Ir­ish Golf Mag­a­zine course rat­ings

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - SPORT - GER WALSH WITH ALL THE NEWS FROM KERRY’S GOLF CLUBS

IR­ISH Golf Mag­a­zine, which is avail­able free of charge in prac­ti­cally ev­ery golf club in the coun­try, has listed its top 100 Ir­ish golf cour­ses for 2018, but as I’ve said on dozens of oc­ca­sions, whilst re­view­ing golf course rank­ings you sim­ply can­not com­pare links cour­ses and park­land cour­ses, which should be rated separately.

I am not alone in this opin­ion as I know a lot of peo­ple in­volved in the game who agree with me, and while Ir­ish Golf Mag­a­zine do list their top 30 links and park­land cour­ses separately in two other mi­nor lists, they mix park­land and links in their over­all Top 100, which makes no sense to me.

Ac­cord­ing to the mag­a­zine the cour­ses were rated for De­sign and Lay­out (35%), Qual­ity of Test and Playa­bil­ity (25%), Con­di­tion and Pre­sen­ta­tion (20%), Club Fa­cil­i­ties and Ex­pe­ri­ence (10%) and Vis­ual Ap­peal (10%), while the panel who came up with these rat­ings in­cluded John Shortt and Peter Fin­nan from Ir­ish Golf Mag­a­zine, Ally McIntosh, a golf course ar­chi­tect, PGA Pro­fes­sion­als John Kelly and Damian McGrane, for­mer Ir­ish In­ter­na­tional Maria Dunne, and golf writ­ers Kevin Markham and Liam Kelly.

Any­way, to the list of the top 100 Ir­ish Golf cour­ses and from a local per­spec­tive, Kerry has eight cour­ses in the top ten, which are in de­scend­ing or­der: Kil­lar­ney’s Ma­hony’s Point (83rd), Ceann Sibeal (80th), Bally­bunion’s Cashen (51st), Kil­lar­ney’s Killeen (40th), Dooks (27th), Tralee (11th), Bally­bunion Old (9th) and our high­est rank­ing course Water­ville at 8th.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that there are only three park­land cour­ses in the top 20, with Adare Manor Re­sort, which only opened last March, com­ing in at no.3, while the oth­ers are the K-Club Palmer Course at 16th and Mount Juliet at 19th.

So the top twenty are: (1) Royal Portrush, (2) Port­marnock, (3) Adare, (4) Lahinch, (5) Royal County Down, (6) Co Louth (Bal­tray), (7) The Is­land, (8) Water­ville, (9) Bally­bunion Old, (10) The Euro­pean Club, (11) Tralee, (12) County Sligo (Rosses Point), (13) Bal­lylif­fin-Glasheedy, (14) Trump Doon­beg, (16) The K-Club Palmer Course, (17) Carne, (18) Port­sa­lon, (19) Mount Juliet, (20) Royal Dublin.

Im­me­di­ately I note the fall from grace of Royal County Down, which is con­sis­tently ranked at no.1 and is now num­ber five, Water­ville drop­ping from 6 to 8, and Tralee drop­ping from 9 to 11, while Bally­bunion Old has fallen from fourth the pre­vi­ous year to ninth, be­cause as the foot­note said, the course’s con­di­tion was not up to the stan­dard that golfers would ex­pect.

Call me bi­ased, but I’m go­ing to jump to Bally­bunion’s de­fence and state that, yes, the fair­ways were in poor con­di­tion dur­ing the lat­ter part of the sea­son (Septem­ber/Oc­to­ber) but in­ten­tion­ally so be­cause of a de­ci­sion made by the club (af­ter the long dry sum­mer) to let the meadow grasses die out and re­place them with fes­cue which was ex­plained to the mem­bers and all vis­it­ing golfers.

Any­way, aside from all these list­ings and rank­ings, which are con­fined to 18-hole cour­ses, I see where Ivan Mor­ris has ranked the top 15 nine-hole cour­ses in Ire­land and has Castle­gre­gory rated at no.3, while Ross makes it in at no.13, so well done to both Kerry clubs for their in­clu­sion.

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