Strand(hill). Out West.
If you follow Seed at all, you’ll know of our ‘LinksLife’ search… looking for Irelands best value links golf experiences.
We’ve had a stack of suggestions since Corballis, and our latest journey took us all the way to Strandhill in County Sligo.
Strandhill Golf Club is a links course that Christy O’Connor Senior once described it as ‘the hidden gem of the west’ and it comes well recommended… unusual for a Links Life venue.
While often forgotten in the shadow of its more famous neighbour, County Sligo, we discovered Strandhill is a fun and quirky golf course that delivers the full links experience and offers great value for money. A perfect ‘links life’ venue really.
When you arrive at the Pro Shop, the course is all there for you to see, lots of open green space, dunes and sweeping views down to the beach. Definitely a links course.
As we soon discovered, there’s pretty much everything here… elevated tees, blind tee shots, coastal views, massive dunes and holes played along the beach.
Once out on the track, you’ll find what’s best described as an eclectic mix of holes. Some our championship style golf whilst others are… well, unusual in that links golf kinda way.
The variety is the result of the varied landscape and the course expanding with new holes being added over the years (Eddie Hackett extended the course to 18 holes in 1973). Ultimately though, it all works together for an enjoyable and memorable experience.
The course is not long, but like all links courses plays longer due to the coastal breeze. Breeze is probably being polite, it was closer to a three-club gale on the day we played.
The opening tee shot is a little tricky, and the course then traces the coastline for a few holes under the watchful eye of the Knocknarea mountain. From there, it opens up into a fantastic little stretch and holes 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 15, 16 would not be out of place on some of the more famous links courses in Ireland.
13 really caught our attention, it is a truly unique hole… an elevated tee provides several options to find a (mostly hidden) snake-like fairway which cuts it way through the largest dunes on the course. From there, you’re faced with a shot to a tiny green almost entirely surrounded by dunes with just a small opening at the front to give you a glimpse of the flag. It’s unique, and holes like this stay in the memory bank long after you’ve left the 19th.
At just under 6000 meters and a par-70, purists may suggest Strandhill is too short to provide truly great test and although the wind we played in showed Strandhill at its toughest, it’s definitely a fun little track and worth checking out.
Green fees are only €35 for 18 holes (GUI Members) midweek, or €40 on the weekend. Both are great value for money.
Regardless, the view from the clubhouse over the course and down to the beach after the round is worth it alone.