From October 2019 – March 2020, The Island Golf Club carried out an update of the front 9 with the changes designed by Ebert & McKenzie. The purpose of these changes was to elevate the level of the front 9 in order to match the standard of our much-loved back 9. Below are descriptions of our 18 holes, courtesy of member Philip Walton (Walker Cup 1981 and 1983, Ryder Cup Winner 1995).
1. Partridge Hollow
An extremely tough opening hole, almost due east in direction. Best to play down the left half as missing the fairway on either side considerably increases the difficulty of the approach shot to a raised green which slopes from back to front.
2. Caul’s View
Named after our celebrated late head greenkeeper and international golfer whose work and direction played a major part in the implementation of the architectural changes to our links. A slight dog-leg left which requires driving to the right side of the fairway, especially if playing against the prevailing wind. A mid-iron shot at least is required to a severely sloping green.
3. Lambay (Updated 2020)
Now a Par 5, this hole offers a little respite to the previously difficult opening stretch at The Island. Two new natural fairway bunkers offer a great visual and shape to the tee shot. Getting a good drive away will set up potential for a nice lay up or, for the longer hitters, a chance to reach the green in two. Accuracy is vital on the shot to the green as the severe slope on the right will leave you with a difficult up and down. There is also one hidden green-side bunker on the left.
4. Portrane (New Hole 2020)
The first Par 3 at The Island is an especially picturesque hole with an elevated view of the coast and that plays 5-15 yards downhill depending on what tee you play from. An upside-down saucer green guarded by two bunkers means that precise club choice is crucial.
5. Skylark’s Nest (New Hole 2020)
A long par 4 that plays into our prevailing wind here at The Island. A fade off the left mounds is the ideal shot to get the best angle in. The green, perched up a few feet above fairway level is guarded by a treacherous bunker short right and severe slopes on all sides.
The only blind driving hole on the course to undulating fairway. Drive over the pole or right side of fairway for best approach to well protected green.
Played from the highest tee on the links, there are two bunkers to negotiate. A natural bunker on the right and one riveted fairway bunker under the sand dune on the left which deters the longer hitters from attempting to drive the green. The wise golfer will hit the tee shot short of the bunkers allowing for a full shot to the green which tends to be difficult to hold.
8. Tower (New Hole 2020)
A well struck drive, right of the fairway bunkers is required on this difficult par 4 to set up a mid-long shot into the well-guarded green. A green side bunker on the front right, married with a gradual run-off on the left-hand side means that accuracy is vitally important to avoid a high number here.
9. Sand Martin (New Hole 2020)
A fairway that bends right to left suggests hitting a tight draw around the corner is essential here. However, just finding the fairway on the final hole on the front 9 is key. Hitting into the rough dunes on either side will make it next to impossible to reach the green in two shots. The green is protected by a bunker on the front right and is surrounded by rough dunes long and left to catch the errant approach shot.
Dog-leg right off the tee to fairway which throws the ball right as you approach the green. Many brave golfers drive as close to the out of bounds as possible. Tempting two-shotter for long hitters but beware of the valley on the right.
11. Cricket Field
Favour left hand side of fairway for easier approach to green.
A challenging dog-leg left played over a valley to an elevated green. Play your tee shot as close as possible to the hill on the left. Any tee shot played too far right usually runs off the fairway and into the right rough leaving a difficult approach shot.
A classic short hole. If you clear the large grass bunker which guards the front of the green you may be rewarded with a birdie. Out of bounds on the right. The alternative is to play safe down the left side and chip on.
14. Old Clubhouse
A very intimidating hole because of the narrow fairway with a lateral water hazard on the right. It’s best to aim for the edge of the left rough off the tee which will throw the ball into the centre of the fairway. Missing the fairway on the right forces the ball into the water hazard.
A great links hole which is best played down the left side of fairway except on approach to green where a green side bunker awaits the wayward shot.
Par 3 – Long iron up the hill to the elevated green.
17. Ireland’s Eye
This difficult penultimate driving hole to a narrow back fairway tends to throw the ball to the right throughout it’s length. Beware of the large grass bunker on the left off the tee.
18. Boulia Field
One of the finest finishing holes on any links. Played almost to the limit of par fours, it demands a straight drive into or through the valley, depending on conditions. from the valley the hole opens up to a vista with the green on rising ground. Pin position is a major factor as the green is the deepest on the links.