20 | NZ Golf Magazine | July 2019 The Valley Course is home to the Rathbone Golf Club, where 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell played as a junior. They keep a car park for him. Dunluce the next day turned out to be every bit as good as what we’d been led to believe about its subtlety and challenge. Like many links courses, the fairways are generously wide, but there’s not much point in looking for it if you hit your ball into the wild stuff off to the side. (For the full tour, we played Irish rules. If you hit the ball in the rough, you didn’t go looking. We took a one shot penalty about where it might have gone in and kept on playing. That meant over 12 days, 16 golfers together lost an average of about 30 balls a day. They say selling golf balls is one of Ireland’s great industries. I can see why.) The most famous hole at Dunluce is what we saw in the Open as the par 3 16th. It’s usually the 14th, but whatever number you put on it, the name of the hole is about as appropriate as it can get - “Calamity.” Depending on which tee you’re playing from, “Calamity ” is anywhere from 236 to 195 yards. The hole is on one of the highest parts of the course, there is a yawning, long grass covered sand dune for the uphill tee shot to carry from the tee to a generously sized green, with a bailout area on the front left. Time may play tricks with one’s memory, but something tells me I hit a rescue club to the left edge, chipped to about three feet and holed the putt. Then again, that might have been with my second ball. Access to both courses at Royal Portrush is possible if you book ahead and are prepared to pay. Dunluce, when it reopens after the Open, will be over $400 a round. It’s a fair schlep to get there but if you can do those two courses, plus Portstewart and the other course in the area called Ballyreagh, as well as visited Dunluce Castle where parts of Game of Thrones were filmed, you would have had quite the trip. Avoid Bushmills though, unless you want to shoot a par round. View from behind the green looking back to the tee on the par 3, 16th hole 'Calamity Corner' on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club the host venue for the 2019 Open Championship. FEATURE