needless to say that I was looking forward to it. It was my 40th birthday gift from my wife, so we all went for a week to Scotland and stayed at the Fairmont St. Andrews which I can recommend. The kids spent most the time in the indoor pool, which was great as the weather was quite poor during our visit in june 2017.

The town of St. Andrews has a good selection of restaurants and is pretty busy this time of year. There are so many golf merchandise stores, but that is expected at The Home of Golf. I went to all of them as they have different brands and found some nice golf clothes and a new Titleist Stadry bag which is well needed in the weather conditions I normally play.

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This store is located right next to 18th green on old course and has a good selection of pretty everything you can imagine
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View of the first hole from the cafe on top of the Golf Museum
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There is a large covered driving range a short drive from the old course
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Short game area next to the driving range. They charge a fee for the driving range and a separate one for short game area. I think they should consider including this when playing the old course, but obviously people pay

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Ready on the first tee

I played the course with a local member and we played from the white tees which is the back tee. (of course the pros are further back on tournaments). We were joined by 2 americans who had been lucky enough to get one of the 13 single player spots available that day. One of them had been there 04.40am and our tee time was 16.50. He had asked the first one in line when he arrived – 12.30am and tee time and 07.15. It is great that they keep this tradition and you have a chance of getting out even though you havent booked 8-12 months in advance like most people do.

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Hole 1 par 4 344m

I can not remember how many times I have seen this on TV and was really considering what to hit from the tee. During the days when I watched people tee off I saw many different tactics and a quite a few OB as well which is amazing considering the space. The water is in play if you hit off-line with woods but on the other hand a longer second if you hit irons etc.. etc…, I went for the driver and hit a perfect shot down the middle. I had 52m to the pin.

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1st green with the old course hotel in the background

The greens were firm so you need to play the shots well short which made my second shot a bit tricky, but this was expected when hitting a driver from the tee. I rolled over the green and didn’t get up and down for par, so a poor bogey start unfortunately.

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2nd tee, par 4, 376m
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2nd green

I hit a driver on the second and had 90m to the pin. They were running quite a long way on the fairways, but I just listened to the caddie and let him guide my way around. My second was a bad shot and I came up short, but managed to save par.

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Approach to 9th
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Approach to 7th
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11th green

I hit my ball into the far right hand bunker and made bogey.

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12th tee shot

On the 12th tee my caddie says, either hit it left in the rough or right in the rough. First I thought he was joking, but then he said – or lay it up way short of the hole. What you cannot see from the tee is all the bunkers down the fairway which you almost certain to find if you hit it down the middle.

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12th fairway
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Approach shot to 12th

I hit my drive right into the rough and a decent approach to the green and only 94m. Then comes the next challenge, a very narrow green. I hit what I thought was a great approach shot that bounced over the green and left me a tricky putt as you can see below.

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14th green
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Hell bunker on 14 – avoid at all times…
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15th green
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Principal’s nose on 16th

I hit my drive into the fairway bunker “principal’s nose” and as you can see there was no way to get it on the green. I hit a sand wedge sideways into the fairway, 6 iron onto the green and made bogey.

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17th tee

Another that I have watched many times during tournaments. The dogleg is more severe than I anticipated, but the tee shot basically depends on how well you are hitting it and how aggressive you want to be. My natural shape is a draw and being left handed this hole really sets up well for me. I aimed over the O in hotel, but hit my only fade of the day which left me with 214m to the pin. I decided to play the hero shot and pulled it off – a 3 wood to about 4m from the pin as you can see below – finally the golf gods smiled at me….

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17th green

One of my playing partners went into the roadhole bunker and made a fantastic save. Almost holed out from the bunker, which I am sure most pro’s would be happy with.

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The hotel is suppose to be really good
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18th hole

A short finishing hole where you just feel the history walking up along the houses and with the clubhouse in the background.

 

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Yes, everybody has to take that picture…

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approach shot to 18th

I hit a driver from the tee and had 101m to the pin. Pulled my approach shot a bit and had a long putt. Made par which was a nice way to finish.

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18th green, where you can see how big that slope is in front of the pin and always come into play during tournament play
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Dunvegan bar which is another must visit place in St. Andrews

Old course was just fantastic and I was already planning a second trip when walking off the 18th green. The whole place is magnificent especially for golfers. I shot 80 which I happy with considering how I played. My short game saved a lot of shots, but the course is not very long or difficult. We had pretty good conditions and some wind, but no rain which would make it a whole different challenge. I felt like I could have shot in the mid 70’s on a decent day and that will be goal next time I visit.

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Kingsbarns, Scotland

Kingsbarns is located south of St. Andrews and rated amongst the best in the world. It has hosted many tour events and will host the Billede 28-06-2017 11.59.00.jpgwomen’s open in 2017. Everybody I have met who has played the course has been very enthusiastic so my expectations were high. I arrived at the course an hour before tee time and practiced on the range.

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The facilities are good and they a very authentic bunker to practice the challenging links bunkers accustomed to golf in Scotland.Billede 28-06-2017 08.45.56.jpg

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View of the sea and 18th green from the clubhouse

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Putting green
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Very cool wooden pins on the putting green
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Hole 1 from the tee

The weather had been changing all the time during the week we where there and even to the Scotts it was unusual and pretty cold for the month of June. Anyway this was luckily not the case the day I played Kingsbarns as it was great day for golf with only 7-8ms wind and no rain.

I hit a driver on the first tee and had 116m to the pin.

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approach to first hole

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I came up short on my approach shot as the wind was a bit stronger than I anticipated. I had a pretty straight forward putt uphill and got an opening par.

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Hole 2, Par 3

2nd hole was playing 165m into the wind and I hit a very poor tee shot to the right of the green where I had to take a drop. I did manage to get up and down for a bogey, which was nice.

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Hole 3, Par 5

3rd hole is a slight dogleg left to right par 5 with a pretty generous fairway. As you can see from the picture the water tide was out when we played, but still gave some great views of the sea and golf course.

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3rd green

I hit a good drive and went for the green in two, but found the green side bunker as you can see from above. Billede 28-06-2017 10.42.46.jpg

I hit a decent bunker shot, but missed the birdie putt. I would say this hole is a good birdie opportunity and reachable for many players if you hit the fairway.

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Hole 4, par 4

4th hole is a dogleg left par 4 with 3 well placed bunkers up the right hand side. My tee shot went right of the bunkers which was too bad.

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4th green

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As you can see the green has several undulations. The greens where running very true and a good pace. Good greens are essential to a good course experience and really rewards good putting.

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5th green

5th is a par 4 dogleg right where you can either play safe short of the bunkers or hit over and leave a shorter second shot. There is more room on the fairway then what you perceive from the tee. I went for the driver and had 80m to the pin. Didnt really hit my second close enough for a realistic birdie, but still a good par.

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Hole 6, par 4

6th hole is a shot par 4 with a large narrow green protected by bunkers and mounts. Risk/reward hole and it was playing 231m to the pin. I was driving well so decided to go for it.

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6th green

I carried the green but rolled over into the fringe. I was hoping for a birdie, but hit a bad first putt and had to settle for par.

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Hole 7, par 4

7th is ranked as the hardest hole on the course. A 385m par 4 where the best aim from the tee is up the right hand side so you avoid the ditch on the left hand side which leaves a difficult shot the green.

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7th green

I missed my drive left of the fairway, but no too bad of a lie. Hit it into one of the green side bunkers and got a bogey.

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8th hole, par 3

8th is a good looking par 3 with different levels on the green. The pin was in the front and requires an accurate shot to get close. My tee shot was very poor and was over the right hand bunker with a difficult chip. I hit a decent flop shot and managed to hole the putt for a really good save.

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Hole 9, par 5

9th hole has a large fairway, but preferably hit down left hand side to avoid any trouble.

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course maintenance with scissors on the 9th fairway. Great to experience first hand all the work that goes into keeping the course in good condition.
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Approach to 9th

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I hit a solid drive and was left with 180m to the green. Came up a little short, but got a birdie anyway. Nice way to finish the front nine which I played in 37 shots.

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10th, par 4

After a bite to eat from the halfway house it was time for the back nine. I had really enjoyed the first nine holes and was already in love with the course. The 10th is a short par 4 with a narrow landing area if you hit driver. I decided for driver and hit a good one, but I would play more safe from the tee next time as the landing area is quite small.

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10th green

The 10th green is big and I still manage to miss it even though I only had 90m – bad bad shot which resulted an opening bogey.

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11th par 4
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approach to 11th green

11th is quite a nice par 4 and a little tree lined. I hit the left hand bunker from the tee, but hit a good approach shot that came up just short of the green. Made par.

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Walking to the 12th hole I found this little sign
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12th Par 5

After the first 4 holes I texted one of my Scottish friends to tell him that I really liked the course already and all he texted back was – wait till you get to 12… and not surprisingly it is a beautiful hole.  It is rated the best par 5 in Scotland and as I havent played them all it is difficult to judge, but I can say for sure it is a good looking and well designed hole.

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12th green

I hit a solid drive that went a bit too far right, but was playable from the rough. I had 224m the pin and convinced myself that I did not come to Scotland to lay up. Hit a good 3 wood just short of the green which I converted to a birdie.

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13th par 3

13th is a short, but yet tricky little par 3. Well protected by bunkers and basically you just want to be on the green. I didn’t manage and got a bogey.

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14th par 4

A really good par that requires a well placed tee shot. I was between driver and 3 wood and even though I had been driving well I mistakenly went for the 3 wood and ended up in the bunker – see below. Lesson learned.

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It was a good lie and plenty of room, so no big issue and still got a par.

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Hole 15, par 3

Definitely the best par 3 on the course and the pin was close to the front with wind against us. A hit an 8 iron and had a good birdie chance that was missed.

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8th green
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16th par 5

A pretty wide fairway with good space up the left hand side.

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16th green

I went for the green in two, but just rolled off to the right and actually into the water. There is hardly any water hazards on the course, but this one was enough for me to find. I would still go for it again and still had a good par opportunity that I missed.

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Hole 17, par 4

17th was to me one of the most difficult par 4s. It was playing uphill and into the wind with a lot of bunkers in play from the tee.

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approach to 17th

My drive was okay even though in the semi rough. I hit a 5 iron to the middle of the green and made par

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17th green
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18th par 4

18th is a blind tee shot up the hill. Not a very long hole and not the best on the course or as a finishing hole.

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18th green

It is a nice approach shot with water ditch in front and looks over the sea. The green is quite big and even though I hit a poor drive it was still a relatively straight forward hole.

I shot 75 and was very pleased with how I played. The conditions could not have been better and I think it can be a completely different challenge with stronger winds.

The course is just magnificent and high on my list of top courses. I will definately be back again and will look forward to maybe plaing it from the back tees if the conditions are reasonable. A must play course if you are in the area.

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Lahinch, Ireland

Lahinch golf club is located on the west coast of Ireland and has 2 courses, where the Old Course is most recognized. They do not have a driving range, but have recently opened a great short game practice area. It was actually a bit refreshing as this forced us to practice a part of the game that usually doesn’t get enough attention anyway.

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4th hole, par 5 with a very narrow landing area just before the mount.

Above video with view from 4th tee.

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The second shot from the fairway on 4th

If you manage to find the fairway a marker will let you know when the green is free and you have a blind shot over the mount.

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Hole 5, Par 3, 148 yards

Can you spot the pin?, mostly likely not and the white rock is the aim from the tee on this par 3. I hit the green and made par. Personally I don’t like holes like this with blind tee shots over mounts.

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5th green
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approach to 6th green

6th hole is a dogleg left to right par 4 with a huge hole and bunker in the fairway. Nice views of the sea.

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Hole 7, Par 4, 366 yards
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7th green
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Hole 8, Par 3, 156 yards
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11th hole, Par 3, 156 yards

Great par 3 and one of my favourite holes. It played straight into the wind and is a really tricky hole where you pretty much have to hit the green to get a good score. I hit a 5 iron left into the high rough, see my recovery below.

 

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Hole 12, Par 5, 514 yards

Really nice par 5 running along the water.

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Approach to 14th which is a long par 4.

I shot a dissapointing 86 with a birdie on the last hole. Didnt hit many fairways and therefore also very few GIR. It is a good experience and the course has many nice holes. We had fantastic playing conditions and I would recommed playing the course.

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Ballybunion Golf Club, Ireland

Ballybunion is another top rated course on the west coast of Ireland. It has two courses and we played the Old Course. The course is established in 1893 and was voted world number 17 by Golf Magazine in 2011.

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Not the best designed clubhouse I have seen, but the golf course is why we came to visit.
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When we arrived we were greated by the headpro. Upon check in we were given below little booklet with course guide and scorecard. It is a small thing, but makes a positive impact on the whole experience. 

 

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Practice putting green at 1st tee
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Hole 1, Par 4, 375 yards

First hole is a slight downhill par 4. The graveyard and city in the background doesn’t really make it that nice of a view, but the hole itself is straight forward and plenty of space right of the fairway.

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Hole 2, Par 4, 397 yards

Second hole is the most difficult on the course and hitting the fairway is important to get a good chance of hitting the green in two.

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2nd green

I started to rain on our second hole and I was pleased to be even par after 2 holes. The next holes the rain got a bit more serious and it was survival mode. I shot 3 double bogeys in the next 4 holes and luckily it stopped raining for the rest of the round. That was the first and only real difficult Irish golf weather we experienced during our 5 day trip and lets just say that it would have been a tough journey in this kind of weather.

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Approach to 6th hole

6th is a dogleg left to right with OB on the right hand side of the fairway. I went too aggressive and just ran out of fairway. It is a driveable hole, but really it should be played with caution and a safe lay up. Difficult green with run off areas, so approach has to be good.

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10th green

Above is video from 10th green

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Some of the views from the course

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12th green

12th is an uphill par 3 of 196 yards. A difficult hole where a par is a great score.

Above video from 12th green

Checkout video with pitch shot on 12th hole from one of my playing partners

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Hole 15, Par 3, 199 yards

15th is a long difficult par 3 and the wind was getting up when we played. No real areas to escape as there a bunkers placed well around the green.

Pretty good bunker shot on 15th from one of my playing partners.

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Hole 16, Par 5, 490 yards

A par 5 that doglegs right to left and you need to decide how far to cut the corner. I hit a perfect drive in the fairway and had a 7 iron to the green.

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Approach to 16th
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My eagle putt on 16 which I just missed, but was pleased with the birdie
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Hole 17, Par 4, 383 yards

Another dogleg where you need a good drive. I went a bit too far left, but managed to get up around the green. Unfortunately still a bogey.

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17th green
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Hole 18, Par 4, 370 yards

An uphill par 4 to finish with. The aim is the huge bunker on the left hand side. I hit a driver and came up just short of the bunker which left me a gap wedge to the green. It is a blind shot and a narrow green.

Above video from 18th rough on the left hand side.

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18th green

Ballybunion was a good experience. I didnt think the first holes where that good, but especially the last 12 holes are great. The course condition was average, but green running okay. You can not miss the fairways by much before you end up in trouble and that is if you find the ball.

I shot 83 which was okay all things considering. The rain on hole 3-6 made it difficult but still dissapointed not to shoot better scores there. The back nine of 38 was pretty good and overall I was happy with the score.

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Waterville, Ireland

Waterville golf links is located on the west coast of Ireland and ranked amongst the best. This was a course I was really looking forward to playing and we had good weather conditions with some wind but no rain. We had played 18 holes in the morning on Dooks and arrived for lunch at Waterville where enjoyed a good meal before heading out.

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2nd green
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Tee shot on 3rd
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3rd green
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Hole 4, Par 3, 176 yards
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The traditional links style bunkers on the course
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Hole 12, Par 3, 164 yards

The 12th is a difficult par 3. Only playing 164 yards, but requires a precise tee shot. You can not leave it short as you can see from below picture.

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A look back down 12th
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12th hole raised green, avoid being short.
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Tee shot on par 5 11th

A 477 yards dogleg left to right par 5. It is a blind tee shot if you hit driver as it runs downhill. I hit a good drive at was left with a 6 iron to the green.

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Approach to 11th hole

I hit a fantastic approach shot to a gimmie eagle. Not often that happens…

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Hole 17, Par 3, 168 yards

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Hole 18, Par 5, 556 yards

I really like courses with a strong finishing hole and this is one of them. A long par 5 that requires 3 good shots to get on the green. I almost managed, but was just of the green on my third and couldn’t get up and down. A bogey finish.

I didn’t think the course reached my expectations. There are some really good holes, but too many average holes that doesn’t make for a truly great course. The condition was also average and greens running a bit slow.

I shot an 84 which should have been around 80 in the conditions we had.  Too many double bogeys on the card. Anyway, the eagle made up for a lot of the other poor golf.

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Dooks Golf Links, Ireland

Dooks Golf Links is another good Irish course that I played in May 2017. The club is established in 1889 making it one of the oldest in Ireland. It was originally a 9 hole course and what extended to 18 in the 1970’s. We played an early morning and as you can see from the pictures the weather was pretty good.

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View from the putting green
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Hole 1, Par 4, 373 yards

The opening hole is pretty straight forward par 4.

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My approach shot to the 1st green
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1st green

I started well with a good drive and a short pitch to the green to setup a nice opening birdie.

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2nd green

The second hole is a short uphill par 4 that is driveable, however as you can see the green is protected well with run off areas and undulation. If you do not reach the green your approach shot needs to be accurate to stay on the green.

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Hole 4, Par 3, 167 yards
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4th green. It requires a good shot to stay on the green.
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Tee shot on 6th hole

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Video from 12th green

The course is relatively short by modern standards but requires a good short game and accurate approach shots to shoot decent scores. From some of the holes you have beautiful views which was great in the weather we had.

I didn’t play that well and shot 86. Too many missed fairways and greens. The condition of the course was not the best it could play, but I assume that it will improve during the summer months.

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