When I wrote a feature article on Carton House for Irish Golfer Magazine a couple of months ago, I stated that the Montgomerie was a seriously tough course… one of the top ten most challenging courses in the country, in my opinion.
The Carton House Media Day was held last week and the challenges of the course were on full display. The mere thought of the 127 cavernous bunkers is enough to rattle a few cages, but we also played off the white tees (6,821 yards), with a 1 to 2 club wind and flags in what can only be described as final day championship positions.
If a bunker fronted the green then the flag was invariably behind it… including the ‘nearest-the-pin’ hole on the 17th. Little surprise then that the winner on the 17th was 30 feet from the cup – I doubt many even found the green.
It was not a day to be firing at flags. It was, instead, a day to be taught a lesson in humility: out of some 40 golfers only three breached the 30 Stableford point mark. It didn’t help that rain began to fall on the back nine, but the Monty was set up like the strict headmistress who weeds out your every fault and then makes you stand up in front of the class to confess to each and every one.
Some golfers will shy away from such an examination and I understand that completely – it certainly explains why the resort’s prettier O’Meara course gets more green fee business – but there are others who will be drawn to Monty’s challenges – I include myself in that category, for as much as I like to let rip and go for broke at every opportunity, sometimes disciplined course management can be even more satisfying.
The resort at Carton House is big, extravagant, luxurious and the sort of place where once you check in you won’t ever want to leave. It’s stretched over 1,100 acres, with nature trails, cycle tracks and fishing on the River Rye. It even encompasses two different counties. Who wouldn’t want to spend some ‘downtime’ here? And the choice of which course you play is entirely up to you… but I’d recommend you play both to appreciate the full Carton House golf experience.
Green fees: €75-€95 (May-Sept)
On a separate note, when was the last time you headed out on the course after work, on a summer’s evening to play holes bathed in golden sunlight? I’m not talking about playing 18 holes (although you’re welcome to)… I’m talking about getting out there to relax, have some fun and enjoy the company of family and friends. Maybe you’ll squeeze in six holes, or nine, or just head to the chipping green for some practice and friendly competition.
Carton House has decided to embrace those evenings this summer and will be hosting six weeks of ‘Evening Golf’ events in June and July, either side of the longest day. There will be a specific timetable of events – playing over the opening holes of the Monty course – but the goal is to make golf fun and enjoyable again by arranging golf for families, teams, low handicappers, high handicappers and everyone in between.
Many of us play golf once a week, at weekends, and in a competitive format… Carton House will be offering something rather different.
It’s an opportunity to enjoy golf in exceptional surroundings for a fraction of the usual green fee (€10 adult, €5 child). Contact Carton House on 01 651 7721 to find out what’s on and when.