“For this edition, we thought we’d stay a little closer to home…”
One of our greatest inland courses is also one of our least appreciated. We headed to Carlow Golf Club to review a classic that dates back to 1899.
Carlow Golf Club doesn’t shout. It doesn’t show off. That is not its nature. Here there is a quiet confidence and a restrained swagger. Located on the outskirts of Carlow town, at Deerpark, this is a members’ club that just happens to boast some of Ireland’ best soil and terrain for a golf course. And then there’s the name of Tom Simpson and Molly Gourlay, who updated the established work of Cecil Barcroft in the late 1930s.
There have been no significant changes to this heathland since. Carlow demands many big and brave shots (approaches to 7, 12, 14, 16 chief among them) and the requirement for such shots emphasises the endearing strength of its design.
So, where does Carlow demonstrate its acclaimed attributes? It’s an important question because the holes close to the clubhouse only hint at what is to come. At the heart of the course is a hill with holes weaving across the slopes so cleverly that we barely noticed the rises and falls. Only the acclaimed 8th, driving down through a corridor of majestic trees, displayed just how high we had come. As we discovered during our round there is no weak hole here and the strongest holes are well scattered throughout, with the back nine edging it… if only because the stretch from 14 to 17 is so superb.
From the mortals’ tee the acclaimed 16th is just over 400 yards, climbing steadily upwards between banks awash in ferns and deep rough. It is Index 2 and a brilliant brute of a hole. Its characteristics sum up everything that is so good about Carlow: subtle and sensational.
How to get there?
The course is 4 kilometres north east of Carlow town. It is easily accessible from Junction 4 on the M9 and then follow the R448 towards Carlow town. The golf course is on your right. It’s a 45 minute drive from the Red Cow Roundabout on the M50, and an hour from Dublin Airport.
Visit carlowgolfclub.ie for more info or to book a tee time.
€40 for 18 holes mid week, and €60 for weekends. Winter rates are €30-€50 and the midweek winter rate includes a meal. This is a top 30 course… €60 is a steal!
For any enquiries, check out www.carlowgolfclub.ie
Article written by Kevin Markham.