Monday, July 31, 2017

View from Druids Glen Back Tees

“We didn’t use the back, back tee,” Marcus said on the par five 16th hole. “We didn’t think people would be able to find it.”

He took us across the tee we were using, through some undergrowth and pointed to a tee box hidden a farther 30 yards in the distance. He had a point.

The Back Tees competition at Druids Glen, earlier this month, was the first such event held at the club. Judging by
the 120 golfers competing it won’t be the last (keep an eye on their website, It was exhilarating stuff to be playing where the Irish Open was held between 1996 and 1999… although several of the drives were far tighter than the Pros had to face as the trees have grown a lot in 20 years. The 10th now resembles a funnel – see video – while the 5th’s back tee makes it a dogleg between two very friendly trees. I could go on but perhaps the most important thing to note is that the course measures ‘just’ 7,046 yards. I say ‘just’ because it is not a monster. There are monstrous holes, for sure, but overall it’s not as if the green is sitting on a distant planet and you’re standing there wishing you had a bazooka instead of a driver. Only the famous par four 13th is set to humble you – or crumple you up and spit you out, in my case – so there are numerous opportunities for your chest to swell with pride. And you can walk off Druids Glen knowing – and bragging – that you have played a course over 7,000 yards.

You will need to drive the ball well but that’s about as obvious as the nose on your face. If you’re not driving it well or you’re short off the tee (as if you’d admit that to anyone!) you might want to reconsider but it’s one hell of an experience either way. Our foursome included Aaron, an 11 handicapper who rolled in two comfortable birdies, Marcus, who turned the 491 yard 13th into a Driver and a wedge, and Dermot, who smacked a Driver 270 yards off the deck on the par five 11th to set up an eagle putt. Having set a target of 25 points, I walked off with 28 and was brutally disappointed that I hadn’t followed my game plan of playing the par four 13th as a par five… and two points. I hit my drive as well as I could hit it and then got greedy as so many of us do. Who wants to wimp out by hitting an 80 yard pitch to the water’s edge when you can dine out on the glory of finding the green with your three iron from 220 yards? Dinner doesn’t taste great when you walk off with an 8.
Back tees on the 13th at Druids Glen. Swing hard!
The course is as colourful as ever and in fabulous condition. The picturesque scene of the swans and their seven cygnets around the water-laced 17th green almost made me forget about the shot I’d just dunked in the water… almost. Marcus didn't see water as a problem, choosing to hit this shot (see video below) next to the 18th green. That he escaped and got down in two putts is remarkable.
They’ve been investing heavily in the course’s condition and appearance over the last two years and from the back tees you get to see an awful lot more of it than you usually do. The winning score was 35 points… and my name will be on the timesheet for the next time they have a similar event. It was an immense amount of fun.

Palmerstown Stud Golf Club

Another Back Tees event will be held at Palmerstown Stud Golf Club, on August 6th (Singles Stableford) and 7th (Team Scramble). Entry is €35. The course measures 7,508 yards and, having played it recently, I can tell you that it is in exceptional condition… and that the water is, once again, magnetic. The par fives will all require three strong shots to find big, undulating greens but if you can avoid the water and the many bunkers, well then you’ll be grand…

Call 045 906901 to book a tee time. That Scramble on the 7th looks like it should be serious fun.

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