Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Island

Another great battle rages between Portmarnock and The Island. Two grand courses, two completely different experiences - from the golf to the social interaction. I enjoyed both rounds immensely, but The Island puts a smile on your face and delivers far more thrills. Portmarnock on the other hand has a reputation that few can match. It is also more challenging as placement from the tee is crucial and there is serious danger lurking on approaches (bunkering).

[Photo: Par 3 15th at Portmarnock]

Some might say that means it is better designed, but I would disagree because the average golfer wants to see that little bit more room for his shot. The Island offers more of that, as well as some serious dunes.

For me, two encounters also sum up the difference between the courses: during lunch at Portmarnock I watched a stuffed shirt walk over to the waitress and say: "I ordered tea", before returning to his seat. No please or thank you. At The Island I bumped into a greenkeeper, Kevin Parker, on the 10th tee box and we chatted for a good five minutes about a bit of everything - he didn't know who I was - and back in the clubhouse another long chat ensued with the assistant pro, Marcus Monaghan.

I'm not really knocking the superiority that oozes from the Portmarnock club and, like a select few other clubs, they don't want the 'average golfer' tramping over their domain, but in terms of the excitement you want from a round of golf, The Island would be my choice, and it's cheaper too. [Photo: Par 5 15th at The Island]

I played with a friend from America in February 2007, and he asked me if I was offered 100 free rounds of golf at the K Club and Portmarnock, how many would I choose to play at each. My answer was 80 at Portmarnock, with 20 at the K Club just to have some variety. Replace Portmarnock with The Island and the K Club wouldn't even figure.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin, if I had 10 rounds to split between The Island, K Club and Portmarnock, I would play 5 Island, 5 Portmarnock and spend the K Club greens fee on beer.

    Granted the ambiance at The Island is more to my liking, but Portmarnock's architecture is superior. It is also an easier play for the first time visitor notwithstanding its additional length.

    The Island has some pretty narrow playing corridors and blind shots, especially on the front.

    I try to play both everytime I am in the Dublin area.

    Cheers, Southpaw