T – The Island
GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A
Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I. It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland. Full write up’s and more images can be found on golfgurugroup.blogspot or www.golfgurugroup.com Travelling Lady Golfer tab. So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information, if needed.
Feel free to share them to help others.
The Island Golf Club, Corballis, Donabate, Co Dublin, Ireland
Founded in 1890, The Island GC is one of the first twelve golf clubs in Ireland. It’s the third oldest in Dublin, predating Portmarnock by four years. Despite its name The island is not on an island but on a spur of land with the sea on three sides. For the first 100 years of the clubs life, even up until 1973, access to the golf course was via boat, across the estuary from Malahide. In the early days golfers would be dropped off for their round of golf. A large red and white disc hanging on the side of the clubhouse, was the signal to the boatsmen to collect the golfers for their return. If the weather became inclement the only way back was around the inlet. Whilst today this poses no problem, back then it was a long and arduous journey. In fact The Island is now only 15 minuets from Dublin Airport by road today.
Described as the definition of Links golf, The Island is one of the finest links courses with Fred Hawtree, Eddie Hackett and more recently Martin Hawtree having stakes in its evolving design.
It is true to say that when I played The Island, I played the old design, so I will endeavour to give you a brief synopsis of the redesigned front nine. The back nine was always the stronger of the two, so largely remains unchanged.
Mackenzie & Ebert
Were appointed to look at elevating the plan of the front nine to match the back. As luck would have it Martin Hawtree had built an extra hole, the 19th. So incorporating this into the new design, the weaker 8th and 9th have been shuffled along to give us the course today. The creating of new sand dunes was not taken lightly. The objective was to recreate natural dunes in the places the new design needed. Analysis was done on the existing dunes and with careful planning the building was undertaken to achieve such a task. It has been said that the new par 3 fourth hole will become one of the best short links holes anywhere. These works were completed last year (2020).
As the course is naturally nestled between some of the highest sand dunes in golf which is a test in itself for golfers. With the introduction of the new front nine, leaves me wanting to go back and play The Island again …. and again.
Standing on the tee
On a reasonably sunny but cold day, I was blown away by the sheer natural beauty of this golf course laid out in front of me. As if large historic worms had burrowed around the fairways, leaving mounds now over grown with long grasses. The scene were something akin to a lunar landscape. The fairways also carried the tame version of those earth worm mounds. Which added to the drama of the course, especially when the sun was shining and shadows created. I do recall playing with the water on the right hand side, hitting a cracking shot which went slightly right towards the water and towards the OOB. But I was feeling quite smug thinking, thats good, I’m safe. But I didn’t find that ball, I was mortified as I saw ‘exactly where it went’, but obviously I didn’t! I became an Island victim, by not taking this course seriously enough!
I loved playing on the greens at The Island, thinking how smooth (and fast) they were, they are a pleasure to play on.
Who would have thought that in 1887 four men and a boat could have had the foresight to build a golf course on this beautiful peninsular. Created by a syndicate of ten wealthy men negotiating a lease on the land and offering up to five clubhouses in the early days. Mens membership tickets were admitted in 1896 with women’s membership tickets being admitted the following year. The syndicate model was passed down until 1952 when the syndicate of that time handed over the entire interest in the club to its existing members.
A true traditional members golf club with nice friendly people to greet you.