G – Galway Bay
GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A
I am showcasing one golf club a day across GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order. Full write up and more images can be found on http://golfgurugroup.blogspot.com.
Renville, Oranmore, County Galway, Ireland.
There is something quite familiar about Galway Bay, and until recently I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Then it came to me! Every year we sing about Galway Bay along with the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl in the classic Fairytale of New York!
Arriving at Galway Bay
I genuinely had no idea what I might expect, I don’t always like to research where I’m going so it doesn’t cloud my personal judgement or generate any preconceptions. So I didn’t know if this course was a links, parkland or heathland.
I was playing some of the courses along the Wild Atlantic Way with a few other journalists when we stopped at Galway Bay. A warm welcome was upon us in no time in a bustling modern clubhouse having a quick warm up before playing. When I say warm up, I mean drink in huge coffee cups, not on the driving range!
Ready to play
We set off up hole one and back down hole two, before moving away again from the clubhouse. This time in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean. Whilst being so close to the Ocean, it isn’t a links course. It is a good strong parkland course laid out to enjoy the sea views as well as the sea breeze.
Former Ryder Cup player and Snr British Open winner, Christy O’Connor, Jnr is the golf course designer. His plan was to create a course in tune with nature, whilst accommodating golfers of all abilities. A man with a plan, he drew from his vast experience as golfer. With the rugged Galway Bay as the backdrop, trees bunkering and water hazards were finely tuned to give us the golf course of today.
I recall the putting surfaces to be consistently good.
That in itself can’t be an easy task bearing in mind its location and the ever changing wind direction. Playing the eleventh hole a par 4 333/423 yards, SI 2/3 was good fun with its drive over water to a dog leg left. Bunkers aplenty and the clubhouse in sight.
But turn back away again to take on the 12th, a great hole playing quite differently from the forward and back tees. 384/469 yards SI 14/1 and a par 5 forward, par 4 back tees. It is a hole to bat cleverly and play for position. A dog leg right as it drops down the hill to the green with the Atlantic in front of you as you take on the water to the green. This hole is often featured amongst the top 18 holes in Irish golf. With views to the Burren, Co Clare; one of six nations parks in Ireland, the Aran Islands, Connemara and Galway City.
There were a few holes
Where the back and forward distances differences were quite large, with the par threes, being a little more even for distance on the front nine. With water featuring over 10 of the 18 holes, maybe that’s one of the reasons?
My game that day was a bit up and down, a few blobs then pars, with the back nine giving me some points back after a very lack lustre front nine! But I loved the feel of this club, playing a great parkland golf course with its natural beauty was a bonus after the welcome received in the clubhouse.
Nine miles away is Galway, City of the Tribes and the Cultural Heart of Ireland. And the heart of a good night out too!