Mount Wolseley Golf Club,
Designer: Christy O'Connor Jr
Championship Length: 7,106 yards
SSS (Course Rating): 74
Already a superb golf course having opened in the mid 90's, Mount Wolseley will eventually be recognised as one of Europe's finest inland courses. Once owned by the Butler Dynasty, Mount Aaron as it was known, came into the possession of the Wolseley family in 1725. Having been torched during the 1798 Rebellion, the house was rebuilt in 1864. The 200 acre property was sold in 1925 to the Patrician Brothers and was purchased by the Morrissey family in 1994, whose decision to develop a championship golf course here, heralds a new era in the history of the property.
Quite apart from the magnificent golf course at Mount Wolseley, the visual delights of the setting are something to behold. Set just a few hundred yards from the meandering River Slaney, its rich population of trees and lakes are set against the backdrop of the East Carlow and Wicklow Mountains. Upon inspecting the location, course architect O'Connor commented: "rarely after a first look around a potential site for a golf course had I been so impressed as at Mount Wolseley, not just with the ideal and natural roll of the ground itself, but also with the magnificence of this delightful rural countryside."
Measuring over 7,100 yards from the championship tees, there are no easy holes at Mount Wolseley, with wide landing areas the only concession to demanding approaches to almost every green. The 411 yard par 4, 1st hole is a good example of what is to come. A well hit tee shot will leave a 150 yard approach, which must fly all the way due to a serious dip in front of the green. The bunkers are maliciously positioned, where the contours of the green seem to feed the ball to a sandy lie. And so the roller coaster has begun. The short 9th hole also deserves special mention. Here your tee shot must be struck through a forest clearing, no wider than 40 yards (at the widest) to a green some 190 yards away.
Throughout the course, there is a fine mix of holes with water in play on no fewer than eleven of them. The 11th requires a carry over water of 207 yards from the championship tees, while the 14th and 15th are played amid mature woodlands where the full beauty of the course is hammered home. The 18th provides a fitting climax to an enjoyable round, where two lakes, a stream and a fairway bunker protect the left hand side as the hole doglegs to the right.