There are few obvious birdies on this course. The first is a short par 3. The second is on the edge of the sea. For Ladies it is 364 yards to the flag. It was at the back leaving little space between the hole, the gorse and the sea. The green undulates and frustrates. It was a taster of many more tests to come. The course demanded not power but accuracy. The ability to use strategy even when blind. The willingness to dare a tricky shot. The fifth takes you back to the clubhouse where none of us resisted the temptation to play to the gallery.
What made it difficult was the overwhelming greens curved and shaped in every direction, the blind drives up and over hills, the unexpected expanses of rough terrain but in truth I found this course isn’t so much a physical as a mental challenge. The actual distances between tee and green for Ladies are almost benign; only 4 holes over 350 yards. So why is it that when faced with the 11th down a slope with the sea to the left and a massive bank to the right that a straight hitter wobbles on the tee and produces less than best? Why on the 13th tee facing half a lake and a wee hill knowing topping 175 yard drives is easy suddenly gets forgotten and fear creeps in that the ball will fail to fly the 117 yards from tee to green? So many holes have features which invited my mind to go crazy and thus I screwed up my game. It is a course which reminded me my mind may be my best friend but out of control is my worst enemy. Each shot demanded careful consideration and selection of clubs. When off the fairway I learned to get back on fast as this course scatters neutral unemotional play to the winds.
The golf course was in fantastic condition. The sun shone. There was little wind- perfect conditions. I could not have had more delightful companions than President Greta Scully and Ladies Captain Mary Murphy. Nonetheless it was the beauty of the course; discovering the sea on 14 of the holes, feeling the peace, seeing the grandeur of the hills, observing wild flowers in the rough that made Bantry Bay unforgettable.
- Length: 6144 yards Ladies 4,973
- Address: Bantry Bay Golf Club, Bantry Bay, Co Cork
- Telephone:00353 (0) 2750579