So here we are, second day of our golftrip to Ireland and I´m about to play my first real links course. I was always wondering, what people find so special about these courses, that they tend to lower their voices to a respectful whisper when talking about them. They are old? Okay. Natural courses? Means the Greenkeeper doesnt want to work to much. Fairways at the coast? Well, I already played some courses with amazing views of the sea. Let´s see. We are in the southwest corner of Ireland, Kerry, playing Dooks Golf Course. Two of our flightpartners decided to go with Caddies, to help them manage the course. If they think thats necessary…
The Tee-Off seems to approve my opinion: a Par 4, hills to the right, rough to the left, with a fairway first up-, then downhill to the green. Nice, no doubt, but nothing so special. Ok, I admit the green is really speedy, I needed 4 putts to put the ball in the goal.
A short walk to the right brings us up to the second hole, from where we get an overwiew of the whole course.
Nothing prepared me for the sheer beauty of this scenery. The Atlantic to the left, calm today, almost no waves. But the huge Boulderrocks at the shore tell that this ocean is not always like a bathtube. The golf course is designed right into that landscape, following the slight bow of the cliff. Through the clouds the sun highlights a hill here, a Teebox there. The fairways snuggle alongside the dunes, the beach grass waving in the wind. Hares hobble past.
As a kid, me and my brother used to play hide and seek in our summer vacations in dunes like that. Now it´s the ball and me playing that game, only that the ball never seems to seek for me. Thanks God the Caddies are with us! Not only that they have eagle eyes and find balls even in the deepest beach grass, but they help us a lot not to get in the Hide-and-Seek-Situation.
After 4 holes I understand where the respectful tone comes from. If you try to play a links like a normal course, you probably wont have much fun. Wind, rocksolid ground and undulated greens corrupt your usual distances and directions.
But following the Caddies tips (or at least try to) I had one of the greates rounds of golf ever. Not speaking in terms of scoring, but in terms of pure fun with the game of golf. Taking 2 clublenghts shorter than I normally would have to attack a hill well in front of the flag and watching how the ball bumps and rolls all the way down the green. Aiming a putt in a ridiculous direction to see how the egg zigzags into the cup. And in the rare case of a wide fairway in front and wind from the back a Drive that gives even me the feeling of being a real Longhitter.