Mount Juliet Golf Club - Par 72 - 7,264 Yards
The Mount Juliet estate, south of the medieval city of Kilkenny near the picturesque village of Thomastown, is an old hunting estate that spreads over 1,500 acres and contains the mighty River Nore and the smaller Kings River.
This magnificent estate is the home of the only Jack Nicklaus course in Ireland, Mount Juliet. Host to the Irish Open between 1993 and 1995 and to the World Championship AmEx event in 2002 and 2004, Mount Juliet has all the hallmarks of a classic Nicklaus design.
It is big, measuring 7,264 yards from the tips. In fact, Mount Juliet underwent "Tiger proofing" in the lead up to the 2002 AmEx event when several new tees were constructed. At the peak of his powers, Tiger rose to the challenge, drove the ball straight and won the tournament with an impressive total of -25. A plan that backfired! In fact, Tiger was about to set another record on the final hole of the tournament when a spectators phone caused a mishit and resulted in his first bogey of the week. It was also reported that Woods did not play a practice round on a visit to Mount Juliet the previous July, content to view the course by air from a helicopter before resuming his holiday at Waterville.
The course makes full use of the natural beauty of the terrain. The third is a gorgeous par-3 played diagonally across the river from an elevated tee. The par-4 fourth continues along the same river, a short but dangerous hole with the green well protected by the water on the right and dense woodland to the left.
The tenth provides an unusual and unique feature - a choice of runways! The direct line of the second shot is blocked by a copse of huge oak trees. The fairway divides and offers the choice of playing to either the right or left, but placing the second shot in such a position that it offers a straightforward pitch to the three-tiered green is the key to successful negotiation of this hole.
For many the signature hole is the par-4 13th. A long tee-shot is required to a fairway that falls gently towards the green. The resulting downhill lie adds to the diffculty of the second shot which must traverse a deep lake immediately in front of a devilishly placed green that slopes dramatically.
The final hole at Mount Juliet rates as one of the toughest challenges in tournament golf. A very long, straigh drive sets up a long iron or fairway wood approach to a green tucked beside the lake which ectends back the entire left hand side of the fairway. As if the lake didn't cause enough angst on the tee, a beautiful oak tree guards the right hand side and will cut short any drive on the conservative line. Making par here is a thrill!
Mount Juliet is maintained to the highest possible standards and the visiting golfer will always comment on its immaculate presentation. The greens superintendant, Aidan O'Hara, has been loudly and publicly praised by the worlds best golfers during the two stagings og the AmEx.
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