Location: Dublin, Ireland
Course architect: William Chalmers Pickeman
Tee – Yardage | Slope:
Blue – 7,454 | 141
White – 6,935 | 136
Green – 6,705 | 133
Yellow – 5,851 | 124
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$$ [$400]
Weekday green fee: $$$$$ [$360]
Caddie service: Yes
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: Fine fescue
Greens: Fine fescue
Starter: A world-ranked golf course that is immaculately groomed, Portmarnock is a must for any golfer looking to get a taste of links golf at its finest. Pormarnock is ranked No. 58 on Golf Digest’s most current list, and No. 3 in Ireland. The course hasn’t changed much over 100 years, but it still offers a fair challenge on every hole. Portmarnock also has a Who’s Who membership in Ireland. You might even see Michael Higgins, the country’s president.
Play because …: You’ll enjoy it. Play the correct set of tees, knowing that a typically strong wind makes this course play 300 yards longer than what is listed on the scorecard. The layout is situated on a spit of land jutting out into the Irish Sea, just north of Dublin. There are no blind tee shots and the dunes are not steep, but there is no finer landscape in all of Ireland. The members at Portmarnock are rightly bullish on their home course and they think it’s the best in the land.
Takeaway: Portmarnock will never disappoint. From the hospitality of the pro shop staff to the menu in the grill room after a round, Portmarnock is a full and fun golf experience. History lives here. The Irish Open Amateur was played here in 1899 and the Irish Professional Open came to Portmarnock in 1927. Phil Mickelson went 3-1 in helping the United States to a Walker Cup Match victory here in 1991. And the British Amateur will be at Portmarnock in 2019, helping the club to celebrate its 125th anniversary.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 9.0
Pro shop: 8.0
Pace of play: 7.5
The hole is hard, but at least the green complex is not as penal as most. The hole's only two greenside bunkers are short and right. [Photo: Portmarnock Golf Club]
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 7 [184 | 171 | 157 | 133 yards]
This is the only par 3 that will play downwind most of the time, so choose one club less than the yardage dictates. The green is 43 yards deep, so it’s not uncommon to have a lengthy putt, even if the green is found. It is rated the easiest hole on the first nine, but it is also the only par 3 on the front side.
Best par 4: No. 4 [474 | 441 | 435 | 386 yards]
This hole is listed as the toughest, but it is also fun if played from the correct set of tees. First of all, find the right half of the fairway to have the green visible for a mid-iron approach. The green is accessible, as it has only two bunkers off the right side of the putting surface. Par is a good score here, but that is all predicated on a good tee shot. No pressure.
Best par 5: No. 13 [565 | 549 | 538 | 471 yards]
Don’t get trapped along the right side of this hole off the tee. Keep the ball on the left side of the hole all the way to the green and open looks will present themselves all the way — and a chance to make a birdie. It’s shortest of the three par 5s, but it requires conservative play. A long hitter can, perhaps, avoid the numerous bunkers on the righthand side just short of the green. Land in one of those five bunkers, may cost not only a birdie, but a par.
Rater: Craig Smith