Ballyliffin, Inishowen, Co. Donegal - Ireland - www.ballyliffingolfclub.com
When the European Tour, under the influence of Rory McIlroy decided and announced Ballyliffin as the host for the Irish Open, a few eyebrows got lifted and questions were asked. What about access, what about accommodation, will the Irish travel all the way up there etc. Well, the answer was delivered emphatically when the event drew record crowds. The Glashedy is one of two courses on site with the Old Links, recently upgraded by Nick Faldo, the other option. The Glashedy is a Pat Ruddy (European Club / Druids Glen) / Tom Craddock links masterpiece where every shot has to be committed to.
Donegal is a county with some of the most breathtaking views in all of Ireland.Everywhere you turn, the landscape is spectacular and to be able to play golf in such an area of natural beauty is always a treat.
The Glashedy Links, played on a calm end of August day, was in perfect condition just weeks after the Irish Open. From the first tee shot to the last putt, this course requires attention. Go left and take on the bunker with he driver or stay right with the shorter club and leave a longer shot into the green?
It starts on the first tee where it’s 205 yards to carry the left trap and 243 to roll into the 2nd … same on the 2nd, the tee points to the left bunker which is 258 but catches anything from 20 yards short of it. Hole 3 has some new bunkers put in and 280 gets you in between them. Now many of you will say, 280 yards … no way. This is a hard and bouncy links course and with the wind behind, one would easily flirt with these bunkers.
Every hole is different and each of them asks a different question, wether it’s from the tee or approaching the green. The putting surfaces are spectacularly good. They are true and fast for a links course. You pick your line and stroke the putter and the ball will reach the hole.
Ballyliffin with its two courses and plenty of accommodation in the town must be on your play list if you’re serious about golf. This is links golf at its best.
Words: Jo Maes (Mr. Buzzy) - Chairman of the European Golf & Travel Media Association.