The venue for the 2019 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National was being prepared on Tuesday, the same day as a court handed down a life sentence for a golfer convicted of trying to blackmail organizers of the biennial match.
Dublin’s Adare Manor golf resort has had an international reputation as a short-game playground for the world’s top professionals since 1990, when Nick Faldo won there in his storied heyday.
Yet when it hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup, it had become something of a working farm just nine years earlier with two bulldozers and heavy machinery jolting through the countryside.
The course is being returned to the pastoral setting on which it was originally planned.
What’s more, in its renaissance, has become a key venue for major European Tour events.
The 7,100-yard course, designed by Des Smyth and Forbes Tompkins, is comprised of three separate layouts: the cut-and-flatten, brutal short game course, which is used on European Tour events; a hillside par 3 with access to “air holes” to maximize scoring; and a stretch of wooded greens that test the greensmanship of a major champion.
Here’s a closer look at Adare Manor, the best-known course in the Irish countryside.
This is where the world’s top players spend most of their time these days.
A kamikaze tee shot out of a bunker on the first hole demands the smallest angles and a perfect yardage. A two-iron goes past it, the ball ricochets off the branches of a tree, and land bounces out of bounds. Two more iron shots do the same thing, and the player has to rescue a single ball from another two wobbly bounces and a wood shaft.
There are different eye-for-target challenges on the closer holes, like the par-5 fifth hole with a bent green, and the 16th, with a water-covered catwalk left and right, and a fairway so long that on the tee shot the first landing strip is at a greenkeeper’s house.
Eighteen holes of cut-and-flatten play on the spacious par-4 17th. A shot over the water is not likely to go in, but with razor-sharp little bounces, golfers still must get up-and-down from short of the green. And they do it.
The best course: when tees are tucked together near the clubhouse that overlooks the links.
In the middle of the 7,100-yard course is a series of grassy greens lined up on a hillside. It’s designed to provide perfect tee-shots on the par-3 holes that average 4.8 yards. One in particular is the signature hole, the 10th, where the green slopes down from 200 yards to 300 yards into the hole.
Otherwise, par-4s are played long — 352, 366 and 363 yards — on those popular opening holes for players from the afternoon sun.