“Next week’s Ryder Cup in Paris will be the last but one biennial event in Europe before 2026. With an extravagant investment by its owner, J P McManus, Adare Manor resort in County Limerick makes a compelling case to join the elite list of hosts” write Tony Leen, Sports Editor of the Irish Examiner in his article published in the print edition on September 11, 2018.
The following are some extracts from his article:
“For any golfer whose experience of Adare Manor golf pre-dates its regal revamp, there’s a modicum of solace in the fact the footprint and routing are essentially the same.
There are significant elevation changes to some holes (the 5th, for example) but if anything, one is less likely to take time searching for wayward shots for the reason that a lot of trees have been removed. There’s air and light and it’s all very breathable. One would have to try hard to lose a ball now but here’s the rub — accumulating a score might be harder still.
The reason? Run-offs. Shaved-to-the-bone environs around the greens, 12,500 sq. metres of them in all. Employing 50 greenkeepers is next to unheard of in the industry but these run-offs and the lovingly tended teeing areas, triplicate the mowing work every day.”

“Adare is purposefully set up that it looks really easy to play,” says Tom Fazio, the world’s foremost golf course designer. Certainly, it’s fun to play. All the detail of the positions you can play shots to give you so much variety but the next thing, you’re counting afterwards and thinking ‘gee, I didn’t really score that good, did I?’
Andy McMahon, the director of golf operations at Adare Manor said that “the course had gone from being the best parkland in Ireland to one of the very best golf courses in Ireland. There’s 180,000 tons of sand to make Adare Manor firm and fast, regardless of schizophrenic weather. It will be open this winter, the course’s first real test, and it’s ready. The course is one of a handful in the world utilising ‘Sub-Air’ technology beneath the greens — Augusta National was the first — essentially sucking the moisture and keeping greens running fast and true”.
Pure distinction bent grass has been used on those greens, which feed off into those aforementioned surrounds and run-off areas, as penal and severe as you can imagine. Anything a tad astray can and will finish 30 yards left, right or long. Are you putting or bumping it back towards the flag? You’ll notice the aesthetic early too. The emerald colouring of the rye grass chosen for its look as well as its playability. . “The maintenance team for the course is 50-people strong, led up by Alan McDonnell, superintendent”
The Tony (Leen) Awards
Best hole:
Easy pick is the 18th, but the 2nd and 13th are two beautifully framed holes, with both having a lick of Augusta about them.
Hidden gem:
The drive off the back sticks on the 17th make it at one, a beast and a beauty.
Weakest hole:
Maybe the least strongest hole is the 8th, which is seen as the “toughest driving hole on the front nine” and indexed No 1. Don’t think so.
Biggest change:
From the old design, the fifth, a par four, has been dropped 15ft, so the bowl-shaped green is now visible from the fairway.
Most dangerous:
The par three 6th has been lengthened, and is guarded right and off the back by water. Not only that, the slick run-offs will feed it into the wet stuff
The par 5 seventh is begging to be hit in two, but it’s trouble all the way up the right, and the bailout left has been mowed down to a run off now too.
Picture perfect:
Tough to beat the approach to the 9th, another par 5, with the stunning Manor House, as a backdrop.
Toughest par:
Perhaps the 10th, because the approach is a mid-iron to a green of measly depth. Getting back up to the green and down for par is a result.
The glass staircase:
The greens will run at 11 even in winter, but the swails and hollows on 18 make it a tough two putt.
Toughest drive:
Maybe not the toughest, but the 15th running alongside the River Maigue makes it too easy to bail out left, where trees and traps lurk.
Sweetest approach:
The second to No 13 — where the green runs away from the player — is heavenly.

(With permission of the Irish Examiner)


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