Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 26

The Heritage The Heritage Much of the attention focused on The Heritage concentrates on the Seve Ballesteros connection (and design). It is little wonder. The enigmatic Seve still conjures up all that is enthralling about the game of golf. The course opened in 2004, and golfers are met first by the statue of the great man and then the stylish clubhouse. It is worth heading up to the balcony and looking out over the stunning lake which separates the 9th and 18th – two of the best holes which both conclude underneath the clubhouse. The course is laced with water but it is only one of the challenges you’ll face as holes flow over the gently shaped, open Co. Laois countryside. There are dramatic and complex bunkers throughout and they define many holes. Tullamore Trees, trees, and more trees… Tullamore is a wonderfully wooded course where the oak, beech and chestnut get very, very friendly. It is an enchanting setting but if you have an unruly draw or fade you will face intimidating shots time and again… especially off the tee. Here you will find sensational greens, smart routing, several knee-jangling doglegs and a superbly maintained course. This is why Tullamore is discussed in such glowing terms. It may not be long (par 70, 6,472 yards off the back tees) but it demands your full respect. And when the course opens up slightly (the 5th to 8th) lakes present serious threats, while the Slieve Bloom Mountains provide the backdrop. The final three holes will test the best. 24 Headfort (New) Headfort has two very different but excellent parkland courses. The New opened in 2001, spread across a swathe of the old Headfort Estate. It is home to majestic trees, bountiful water features and two islands which are at the heart of the course. Holes fit elegantly into the undulating landscape and, despite its length (6,164m middle tees), every shot is enjoyable. Big (and straight) hitters will love it. The par threes are exceptional. The natural water features are, not surprisingly, a constant highlight, appearing in one shape or another on the opening 10 holes, as well as three more. Holes 9 and 10 demand big drives over a lake, so finding land is a victory. A couple of pretty walks to and from tees only adds to the feeling that this course has been here a long time. Rosslare Rosslare sits alone on the south-east tip of the island, a low, fast links streaking over sweet and subtle fairways into some deeper dunes. It is all on show but you can be sure of hidden hollows, unpredictable humps and deceptive approaches to greens. The course sits on a narrow peninsula so all but two holes head out or back, meaning wind is a very real factor when you turn for home (the 8th). The terrain is used brilliantly, nowhere more so than the long par four 11th. This is the hardest hole on the course, typically playing into the wind. A good drive will still leave a blind approach over a large ridge sliding across from the right. A red and white pole offers directions to a sunken green but it is always a daunting shot.