Mullingar Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,504 Yards
Mullingar Golf Club, a top-rated parkland course, is renowned in golfing circles as one of the countries very best parkland courses. Designed by the famous Scottish professional James Braid (see Notable Notes below), Mullingar moved to its present location in 1937.
Individuality is the key to the layout of the holes at Mullingar, each hole has its own features and subtle characteristics. Mature trees are common to them all however and provide the major hazard to a good round. Stray off line anywhere in Mullingar and you can be assured that your next stroke will be a recovery shot. Nonetheless it is a fair course and straight hitting will be rewarded with a good score.
The opening hole is a gentle par-4 of just 338 yards and full advantage should be taken of this warm-up opportunity. The second has been described by Christy O'Connor Senior as the best par-3 in Ireland, a 198 yard monster from an elevated tee to an elevated green protected on all sides by trees and bunkers and with a large ditch protecting the front.
The shortish par-4 eighth (338 yards) is played from a slightly elevated tee to a generous fairway. A stream runs across the fairway at about 200 yards and so presents a challenge to the tee shot. Water negotiated, the short iron approach must be played to an elevated green with great precision, anything short will end up rolling back down the thirty-odd yards of hillside while anything too long will leave a precarious downhill chip.
The 10th hole is a marvellous par-4 and possibly the hardest hole on the course. A good drive is required towards the ridge running across the fairway that hides the green. Trouble, in the form of the ever-present trees, presents itself both left and right and the oak tree on the left is one of the largest you are ever likely to see. A straight drive down the middle is all that is required to avoid a tree-impeded approach!
Another good drive is required at the sixteenth hole, a doglegging par-5 that finishes with yet another elevated green. The drive requires the negotiation of a ditch that meanders across the fairway. The approach then becomes relatively straightforward, although severe punishment can again be expected for anyhting that is too long.
Mullingar provides a great test of straight hitting in superb parkland surroundings. The course is always presented in first class condition and the fairways are among the best in Ireland.
Quotes and Comments
"Practically every hole would be different in character, the contour being sufficiently undulating to provide some splendid positions for green, whilst the turf is excellent for fairways."
James Braid - Course Designer
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The story of how James Braid designed this marvellous course has gone down in Irish folklore. Brought over from Scotland by the old Dublin boat train from Glasgow, he arrived at Mullingar with the early morning dew, and after a little “liquid refreshment” to enliven his flagging energy, simply asked for “a hatchet and three dozen wooden tees”. Then, before the astonished eyes of the founder members, he simply chopped and hacked his way into the middle of the then formidable gorse. With his trademark walrus moustache flapping in the wind, in four hours flat he had “pegged off” the now famous eighteen holes and greens, using the little wooden golf tees as markers. He then simply pointed to where the clubhouse should be built, handed the members his bill, and stepped back into his motorcar for the return journey to Dublin.
This story by itself would be incredible enough, given the totally incredible amounts of money and man-hours that are now spent on course design, but it doesn't end here. As the course was nearing completion, someone suddenly realised that no provision had been made for any sand traps. An urgent telegram was sent to the unflappable Braid, asking him to return forthwith and “finish” his design. By return, a telegram winged its way to the members. “Play your new course for a month, and where you see the most divot marks, that's where you put your bunkers!” As far as is known, that is exactly what was done, and a more sinister and wickedly placed set of sand traps you would be hard pushed to find anywhere!
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