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Author Topic: Arklow GC  (Read 5621 times)

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Offline Below Par

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Arklow GC
« on: Sep 07, 2009, 17:06:41 »
I’m amazed that there isn’t a single Irish course discussed or profiled on here.   The Cliché about Irish Golf is that in Portmarnock, Ballybunion, Lahinch, Portrush and Royal County Down they have five of the best courses in the world and then there’s a steep fall away.  I disagree and think there’s a number of second tier courses that anyone would enjoy.

Modern golf courses tend not to get me excited but Ireland has a number of big name developments, so there’s a lot of choice. The Irish Tiger also meant they had funds to update y are also updating several of the older third tier courses.

Last summer (2008) I visited Arklow about an hour south of Dublin, with no golfing expectations and nothing more to recommend it than a nod from a friend.   I was staying locally during their Open week and firstly I must say it’s a great club to visit, with a lovely modest clubhouse situated looking down over the course and the sea.  The staff and members are very welcoming and to see Harrington win the PGA surrounded by them made for a great evening.

The course started as a 9 hole links but was later expanded into 18 and is currently being up graded with a couple of new holes and 18 new greens by Eddie Conaughton who was previously unknown to me.  I’m not sure if it’s a proverb or just something my friend Adam likes to say but “only a fool or a wife criticises a job before it’s finished.”  So consider this an interim report. However I’m confident that in years to come Arklow will become better known, as a good and interesting test of golf and for having one of the wildest sets of greens I’ve ever seen.   About 15 have been finished so far and more were to be done last winter. The starter said to me “if you like what we’ve done so far just comeback next year.”

From the blue tees the first opens with a really inviting shot with a fall of 30’ to the fairway.



If the first is gentle the second is great.  Into the wind 419 yards, stay left off the tee or face a blind second shot to what you suddenly realise is another large and heavily contoured green.



Next a corking par 3 where the flanks of the greens are hidden by low dunes.  (I'm not 100% sure the two half hidden bunkers are needed)



The course now runs back along the sea with the two most attractive holes

4,  368 yards (45 of which are Green)


And my favourite the 5th.   Put you ball as close as you can to that bunker on the right for 451 yards of fun and one of the most beautifully rippled fairway ever.



6, huge dogleg round a Dune 420 yards first shot from behind and then the green which has to be 40 yards wide by 28 deep, great fun.





7
Short (139 yards) but troubling.   Green is 17 yards deep and raked to receive a shot. But take out the risk and go long and  you’ll risk getting wet with your chip back.  Not very subtle but it’s amazing how many members choose to lay up even at this distance.




8, only 306 but straight into the wind, big bunker to the front and green 43 yards long.
From an elevated tee




9  194 yards, All this shaping was new but after only one season it sat well.



There’s a ditch to the right of this and it gives a clue that the dunes land is running out.

In the second half you move out of the dunes land.  However the land drains well and links lover that I am, I’ll reluctantly admit that the standard of golf holes might even move up a notch or two.  This was the second wettest summer on record in Ireland and yet the ball ran on the fairways pretty much throughout.    Although the character of the course changes (visually) it plays as one course.

10 dogleg right 408 yards, you know there’s a ditch the far side of the fairway but as you can’t see it the doubts start to creep in. This green was due to change but even today it features a big back to front slope.




11  - OK I will criticise. One thing that will stop this course rising too far in the rating is that holes 3, 9 and 11 are all par 3’s  facing in the same direction and don’t have enough difference to make all 3 very good.




12 has some interesting fairway ridges and a 41 yard green with nice fall offs.





13 is also set to change.  But having a lake in front is cool. It’s not really in play but visually it takes you further from the idea you're playing in dunesland. Generally you're concentrating so much on the shots you don't realise you've left the sea behind.



14 I think this will be lengthened from 374, but it’s a nice idea having the green fall away to the back right on a downwind hole. Of course the right place for the bunker is front left. this shot is from behind.




15

451 yards with wind assisting will tempt many to try and clear the pond.  But even if you do the green is severely raised and you’ll often, still have work to do.




16 MMMM....
This is one of the most imposing tee shots I know of. There’s miles of fairway right but you are intimidated into playing left.




Apparently the hole used to be a straight on, with a green near those trees, and into the wind it must have been a mighty 4(and a better hole according to a few I talked to).  But now it’s 509 yards and blind for the 3rd shot unless you hit your second towards the stream on the left. You are then left with this.  (Let’s just say 14 of the 15 new holes are pretty great so hopefully this one will be revised.)




17 Good par 4. 447 yards with the stream all along the left and then crossing over 20 yards in front of the green



18 great 5 finisher, with a green that looks extraordinary and must be 60 yards by 25, doglegging away from you.  There’s a huge grass fall off to the front right.



Arklow reminded me a little of Portsalon the way it moved out of the dunes to become another course. I’ll wager it will be the better course of the two when finished.

6383 yards. Par 69 and with the most fun set of new greens around.   In order to have those contours it probably stimps rather slow.  But as any long putt will have to move across severe slopes the actual stimp readings would change from about 3 to 12 on the same putt.  Praise to Eddie Conaughton and the members for giving us these great greens. They played well this summer but with time I believe they’ll improve further.

Well worth a detour if your heading south from Dublin and only  15 mins from the European Club.   Play before 10am (!? This IS Ireland) and it’s only 30 euro’s!




I would love to see photos of any changes. 


PS are there any posters in Ireland?
« Last Edit: Sep 07, 2009, 17:14:41 by Below Par »

Offline rsh1960

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #1 on: Sep 07, 2009, 18:02:20 »
good review and some great pictures :thumbup:

There are one or two on here from Ireland, but i think they are up north

Offline AndrewPI

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #2 on: Sep 07, 2009, 19:13:44 »
Cracking review to read and looks a very nice course. I agree with you in the 2nd tier courses about Ireland as well. Ardglass for one.

Offline 3puttwizard

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #3 on: Sep 07, 2009, 22:02:29 »
Looks peachy  :drool:

Good review and great pics  :thumbup:
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Offline Scottt

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #4 on: Sep 07, 2009, 22:08:55 »
Tony,

A lot of those greens and their bunkering don't look all that linksy. Is that how they are, or just a trick of the photos?

Offline Below Par

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #5 on: Sep 07, 2009, 22:39:47 »
Tony,

A lot of those greens and their bunkering don't look all that linksy. Is that how they are, or just a trick of the photos?

Scott Which are you thinking of?  All the new greens would seem a bit OTT on something like Brancaster, but would fit in fine on TOC! ;)  All the new bunkering is revetted even on the inland holes 10-17, but I expect they'll all be in a similar style soon.  Interesting that although the new bunkers are deeper than the old there's no deep pots I can recall.

Offline Scottt

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #6 on: Sep 07, 2009, 22:51:19 »
Looking at the pics, 8, 11, 13 and 14 just have something that looks more inland than linksy to me.

I'm looking like being in Wicklow the last weekend of April. Playing Druid's Glen because it will be free, but still tossing up with my mate whether we feel like paying E180 for Euro Club or heading to Arklow.

Is Arklow the best best for a links in the area (discounting the Dublin tracks) behind TEC?

Offline Below Par

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #7 on: Sep 07, 2009, 23:04:52 »
I've herd Rosslare is decent, about 50 mins away but close to  the Ferry.   

All the great Dublin Links are on the north side, so 1.5hrs away, but close to the airport.

Enjoy the Craic.

Offline Scottt

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Re: Arklow GC
« Reply #8 on: Sep 08, 2009, 07:56:57 »
The craic will be enjoyed. Golf will be Fri/Sat as Sunday has already peen pencilled inked in as hangover day :chuckle:.

David Worley's book Journey Through The Links features Rosslare. Looks pretty good in the pics, bigger dunes than Arklow, it seems.

 

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