The Irish coast is renowned for some top quality golf and clubs around Ireland play host to a great selection of golf classics, few better than the Dunmore Golf Classic.
The Dunmore Golf Classic was held for the 20th year in May with players from Ireland, the UK and further afield playing four of Waterford's best tracks in as many days.
The Dunmore Classic is a four person team event open to members of golf clubs affiliated to their home golfing union who have certified club handicaps.
Players will contest a single stableford competition on each course each day with prizes for the top three each day plus an overall prize plus other categories such as best overseas, Irish, mixed, men's and women's team.
Each year the course is played on four of the following five courses:
Dunmore East Golf Club (Par: 72, Length: 6070 metres)
Dunmore East Golf Club overlooks the village of Dunmore East, with panoramic views of the village, the bay, the Hook Peninsula, Waterford Harbour estuary, the Saltee Islands and the Irish Sea. This seaside parkland course offers idyllic surroundings, fresh clean sea air, combined with stimulating and challenging golf. This 18 hole, 6070 meters par-72 course set out on over 180 acres has, from the outset, been receiving wonderful reviews from both golf writers and players alike. To quote Dermot Gilleece of The Irish Times "A hidden gem……a very fine course with a truly spectacular finish". Nine holes are set along the cliff top over looking the beautiful coast and a further nine set amongst trees and stunning shrubbery with expansive views over the country side towards the Commeragh mountains. The course provides a challenging combination of water hazards and natural features such as the magnificent par-3 14th which shoots down a steep valley with gorse covered sides and the stunning par-3 16th which involves driving the ball over a cliff to a green on the opposite side, two of many challenging holes on a great course. Long par 3's and tricky to manage par 4's provide a challenge while reachable par 5's may allow you to reclaim a shot or two.
Tramore Golf Club (Par 72, Length: 6055 metres)
Tramore Golf Club is one of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland where golf has been played since 1894. It became established as one of the premier parkland courses in Ireland and has played host to the Irish Clcouose Championship on three occasions. It has also hosted Professional tournaments and major club competitions over the years. In 2011 it hosted the Irish Youth Championship in June and the Ladies Senior Home International Matches in September.
Tramore has been selected yet again to host the Irish Close Championship in 2015. Not content to sit back and enjoy their Championship 18-hole course, the progressive members at Tramore voted in 2006 to engage internationally renowned golf course designer Jeff Howes. (Jeff Howes is one of Europe's leading Golf Architects having worked with names such as Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Retief Goosen and Robert Trent Jones Snr) to remodel the existing course, while preserving it's integrity and also create a new nine holes of similar quality. The result is a fantastic blend of "the Old and the New". Tramore now boasts 27 holes with sand based greens constructed to USGA standards.
Faithlegg Golf Club (Par 72, Length: 6690 yards)
Opened in May 1993, Faithlegg Golf Course was designed by renowned Irish golf course architect Paddy Merrigan. The course carries Merrigan's familiar stamp of difficulty, undulating greens, water hazards and perfectly placed sand traps, all of which, complete and heighten the challenge which is "Faithlegg".
The 200 acre estate can be found just 4 miles from Waterford City. The course situated on the banks of the River Suir, has been perfectly designed into a wonderful landscape. Its design uses the combination of mature trees, flowing terrain and the beautiful picturesque setting to fine effect. With a championship yardage of 6674 yards, it ensures that all level of golfer will be tested. The course layout is exemplified by its memorable finishing holes; 16, 17 & 18 with Faithlegg House Hotel Waterford as a back drop to playing the 18th thus making it a truly fitting end.
Waterford Castle Golf Club (Par 72, Length: 5827 metres)
The unique Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Club is Ireland's only true island golf resort and is completely detached from the mainland. On this privately owned 310 acre island, home of the world renowned Waterford Castle Hotel, sits a wonderful parkland golf course. Designed by Des Smyth, former Ryder Cup player, and opened in 1992, this 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course, complete with luxurious clubhouse, leads you through mature woodland and parkland. The course itself runs to 6,814 yards, off the medal tees, and covers an area of over 200 acres. Despite being completely surrounded by water Waterford Castle has an additional four internal water features on the second, third, fourth and sixteenth holes and they can even boast of having our own Swilken Bridge. The layout reveals attractive rolling fairways and subtle contoured greens, magnificently blended into a sensational setting.
Waterford Golf Club (Par 71, Length: 5232 metres)
This attractive parkland course was designed by the great James Braid who was Open Champion on five occasions and is complimented by a modern new clubhouse and excellent facilities. Waterford is particularly renowned for the quality of its' greens. The first nine demands accuracy from the tee. The back nine is more forgiving and features a great stretch with a classic finishing hole. Here the drive is struck from an elevated tee, with a 360 degree view, to a narrow fairway which winds its' way downhill, between score threatening gorse, to a receptive green 400 yards away.
All of the courses are within a 30 minute drive from Dunmore East, the popular coastal fishing village that is the base for the event and which is located just 15 minutes from Waterford Airport.
And testimony to the Classic is the amount of returning visitors who come back each year for some quality golf, interaction with locals, hearty food (although food is better pre-fixed with superb at the oustanding Azzurro restaurant in the village), great value and the odd Guinness.
Repeat visitors have already signed up for next year, which takes place from April 28 to May 2, but there are places available and event organisers are offering a team of four golfers five nights' accommodation in a self-catering holiday villa, four rounds of golf and a four course meal each evening after golf for €399. Further details can be found here.
There are 36 courses in the region and for those who cannot make it over for the Classic, Tourism Ireland has laid on the 3 Club Pass which allows play on Faithlegg, Waterford Castle and the famed Jack Nicklaus-designed Mount Juliet for €123.