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Expert* guide to the 2013 Irish Open course at Carton House

*Tips from a guy about the three holes he actually recorded pars on.

Former Westlife harmony maker Brian McFadden at the Irish Open Pro-Am.
Former Westlife harmony maker Brian McFadden at the Irish Open Pro-Am.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

THE IRISH OPEN teed off at Carton House this morning, while most of us were making weak tea or agonising over a Coco Pops or All Bran angel/devil breakfast battle.

Last month, the European Tour and the good folks at the Maynooth hotel and golf course invited TheScore.ie out for a round of golf on the Colin Montgomerie designed championship course. The scoring rules of the game, that day, were Stableford and many triple bogey putts were averted by the word ‘scratch’ before the accursed ball was plucked up and flung towards the next tee-box.

However, par was achieved on three glorious occasions to add a touch of sanity to my otherwise chastening scorecard. While I am no golfing expert, here is how I conquered three holes on the Monty and my tips for Rory, Pádraig and the lads.

Hole 9

A dog-leg right to left par four. The silky-voiced Shane O’Donoghue advises that you keep to the righthand side of the fairway. I put a little too much salt on my drive and shot it too far right and into the short rough. Luckily it sat up and a three wood got me to the green. I saw the ball disappear and thought I had eagled but, upon reaching the green, saw that little white ball of crud resting in the putting fringe. A two-putt got me a par but I could have dined off an eagle for the rest of my days. Expect birdies galore on this hole.

YouTube credit: Golf Ireland

Hole 11

470-yard left to right par four. You will need to rip a good drive off the tee to have any hope of a birdie. With crosswinds gusting on the day I played, I used my own version of a 3/4 swing [my excuse anyway] and left myself 260 yards short of the green but beyond the first set of righthand bunkers. It turned out to be a canny enough strategy as my second shot came up 20 yards short of the green but avoid the deep, pot bunkers guarding it left and right. A wedge to within eight feet and I had another par. The brave pros might try to use the draw shot but will need to hit it between 90-100% sweet to set up a handy approach.

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YouTube credit: Golf Ireland

Hole 13

A short par four of just 339 yards. The plucky pros reaching the green will have to land it over its three protective bunkers. The safer option, the one I took, is to aim a touch to the right of the fairway. 110 yards out allowed me an 8-iron approach but my birdie putt from 20-foot stopped four feet short [I found some greens were quicker than others but suspect they will all be trimmed to within an inch of their life]. Irons off the tee may be the most frequent approach on the opening two days as players get a feel for the course.

YouTube credit: Golf Ireland

The pars dried up for me on the final few holes. The course is relatively flat and devoid of water hazards or hulking trees close to the fairway. The par three 17th should attract the best atmosphere over the four days of the Open as organisers have designed it as a stadium arena hole with grandstand room for 1,500 fans.

For a full interactive guide to all 18 holes click here>>>

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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