Reason for a Irvine (Bogside) Golf Club review
We were covering the Open at Royal Troon and, with Irvine not much more than a well hit driver away from the action, we popped out for a Sunday morning round before the fireworks between Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson got under way.
Where is Irvine?
More commonly known as Bogside, Irvine is 15 minutes from Glasgow Prestwick airport and 45 minutes from the city centre.
What to expect?
Irvine feels like two very different courses.
The opening seven or eight holes – and the closing two – have some very quirky features and are both a delight and a head-scratcher to play.
Around the turn and the site of the old racecourse, it becomes much more conventional – involving seven consecutive par 4s (three of which are well over 400 yards) – before returning towards the clubhouse.
The 5th, the appropriately named Sandface, is indicative what you can expect as you get your round into stride.
A very driveable par 4, measuring just 226 yards off the yellow tees, an enormous bunker is carved into the hill.
Some 40 yards from the green, it shouldn’t come into consideration at all but, like a lot of the visual tricks you will see at Irvine, it can get into the heads of the weak minded.
My best bit?
You won’t see a more intimidating tee shot than that which faces you on the 292-yard 4th, known as The Moor.
You need to be bolt straight here, with the West Coast railway line hugging tight on the left hand side along the entire length of the hole.
I hit a lovely Crossover into a slight dip, which left me no more than a half 9-iron to a raised green.
It was perfect and I was delighted to come away with a par.
The stroke index might only be 11 but danger awaits everywhere. Hit it over the back of the green and the River Irvine will swallow up your ball.
It’s quite simply a fantastic hole.
When I go back?
I’ll be a bit more patient on the back 9.
I like a bit of variety, and I’m a strong fan of good par 5s, so, initially, I found it repetitive to be playing a lot of par 4s and the same driver, 5-iron combination.
On hindsight, I failed to wholly appreciate the quality of holes like the 13th – with its imposing out of bounds all the way down the left hand side.
I’ll also try not to strike the huge bunkers that provide an imposing entrance to the closing Flagstaff.
This is a novel and wonderful 18th and, if you can steer a steady path, there is every chance a birdie can finish a very entertaining day’s golf at Irvine.