Monday, June 16, 2008

Cregmore Park intrigue

In recent years, a lot of golf courses have sprouted up around the country – many of these have appeared on farmland and more often than not, it tells in the quality of the place. As you turn off the road for the golf course, you drive past the owner’s home and backyard. It’s a bit odd and it doesn’t bode well.

But Murty and Catherine McGrath have taken a long term view. Their course is a quality affair, designed by Arthur Spring, that works its way around an old and impressive ring fort. This is home to a stunning wood that stands out on what is a flat landscape. John, the son and head greenkeeper, told me a little bit about the moat that surrounds it and the cave where the inhabitants used to store food. He used to play in the cave as a young boy, but it is now officially protected. You shouldn’t put a ball in there, but the 8th and 9th might have you worried.

[Photo: edge of the ring fort off the 4th tee]

As I said, the quality is excellent, and word about the course is spreading. I heard about it down in Skibbereen. I also found tees on two of the holes: one from The Heritage, and one from Rosses Point. I think you can see what I’m getting at.

Perhaps the only disadvantage is that the land is just too flat, but it offers something quite different to the many other clubs roundabout.

[Photo: the perfectly simple yet stunning approach to design that makes every hole look and feel good]

I had a long chat with Catherine before and after my round, and she gives off an enthusiasm that is infectious. The family is passionate about the course and they have planning permission for a hotel that will see the facilities enhanced considerably. Mind you, I found the log cabin-type clubhouse cosy and comfortable. John may only be young and recently graduated but he is doing some great work on the greens.

I wish the course well.

The cost of such enterprises is usually enormous, and as I walked behind the 5th tee box, I realised they were about to get bigger. One of the golfers on the tee wound up his driver and cracked his tee shot straight into the yellow tee box marker three yards in front of him. It exploded in a storm of yellow plastic.

Catherine assured me that she didn’t like them anyway and something more impressive would be put in place in soon.

1 comment:

  1. Played it last week, very impressed with the overall quality, hard greens to hold added to the challenge, but really enjoyed it. The greens look accessible but are tough to judge.

    Will go again. Tony