Meet the men who are more than just bag-carriers

Andrew Marshall
Thu, 10 Feb 2011

Here, Norman and his team have achieved their goal of ‘least disturbance’ to the existing sand hills by letting the terrain dictate the routing, avoiding long climbs across the highest dunes by using them as backdrops for many greens.

Indeed, most fairways were simply mowed to play the natural contours which pitch and roll with every ridge and rumple of earth. Holes play up, and down, beside and around the towering sentinels. Bunkers are dug by hand, some edged by tall layers of stacked sod, others by shaggy tufts of native grass.

At just under 6,900 yards from the tips, it’s a short course by contemporary standards, but Australian’s design places a premium on accuracy so the advice from caddies will be to 'keep it on the short stuff.'

The 373-yard par-4 6th runs parallel to the crescent beach of Doughmore Bay (inspiration for the distinct Doonbeg logo) and caddie Eric Murrihy advises his charge: “Be brave, hit your drive down the line of the beach and let the ball ride on the wind back into the fairway.” Once safely in the fairway to tells his man: “With the second shot, it’s critical to avoid the deepest bunkers on the course. Try to find the middle of the green or slightly right.”

After completing the 7th, the first and longest of the par-3s nestled in a ‘colisseum’ of smaller dunes, the walk to the tee of the 595-yard par-5 8th is always anticipated by the caddies because  it’s here that the food van is always parked to help stoke up against the stamina-sapping course.

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