Where better to sample some inland Irish golf than Carton House, the former Irish Open host. It boasts the pleasingly contrasting O’Meara and Montgomerie courses. The former is pure parkland and considerably more flattering. That isn’t to say it’s easy but it does give you some latitude from the tee. Or at least it does until you arrive at the 14th tee. A three-hole stretch confronts you on which it is possible to find the River Rye with every single shot that doesn’t involve a putter and perhaps even some that do.
You play a par 3 over water from an elevated tee to what is close to being an island green before tackling a par 5 with the Rye to the left all the way down the fairway until you have to cross it to find the green. Finally the short 16th is over water all the way. At the risk of stating the obvious, it is possible to run up any number on these holes.
The Montgomerie is a very different beast, with its incredibly demanding bunkering. Not only are there lots of them, and not only are they challenging you on pretty much every tee shot, lay up and approach but they are horribly deep. This is not a golf course for the modest player, even from the forward tees.
What it is, on the other hand, is a very well designed test of your strategy and execution. Like Portmarnock Hotel, it clearly belongs to its eponymous designer. Colin Montgomerie built the kind of course he loved competing on. Namely, one where his legendary accuracy and consistency would help him to outlast the competition. I enjoyed the challenge immensely, even if the O’Meara is a more attractive course in terms of its surroundings.
+353 (0)1 651 7727