Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Most Spectacular Courses "

[Photo: Fin on the 2nd green at Ballybunion Old]

Interesting, isn't it, how people writing a book on golf courses decide which qualify as 'best' or 'most spectacular' I was in Easons bookshop the other day and I saw the mightily impressive
Golf Around the World: The Great Game and Its Most Spectacular Courses by Fulvio Golob, Giulia Muttoni, with a foreword by Adam Scott.

It's a huge big hardback book and it looks truly stunning, with superb photographs and a sparkling bit of commentary on the 50 chosen courses.

One of the key things about my book is that it is subjective
because the sole author (i.e. me) is an amateur golfer. During my recent visit to the NEC Golf Show I had some interesting debates about which Irish courses qualified as good and which qualified as bad. But a book as big as Golob and Muttoni's, with two authors, would, presumably, call on some wider expertise and opinion. So I was rather stumped by the two courses that were picked from Ireland. Ballybunion was one, and I agree wholeheartedly, but selected ahead of Royal County Down, The European, Waterville (pictured), Royal Portrush, Tralee, County Sligo and even Carne and Enniscrone... was Portmarnock. What a bizarre choice. It is a tough course for certain, but it doesn't qualify as "spectacular". It is surprisingly muted in fact - the dunes rarely get above head height, it sits in the middle of busy Dublin bay and you nearly always have plenty of the hole on show. How does that make it spectacular? Old Head of Kinsale, for all its faults, is spectacular beyond belief, as are all of the courses I listed above.

Of the 50 courses, 8 are in Scotland - which makes Ireland's tally of two seem even more paltry - especially when you consider that we are regarded as having some of the greatest courses in the world.

It just proves how subjective golf can be.


  1. well i want to go to ireland.

  2. I think Portmanock Links is in the top four or five in the country. Its routing is particularly excellent. It's much more subtile than spectacular. I wouln't have any complaints about it's selection, personally, but these things are subjective, of course.