Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Irish Open Royal Portrush hole-by-hole course guide

Last year's North of Ireland runner-up Harry Diamond knows what it takes to get around the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush



Click here to view a graphic of the course



He is one of four amateurs, all from Northern Ireland, in the Irish Open field and says that the set-up will be quite different from what he is used to each July.

“I always find three or four of the tee shots quite tricky,” he says. “The first obviously is a tough tee shot and then the fourth. I find those two tight tees shots so I'll probably take a three wood down both of those.

“I think 17 and 18 are difficult holes to finish on, maybe the toughest tee shots on the course.

“Hopefully I can find some sort of strategy to get myself through those holes. A bogey on any of those holes isn't disastrous and there are plenty of birdie chances on the rest of the course, especially the par fives.”

The Irish Open will be one of the first times the new championship tees will have been used in competition around the Dunluce Links and at 7,143 yards, it presents a tough and interesting test.

Royal Portrush Dunluce Links

Hole 1 'Hughies' 416 yards par four

A famously tough opening tee-shot for anyone. Danger lurks for wayward shots down both sides of the fairway and second shots are played uphill approach to an elevated green.

Hole 2 'Giant's Grave' 528 yards par five

Off the very back tee it will leave a lengthy shot in for those going for it in two. That will bring bunkers left and in front of the green into play, but they might be a better option than ending up in deep rough either side.

Hole 3 'Islay' 174 yards par three

It looks an innocuous enough hole from the tee and should present few problems with players playing no more than an eight iron in. It's a tricky green to read, though, and local knowledge might play dividends.

Hole 4 'Fred Daly's' 479 yards par four

Even from the members' tee, the hole named in honour of Portrush's first major champion is lengthy and demanding. The fairway bunker must be avoided to leave any chance of a birdie.

Hole 5 'White Rocks' 411 yards par four

The white stone gives the hole its distinctive look and players should be able to carry them quite easily to leave a relatively short approach into the green.

Hole 6 'Harry Colts' 189 yards par three

Finding the large putting surface should not be a problem at less than 200 yards, but reading it is another matter entirely. It's one of the most sloping greens on the Dunluce Links and requires careful consideration.

Hole 7 'PG-Stevenson's’ 431 yds par four

The radio mast or 'Eiffel Tower' to the locals shows the ideal line off the tee. A slight right to left dogleg on the approach with a couple of nasty bunkers guarding the approach.

Hole 8 'Himalayas' 433 yards par four

With a name like that it can only mean an undulating fairway when the luck of the bounce can be the difference between an easy approach and an impossible one. The fairway narrows dramatically on the approach to the green on the left to right dogleg.

Hole 9 'Tavern' 475 yards par five

The first of two very reachable par fives for the top players around the turn, although tee-shots still need to be accurate. Should yield quite a few eagles over the four days. Out par 36 3,546 yards

Hole 10 'Dhu Varren' 478 yards par five

Tee shots should favour the left side of the fairway but again the players will fancy their chances in reaching it in two all four days. Fives will feel like bogeys.

Hole 11 'Feather Bed' 191 yds par three

With a downhill tee-shot it will play shorter than the yardage to a generous target, although five bunkers guard the green to catch any injudicious shots.

Hole 12 'Causeway' 412 yards par four

A breath-taking looking hole, but probably a birdie opportunity for most of the field. No more than a three wood is normally needed for a good position for the approach shots.

Hole 13 'Skerries' 418 yards par four

One of the more generous fairways on the course and with a favourable bounce or two, most players will be left with nothing more than a wedge into the green.

Hole 14 'Calamity' 210 yards par three

Perhaps the most famous hole on the course and some would say in the world. Even uphill over 200 yards the players shouldn't have too much trouble finding the putting surface, but hitting the right portion of the green for a birdie chance is another matter.

Hole 15 'Purgatory' 391 yards par four

The large black and white pole at the back of the green marks the ideal line and the biggest hitters might aim to get there in one. Perhaps the last out-and-out birdie opportunity on the course before the tough finish.

Hole 16 'Babbington' 442 yards par four

No need to lengthen what was already a formidable hole. The two fairway bunkers present the main challenge off the tee. The deep third 100 yards short of the green might catch out a few as well.

Hole 17 'Glenarm' 581 yards par five

‘Big Nellie' the bunker carved menacingly into the hillside right off the the tee shouldn't present top players with too many problems. But it still needs two big hits to reach the putting surface in two.

Hole 18 'Greenaway' 484 yards par four

A testing finishing hole requiring a very good drive. The approach to a large green is deceptively long and it will take a strong nerve to find a birdie there to win on Sunday evening.

In par 36, 3,609 yards

Total par 72, 7,143 yards

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