Ballybunion bought the dramatic tract of land intended for The Cashen Course in 1971, and engaged Robert Trent Jones senior to design the new course, which opened for play in the early 80's.
The Cashen course traverses taller, steeper dunes than The Old Course and has long rough everywhere
And it has small greens!
I had played The Cashen Course years ago, and remembered it was routed through some big dunes, and rough ground, and that it was exposed to the conditions.
But I thought there were quite a number of really interestingholes as well.
So we had to go back..
Robert Trent Jones Senior has some kudos as an architect, and the land itself had similarities with The Old Course- so what’s not to like?
So back we went, with open minds, keen to get a handle on The Cashen
Unfortunately the forecast was not great, and although we started in heavy winds, within a few holes it was light drizzle, and then steady rain settled in.
The wind was very strong and gusty.
By the time we got to the 7th hole along the beach and exposed to the wind, it was virtually unplayable.
It is one thing to get wet, but when your trolley blows over constantly it gets a little tedious.
The Cashen is severe, and in difficult conditions is nearly unplayable.
The par 3's are all attractive, and like many of the greens on the course have smallish greens set on ledges in the dunes.
The par 5's at holes 8 and 17 certainly demand your attention, and the short par 4's at holes 5 and 13 also add interest.
But it's a topsy turvy landscape where a golfer is constantly playing off slopes with long rough at every turn.
It is difficult to keep the ball in play in any kind of weather!
But there are quite a number of attractive, interesting holes.
Notable holes include:
- hole 5, a short par 4 with a tight landing area and a green perched on a shelf high in a dune
- hole 6, a lovely short 'drop shot' hole to a green on a ledge below
- hole 8, an epic par 5 with an elevated tee and green and fairway sprawling up and down through the dunes
- hole 10, a unique short par 4 with the very narrow fairway wedged between two dunes
- hole 11, another dramatic short par 3 with sea views
- hole 13, a really interesting short par 4
- hole 16, a short par 3 with ocean views
- hole 17, a crazy par 5 along the coast
The Cashen Course will always be overshadowed by The Old Course, but if you are at Ballybunion and the weather is fine, it might be a fun way to let your hair down!
We are glad we reqacquainted with the Cashen, but need to try again in more benign conditions..
If you are thinking of adding The Cashen to your next itinerary, you can look forward to playing some great looking holes, but will inevitably suffer some lost balls.
Just don't play a stroke round- you may never finish..
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