Portumna Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,900 Yards
Portumna is a traditional parkland golf course set in the old Castlerickard estate near the upper end of Lough Derg, one of the three main lakes on the river Shannon. Course developments in the past five years have propelled Portumna towards the top of the parkland league table in Ireland. The holes are laid out through mature deciduous and evergreen trees and herds of deer can frequently be seen roaming the course.
The opening three holes are tough, two long par-4's separated by a tricky par-3 into the prevailing wind frustrate many golfers. The new par-5 sixth is a terrific golf hole, the landing area for the drive is generous but looks very small from the tee with out-of bounds on the right and mature conifers on the left. The heavily protected, smallish green is nestled in a corner with run-offs on all sides. It can be reached in two only by the longest hitters and attempting to reach is not the wisest strategy. The following holes are typical of the best Irish parkland golf where fairways need to be found to avoid the many trees.
The 10th hole is a long par-3 with plenty of trouble both left and right of the green, double-bogeys are not uncommon on this innocuous looking hole. The 12th is unusual par-5, turning hard right at about 180 yards into a fairway hewn out of the forest. If you are brave and accurate enough and cut the corner you are left with a mid-iron to probably the toughest green on the course. Most mortals will follow the dogleg and be happy with a regulation par.
If the start is tough the finish is tougher. The 16th is a testing golf hole, a safe drive avoiding the forest on the right leaves a narrow approach to an elevated green perched precariously on the top of a hill. The recently developed par-5 17th is the signature hole and the potential ruin of a good card. The drive is intimidating into an unseen landing area bordered by mature trees. The ability to shape a ball is a great advantage. From here to the green, practically impossible to reach, is a much frequented water-hazard that runs along the right had edge of the fairway. The green is also well-protected by bunkers - a five here is a great achievement.
Unusually the final hole is a par-3. From an elevated tee you hit across a valley to a green cut into a small hill. Keep your ball below the hole on the green otherwise the ever present clubhouse gallery will confidently predict a 3 -putt.
All in all, Portumna is a terrific course and a typical example of the fine parkland golf available in the Irish midlands.
Quotes and Comments
I have been visiting Portumna Golf Course for the last 35 years whilst on annual holidays from England. I now rate it as the best I have ever played. A wonderful test for a golfer with the bonus of beautiful views, There have always been deer, now there are also red squirrels...not so many birdies though. Look forward to me return in 2002.
O Chisholm (from GolfEurope.com)
I played Portumna Golf Club several times the last 5 years and I am always pleased to come back. Improvements were made throughout the years and by now the course is a nearly perfect parkland golf course. Nice views, tricky layout with several blind shots and deer all over the course are really worth the greenfees. Go out there and play. And do not forget to have your Guinness on the bar. You will not regret it.
Christian Maschong (from GolfEurope.com)
Great course, friendly staff and deer all over the place. Portumna golf course is surrounded by a national park and the deer have been grazing on the course the four times that I've played it, not just one or two sometimes thirty or more. The course layout is great with a good variety of holes and lots of mature trees. The green fees are very reasonable and if you are in the area I recommend you play it. I've played a lot of golf in Ireland and it's easy to get drawn to well advertised golf clubs that don't live up to their expectations. This however is a little gem, when you've paid your green fee you don't expect it to be as good as it is! Prepare to pleasantly surprised.
Steve Hollis (from GolfEurope.com)
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