|Links Corner Course Database ID Number - 1731
CLIPNOTES by Ben Bateson (ousgg)
Please remember that Clipnote reviews are the opinion of one person and do not constitute an 'Official' Links Corner review of the course.
Fictional, links course
Not the real Irish course by the same name, Balmoral is squeezed into a
narrow stretch of sand dunes along an unspecified, but presumably
Scottish coastline. If you can ignore the cramped feeling and a few
eccentricities, it works delightfully well, the designer aiming for an average
seaside links with a few twists and turns. It appears longer than it actually
is, thanks to a little bit of gimmickry (the 11th might just be the best 100-
yard hole I've ever seen), the unusual amalgamation of the greens and tee
boxes and a terrific understanding from the designer as to what constitutes good borderline-fantasy golf. The tight space and myriad
objects just off the track help you appreciate the atmosphere all the more.
There's a lovely soft feeling to this course: the textures have been admirably chosen and blended, although I do have a reservation
about the Tee Area texture, which just looks odd, rather than worn or divoted. The amount of customisation is likewise brilliant (the
Balmoral Hotel has been exported wholesale from central Edinburgh!). Lack of planting options have meant a lot of cloning in the
gorse, although this isn't really visible from the golfer's perspective. The other flipside is some towering and unrealistic dunes towards
the turn. But on the whole, it's a view most definitely worth having.
Knockout! Purists might not like Balmoral too much, but anyone who feels able to put their golfing pedanticism on hold will adore the
variety of this coure. Tee shots tend not to be too strategic, but the use of sand dune elevations and links-like ridges and swales
means that every shot thereafter will require thought. It's not the most varied course, to be honest, but it is damn entertaining.
With wide open fairways and a course length under 6500 yards, it's a no-brainer to guess that Balmoral is pretty easy. After the first
couple of holes you'd be forgiven for thinking a sub-60 round was on the cards. Thankfully, the whole thing tightens up thereafter by
bringing the gorse a bit more into play. The wide open fairways will always guarantee birdies, though.
Any course with such a large amount of customisation is worth playing round a couple of times; this one is no exception. It's a great
piece of work, not least in the well-handled surface and mesh. I can't say I'm keen on a couple of texture choices - the tees and sod
walls most notably. Perhaps it might desirable to have used a little more space, but Noah's talent for innovation is well-grounded here.
||Links straying toward fantasy land, but a terrifically enjoyable round of golf regardless.
|This course is available as a FREE download.
Please support Links Corner