Sunday, December 22, 2019

Top 10 Golf Course Photos of 2019

It was a busy year with the camera in hand so here are my ten top golf course photos of the year… in no particular order.
1. Dun Laoghaire Golf Club
You can’t deny that the Dun Laoghaire clubhouse is one of the most impressive in the country and two of the course’s nines (there are three loops here) finish below that clubhouse. Their fairways rise non-stop towards the grand modern building and this is the par five 9th on the Lower course. Dun Laoghaire is maturing beautifully and this shot captures some of that.

2. Royal Portrush Golf Club
The 15th (formerly the 13th before Ebert’s pre-Open Championship changes) at Royal Portrush
looks out at the Skerries, where the waves can burst in white shards over dark island rock. It is also a beautiful approach shot with an almost sinuous fairway melting into one of the most beautifully shaped greens imaginable.

3. Strandhill Golf Club
There’s a road that meanders into Strandhill from the south that sits well above the sea and beaches. Keep an eye out to your left as it is worth pulling over to view several of Strandhill's sweet links below. Over the field this is what you will see – the 3rd and 4th holes pressed up to one of the beaches. There were clouds aplenty which meant a quiltwork of shadows over the dunes and links.

4. Esker Hills Golf Club
I’ve always loved this rollercoaster course and the 8th shows off the curves and shapes of Esker Hills in all their glory. Shane Lowry’s Open Championship win will really put Esker Hills on the map but the course has always promised a mighty adventure through eskers that are hypnotic in their rhythm. It’s a course that divides opinion but this is such a fun hole to play and it typifies the Esker Hills experience.

And I am adding an extra image below of the same hole taken at first light the following morning. It's not the same exact shot/location but the change in colour is fabulous.

5. Machrihanish Golf Club
Ever since I played the original Machrihanish links many years ago, I’ve wanted to return. I finally did so a few months ago when I took the Kintyre Express across to the Kintyre peninsula. Things haven’t changed as the natural dune shapes have been here for centuries while the course has been here since the 1870s. There is a sweet flow to this links and the photo of the 5th shows that off in full colour with dune shapes flowing like waves.

 6. Powerscourt Golf Club
The mist was out when I arrived at Powerscourt at some crazy hour of the morning. It was all over the course and I headed to Powerscourt East’s 8th hole. I waited for well over 30 minutes for the mist to ease away as the flag wasn’t even visible to begin with. It’s a hole I’ve photographed a number of times in different lights but the moodiness of this one just makes it that little bit sweeter.  

7. Mulranny Golf Club
This photograph is more about the novelty factor than anything else. I was over in the west, staying in Mulranny and the light one morning looked slightly different. I headed down to the wonderful Mulranny nine holer on the edge of Clew Bay and found it was so windy it was difficult to stand. The sun came out and then the hail blew in over the mountain. I was facing into it and hailstones in the eye are not a recommended experience.   

8. Powerscourt Golf Club
The same day as that mist slipped away from the 8th fairway (See pic 6 above) the mist was lingering on the ground. The sunrise caught that haunted feeling on the 9th green… just enough to give it an ethereal feel. The greens at Powerscourt have always been exceptional and in this photo they look like they have been painted. 

9. Royal County Down Golf Club
The iconic par three 4th at Royal County Down is one of this island’s most photographed holes. Little wonder with the dunes and gorse embracing it and the backdrop behind it. I was up meeting Nick Edmund – of globalgolf4cancer ( - who was playing this par three as the final part of his Northern Ireland walk. He almost birdied it, too. Follow the link and find out what amazing things he is doing and achieving in raising funds and awareness for cancer. After he’d finished playing this par three I went back to the tee and waited for the light. When it picked up over the gorse it was so soft, and the low sun picked up the Slieve Donard Hotel spire perfectly.  

10. Mount Juliet Golf Club
The brief for Mount Juliet was ‘timelessness’ and on the first morning the sunrise and mist gave me exactly that on one of Mount Juliet’s most recognisable holes – the par 3 3rd. 

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