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A bus will not suffice.
To get to the next stop on our Golden Tee 2015 world tour, we will need a plane. Or maybe a boat. Or maybe some sort of plane-boat hybrid. Regardless, we need a fridge (and a grill) on whatever we're traveling on because we refuse to travel to Ireland without the finer things, mainly cheap domestic beer and artery-destroying consumables.
After hitting up Vegas (please send money), the first in-depth exploration, we’re off to Celtic Shores, a golfing experience far different than anything you’ve played.
“But it sounds a lot like Highland Links,” said the man in the back who was promptly escorted off our plane-boat hybrid.
It’s different, much different, and we’re going to tell you why.
Let’s get to it. Here’s what you can except of the second course in Golden Tee 2015.
Nature gives us enough obstacles to think about, especially on a links-ish course that comes down to battling the elements. But here in Ireland we also have other human-crafted obstacles to worry about, and they are featured throughout the 18-holes trek.
They are not quite ruins, although the concrete structures don’t exactly look inhabitable, either. Regardless of what you want to call the buildings scattered throughout Celtic Shores, they are very much in play throughout your round.
You won’t see them on every hole, but they will pop up every now and then.
On the front nine, you’ll have the opportunity to go around, over and through one of these structures depending on the setup (see: above). It will call for creativity, and the views will be tough to be beat. Be on the lookout for these various pieces of architecture, although don’t get too close.
(They are real, and golf balls bounce off them with purpose. Trust me on that one.)
A Different Kind of Pot Bunker
When you think golf across the pond, you think about the sand traps you will undoubtedly find yourself in, some of us more than others.
Yes, there are some links qualities with Celtic. The fescue can be evil, the rocks can be jagged and the winds can do incredible, round-altering things to your golf ball. But the sand traps are far different from your average links course—take Highland Links, for example. These bunkers were deep, deadly and somewhat obvious in nature.
The Celtic sand pits are more rugged in nature; they’re also not nearly as deep as some of the bunkers you’ve seen, which means you won’t be caught up against too many bunker walls sobbing openly in front of a room of strangers.
What they might lack in depth, however, they make up for in placement.
That, more than anything, stands out as you assess the various opportunities to find sand here. There is a lot of it—and I mean a lot—and it typically is where you want to be.
The Par-3 17th
Each year Golden Tee produces a handful of holes that could be featured on the poster for the entire update. The 17th hole on Celtic Shores could very well be the feature hole in 2015, and it meets all your necessary “that hole” criteria.
Big wind? Check.
Sloped, oddly shaped green? Check.
Hazard/trouble in the equation? Did you see the picture above?
It’s fair, beautifully designed and—with the right (wrong?) setup—incredibly challenging. It’s not the strong wind directly at you that you have to worry about; it’s the big out wind with a green sloping toward the water and the strong crosswind in either direction.
Managing the variables will be crucial. Focus on your distance, and the wind will get you. Try and combat that 15-mph gust from the left and you’ll go sailing long.
This is what a late Golden Tee hole is supposed to look like, and it lives up to our previously established expectations.
We have so much more to get to and not much time to get to it. Check out the rest of the course previews soon, coming your way before launch.