Rathcore Golf Club

Rathcore is a modern parkland… but please ignore the images that have probably just popped into your head.

This is a little slice of heaven bounding over strongly rolling terrain in the middle of nowhere (well, a few km from Enfield). Opened in 2004, at a time when ‘big’ was all the rage, Rathcore went the other way and presented golfers with a neatly packaged 6,318 yard par 72 (middle green tees), contained within 130 acres. It’s such a pretty piece of land with natural water features, gorse-drenched hillocks and idyllic green settings. Those water features are enhanced by stone-fronted walls beyond which you will find tempting green sites. Those hillocks embrace two ring forts… and a fairy ring. The holes (designed by Mel Flanagan) match that setting all the way.

There are big, booming tee shots to be hit… and there are just as many that demand real caution. There are four very short par-4s – the 6th and 7th are 317 and 300 yard beauties running side by side - where your Driver is definitely the wrong choice. The two longest par fours both measure 435 yards and are Index 1 and 2. The four par-5s fall between 472 and 532 yards. It is not going to beat you up on length but you will need to tease out some smart thinking, especially on the short par-4s and the doglegs.

Perhaps what sums up Rathcore’s brilliance best is the signature pairing on the par-3 11th and 16th. They face in opposite directions and use the same reed-laced pond. The 11th steals it as it hits from the high hillock with the green jutting out into the water, but the 16th is a touch longer at 178 yards… and far tougher (Index 6).