When it seems time for something completely different, a journey to Cruit (pronounced ‘Critch’) Island would fit the bill more aptly than most. This 9-holer finds itself in the north-western extremity of Donegal and therefore Ireland. I can’t really tell you where it is – but we did go past Glenveagh National Park on our way. What I can tell you is that you must come and have a game here. Forget the logistics and trust me when I say that it will make you happy.
Yes, we were lucky enough to play on a gorgeous early summer evening but I’d enjoy it here in just about any conditions. With water on all sides, it’s a visual treat. And the small but perfectly formed clubhouse is a delight. But more than that, the holes here are very, very good. Outrageous in places, yes. Baffling on first acquaintance, yes. But that’s OK because you get to have another go on your second nine, which I enjoyed even more than the first.
No one knows who designed the course, and yet all the holes work while being rich in character. The par 4s are generally short but well defended with tiny greens. In total, the nine holes add up to a shade over 2,500 yards.
On the 3rd you play down towards the ocean and pitch down to the green. I loved the 5th, which is within range from the tee. Miss it on the wrong side though and you are snookered. Then there is the show-stopping 6th – played from one edge to another over the rocks. It’s only a short iron on a calm day but it really could call for any club in the bag.
The next hole involves a blind pitch – surely one of the hardest shots in golf – to a bowl green while the 9th is another tempter: do you smash a drive over the corner of the hill or lay up to the angle and wedge in. We concluded the latter was the better policy.