Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 99

Waterford Castle West Waterford There are certain courses which sum up the beauty and peacefulness of the Irish landscape, and few do it better than West Waterford. The River Brickey brushes along one side of the course, threatening on a few of the back nine holes, while the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountains form a bucolic backdrop, particularly on the front half of the course. West Waterford is gentle and easy on the eye, the rolling landscape inviting big drives towards generous fairways. It is not designed to be difficult, preferring instead to be accessible and fun but, at par 72, 6,500 yards from the white tees, it still demands smart golf. Tramore This old club recently received a major dash of revitalisation, completed by Jeff Howes in 2012. New greens and bunkering were the focus on a flowing parkland with impressive stands of trees enshrining holes. Despite these trees – and the water – it still manages to feel airy. This is a smart, quality parkland where the challenges come in all shapes and sizes. The par four 17th, for example, is just 316 metres (middle white tees) but it is Index 5 with trees crowding the tee box, and, while you’ll fancy your birdie chances on the four par fives (430 to 460 metres), don’t be fooled: Tramore has plenty of surprises in store. Howes also added an extra nine holes. Waterford Castle Having a private island for a golf course… and requiring a ferry to reach it… will always whet the appetite. The castle (now a hotel on the River Suir) alongside just adds to the air of elegance. Waterford Castle was designed by Des Smyth, and opened in 1992. It is an idyllic and colourful setting and the golf course follows suit, running over undulating terrain and into and out of mature woodland. There are water features inland too, and you’ll get a feel for the course’s charm, colour and quality as early as the par three 2nd and the Index 1 par four 3rd. A sweet bridge divides the two. Waterford A distinguished old parkland, Waterford tumbles down the side of a mostly gentle hill. ‘Mostly’ because the 18th promises a steep descent and the most intimidating approach shot of the day. Holes sweep over lilting terrain and through lines of evergreen, hawthorn and oak. The trees certainly get close on occasion but this is an inviting and short course so it’s a round to be enjoyed, from start to finish. The course owes its design to James Braid and Willie Park Jr, so you’re talking old school charm and challenges. Sweet par threes. 97