Ivan Morris: Ireland's Best 9-hole Courses
"Some golfers regard playing 9-holes courses as a limited challenge. Even the most steadfast devotee of 18-holes would surely agree that half a loaf is better than no bread?
If golf were invented today there'd be a 2-hour/round limit. Playing 9-holes is better for your game than the practice ground. If golfers played 9-holes midweek, they’d be better players over 18 at the weekend. So I went on an odyssey to play Ireland's best 9-hole golf courses.
I discovered that some previously unknown 9s were both noteworthy and outstanding. After all, who would know that:
Helen's Bay, just south of Belfast, is the equal of any of the best 18 for conditioning;
Connemara Isles is situated in the most spectacular setting for golf imaginable;
Rush, in north County Dublin, is a pure links with topography similar to nearby Portmarnock;
Ross in Killarney has an Amen Corner to match Augusta;
Ashford Castle has a highly intricate routing in exquisite surroundings;
Castlegregory, 15-miles west of Tralee, is adjudged the best links, and
Blessington Lakes near Naas is the best parkland layout?"
Ireland's Best 9-Holes Golf Courses is full of lively, golf yarns and observations, even including a dissertation on Samuel Beckett’s career as a low-handicapper at Carrickmines.
I first met Ivan Morris, at the newly-opened Quinta de Cima in 2003, when reviewing, playing and photographing the courses of Portugal for The Pocket Guide to Golf Courses. The fact that our budget required us to average 3 courses a day for 15 days justified him to call us ‘nuts’. All the more appropriate because we had met hiding under a carob tree for safety, his having invited a long-hitting nipper of a pro to play through.
Instead, Ivan... full review
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