4 ROYAL COUNTY DOWN
Architect: T Morris
2006 position: 3
Stats: 6,881 yds; par 71; SSS 73
T: 028 4372 2419
We’ve all seen the wonderfully evocative photos of fairways cutting through swathes of gorse, flanked by sea and mountains. And we’ve all longed to play there. Finally, I have, and I’m delighted to say the reality lives up to the photographic hype. Newcastle is a special place, and a thoroughly entertaining test, with or without wind. Critics may denounce the number of blind shots, but as Tommy Armour once said, “There’s no such thing as a blind shot to a man with a memory.” So no excuses second time round, which is something that can’t come soon enough after the first. JE
+ Magnificent backdrops; immense test; excellent recent redesign work
– Several blind shots; incongruous pond on 17; expensive in high season
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