Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 50

Wicklow Naas Naas is a peach of a driving course, with lots of changes in elevation offering tempting tee shots between scatterings of mature trees. It is by no means hilly but the older nine offer up some delicious high tees. The 13th is one of those par fives where you’ll kick yourself for missing the glorious fairway below. It’s the shot of the day. Indeed, the entire back nine are thrilling with three par threes and three par fives. The course is well maintained and smartly bunkered and golfers of all abilities will enjoy it. And after considerable recent upgrades you can expect to be impressed. Dundalk It is the rhythm and consistency of Dundalk’s 18 holes which have helped to establish the course’s strong reputation. The dark trees shadowing holes only emphasise this, as they rise and fall gently with the terrain while the fairways flow back and forth. But it is a good length (par 72, 6,000 metres, middle white tees) and those trees come close enough to terrify golfers with big draws or fades. The Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup is a significant event in the amateur golfing calendar, confirming the course’s popularity. 48 Laytown & Bettystown Despite a lengthy and interesting evolution, Laytown & Bettystown has ended up as a more traditional out-and-back links, where the 9th is at the farthest point of the course. Expect a rugged, testing start, on this under-appreciated links. These opening holes will vex you with devilish fall-offs around greens, blind shots and unexpected hollows. Your short game needs to be razor sharp, as will your imagination. The turn for home introduces the wind and wider, flatter fairways so you can start swinging… and you’ll need to for this is the longer nine, culminating with the double-blind par five 18th. Wicklow Wicklow promises quite the wild adventure as holes tumble above the clifftops, rising and falling in rhythm with the tides. The terrain is chaotic at times, presenting hollows, humps, ridges and swales that can be cruel even to the best struck shots… but it all adds to the thrill of playing here. As do some short par fours where you might think you can open up your shoulders but any savvy golfer will appreciate that is not the way to play here. And certainly not with the exceptional, devious and fast greens that Wicklow is renowned for. You won’t find one hole that doesn’t move you up or down and the par five 1st makes that abundantly clear as the landscape tumbles all over the place from a high tee next to the clubhouse.