I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend at Trump Doonbeg for a wedding. At the moment there are only 9 holes of golf open and I took the opportunity to walk the changes to the golf course that I heard a lot of good reports about. I would like to think that I can offer a valid golfers opinion on these golf course alterations since I had spent 9 years working at the resort as a PGA Golf Professional.
The golf course in general:
Mr Martin Hawtree, please take a bow!
To date holes 4 to 12, 14, & 18 have all been worked on. Some of the new golf holes have a completely newly built greens with new green side bunkers. The middle section of the 4th hole’s fairways has been altered and there has being significant work completed to the 5th fairway. The new tee boxes are re-positioned and built on a bigger area, some of those new tee boxes have had their level height changed which will give you the feel of a new hole completely. On the 10th & 12th Mr Hawtree has added more sand dunes/hills in places and this has add more definition and better direction for the golfer to play the golf holes. But all of the golf holes except the 5th hole in comparison to the previous 5th hole are a whole lot better. To be fair to Mr Hawtree, I have not heard or read his project & philosophy method on the redesign of Trump Doonbeg and I suspect the 5th hole maybe still be in the development stage. I did like the previous 5th hole for two reasons; the first, is the quality of the ball strike needed to hit the fairway and then an equally as good a strike needed to hit the centre of the green. The second, if the wind was pointed in the right direction you could take a swing at driving the green and an easy 3 putt par for me.
Please note that the sand dune structure along the coast line at Doonbeg beach was significantly damaged by the winter storms 2013/2014. There are a number of environmental and procedural steps needed to be taken before the sand dunes can be fully protected with the various types of materials.
I like the following points on Mr Hawtree’s redesign:
That the mid to high handicap golfers can play more golf shots and they will get the ball closer to the hole from the softer hazards,
Easier to move the ball through the tough lies around the greens and I would suggest to use the putter around the greens more than the wedge
It will be easier to play out of the green-side bunkers and fairway-bunkers as the bunkers are not too/as deep, the lips of the bunkers and the bunker faces are not as steep.
The green side bunkers on the 18th, 12th, 8th are lot more playable than the previous shaped bunkers.
The fairway/rough bunkers approx 130 yards from the centre of the green on the left of the 4th hole are not as deep and the lips of the bunkers are not as steep as previous.
I like the rolling shapes of the new greens and you might spend a bit more time reading the line of the putt. But generally the slopes are not as severe as the previous undulating greens.
What I believe you can look forward to:
If you have played Doonbeg previously, I believe you will enjoy what is now Trump Doonbeg. There are still plenty of challenging holes to play and each Irish day has its own set of weather variables to deal with. But this is only 2015, there is more work to be undertaken on Trump Doonbeg this October 2015 and the finished golf course will be a fantastic addition to a golfer’s Irish Golf Tours from 2016/2017. If you are travelling around Doonbeg this coming year, may I suggest to you would to stop at op off in Doonbeg at Morrisseys Seafood bar and restaurant and enjoy the very best of Irish traditional seas food cuisine. Its awesome!
Please feel free to contact me with your questions and observations.
John Dooley PGA | Irish Golf Tours | www.conciergegolf.ie