Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tom Doak's Confidential Guide to GB&I

Tom Doak published the first book of his new Confidential Guide series, late last year. This is a major reboot of a book he originally wrote back in the 1980s, pretty much on a whim. This edition concentrates on Ireland and Great Britain, and it is, in a word, fascinating. The Confidential Guide is held in high esteem by golfers everywhere. Not only does he know what he is talking about but he injects humour into much of what he writes.

In Doak’s book he takes a hard, unforgiving eye to golf course design. Over 50 Irish courses receive the Doak treatment, from Adare and Carlow, to Ballybunion and Royal County Down.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that I agree with all of his reviews – or at least his scores (known as the Doak Scale which rates courses out of 10) – because he looks at courses from a whole different perspective and with a far more critical and knowledgeable eye. He is one of the most revered golf course architects in the world; I look at golf courses from the sheer experience of playing them and from the point of view of an amateur golfer. He gives Ballyliffin's two courses just 5 points; Dromoland Castle gets a 3; Ballybunion is the only Irish course to get 10 points; Carne and Narin & Portnoo are labelled with 'Dumb Blonde' awards.
Co Sligo's 4th green (from the right hand side)
Click on the following link for a full review that I wrote on the Armchair Golf Blog. In the meantime, here is a selection of Irish scores to ponder:

Ballybunion Old 10
Royal County Down 9
Lahinch 8
Co Louth 7
Co Sligo 7
Enniscrone 6
Portsalon 6
Waterville 6
Ballyliffin (both courses) 5
Cork 5
Malone 5
Old Head 5
Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) 5
Adare 4
Carlow 4
Royal Dublin 4
Dromoland Castle 3

Plenty to agree with in The Confidential Guide... and plenty to give you a short, sharp shock... Ballyliffin... a 5!!!

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