Thursday, August 12, 2010
[Photo: from green to tee on the reachable par four 13th - you can't see the bunkers in front of the green]
As any early bird will tell you (and I'm one of them) a beautiful sunny morning is the best time to play golf. Long shadows, crisp air, and few souls to be seen. At Delgany yesterday the early sunlight showed the course off to its best advantage.
Delgany is one of my favourite clubs in the region. While some people don't like courses with lots of hills, I have always found them to be far more entertaining than the flat variety. There is so much more character to the holes and you get to see much more of your shot. Downhill driving is the biggest thrill of all and Delgany gives you five par fours to practice on. The 13th is a par four of 290 metres, all downhill, and there won't be many golfers who won't fancy giving the ball a real dig. The same is true on 9 and 15. Holes 4 and 6 are sharp left hand doglegs that require more restraint.
[Photo: the downhill 15th, crossing the 12th fairway. The par three 14th green is on the right]
You are left with a few uphill holes which can sap you (holes 3, 7, 10 and parts of 17 and 18) but it adds to the golfing experience, and you get big sea views when you reach the top, not to mention the prospect of a big drive off the next tee.
Delgany is a rich and well-wooded, mature course that dates back to 1908. It is not long (par 68 with one par five - although the 10th can be turned into a par five as listed on the scorecard) and its challenges come from the slopes and what they can do yo your ball. There are bunkers (in front of the 13th most notably) but their use is limited.
[Photo: the par three 16th]
Delgany is well-known for its par three 16th hole, that drops to a green far below. Not long (not one of the five par threes qualifies as long) it is still an intimidating site with woodland behind. It is the only course in Ireland that requires you to play holes in the wrong order: at Delgany, you walk off 15 and then drive off 17 before playing the 16th. The tee boxes are side by side and it means you don't have an enormous climb back up to the 17th teebox.
Delgany is not the steepest course in Ireland (that honour goes to Stackstown) but it's not far behind. Bear that in mind if you want to play here, but it comes highly recommended if you want some genuine excitement. And a new clubhouse gives you ample opportunity to recover after your round.