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Portmarnock Golf Club

Portmarnock Golf Club

Golf Links Road

Tel: +353 (0)1 846 2968

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Portmarnock is situated on its own sandy peninsula, approximately two miles long and covering some 500 acres. In 1893, William Pickeman, a Scottish insurance broker, and his friend George Ross, rowed across the sea from Sutton to the peninsular and immediately realised that this was prime golfing terrain.

In those days, the peninsular could only be reached by boat. The land belonged to the famous distiller, John Jameson, and from around 1850, the links was used as the Jameson's private golf course. Nine "proper" holes opened for play in October 1894 and, two years later, the course was extended to eighteen holes. Pickeman was the driving force behind the original 18 holes at Portmarnock and went on to design other courses in Ireland.

There is nothing man-made about Portmarnock - it's a natural links, and considered to be a very fair golf course. With water on three sides, the course is at the mercy of the wind. Laid out broadly in two loops of nine holes, you are invariably playing in different directions, and measuring over 7,300 yards from the back tees, it is a formidable test of golf. You will need your very best putting game because the greens at Portmarnock are lightning fast and true. Or in the words of Bernard Darwin: "Perhaps the outstanding beauty of Portmarnock lies in its putting greens. They are good and true, which is a merit given to many greens, and they are very fast without being untrue, which is given only to a few, and is a rare and shining virtue".

There are superb views to the south of the Ireland's Eye (a small island), home to important seabird colonies and the Hill of Howth (once famous for its electric trams). On a clear day looking northwest, the Mountains of Mourne are visible. Portmarnock has hosted a number of important events including, on 12 occasions, the Irish Open and the Canada Cup. The closing five holes are especially brutal. Bernard Darwin once commented: "I know of no greater finish in the world than that of the last five holes at Portmarnock". The first of these closing holes, the 14th, requires an accurate approach shot to a narrow green, or in Joe Carr's case, an accurate drive. Apparently Carr, an amateur, made a hole-in-one on this 385-yard par 4. How on earth did he miss those greenside bunkers? The par three 15th, measuring 188 yards, plays along the seashore. Any hint of a left to right shaped tee shot will almost certainly end up on the beach, whilst the green is protected at the front by three fearsome bunkers.

Ian Woosnam almost came a cropper on this hole in the second round of the 1988 Irish Open. His opening tee shot ended up in the sea, but playing three off the tee, he somehow managed to find the edge of the green and then he holed a 40-footer for a bogey. Clearly inspired by this miraculous save, Woosnam went on to win the title.

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