Golf Course Architecture - Issue 66, October 2021

60 as does the hill on the second hole at Hollinwell, means the green will favour an approach from the right. Although there is nothing quite so astounding as the first in the rest of the round, the remarkable ground movement continues throughout. It is a beautiful irony that the only fairway that does not contain a huge contour is the 534-yard par-four sixteenth, which falls a hundred feet from the top of the enormous dune called Magheramgorgan (also the name of the former Hackett course), the highest point of the round. Doak’s routing is perhaps the central strength of the golf course. At Pacific Dunes, in order to get the golfer to the ocean multiple times and in different directions, he requires the golfer to go on a couple of rather circuitous walks. They are not especially long, but for me at least, they felt odd and affected the way the course f lowed. At Barnbougle, a narrower patch of linksland and with the clubhouse in the middle, both nines are effectively out and back – a simpler routing but one that felt more instinctive to me. St Patrick’s mixes the two: the greater depth of the dunesland means that the architect can explore the property in a more varied way, but the course goes to the water twice, from either end. The first visit to the shore, at the fourth hole, is a grand ‘reveal’ which reminded me of the walk from the fourth green to the fifth tee at Barnbougle. It is a fabulous view, although anyone brave (or foolish) enough to play the hole from the 555- yard back tee should probably focus on the carry to the short grass rather than the view. Once clear of the fourth tee, the variety of the site and course starts to become clear. The first three holes are played in among the big dunes, and are classic ‘isolated’ holes, with nothing other than one’s immediate surroundings in view. The area at the centre of the site is more open: at first glance, it appears to be less dramatic, but only the most single minded dune- lover could fail to be inspired by the contours that reveal themselves. Perhaps the blandest land on the entire property is to be found in the drive zone of the par-five sixth. By coincidence, this land was among that cleared by the Nicklaus crew during their short stay: cleverly, Doak has left the cleared area (which, ten years on, has been shaped by wind and vegetation) as a ‘Hell’s Half-Acre’ style feature. The rise up to the green, though, and the substantial hump that fronts it, are far from bland. Again on the seventh, the view from the elevated tee suggests there is not that much going on on the hole. Even once in the fairway, it seems fairly level: it is only when the golfer gets within 100 yards or so of the green that the valley in front, the rise to the bunker that protects the ST PATR I CK ’ S L INKS The tee at fourteen plays downhill before turning right to a tucked green, while the first visit to the shore comes at the fourth (right), which can be played at 555 yards from the back tee