Doonbeg and Rosses Point golf clubs feel the brunt of recent Atlantic storms
Like a lot of links courses, Dooks escapes worse of the carnage because of rock armour protection
Unfortunately for Doonbeg, it is not permitted – the links designed by the Great White Shark being built on an area of special conservation – to have similar rock armour erected along its dune complexes.
The signature par-three 14th hole at Doonbeg – perilously perched over the Atlantic and already one of the more famed short holes in global golf – survived, thankfully, although Russell said work would be required. Apart from the loss of the back tee on the 18th, a segment of the fairway was also lost there to the elements.
“Each winter, over the past 10 years, we have to deal with what comes in off the ocean . . . and there is no doubt this is the hardest hit (taken),” said Russell, who added that the necessary repair work would be undertaken in time for the important golf tourist season ahead. Indeed, despite the effects of the storms, the links remained open and there was golf traffic on the links yesterday.
Up and down the western seaboard, a large number of golf courses continue to be involved in clean-up operations.
On the old course at Lahinch, over 100 volunteers yesterday filled more than 500 black bags with rubbish – everything from a dead fish to litter and seaweed – and will return again today to finish the job at hand. The worst affected area was the third hole, which runs close to the promenade where giant waves caused structural damage but only resulted in flooding on the golf course.
The four holes closest to the sea at Galway Golf Club – where general manager Páraic Fahy estimated some 212 tonnes of stones and sand was dumped onto the course following the storm – will likely remain closed until next week, as a major clean-up operation is undertaken.
The situation at Rosses Point, however, is rather more serious with general manager David O’Donovan estimating the repair work could cost up to €200,000 after the rock barrier by the 17th fairway was breached resulting in a two and half metres chunk of land disappearing and which has left the sea “too close for comfort” to the links. Some 2,000 square metres of dunes – land reclaimed in the past 20 years – by the 13th and 14th holes was also lost to the elements inside the last week.
More worrying for all at Rosses Point, the subsequent tides have militated against early repair work to protect the 17th from the sea and unable to get rock and sand back into the exposed area.