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Golf course of the month archive
2010
2009

The K Club in Ireland

The K Club is a resort in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland, and its Palmer Course was the host of the 2006 Ryder Cup. The K Club also is the site each year of the Smurfit European Open on the European Tour.

Ireland's K Club has two magnificent 18 hole championship golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer. The Palmer Course, and the Smurfit Course are considered two of Ireland's finest championship golf courses. Perfect for that golf weekend, golf vacation or European golf trip - each course has its own characteristics and special set of challenges design to test golfers of all standards.

Arnold Palmer Course

If ever a golf course reflected the personality of its architect, it is surely this Arnold Palmer designed course. It may seem odd to describe a golf course as charismatic and cavalier but from the instant you arrive at the first tee, you are enveloped by a unique atmosphere.

Ireland's First Ryder Cup Venue

You may have been forewarned that Ireland's first Ryder Cup Venue is no ordinary golf course, and that it is widely acknowledged as the country's most challenging inland layout, but still you will be unprepared for the ensuing drama.

The Palmer Course is, quite simply, one of Europe's most spectacular courses. It charms, it entices and invariably, brings out the very best in your game. It is unlikely that you will be asked to tackle the course from the championship tees, but this should in no way diminish the excitement of pitting your wits against Arnold Palmer, for, in a sense, this is precisely what you are about to do.

Scorecard

Hole Blue White Green Red Par Index
1 584 561 502 405 5 6
2 415 382 358 289 4 12
3 173 164 138 127 3 18
4 423 386 346 287 4 10
5 213 197 179 151 3 16
6 446 407 382 362 4 8
7 606 581 517 501 5 2
8 424 364 327 296 4 14
9 461 427 402 384 4 4
OUT 3,745 3,469 3,151 2,802 36  
10 418 401 361 298 4 7
11 413 399 370 292 4 9
12 170 157 120 109 3 15
13 568 545 518 456 5 11
14 440 402 363 310 4 5
15 478 412 376 316 4 3
16 395 371 352 301 4 1
17 173 155 155 134 3 17
18 537 518 478 441 5 13
IN 3,592 3,360 3,093 2,657 36  
OUT 3,745 3,469 3,151 2,802 36  
TOTAL 7,337 6,829 6,244 5,459 72  

The Smurfit Course

The Smurfit Course at The K Club has already been described as probably the greatest inland Golf Course to be developed in Ireland. The construction has attracted attention throughout Europe because of its scale and the construction.

Developing the Course

The philosophy in developing the course was to ensure that a comparison with the existing Palmer Course would be difficult and that the golfers experience would be completely different. When this brief was given to Palmer Course Design Company, they came up with a concept, which was radical with regards to golf course developments throughout the World.

An Inland Golf Links

The best way to describe the Smurfit Course at The K Club is that of an inland links. However, its true attributes do not stop there. The Course has many dramatic landscapes with dune type mounding throughout. This assists in making the Course into a true Championship Golf Course with many vantage points for spectators to view the Golf Professional at work.

Coupled with this point, some fourteen acres of water have been worked into the design especially through the final phase of Hole No's: 13 to 18. A watery grave awaits many a golfer on the home stretch.

In essence the Course is entirely different from the Palmer Course located just across the River Liffey. From feedback to date golfers state that it is almost impossible to make a comparison such is the difference in experience.

Landscaping

Even with regard to the landscaping there is a significant difference, whereby on the Palmer Course there are specifically planted areas using cultivated plants presented in a formal fashion are the norm. On the Smurfit Course wild species of plants have been used such as gorse, bracken etc. and have been planted in a highly random fashion, more or less as nature would have intended.

Also four islands have been created within the lakes to promote the establishment of waterfowl.

The 7th Hole

The most significant golf hole on the Smurfit Course is the Par 5 7th measuring some 606 yards. This hole will probably be regarded as the most dramatic in Europe. It has a series of water cascades and water features which are just some factors of this development. In its construction, the Fairway was dropped some sixty feet below its original height. A large man made quarry / rockface has been developed along the entire length of the golf hole. This was done using technologies developed by a company called Rock & Waterscape who are based in California. Whilst their primary work to date has included Golf Courses, their main core business is working with the likes of the Disney organisation, Seaworld, and Universal Studios. The result is entirely unique and has never been attempted before in Europe. This is obviously the signature hole for the golf course.

Scorecard

Hole Blue White Green Red Par Index
1 449 426 396 362 4 6
2 179 166 146 130 3 16
3 603 574 555 423 5 8
4 394 339 378 330 4 10
5 403 367 327 277 4 14
6 436 411 382 316 4 4
7 600 553 501 441 5 12
8 144 129 122 109 3 18
9 464 443 415 354 4 2
OUT 3,672 3,447 3,151 2,742 36  
10 551 520 493 439 5 11
11 365 337 305 288 4 17
12 214 189 168 143 3 15
13 468 433 400 331 4 3
14 394 381 354 330 4 7
15 376 356 338 270 4 13
16 457 441 422 313 4 1
17 202 186 174 135 3 9
18 578 534 507 442 5 5
IN 3,605 3,377 3,093 2,691 36  
OUT 3,672 3,447 3,151 2,742 36  
TOTAL 7,277 6,824 6,244 5,443 72  

 

 
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