Co-designer Des Smyth proud of Seapoint Golf Links progression

Ronan MacNamara

Des Smyth in action. (Photo from Getty Images)

Seapoint may be a relatively young links course compared to other tracks in Ireland but it has hosted its fair share of premier events.

Since opening its doors in 1995 the Co. Louth links has welcomed a European Tour matchplay event, two Irish PGA Championships and the Irish Amateur Close Championship.

Seapoint is certainly fit to rival some of the legendary links courses in Ireland so perhaps it’s only fitting that it welcomes the Legends Tour this week.


Course co-designer Des Smyth has been a man in demand over the course of the four-days, including giving children golf lessons on the driving range and he is proud of his project.

“We are very proud of this place. We designed the course in the late 90s and it has stood the test of time,” said the two-time European Ryder Cup player. “It’s here about 30 years, it’s held some really nice tournaments, this week’s Irish Legends being the biggest, this is big on an international level while we have had Irish championships and Irish amateur championships.”

The Drogheda native is delighted to have been able to build a golf course that is local to him and he feels he got his eye for links design from his many Open Championship appearances – one of which yielded. fourth place finish in 1982.

“We have a great opportunity to play some of the best golf courses around the world, I’ve played on some of the most famous links courses, I had some nice runs in the Open at Birkdale and Troon so you pick up things. I played many Irish Opens in Portmarnock which is close to here so you pick up some clues and tips.

“It’s great to be able to start from scratch, it’s not a very hilly area so people might see that as a negative, we didn’t because we could build our fairways where we don’t have too many catchment areas. A lot of the old links courses as brilliant as they are, they have all these areas on the fairway where the ball runs into and you have zillions of divots so we were careful with that. Our landing areas are reasonably flat and we try to work with the natural topography and then I like the finishing stretch because we have some dunes.

“Overall, we are happy, the members are happy and people in the locality enjoy playing here.”

One of the great pleasures of links golf for Smyth is that no two days are the same. He gave a quick anecdote about how the wind on one of the practice days at the Irish Legends switched to a hard left to right on the driving range, causing a mass exodus before it returned back to a downwind breeze and all the players came back to hit balls.

Overall, it’s the variety of golf shots that can be played that gives Smyth a smile.

“You watch golf on the television from America and even Europe and you have these lovely calm conditions, in links golf the wind can do a complete 360 switch so that’s the challenge of links golf one day you’re hitting a 4-iron, wedge to a par four, the next it could be a drive and 7-iron. That’s the challenge.”


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