Most of the course is played over pure linksland with humpy, bumpy terrain where you are never quite certain where your ball will finish.
There are only 9 holes (well sort of 10 really) but most of them have different teeing areas for the second loop and they do significantly alter the play at many of the holes.
The reason I say 10 holes is that the 3rd & 12th share the same teeing ground but play to different greens! Quite unusually this hole crosses the Bushmills Heritage Railway which was built to the Irish narrow gauge of three feet and runs for two miles along the track bed of the former Giant’s Causeway Tram. I’ve played a lot of golf parallel to train-lines before but have never had to hit over one previously!
The first few holes are pure links and great fun. The green at the 1st/10th – where you play from a gloriously elevated tee with fantastic views - is ridiculously small and the entrance far too narrow for a hole that can play 440-yards but it doesn’t really matter - Bushfoot is best played not as a scoring course.
The 2nd/11th is ideally played from the low tee that must carry the River Bush and where the dippy green is quite exceptional and allows a ball to be fed in from the right. The previously mentioned 3rd/12th is quite appealing from the tee but I’m not sure which green plays the best, probably neither of them in truth but if I had to keep just one it would be the 12th. The 4th/13th is rather uninspiring from the tee but the green complex is good. We then play two holes which are parkland in nature; the turf is softer and both are tree-lined. Bushfoot would be a better golf course without this ‘up and down’ pair.
Pleasingly, we return to superior terrain for the final three. The 7th/16th is a reasonable par-three. The 8th/17th is a wonderful two-shotter played to a square green set in a dell with an ‘up & over’ just shy of the green. Meanwhile, the 9th/18th covers the same fabulous terrain as the first and is a decent finisher.
If I were to recommend a round at Bushfoot to anybody I would advise going round just once – play to the 12th green and miss out the 5th & 6th. You’ll be back in the quaint clubhouse in less than an hour and will have a great time.
Copt Heath is a very fine parkland golf course that requires precision, plotting and a deft touch around the slick greens.
The Blue is a mix of American-style design and traditional English parkland. It's an unusual combination which makes the most of the terrain available. It was designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1994.