As a warm up for the final we played two rounds at Rosapenna (one on the Sandy Hills course and one on the Old Tom Morris course). Rosapenna seemed to be in the middle of nowhere but some of the views from the course were spectatular and provided a good taste of real links golf to start the trip.
The course is situated in an amazing location with the Irish Sea to the right of the opening holes and the spectacular Mourne Mountains providing the stunning background scenery. The typical links grasses on the dunes lining the course are not all that awaits if your ball misses the fairway, there are also huge amounts of gorse bushes on the course and also a lot of heather in the rough which makes it extremely difficult to advance your ball very far if you are lucky enough to find it. It is a rather good idea to stay on the fairway. The bunkers do not provide a safe haven for your ball either, the thick grass on the edges of each bunker provide an extra spice to these hazards.
One of those demanding tee shots is the drive at the 9th hole, an extremely long difficult par 4 where a good drive can take you over the hill and provide one of the most famous views on the course, down towards the 9th green with the hotel and the mountains in the background.
It might be that there is a better golf course out there somewhere, but it is difficult to imagine how that could be possible. If you ever have a chance to play golf there, make sure that you take it, no matter how much it costs or how much hassle it causes.