Portmarnock Golf Club is located on an island like peninsula just north of Dublin. The land was owned by John Jameson from Jameson's whisky, and the story goes that one William Pickeman and his friend George Ross rowed to the to the peninsula in 1893, realised it was prime golfing land, and that within a year Pickeman had overseen the opening of 9 holes.
By 1896 the course was extended to 18 holes.
A third nine holes was added by Fred Hawtree in 1971
Portmarnock was the venue for the first Irish Open and has now hosted that event 19 times!
It first hosted The Irish Open Amateur in 1899
It has also hosted the British Amateur Championship, The Walker Cup, The Canada Cup & The European Men's Amateur (won by Sergio Garcia in 1997).
William Pickeman was quite right when he thought the land at Portmarnock was suitable for golf. The rolling sandhills provide great turf and are surrounded on three sides by the sea. Any 'weather' becomes a factor at Portmarnock as the site is exposed to the sea breezes and more.
Unlike many other Irish Links, Portmarnock winds through relatively low lying dunesland, making it an easy walk. The course is renowned as being 'the fairest links course in the world'.
It was Nick Faldo who observed "the course has a gentle opening and gradually builds to a great crescendo".
Bernard Darwin wrote "I know of no greater finish in the world than that of the last five holes at Portmarnock"
One of the great strengths of the design is that the course is laid out in two loops of nine holes so that each hole is on a different angle and subject to wind from a slightly different direction.
The greens at Portmarnock are also regarded as some of the best anywhere- both fast and true...
Notable holes include:
-the gentle par 4 opening hole- unless the wind comes up!
- the short par 4 fourteenth hole- described by Henry Cotton as 'the best par 4 in the world'
- the heavily bunkered par 5 thirteenth hole
- the long par 3 fifteenth hole with ocean on the right. Ben Crenshaw said 'it must be the shortest par 5 in golf'.
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For itinerary suggestions please see Destinations: Best of Ireland
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