What we say
Dublin is blessed with some fantastic golf courses, and Portmarnock is the best of the bunch. Here’s why…
If you enjoy a stringent test of your golfing worth, you will adore Portmarnock. If Muirfield, Carnoustie and Royal Lytham are ‘your thing’ in Britain, Portmarnock will very possibly be your favourite course when you travel to Ireland.
If, however, you want visual drama and a thrilling topography, you will be less enamoured with this links of rare heritage – despite the fact it is laid out on a two-mile long, 500-acre site which was originally reached by boat.
Portmarnock is elegant and grand, not bold and brash.
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Portmarnock is one of the great golf clubs of Ireland – being founded in 1894 – yet at over 7,300 yards, its course is hardly a relic. It remains one of the country’s most respected courses, a strategic challenge arguably without peer on the Emerald Isle and with few to match it in Britain too.
It is a player’s links certainly, and even the strong low-handicap visitor can have their ego bruised by her.
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It is not impossible though, and arguably more playable than, say The European or Rosapenna, but it requires one to play sensibly to return to the characterful clubhouse with a sense of self-satisfaction. Certainly when a stiff breeze sweeps across the sandy peninsula, dexterity and nous are required to keep your ball under something approaching vague control, especially with no two holes running in the same direction.
If this makes it sound like a consistently excellent course rather than one of individual highlights, there might be some truth to that. There is even more truth if the suggestion is phrased another way; there are so many stellar holes it is difficult to pinpoint them.
The last is an immense finish by anyone’s standard, and the short 15th – with out of bounds to the right, a deep hollow to the left, three bunkers short and an saucer green – is one of the finest par 3s in Great Britain and Ireland.
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That short hole will be enjoyed by all (even the confirmed thrill seekers among you), as will the rest of this pedigree links.
It doesn’t charm some panellists like some above it in our Links Top 100, because the fact is, if it was five places higher it would not look the tiniest bit out of place.
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- TG Rating
- Players Rating
- Address Portmarnock Golf Club, Golf Links Road, Portmarnock, , Co. Dublin, Ireland, Portmarnock
- Tel 00 3531 846 2968
- Website www.portmarnockgolfclub.ie/
|Course Length||7,463 yards (6,824 metres)|
- Course has: Bar
- Course has: Buggy Hire
- Course has: Driving Range
- Course does not have: Practice Green
- Course has: Pro Shop
- Course has: Restaurant
- Course has: Trolley Hire
- Course does not have: Dress Code
- Course has: Club Hire
- Course has: Handicap
I was so looking forward to playing Portmarnock after many other links experiences at other top links courses and this was viewed as one I was desperate to cross off my ‘must play’ list. Unfortunately, the over-riding memory is that this course does not offer anything that even remotely resembles value for money. At 180 Euros, it seems that Portmarnock believes its own hype and the price seems to be based on what overseas visitors are prepared to pay as opposed to what the experience is worth. Yes the course is beautifully maintained, yes the greens are slick and firm, yes the weather severely impacts on the course difficulty and yes the club house is grand and full of history. Does all of this equate to 180 Euros worth? No, not even closely – but it appears that the whole of the Republic of Ireland is becoming ridiculously expensive, so if money is no object, go and play there – you will enjoy it immensely. If cost is an issue, get yourself to Wallasey or Royal St. David’s (Harlech) – perhaps they don’t quite have the history or reputation that Portmarnock has – but you will certainly get a fantastic links experience and could play both of those for the cost of a round at Portmarnock. Would I play there again? Not at that price I wouldn’t.