21 August 2015
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Portmarnock is sat on a peninsula which juts into the Irish Sea about eight miles northeast of Dublin, the course winding its way through rolling sand-hills over crisp turf. From the back tees it measures 7,365 yards, but its length and difficulty are determined by the force and direction of the wind. Pot bunkers abound and the rough is kept long and fierce. Greens are generally quite large, well contoured and subtly protected. The first three holes are relatively easy but from the 4th onwards the course just gets harder and harder. Harry Bradshaw was professional at the club for many years and considered the 5th the best hole on the course, with its blind drive and 200-yard carry to the fairway. Both par 5s coming home are splendid three shatters and in between is the 15th a par 3 with a long narrow green, falling away steeply on both sides. For many years it was the home of the Irish Open, in the week immediately after the Open Championship. The Irish returned for a brief visit in 2003 but in between the big event was the 1991 Walker Cup, an event memorable for our first sight of Phil Mickelson.