|Carton House. 18th green with views to the hotel|
Adare Manor Resort
|The par three 16th at Adare|
Monty clearly had the great links of his home country in mind when he designed the course – there are links traits everywhere – and while his Carton House creation will never satisfy the true definition of the term, it has been described by many as an inland ‘links’.
The Montgomerie Course is defined by manufactured humps and bumps that frame the fairways, swaying fescue grass and countless pot bunkers. This is an honest, unpretentious driver’s course – the Monty weighs in at 7,300 yards from the championship markers so driving well will be key for the Pros this week – which needs to be managed well. Avoiding the pot bunkers is essential for a good score. With one good hole after another, it’s tough to pick a signature hole on this course but the par threes are especially noteworthy. The stadium atmosphere around the par three 17th will be electric over the weekend.
|The 17th at Carton House... now the 'Stadium' hole|
“You can’t call it a links course, but it plays like a links and has all the characteristics of a links. In designing this course, I attempted to go back to a more traditional course. One thing that springs to mind – bunkering. They are hazards and they work with the prevailing wind. Few holes are straight up and down the wind but tend to be across, which brings the bunkering into play. This is the kind of course where the best players would always come out on top.”
Situated just 15 miles West of Dublin, Carton House is easily accessible and it’s affordable too. Tune into the Irish Open this week to catch a glimpse of the course.
Originally opened for play in 1892, it wasn’t until 1938 that the current layout came to be. Tom Simpson and Molly Gourlay are the men largely responsible for the present course but, in 2003, Tom Mackenzie made some minor changes to the layout, most notably the addition of new tees which has stretched the course beyond 7,000 yards.
|Courtesy of Co. Louth website|
Situated a stone’s throw from the Irish Sea and with the Mountains of Mourne visible in the distance, there are pot bunkers, fescue covered sand dunes and sweeping undulations galore. These combine to offer a thoroughly enjoyable test to Pros and recreational players alike and the greens are especially good. Indeed, they are the hallmark of the course, featuring considerable yet subtle breaks. They are among the very best in Ireland and can often have the final say on your score.
At the 2009 Irish Open, County Louth provided the perfect stage for Shane Lowry to become only the third ever amateur to win a European Tour event.
|The 18th, in all its glory|
The conditioning of the course is first class, the holes are varied and exciting and a fabled warm Irish welcome awaits. Voted Golf Club of the Year in 1993, there is no prettier place to play golf than Killarney. Viscount Castlerosse, a former Club President at Killarney, summed this place up the best when he said: “See what thealmighty God can do when he is in a good mood.”
Royal PortrushBordered by the towering dunes that typify the shoreline of County Antrim, the famous Dunluce Links was originally conceived and realised in 1888, but the championship layout in its present state owes thanks to the 1947 redesign completed by Harry S. Colt.
Home to Darren Clarke, Royal Portrush Dunluce isn’t the longest of championship golf courses but it is predicated on the fundamental essence of links golf. Exposed to the elements, the course's character is largely dependent on the weather and its difficulty can change in a heartbeat.
|White Rocks at Royal Portrush. A dogleg of brilliant proportions|
From start to finish, Royal Portrush is a roller coaster ride but the most spectacular parts of the course are down by the shore. The 5th hole, known as “White Rocks”, is breathtaking and the 14th, aptly named “Calamity”, is simply terrifying! A 210 yard par three with a devilishly deep chasm to the right of the green puts considerable pressure on the tee shot. Walk off this hole with a three on the card and you can pat yourself on the back!