Hole 1 – The Pines – Par 3
A straight par 3 guarded by hedges hiding the 2nd and 9th fairways, ‘The Pines’ slopes downhill as soon as the ball leaves the tee. With the green sloping down from front to back, there is little reward for short tee shots with fast green to the hole. The safe shot here is to hit the back of the green/fringe and putt/chip up; catch the green and a birdy is very makeable.
Hole 2 – Out Of Sight – Par 4
At 412 yards of the white/green tees and seeing this hole for the first time, it’s easy to work out it’s stroke index of 1. A slight dog leg right from the bottom of the hill, this hole can be approached in many ways. The big hitters can take aim for the flat ground before the hill on the horizon, whilst shorter hitters can aim for the start of the bend in the fairway from the bottom of the hill or hill face. Once the tee shot is positioned, a blind second shot lies ahead for all golfers, with a two tiered green ‘Out of Sight’. The bottom tier is much lower than the upper tier divided by the hill in the green which can prove a vital aid for pins on the lower half. Approach shots towards the top half will require key accuracy and distance. Walking off this green with a bogey is no mean feat.
Hole 3 – The Steps – Par 3
Redesigned within recent years, ‘The Steps’ is a ‘longer than you think’ par 3. A narrow green sloping front to middle and gradually plateauing, hitting this green is an achievement as it is guarded by two very difficult bunkers. Front right to the green lies a bunker 2-3 deep with pins yards away from the lip. The back left rear bunker can deliver a more rewarding bunker shot as its level with the green. Players best aim for the middle to left side of the green, anything right runs all downhill and proves an arduous chip up hill.
Hole 4 – Donard View – Par 4
Considered the feature hole of the course, the 4th, ‘Donard View’ is one of the most sceneric images let alone tee shots in Crossgar. With one view that encapsulates the Mourne Mountains, Dromara Hills and Crossgar Village, this hole proves a challenge for all its reward. From a steep tee, lies an adequate fairway that slopes downhill diagonally right to reveal a very narrow flat fairway leading up to a two tiered green sloping from back right to front left. Firstly, the tee shot which sees the safe golfer play a short iron to position on the first level of fairway, depending on pin positions. Mid to high irons will suffice to hit into the heart of a very unforgiving and difficult green. For the brave and adventurous golfer, a drive can easily make the green 282 yards away, although, accuracy is key to
remain on the fairway as its tight landscape can see anything left or right go OB or into very difficult woodlands. Approaching the green from the bottom fairway is not easy, greeted by a steep incline front to back, this hole demands a delicate and sufficient chip with a the aid of bump ‘n’ run.
Hole 5 – River View – Par 3
The shortest hole on the course at 110 yards, the 5th requires a high iron or wedge to land on a two tiered green sloping back to front, however the green also slopes off at the back if the tee is over hit. Catch the front right of the green from the upper tee box and you can watch your ball roll 15-20 yards downhill right proving a very difficult chip back up. Playing from the lower tee box is a completely different hole. Playing all up hill and to a blind green surface, accuracy and distance are key.
Hole 6 – Hill View – Par 4
A dog leg left, this hole can be rewarding to accurate shots of the tee. Ideally, golfers will want to drive anywhere from the middle to the right side of the fair way to give a straight shot uphill to a relatively flat green that drops of the right side. Teeing off over a bed of wind bushes, lies a slightly bumpy fairway, suitable enough to hit a low iron or hybrid, but prepare to load up for a challenging shot uphill.
Hole 7 – The Poplars – Par 4
The second longest hole on the course, the 7th is a dog leg right with the latter half going downhill to a flat green. Accuracy of the tee is everything as the right side is OB and to the big hitters, must see them accomplish a large mount along with several trees scattered either side of the fairway. A blind second shot from the top of the hill whether on target or off, can be rewarded either side of the green with ample room to play with.
Hole 8 – Islands – Par 3
One of the few holes that brings water into play over ‘The Islands’, the 8th is a challenging par 3 at 152 yards but with a very makeable green. Catch the green in one and a birdy is very much on the cards. Tees shots do require distance to beat two sand traps guarding the front right and left side of the green, not to mention a challenging green sloping back to front which can see balls roll dramatically off the green if over hit.
Hole 9 – The Drive – Par 4
Recently renovated in early 2014, the 9th and finishing hole at Crossgar a.k.a ‘The Drive’ has been transformed from a driveable par 4 to a more precise and challenging hole. A dog leg left, the fairway slopes from right to left dramatically and anything drove towards the right hand side of the fairway will find itself rolling left to a more level surface especially in dry conditions. This hole is protected by three bunkers; one in the middle of the fairway which promises to catch out long drives, and two either side of the green. The green has been transformed to a flatter putting surface but slopes off in various parts.