East Clare Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,900 Yards
This course is set on 150 acres of unspoilt, rolling, quiet countryside with majestic views of East Clare. Hazards include several lakes, bunkers, streams and trees. Large greens complete the challenge.
After a relatively gentle introduction the first challenge comes at the par-3 second where the tee-shot must carry across a large lake. The large green can be hit comfortably, provided you take the wind into consideration and take enough club for the distance on the card rather than the perceived distance. The same rule applies to the par-3 fourth. Having safely negotiated the opening holes, try and make use of the scoring opportunities at the consecutive par-5's.
The 7th is a long dogleg to the left where the more left the line taken the better but the risk of trouble is increased. A conservative line further right will leave a long approach to another large green with a severe slope.
The eighth is a wonderful par-3, again the wind is a vital element and the correct club must be selected. The 130 or so yards over water and sand to a large, split-level green can require as much as a 6-iron into a prevailing westerly wind that is always stronger than it seems on this course. The outward nine ends with the hardest hole on the course - a stream and large lake divide the tee-side from the green. Again the wind is vital, downwind the lake and stream are in play. A drive anyway right will require the approach to be played over the lake to the green and may even have to contend with a large tree. Par here is excellent.
The homeward nine begins with a sharp dogleg (right) that is another test of good judgement - on all shots. The tee shot requires a carry over the lake to a landing area that looks very close. Driver can be too big on a direct route and too much can easily be taken off. From the fairway the approach is played to a plateau green that again requires plenty of club. It might be a good idea to take off the backspin too - the green slopes severely from the back and being below the hole is a big advantage.
Once the blind tee shot to the par-4 11th has been negotiated the course relents a little and the two par-5's at numbers 12 and 16 are birdie possibilities. Again the club selection at the long par-3 13th is crucial, while care is needed to avoid the many greenside bunkers at the short par-4 14th.
The 17th hole is the fifth and last of East Clare's five excellent par-3's. This long, but very shallow green has two levels and the water that must be carried to reach it tends to lead to overhit shots that reach the upper-level. This leaves a very difficult putt down to the hole - where it is usually cunningly placed. A good drive at the final hole will leave a good opportunity to close out the round on a high note.
East Clare intersperses good scoring chances, such as the back to back Par-5's at the fifth and sixth, with excellent golf holes where concentration and correct club selection are demanded. Water hazards and undulating fairways are a constant feature. Look out especially for the tee-shots at the Par-3's and the approach to the Par-4 tenth.
Quotes and Comments
“The key holes are seven, eight, nine and ten. The seventh is a long par four and the eighth a lovely 135-yards par three over water. The ninth is a dogleg which has two lakes which need to be negotiated and an awkward tee shot confronts players in the tenth, as well as water and a two tier green. The greens are fantastic and all different sizes. It is a teriffic parkland golf course.”
Dr. Arhur Spring (Course Designer)
"This course is an outstanding course for its age. It has some tricky lake shots and a number of beautiful par 3s. The best holes in my opinion are the long par 4 7th and the tricky but short par 3 8th and also the ninth is the most challenging par 4 around. Also try the new clubhouse for a fine feed! "
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For a guide to Midland Ireland and its golf courses visit our regional golf pages.
East Clare hosted the West of Ireland European Seniors Championship in 1998. A full event on the European Seniors tour, it was won by England's John Morgan. Despite the clubhouse having not yet been built, the event was a huge success and you will hear many a good story regarding the 3 days from those that were there.
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