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Hole 1 – Eglinton
Gents 417 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 391 yards, Par 4
Bunkers and heather await the wayward tee shot on both sides but a straight drive should set up a long to mid iron blind approach to a green, well guarded by bunkers, particularly on the right.
Hole 2 – Winton
Gents 534 yards, Par 5 – Ladies 422 yards, Par 5
Avoiding bunkers from the tee is the key to this short par five. A good tee shot should give the longer hitter the opportunity to reach the green in two and set up a birdie chance. The green, which falls away gently to the back right and is guarded by bunkers either side, is hidden behind a low mound in the fairway.
Hole 3 – Fullarton
Gents 351 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 307 yards, Par 4
A delightful par four with a short game challenge - a deep and wide gully in front of the green. A good positional shot from the tee is required to set up a short iron approach to the narrow green. The approach must be accurate as heavy rough and whins await an overhit approach, whilst a short approach will gather into the gully, leaving a very difficult chip to the green.
Hole 4 – The Moor
Gents 292 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 273 yards, Par 4
Another par four, requiring accuracy from both tee and second shot. The main West Coast railway line is out of bounds on the left, running the full length of the hole. A good tee shot will set up a short iron approach to the plateau green, and although the hole is devoid of bunkers, danger awaits the overhit approach, with the River Irvine and the railway line lying behind the green, whilst an approach hit short will leave a difficult recovery chip up to the green.
Hole 5 – Sandface
Gents 287 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 226 yards, Par 4
This is a short, tricky par four to an elevated green, situated on the top of a sandface, from which the hole takes its name. The longer hitter may be tempted to go for the green, which is reachable in the right conditions, and could be well rewarded with a birdie or better if successful, although the pitfalls of failure are many should the green be attempted. The sensible play is a positional tee shot short of the fairway bunker, leaving a short iron approach up and over the sandface to the green.
Hole 6 – Cannon Hill
Gents 439 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 359 yards, Par 4
A long par four where the second shot is played from the top of cannon hill to the green in the low lying ground below. In calm conditions, the longer hitter is faced with the choice of attempting the long drive, positioned to the right of the marker post, in order to clear the brow of the hill and leave a much shorter approach shot, or playing the safer positional tee shot to the top of the hill to leave a long iron approach to the green. Bunkers also await the long drive at the base of the hill, so an element of luck is needed if the long drive is attempted. The green is well guarded by bunkers and an approach shot should err to the right for safety, as a shot pulled left and slightly long can find its way into the nearby River Irvine.
Hole 7 – The Cup
Gents 318 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 302 yards, Par 4
Running alongside the old Bogside race track, the ideal tee shot here should avoid the fairway bunkers and be positioned short of the slope up to the green, to leave a straightforward approach with a short iron. An overhit tee shot can run into trouble, particularly on the bank on the right. The green gathers from the back right and the position of the hole should be noted as a misjudged approach can leave a long putt on this green.
Hole 8 – Saddle Back
Gents 177 yards, Par 3 – Ladies 117 yards, Par 3
The first of only two par threes on the course, accuracy from the tee is key as the green is well guarded on both sides by bunkers and, as the name of the hole suggests, the putting surface tends to shed the ball towards the surrounds, from the middle of the green.
Hole 9 – Racecourse
Gents 459 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 376 yards, Par 4
A long par four to finish the outward half, which dog legs to the right. Two well positioned bunkers await the slightly wayward tee shot on the right, with heather on both sides of the fairway awaiting the wayward shot. A good tee shot to the dog leg will leave a long iron approach to the green which is guarded by four greenside bunkers.
Hole 10 – Braid
Gents 373 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 358 yards, Par 4
A fine par four where a good drive should come up short of the mid fairway bunker, positioned 317 yards from the tee. The approach shot should be hit to the right of the flag where the slope of the green from right to left provides one of the significant defences of this hole.
Hole 11 – Grandstand
Gents 464 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 403 yards, Par 5
A very long and testing par four which dog legs to the left. The ideal tee shot is over the group of bunkers which lie 206 yards from the tee, leaving a long iron approach to a narrow green, guarded by bunkers on both sides. A difficult hole where par will be a very good result.
Hole 12 – Arran
Gents 385 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 347 yards, Par 4
This is a short par four which dog legs to the left, dropping down to the green which lies at the foot of a slope. Position from the tee is more important than length. With three bunkers at the apex of the dog leg, the ideal tee shot is just to the right of, or over, the furthest right of the trio. This will leave a short iron approach which will need some skill and imagination, depending on the prevailing conditions, to negotiate the slope to the green and successfully hold the putting surface.
Hole 13 – Snodgrass
Gents 431 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 380 yards, Par 4
An excellent par four with a blind tee shot over a grass bank. The tee shot should be over or right of the marker post as anything to the left is likely to flirt with the out of bounds fence which runs the length of the hole on that side. The approach shot, generally a mid to long iron, is played to a narrow green which is guarded by bunkers on both sides. Err to the right with the approach for safety, as the out of bounds fence lies only a few yards to the left of the green.
Hole 14 – The Specs
Gents 378 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 306 yards, Par 4
Avoid the bunkers on both sides of the fairway from the tee to set up a mid to short iron approach to the green which lies over a grass bank containing the two bunkers from which the hole takes its name. The green is two-tiered, making the accuracy of the approach important if a three putt is to be avoided.
Hole 15 – Bartonholm
Gents 338 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 312 yards, Par 4
Named after the village which formerly stood nearby and was home to the Irvine Golf Club’s three Scottish Champions, this short par four is relatively straightforward if the bunkers which await the wayward tee shot are avoided. The approach to the green is narrow and guarded on both sides by small bunkers, whilst an approach which is too long will leave a difficult chip back up the slope at the back of the putting surface.
Hole 16 – Redburn
Gents 157 yards, Par 3 – Ladies 121 yards, Par 3
The second of the par threes on the course, bunkers guard the front and both sides of the green. Although there are no bunkers through the green, a slope at the rear makes any recovery from there a stern test.
Hole 17 – The Warren
Gents 438 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 384 yards, Par 4
Considered by many to be the most difficult tee shot on the course, accuracy is essential with whins and heavy rough on the right, whilst the fairway on the left slopes down towards heather and rough. A good tee shot leaves a mid iron approach to a green which gathers the ball in from both front and back.
Hole 18 – Flagstaff
Gents 356 yards, Par 4 – Ladies 277 yards, Par 4
The final tee shot does not need to be long, with the main objective being to negotiate the grass bank in front of the tee. The tee shot should be aimed at or right of, the right side of the clubhouse as heavy rough and out of bounds awaits the wayward shot to the left. A successful tee shot will leave a short iron approach to a green which is guarded by seven bunkers and a gully to the front. The approach should err to the right side of the green for safety as the out of bounds line lies very close to the left edge of the green.