Fun, fun, fun!

Portpatrick (Dunskey)

Portpatrick Golf Club (Dunskey)

Date Reviewed
July 14, 2021
Reviewed by Ed Battye
The Dunskey course at Portpatrick is one of the most fun and enjoyable I have played in Scotland.

This rollickingly good golf course in Dumfries & Galloway covers only 5,913 yards (par 70) but contains 18 individual holes that each has its own character and places the emphasis very much on fun.

Dating back to 1903 there are many blind shots, several crazy but excellent green complexes and orthodox is thrown out of the window for the majority of the round.

The terrain is rambunctious for the most part, rolling for the remainder and although the cliff-top geology and turf do not quite make this a true links course it often resembles one both in appearance and playability.

The first and second provide a gentle handshake with the course but give you an indication of the fabulous terrain you will be covering for the next few hours as the excellent routing allows us to explore the elevated property in a very adventurous manner, initially in the heart of the acreage before the back-nine leads us around the outer edge of the property.

Things start to get a little dicey at the par-five third where we face a blind second over the summit of a large hill before a partially blind approach over broken ground to a sunken green.

After a fine knob-to-knob par-three we then play to a plateau green at the next where stopping the ball is our greatest challenge because there really is nothing for short.

Another blind drive at the next, then an uphill par-three over a heathery hazard before a bending two-shotter to a sloping and twisting green. The front-nine ends with a more conventional hole and is over before you know it. Time flies when you're having fun!

The back-nine starts with a terrifying hole with houses in close proximity down the left, the 11th is a semi-blind par-three to an amazing green before the 12th takes us to the highest point on the course with the toughest hole on the course thanks to its hogsback fairway.

The next two holes both measure 293-yards. One is (very) downhill and the next is steeply uphill. Both are brilliant little holes with cunning greens that slope from right-to-left. Another par-three greets us at the 14th and once again all we can see is the top of the flag - it's only 106-yards and you should easily find the back-to-front sloping green but then the challenge starts, depending upon where the hole is located on another wonderful putting surface.

The last three holes are a little more conventional and are played over fast-running ground.

I paid just £10 to play in an open competition here and couldn't have had better value-for-money. In fact I've played inferior courses after shelling out a £100 green-fee.

Portpatrick is a real hidden gem, superb value and the golf is very good and highly entertaining. I visited on the way back from Ayrshire but it could equally be played before or after a trip to Northern Ireland via the Cairnryan/Stranraer ferry.

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