Destination Golf Ireland 2018 * - Page 147

Galgorm Castle Spa This is a tidy, often turbulent parkland in the heart of Co. Down. It starts as it means to go on with a sweet and straight par four between the trees, rising to a flag that tempts you from the tee box. There is plenty of wild woodland scattered over fine flowing countryside and it gives Spa a certain elegance. From the clubhouse look down the 9th and 18th, which sit in parallel, and you’ll appreciate the shapes Spa throws at you. Both holes descend into a deep dip before rising quickly to the green. The par three 2nd and 17th are two of the highlights, but this is a strong parkland from start to finish. Co. Armagh From the clubhouse you will get an inkling of the sort of golf course you’ll be playing. Gentle swells, heaving trees, fine routing… they all combine to make this little known course a very worthwhile destination. At times you’ll be amazed by the setting because this is on the edge of Armagh town, yet many of the holes are completely immersed in trees and peacefulness. Co. Armagh is also old and, on this landscape, that means big mature trees and holes gliding between them. There are water features, but not too many, and the finishing stretch is what is affectionately known as a card-wrecker. Galgorm Castle Parkland golf doesn’t get much more elegant or tranquil than this. Two rivers run through the course while charming lakes lace several fairways. They threaten and divide holes. With no changes in elevation this is as gentle a round as you’ll find… but it is also the home of the Northern Irish Open, so you know the quality will be excellent. Galgorm Castle is not designed to be punishing but the doglegs will test your positioning skills and the water can prove magnetic. And then there are the many mature trees spread over the estate (the castle lies to your left on the drive in). Very inviting greens the whole way around, sweet par threes and great facilities, too. Hilton Templepatrick From the back tees, Hilton Templepatrick is a beast of over 7,000 yards – a result no doubt of its championship ambitions when it was opened in 1999 – but from the mortals’ forward tees it measures 6,200. Regardless, this is an expansive parkland affair behind the Hilton hotel and it flows over a gentle landscape. There is lots of water and the estate’s mature trees have been used to give character throughout the course… with many more trees planted since opening. The five lakes, stream and river may be the most prominent features but you will undoubtedly remember the remarkable and very inviting green complexes. 145