The quality of Irish golf was never in doubt, but what ensures this is the case is the willingness of the top courses to constantly invest in development and The Island is the latest great golf course to show it’s commitment in this regard. Working with renowned golf course Architect, Martin Hawtree, The Island has just completed the first phase of what is a sensitive course development programme, encompassing works at holes 11, 12 & 14.
On the 11th hole, the green has been extended to face more into the fairway and the immediate approaches to the green have been re-contoured resulting in a stronger par four with a more traditional feel. The green at the 12th has been remodeled to eliminate a severe slope on the putting surface while the banks to the rear and right have been reinforced to disguise the exit path to the 13th tee. The par four 14th was already a memorable hole with the tidal foreshore as a hazard on the right hand side of the very narrow fairway but the tee has now been extended back to provide added length with the green being recontoured and also extended back in order to become more receptive to good approach shots.
Founded in 1890, The Island Golf Club is one of Ireland’s must-play links courses though it’s often overlooked by visiting golfers. Overlooked it may sometimes be but once visited the first time, the merits of The Island are never again underestimated. Every one of the beautifully sculpted holes is a scenic masterpiece and requires a great deal of skill and precision on the golfers’ part to outwit golf’s greatest designer… nature! It is surrounded on three sides by the sea and is a unique piece of land with the highest dunes of any of the Irish links courses and is a veritable haven for wild flowers and birds. The Island has been appointed an Open (British Open) Qualifying Venue from 2005 – 2011 and that is the regard that The Island is held within the golfing fraternity. It has hosted the Ladies Irish Close Championship in 1990, the Irish Close in 1997 and the Irish PGA in 1999 when Darren Clarke recorded a course record 63 in his second round.
So in short, the advice would be never to underestimate The Island Golf Club. It is a tough, traditional links that deserves it’s place at the top table of Irish links courses. It is a must-play venue and when in the Dublin area, should be played alongside the likes of The European Club, Portmarnock, Royal Dublin, Baltray (County Louth) and even Royal County Down to the North.