Monday, July 21, 2008

Concra Wood – Designed by Legends

My wife and I were on our way back from Donegal in the middle of April when I saw the signs for Concra Wood. I’d heard about it last year, but it was too good an opportunity to miss and so we drove in. The place looked dead. We walked around for a few minutes but could find no evidence of a golf course. So, I thought, another course bites the dust before it’s even begun.

[Photo: par three 14th]

But I was wrong and after making contact with their marketing person, Karen, I arranged to meet her for a tour of the course. If I’d been a week later I probably would have been able to play. As it was, the finishing touches were being applied to what is going to become a seriously, seriously good course. Everything you could ask of a golf course is here – except a clubhouse (due next year) – as it sits elegantly along the edges of Lake Muckno. But it has great changes in elevation, so views of the lake and the surrounding countryside make this ‘a good walk spoiled’ as Mark Twain said, describing golf.

This is old Coillte land and while the course has found its way around the flowing landscape, the club plans to plant thousands of trees in the times ahead.

As Karen explained the background to me, we drove around the course in a jeep that had seen better days. It had a wheeze like an old man who has smoked far too many cigarettes. She drove me to the highest point of the course (see pic, looking down over a distant green and the lake) and then to every corner, two of which see you driving over the lake. The collaboration of Christy O’Connor Senior and Junior is superb. Still, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during their design meetings. However they did it, they have complemented each other beautifully.

This is a new job for Karen, just married, and looking fresh as a daisy. She’s brimming with enthusiasm (she might even take up golf!) and with a course that will be one of the inland stars of future years, she has every right to be. The fact that the cost of buying a share in the club – a ‘share’ entitles you to buy membership – is still going up is a sign of how successful Concra Wood will be. And there are still shares available, if you’re interested.

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