~ ~ Woodbrook Golf Club is one of the institutions of Irish golf. It was founded back in 1926, and is perched on the soaring cliff tops overlooking the Irish Sea between the villages of Shankhill in Co.Dublin and Bray in Co. Wicklow. I have personally played Woodbrook on countless occasions. Many of my golfing friends and buddies ... are members of this prestigious old course, and one is even an ex-Captain of the club. My golfing season wouldn’t be complete without a round or two at Woodbrook, which is generally made even more enjoyable by the fact that it’s a course that I generally play well on, and which holds many happy memories for me in terms of trophies won and good scores achieved.
~ ~ As you approach Woodbrook up the long tree-lined drive to the clubhouse you immediately realise that here is a club that is steeped in history and tradition. The old clubhouse, built in the old timber and brick style with its verandas and terraces, is yet another reminder of golf from yesteryear. But step inside and its old-fashioned outward appearance belies a thoroughly modern interior, where every creature comfort a golfer could require is well catered for.
Step into the comfortable locker room and you are surrounded on all sides by framed photographs and press clippings of the world famous players who have competed here at Woodbrook. For many years during the 1960’s and 1970’s Woodbrook was home to the Carrol’s Irish Open which attracted both the cream of Irish golf and overseas stars such as Gary Player, Peter Thompson, Sam Torrance, Bernard Gallagher, and Tony Jacklin. So it was perhaps appropriate that in the 1980’s when the Irish Open was re-instated on the European Tour it was Woodbrook that was chosen to host the inaugural event.
~ ~ The course itself has suffered somewhat in recent years, mostly as a result of the many innovations in equipment in the sport, which allow the modern golfer to hit the golf ball so much further than any previous generation.
Woodbrook was never a particularly long golf course, and as a result many of its holes were simply becoming too short and too easy to provide a stiff enough test for the top players. The club went some way towards addressing this problem during the late 1990’s, when a leading golf course architect, Peter McEvoy, was given the task of lengthening and redesigning many of the holes, as well as slotting in many new bunkers and laying sand-based greens. But even at its new Championship length of 6,863 yards Woodbrook is still not a long golf course by modern standards. This perhaps explains why it has never really attracted back many of the top tournaments, the only event of note in recent years being the 1998 Irish Senior’s Open.
~ ~ Woodbrook is a flat golf course, with no real hills to cope with, and despite its close proximity to the sea, it’s not a real links (seaside) golf course. The soil isn’t of the required sandy variety, and in fact in the winter season the course has a bad habit of retaining too much of the “Irish Sunshine” (rain) and water logging quite badly. When I last played at Woodbrook (Christmas, 2006) the first four holes were unplayable because of this problem, and the rest of the course was extremely wet and boggy underfoot. So if you’re visiting the course in the winter (or if it’s wet weather) then you might be well advised to phone up first to ensure that it’s in play. That said, the drainage isn’t really a problem in the spring and summer seasons.
The views are extremely pleasant, with the Irish Sea to one side and the Dublin/Wicklow mountains to the other, with the picturesque village of Bray in the near distance.
~ ~ My two favourite holes on the front nine are the par-4 sixth, and the par-3 ninth.
The 6th hole measures 401 yards from the Championship tee, and is a dog-leg from left to right. The trick here is to get your drive into the right position for your approach shot to the green. Too far left and you’re in trees. (And in trouble) Too far right, and there are even more trees and a large hedge and ditch. (Even bigger trouble!) The ideal tee-shot is down the left hand edge of the fairway, but even then your problems are only beginning. The green is fronted by an enormous tree, which you must hit either over or around in order to land your ball on the putting surface. To add to the difficulty, there’s a small reed-covered marsh just to the right of the tree, which will catch out any wayward shot. Or sometimes even a GOOD shot, if you happen to tangle with its branches! A difficult hole, where a par-4 often feels like you’ve made a birdie.
The 9th hole, at only 157 yards, is at first glance a fairly straightforward par-3. The trick here is to land your ball softly on the fairly small green, as the bunkers at the front tend to make you overclub yourself slightly and take a wee bit too much club. Do that and you’ll find yourself off the back of the green, and at the bottom of a fairly severe slope which makes it extremely difficult to get your chip back anywhere close to the pin to give yourself a chance at your par. And don’t hit your tee shot too far left or you’ll be over the course boundary and find yourself re-loading! The ninth hole is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
~ ~ On the back nine the beach (or rather the cliffs) come into play. One of my favourite holes is the par-5 fourteenth. At 551 yards it’s relatively simple to reach the green in the stipulated three shots to set up a par. (Or possible birdie) But you’d be well advised to not hook or pull your ball left on any shot, or it will be lost forever over the cliff edge and swallowed up by the Irish Sea. Cross bunkers come into play for your second shot, which you have to carry in order to set yourself up with a relatively easy pitch shot to the green. A harder par-5 than it looks.
The last hole, the par-4 eighteenth, has been the ruination of many a fine score. At 371 yards it’s no more than a good drive and a short iron to the long green. But when you stand on the tee and look at the railway line on your right, and the practice ground on your left (both out of bounds) your nerves have a way of jangling, and the palms of your hands become just a tad sweaty! Get your drive away down the middle or right hand side of the fairway and a par should be a formality. But take care with that tee shot. I’ve ruined a few good cards on this hole myself!
~ ~ Woodbrook has all the modern amenities demanded by today’s golfer. Despite its old-fashioned outward appearance, the clubhouse has been extensively renovated and extended in recent years. Visitors now have their own designated changing room, (small) and the showers are good and hot. There’s a small but well stocked professional’s shop where you can purchase all your golfing requisites from tee pegs to full sets of clubs, or rent yourself a caddy cart or ride-on buggy.
The bar is pleasant, comfortable and well stocked, with a couple of large flat screen TV’s mounted on the wall, which are usually tuned to either a sports or news channel. Outside the bar windows and overlooking the first tee and one of the two practice putting greens, there’s a veranda with outside seating. Very pleasant to have yourself a long cool one after your exertions on the course or even to slip out for a wee smoke if you happen to be a smoker.
The catering is good plain fare, and excellent value for money, ranging from simple sandwiches or bar snacks through to full meals in the dining room. One wee word of caution. Woodbrook is a club of the “old school”, and a collar and tie for men are still required in the dining room after about 5PM.
The practice facilities are excellent, with a couple of putting greens, and a pitching green and small practice area at the back of the clubhouse. There’s also a larger practice area over the railway track and adjacent to the 13th and 16th tees, and yet another practice area to the left of the 18th fairway.
~ ~ Green fees are not extortionate by today’s standard. The current visitor’s green fee is €75 (£51 Sterling) for a round during the week, and €80 (£54.50 Sterling) at the weekend and on Bank Holidays. If you go out before 10AM on a weekday this reduces to €60 (£40.86 Sterling), and the green fee is also a standard €60 throughout the winter season. (1st October to 31st March)
~ ~ To find Woodbrook head out of Dublin on N11 Wexford Road. At the Loughlinstown roundabout (well signposted) take the first exit and drive on through Shankhill village. Woodbrook is on your left-hand side as you leave the village. Alternatively, take the second turn off the Loughlinstown roundabout, and continue on up the Wexford dual carriageway for a couple of miles, then take the first slip road for Bray. At the roundabout on the end of the slip road bear left, and the entrance to the golf club is about 400 yards up the road on your right-hand side.
You could also take the bus or Dart (suburban train) to either Shankhill or Bray, and then make your way to the course either on foot or by taxi. (A bit of a trek, mind you!)
Address: Dublin Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
6,863 yards - Par 72
Patrick F Byrne General Manager
Phone: +353 (0) 1 282 4799
© KenJ April 2007
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Killeen Golf Club
~ ~ Once upon a time (1980 to be exact) a golf course called Four Lakes opened in County Kildare, Ireland, about 30 minutes drive from Dublin city centre. This was a nice wee club, if nothing too special. That is up until 1994, when the land and golf club was bought by an investment company called Riverbury PLC, who immediately ... embarked on an ambitious refurbishment programme which included a total revamp of the golf course and facilities, and an equally ambitious financial plan to sell shares in the new club.
~ ~ Two eminent Irish course designers called Tom Craddock and Pat Ruddy (who were responsible for designing the world-famous Druid's Glen Golf Club) were contracted for the course re-design, and many new water features were incorporated, along with a new state-of-the-art drainage and watering system, and new shaped and contoured greens.
The clubhouse and facilities were vastly upgraded, with a new bar and dining room, changing and shower facilities, and a professional's shop.
Along with the new course and clubhouse, the old Four Lakes Golf Club also acquired a new title, Killeen Golf Club.
~ ~ I first played Killeen way back in the mid-1980's, and wasn't to play it again until around 2003, when I was invited to play in an Open competition by one of my close friends who had recently joined the club. I was so impressed that I became a regular visitor to the club, (it's only 20 minutes drive from my front door) to the extent that I was actually playing it more often than my home golf club!
The end result was that I finally decided to take out membership, and since October 2005 have been indulging my golfing passion (some might even say addiction!) at this marvellous links.
~ ~ Killeen is an American style golf course. Measuring 6,732 yards from the Championship tees it's long enough to challenge even the big hitters, and the course designers have made full use of the existing lakes (which is why it was originally called Four Lakes) to further increase the difficulty of the course. Where water didn't previously exist, they have incorporated newly created water features. The end result is that water comes into play on new fewer than THIRTEEN of the eighteen holes. So if you're hitting your golf ball off-line when you're playing Killeen, then be sure to either bring plenty of golf balls or a sub-aqua suit to retrieve them!
Trees are another difficulty you'll have to overcome if you want to post a good score. The designers had plenty of old, mature trees to work with, and they have made full use of them to ensure that they get in the golfer's way at every opportunity! Many new, fast-growing trees have also been planted, which means that over the next few years (as they mature) the course is only going to become even MORE difficult to navigate your way around.
Another "American" feature is the large, contoured greens. It's not that difficult to get your ball onto the putting surface, (if you can avoid the trees and water that is) but once there the sheer size and complexity of the putting surfaces make it far from certain that you'll be able to get it into the hole in another one or two shots. Killeen's greens are difficult to suss out. (To put it mildly)
All this adds up to making Killeen an extremely difficult (but fair) test of a golfer's ability. The emphasis is not so much on long-hitting, but on your ability to think your way around the golf course. Get your ball into the right position and you'll likely score well at Killeen. Get it out of position, and you'll struggle badly.
~ ~ It's very hard to single out any "feature" holes at Killeen, as they all have their own appeal. But I'll mention just four that particularly take my fancy.
THE 7th HOLE
~ ~ The seventh hole is a par-4 measuring only 366 yards, but don't let its short length fool you into thinking it's either an easy par or birdie opportunity. It's a slight dog-leg to the left, so the ideal drive is up the right hand side, but not too far right or you're into either a copse of trees or one of the ever-present water hazards. Go left with your drive and you'll be playing your approach shot blind over a large mound with a mature tree set in the middle of it. A good drive will only leave you with anything from a nine iron to a sand wedge to the green, but this is where the hole grows teeth. The green is elevated and crested, which means everything rolls off towards the side of the green. It also banks sharply from the front to the back, and to make it even more devilish has various humps and hollows that make it extremely difficult to pick the right line for your putt. Just to make your day complete it has deep pot bunkers to the left, right, and front of the green, and another bunker at the back to catch out anyone who hits it too long. It takes a perfectly executed shot to even hold this green, never mind get it anywhere near the hole to give you a chance of a birdie. (One under par)
THE 8th HOLE
~ ~ Just as you're regaining your composure after the rigours of the seventh hole, you are immediately faced with a par-3 designed to give even the most experienced player the screaming heeby-jeebys! It only measures a meagre 139 yards from the championship tee, but again don't let it's lack of length fool you into thinking it's an easy par or birdie opportunity. When you step onto the tee all you can see in front of you is a vast expanse of water, with the green perched on the far side. Even the gracious swans and quacking ducks that abound on the water features at Killeen don't serve to make this hole any more attractive to the golfer! The green itself is large, but in length rather than depth, which means you have precious little room for error if you want to land your golf ball on the short grass. There's a steep bank along the whole length of the front of the green, so anything coming up short will invariably roll back into the pond. If that isn't enough, there's a tricky wee bunker set into the bank just in front of where they usually set the pin on competition days, and another at the back of the green if you happen to hit it too long. The safe shot is to play for the right hand side of the green, but this in itself is fraught with danger. It increases the length of the carry over the water, and even if you make the putting surface it will leave you with a putt of about 60 to 70 feet, which isn't a pleasant prospect! When I take visitors to play Killeen for the first time, they often remark that this hole is very similar to the world-famous 11th hole at Augusta, and it's hard not to think that this is blueprint that the course designers had in mind when they laid out the course.
THE 15th HOLE
~ ~ Not for nothing is the 15th hole ranked as the "Index 1" on the score card, or for you non-golfers out there as the most difficult hole on the golf course. It's a par-4 measuring 429 yards, but I'd happily take a bogey five (one over par) here any day and walk to the next tee. The trouble (as ever) on this hole is the dreaded water. There are not one but TWO large ponds that come into play on both your drive and your approach shot. You're faced with water on the right with your drive, and woods (out-of-bounds) on the left. The hole doglegs slightly right, so the best tee shot is a gentle fade. But overdo it, and you'll need to get your waders out once again to retrieve your ball. You're faced with much the same shot for your approach to the well bunkered green, only this time the fairway to the front of the green is fiendishly slanted towards the water hazard, which means any shot coming up short will invariably bounce into the water.
THE 18th HOLE
~ ~ This hole epitomises the old saying that the best wine is always served last. It's only a short par-3 measuring 176 yards. The problem is you have to fly practically all of those yards through the air, as the green is fronted by a huge pond. Here the swans and ducks float around serenely waiting to be amused by the crazy humans who persist in knocking their little white balls into their habitat!
It's an amazing fact that many golfers when facing a long carry over water will invariably be fixated by the very same water and unceremoniously dump their golf ball into it. If the pin is placed towards the front of the green (close to the water) then the degree of difficulty is further increased as you have to dice with the water even more if you want to get your ball anywhere close to the pin. Just to make life even harder, the water also guards the right hand side of the green, and there are bunkers to the side and back. And don't forget the out of bounds on the left! Just the sort of severe test you DON'T want at the end of your long, tiring round. But what an absolute peach of a finishing hole!
~ ~ You'll want for nothing if you visit Killeen as there's a modern clubhouse with every facility. Good changing rooms, clean toilets, and piping hot showers to refresh you after your efforts on the course. Then into the comfortable and well stocked lounge bar, with its armchairs and couches and large screen TV's. (Which are usually tuned into Sky Sports!) Just through from the lounge is the main restaurant where you can enjoy a full meal at reasonable cost, or if you prefer there's also a full bar snack menu. By the way, there's also plenty of outside seating at the front of the clubhouse beside the practice chipping green, where all you smokers can relax and smoke away in comfort, without risking the Euro3,000 fine if the authorities catch you smoking in the clubhouse! (Smoking ban in the workplace here in Ireland for over two years now) Upstairs there's a large function room with an outside balcony overlooking the course, which is also used as an overflow dining room at busy periods and for hosting large social events.
The professional's shop is well stocked with everything a golfer's heart could desire, and there are ride-on buggies or electric caddy carts available for hire here at Euro25 a round for those of you who'd rather conserve your energy for hitting the golf ball. The large car park is monitored by closed circuit TV monitors, so you don't have to worry about the security of your vehicle or its contents while you're out enjoying yourself on the links. (Theft from golf club car parks has been an increasing problem here in Ireland over the past few years!)
~ ~ Here's the good bit. You don't have to take out a bank loan in order to pay for your round at Killeen. Mid-week the green fees are only Euro40, rising to Euro50 over the weekend. If you play with a member the cost is halved.
If you fancy joining Killeen it's slightly more expensive. (But still good value)
The new share scheme means that you buy an actual share in the golf course, the current price being Euro15,500. Thereafter the annual subscription is currently just over a Euro1,000. The beauty of the share scheme is that you can sell it on at any time if you decide to give up your membership, and most likely at more than what you paid for it.
WHERE IS IT?
~ ~ Killeen is located just off the main N7 Dublin to Galway road, and about 20 miles or 45 minutes drive from the centre of Dublin city. It's simple to find. Look out for the sign for Straffan and the K-Club. (Where this years Ryder Cup is being played) Killeen is located about four miles off the main road in the middle of the lovely Co. Kildare countryside, and only three miles from the world-famous K-Club. It's well signposted. If you're visiting Ireland and fancy a round or two of golf, then why not give it a try.
Golf Booking Office / Clubhouse:
Tel: 045 866003 (From the UK dial 0035345866003)
Fax: 045 875881 (From the UK dial 0035345875881)
© KenJ May 2006
Read the complete review
~ ~ Two weeks ago (July 2004) the Irish P.G.A. and the competition sponsors, Nissan Ireland, held the 2004 Irish Open Golf Championship at a links golf course for the 3rd year in succession. This year, in their wisdom, they selected Baltray Golf Club in Co. Louth. ... Baltray is, in my opinion, the finest links golf course in Ireland either north or south of the border. (The Island Golf Club in Donabate, Co. Dublin, where the 2003 Open was held, runs it a very close second.)
~ ~ For years Baltray, or to give it its proper title, Co. Louth Golf Club, has been known here in Ireland as the ?hidden gem?. Each year it hosts the East of Ireland Amateur Championship on the ancient seaside dunes, where Baltray opened for play at the end of the 19th Century. (1892) But because of its relative inaccessibility, lying as it does on a remote peninsula near Drogheda in Co. Louth, (45 miles from Dublin) it has never enjoyed the same level of popularity as other famous old Irish links golf courses such as Portmarnock, The Island, and Royal Co. Down in the North. But those in the know in Irish golfing circles have long realised that Baltray is one of the finest (and hardest!) links golf courses in the country.
~ ~ I?ve had the pleasure of playing Baltray on countless occasions during the 20 plus years I have lived here in Ireland, the most recent being only last week when I competed in a Scratch Cup on Sunday 31st July. The course was in the finest condition I?ve ever seen it, no effort having been spared to present it in the best possible condition for the visiting top professionals who played in this years Irish Open. The fairways were like all true links fairways should be, cut down to the barest minimum of grass and as hard as polished granite! And the greens (putting surfaces) were as smooth and as true as a snooker table. Just tickle the golf ball with your putter and it would take off like an express train.
~ ~ The current course at Baltray came into being in 1938, when a guy called Tim Simpson redesigned the original 19th Century links. For nigh on 70 years Baltray has remained virtually unchanged, with only the odd cosmetic change. This year one or two new sand bunkers were added, and a few new tees built in order to toughen up and lengthen the course slightly to make it even more of a challenge for the touring professionals.
Baltray now measures 6,936 yards from the Championship tees, which is not long by today?s standards. Indeed, with the hard, fast-running fairways, you are often only left with a short iron to the green even on the longer par-4?s. But Baltray doesn?t need excessive length, as the trick to scoring well here isn?t hitting the ball massive distances like Tiger Woods or John Daly. To score well here you have to be able to keep the golf ball on the fairways and out of the knee-high rough, (sometimes even THIGH-HIGH rough) and be able to ?finesse? the ball around the fast and slick putting surfaces.
The technique for playing a links (seaside/sand based) golf course is very different to that used to play a parkland course, as many top professionals have found out to their cost (and sometimes acute embarrassment!) over the years. The ball has to be ?nipped? of the hard fairways, with practically no divot taken, and around the greens there is little point in playing a high, spinning wedge shot, as invariably it doesn?t stay on the putting surface. Instead, you have to land the ball short of the green, and read the contours of the land correctly to allow your approach shot to run up to the hole.
~ ~ Baltray has a par of 72, and from the moment you step onto the first tee you realise that in order to score anyway well you are going to have to play out of your skin. (Or as Tiger woods would put it, bring your ?A? game)
It opens with a long par-4 measuring 433 yards. A wide fairway belies the difficulty of the hole, with deep fairway bunkers both right and left of the fairway right in the landing zone for most drives, and penal rough to catch the off-line tee-shot. A long narrow green that has a tendency to throw a well-hit approach off the back of the putting surface adds to the difficulty. (I know, because I did just that last Sunday!) But for me the two feature holes on the front nine are without question the par-5 third, and the par-3 fifth.
~ ~ The third hole is a classic links par-5. Although it measures all of 544 yards, it can be reached in two shots by longer hitters, (not me!) but the small green nestles down behind a large sand dune thus making the approach shot blind. (You can?t see the green) Whether you are trying to hit the green with either your second or third shot, you better make sure you hit your ball up to the right hand side, as the green slopes from right to left and only a perfect approach shot will manage to stay on the putting surface. An indication of the difficulty of this hole is that the club don?t see the need for ANY bunkers its entire length. (It?s hard enough as it is!)
~ ~ The par-3 fifth hole is only 173 yards in length, but don?t let its lack of distance fool you into thinking it?s in any way easy. Depending on the direction of the wind, you can be hitting practically any club in your bag to this hole. I have personally played everything from a 3-wood to a wedge here. The green is slightly elevated, very small, and slopes from right to left, making it extremely difficult to keep your ball on the putting surface. Front right there?s a small pot bunker to punish the shot that comes up short. (I ended up here last Sunday, bah!!) There?s another pot bunker just off the right hand edge, nestling among the large sand dunes. Don?t miss this green to the right, or you?ll be left with a practically impossible pitch shot, and will most likely run up a double bogey five. (Or worse!) If you miss it anywhere make sure it?s on the left hand side, where there?s no real trouble, and which leaves you a (relatively) easy uphill pitch. At least you?ll have a chance of making your par, and shouldn?t score worse that a bogey 4.
~ ~ The second nine holes are every bit as challenging as the front nine.
Two of the par-4 holes (12th and 13th) thread their way through a series of massive sand dunes adjoining the beach. Both measure just over 400 yards, and call for accurate shot making (and a good nerve) in order to manage a par.
For me the feature holes on the back nine are the short par-4 14th hole and par-3 fifteenth.
~ ~ The par-4 14th hole only measures a meagre 332 yards, well within striking distance for nearly all of today?s top professionals, and even some long hitting amateurs. But like the par-3 fifth hole, its lack of distance belies its degree of difficulty. You hit your tee shot from a very high tee, which is reached by a series of steps made out of old railway sleepers. This means you have to take a minute or so to catch your breath and allow your wee legs to recover before you even feel composed enough to hit your drive. The scenery from this elevated tee is outstanding, by the way, with an uninterrupted view of the magnificent beach (almost invariably empty!) and across the bay to the Mountains of Mourne in the distance. The view down the fairway is slightly more daunting! The strategy at this hole has to be to hit your tee shot as far as you can int o the fairway, as your next shot is to a tiny plateau green with sharp drop offs to three sides. To begin with, you have to carry your ball over 200 yards in the air over rough in order to reach the narrow ribbon of fairway at all. If you can manage this, then you need to hit a high floating shot that lands softly in order to try to keep your ball on the putting surface. Miss the green anywhere, and the chances are you wont be able to get your third shot close enough to the hole in order to make your par, and will end up with a bogey-5. (Or worse!)
~ ~ Next up is the short par-3 15th hole. Again it is relatively short at only 152 yards, but like the 3rd hole, you can end up hitting practically any club in your bag here depending on the wind strength and direction. You play from a slightly elevated tee, over a gully, to a long narrow green that slopes away from you from front to back, and which is surrounded on all sides by high sand dunes. Add in a small pot bunker directly in the front of the green, and two further pot bunkers protecting the right hand side, and you have a little monster of a par-3!
On Sunday last it was playing directly into the stiff seaside breeze, and I ended up hitting a little punch (low) shot with a four iron, which ended up on the green, but about 50 feet from the hole. (I made my par) My normal club for a 150-yard shot would be an eight iron or thereabouts, so this gives you some idea of how difficult this short hole can play!
~ ~ The facilities at Baltray are superb, as indeed they need to be, as the course is now firmly established as a favourite with overseas visitors (especially visiting Americans) who demand the very highest of standards.
The clubhouse is in fact the old ?Golf Hotel?, which was built on land adjoining the course back in 1928, and which the club purchased as their new clubhouse in 1943. Over the years it has been e xtensively extended and modernised, the most recent development being a completely new reception and entrance foyer, a brand new professional?s shop, and upgraded locker room and changing facilities.
The clubhouse still keeps its old world charm though, despite all the changes. In fact you can still stay overnight at Baltray, as the club have retained a dozen bedrooms from the old hotel.
The shower and toilet facilities are excellent, and the bar is well stocked and the staff friendly and hospitable. A new addition to the bar area since my last visit is a large screen plasma television, which is invariably tuned into a sports channel. (Mostly golf!)
~ ~ At the rear of the clubhouse is a patio area with outside seating which overlooks the adjoining practice putting green. This has become very popular these days since the Government here in Ireland introduced the famous (infamous!) smoking ban back in March, 2004, which means you can no longer enjoy a wee puff in the clubhouse after your round.
My friend and I had a full Irish breakfast here last Sunday before we went out to play at around noon, and very pleasant it was too! The catering at Baltray is renowned the length and breadth of the country, with two ?specialities? of the house being worth particular mention. The first is their glorious steaks, which must weigh in at all of 24 ounces. (I kid you not!) But my personal favourite is their ?Golfer?s Grill?. This comes on a plate the size of a serving dish, and includes everything you could possibly think of. Bacon, eggs, black and white pudding, pork chop, piece of steak, sausages, etc, all served with a platter of chips. (About ?15)
~ ~ Practice facilities are excellent. You have the aforementioned putting green adjoining the clubhouse, (always in first class nick) and adjacent to the first tee is yet another small practice putt ing green. Here you will also find a couple of practice greens where you can warm up by hitting a few chips and pitches before your round. The main practice area is on a piece of ground adjacent to the 2nd fairway, and is within ten minutes walking distance from the clubhouse.
~ ~ What will a round of golf at Baltray cost you? Well, unfortunately it is no longer cheap, with a green fee of ?100 during the week, rising to ?120 at the weekend. This comes down to only ?30 if you are fortunate enough to know a member of the club, and get them to introduce you. (I know a couple. Heh, heh.)
A few years back it was relatively inexpensive, but since the club became so popular with overseas players, the price has gone up and up. In fairness, the price is still comparable with other top quality Irish links courses such as Portmarnock, the European Club, or Royal County Down.
I only paid ?30 entrance fee to play in their Scratch Cup last weekend, and considered this exceptionally good value. (I might even have won the damned thing, only for a poor couple of finishing holes. Bah!!)
~ ~ Highly, highly recommended, and right up there in the ?mad cabbies? list of favourite Irish courses.
Address: Baltray, Drogheda, Co Louth.
Area Code (from 26 counties) 041
Area Code (from 6 counties and UK) +35341
Office Tel: 9881530
Professional Tel: 9881536
Caterer Tel: 9881539
Bar Tel: 9881538
Caddymaster Tel: 9881530
Email for tee time:
Motorised Buggies: Yes
& #77;otorised Caddy Carts: Yes
Mandatory Soft Spikes: No
Club Hire: Yes
© KenJ August 2004
Read the complete review
Ireland Sporting Venue
Sporting Venue / Clonsilla Westmanstown Dublin 15 Tel: (353) 1 8205817 Fax: (353) 1 8205858
Sporting Venue / Rosslare Strand, Rosslare, Wexford Tel : +353 (0)53 32113 Fax : +353 (0)53 32203
Sporting Venue / Mount Wolseley, Tullow, Carlow Tel : 0503-51674 - Fax : 0503-52123
Sporting Venue / Bettystown Co. Meath Tel: (353) 41 9827170 Fax: (353) 41 9828506
Sporting Venue / The Heath Portlaoise Co. Laois Tel: (353) 502 46533 Fax: (353) 502 46866
Sporting Venue / Corballis Golf Links Corballis Donabate Co. Dublin Tel: 01 843 6583 Fax: 01 822 6668
Sporting Venue / Courtown Golf Club, Kiltennel, Gorey, Co. Wexford. Tel: 00 353 5525166 Fax: 00 353 5525553
Sporting Venue / Arklow Golf Club, Abbeylands, Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Tel: 00 353 40232492 Fax: 00 353 40232492
Sporting Venue / Westport Golf Club, Carrowholly, Westport, Co. Mayo. Tel: 00 353 9828262 Fax: 00 353 9827217
Sporting Venue / Belvedere, Mullingar, West Meath Tel : +353 (0)44 48366 Fax : +353 (0)44 41499
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