Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 149

Kirkistown Castle Kirkistown Castle James Braid redesigned this quiet links on the eastern coastline of Co. Down in the 1930s. He was the perfect man for the job as Kirkistown Castle’s landscape played into the master designer’s hands. He employed his trademark deception around the green, punitive bunkering and oodles of subtlety. It may not feel big or long (par 69, 6,167 yards) but expect to be tested with hard to gauge fairways. Seven of the par fours measure over 400 yards and well- bunkered greens always present problems. Holes play over two levels: low, bumpy terrain and across a high exposed ridge, which promises some stunning drives and approaches, as well as views across the rest of the course. Warrenpoint Three par fives in the opening four holes make for a top-heavy start at Warrenpoint. Stretched over mostly flat terrain they do, however, present strong scoring opportunities… something you will want to avail of as the holes which follow are more difficult, have greater shape and restrict wild driving. And yet it is a short course so prepare to play intelligent golf between colourful, often intrusive trees. The club has produced several international players and, given the demands of the course, it is little wonder. The run of holes from 11 to 15, in the farthest corner, is what you will cherish most. Massereene It may not feel big or long (par 69, 6,167 yards) but expect to be tested with hard to gauge fairways. There are many strong parklands in Northern Ireland, but Massereene’s shape and intrigue give it an extra layer of quality. Add in its modest length (par 72, 6,400 yards, middle tees), small greens and lots of doglegs and you have a course that becomes a strategic golfer’s cornucopia. And that’s before mentioning the trees, many of which have been growing here since the club was formed in 1895. They like to squeeze fairways and elbow doglegs. The 1st hole sets the tone as it doglegs right, around trees, before rising sharply to a green perched on a ridge. A sweetly paced course that will put manners on you. 147