COUNTY SLIGO, Ireland -- There are moments at Enniscrone Golf Club that elicit sheer amazement.
The walks along Scurmore beach for holes 9-10 and along the Atlantic Ocean for holes 15-17 are peaceful if the wind isn't howling.
The heart of the back nine disappears into dunes that would make mountain goats cower. This run of wild holes from nos. 12-14 showcases the changes made that elevated Enniscrone among the top links on the Emerald Isle.
Enniscrone sits isolated in the northwest, sandwiched between County Sligo Golf Club (one hour to the east) and Carne Golf Links (one hour, 15 minutes to the west). It's worth finding, especially with a stay-and-play at the luxurious Mount Falcon Country House Hotel & Spa 25 minutes away in Ballina.
The original routing of Enniscrone was done by Irish architect Eddie Hackett in the 1970s. Armed only with a modest budget and limited modern equipment, Hackett laid out holes on flat land adjacent to towering dunes. Two decades later, British architect Donald Steel was able to reroute the course by designing six new holes to give birth to the championship Dunes Course. Some existing holes make up the nine-hole Scurmore Course.
Blind shots are common when golfers enter such extreme environs. The second shot of the par-5 second hole and par-5 14th hole require a bit of guesswork on the line of play. The reward in both cases is a green overlooking the ocean. Aim the elevated tee shot of the short 350-yard 13th hole at the white rock set upon a ridge. This conservative route provides safe passage through the dunes. The climax comes at the elevated 17th tee box, overlooking a fun 149-yard par 3 and the ocean. What a dynamite finish on such an under-appreciated links.