Cork Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,730 Yards
Cork is a golfing delight that has existed just outside Ireland's second city for over 100 years. Perhaps the members were keen to hide their treasure from the demands of the large populace, Cork in the 20th century was not a widely visited course. Again perhaps, the emergence of Fota Island just down the road - and the Old Head golf links not to much further - has resulted in a discernible warming of this venerable establishment to the visiting golfer.
The course itself has a number of huge advantages. It's location on the estuary of the River Lee as it enters Cork Harbour. The maturity and grace you would expect from such a long established course. The heathland terrain that includes a stretch around an old quarry. And it's designer, Dr. Alister Mackenzie himself who designed the present layout in 1927.
The large undulating greens are fast and true. Getting tee shots into position to approach them is a large part of the challenge - there are several long carries from the tees.
The first three holes play away from the clubhouse towards the river and provide a chance to get in the groove for the challenges ahead. Getting off to a good start on these holes is vital.
The fourth tee is on the river bank, and the river must be carried to reach the fairway to leave a long iron approach to a well-bunkered green. This hole is undoubtedly one of the best par-4s in Ireland. The 5th, also playing along the river, features an intimidating carry off the tee, which when negotiated can set up a realistic birdie chance.
Accuracy is required on the blind tee-shot at the sixth. The seventh is a gem of a par-3 at 186 yards to a severely sloping green. The 8th plays with the quarry lurking on the right. The ninth is another par-3 played from an elevated tee to a gorgeous green that is very deceptive.
The quarry comes into play again on the 11th, a par-5 where the danger lurks to the right of the green. Before arriving there look under the tree where a stone plaque marks the spot where Seve Ballesteros drove the ball - it is 320 yards from the back tee.
The final holes are played in an area known as 'The Park' and the requirement for accuracy from the tee does not diminish. More initimidation awaits on the elevtaed 17th tee with out-of-bounds down the left it takes a strong nerve to keep a score going at this hole. At 426 yards the final hole is also demanding - straight and long is the only means of securing a safe par.
Cork is truly one of the finest challenges in Ireland. The scenery and variety are an added bonus and they all combine to make Cork Golf Club a true golf discovery.
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