The Club

An Amateur's Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland

By Kevin Markham

West Waterford - Established 1993

Not A Foot Wrong

societysEven the weaker holes (the 6th to the 9th) work really well here.  They are separated from the course by a gentle hill and they go back and forth.  As you walk down the long and dark path to the 6th tee box these holes look similar - but they're not.  They are of different lengths and offer different tests.  The 9th green, by the clubhouse, offers the best views of the Comeragh Mountains.

It is the holes on the other side that are so wonderful where the creativity focuses on simplicity.  West Waterford has used the hills and trees perfectly, nowhere more effectively than holes 2 and 3, two reverse dog legs.  The 2nd hits down and demands a draw; the 3rd goes up and needs a fade.  Both are tight, need exact shots, and are enticing: they are beautiful holes.

Like Tramore, this is a driver's paradise.  The variety of holes, both in terms of beauty and difficulty, will keep you excited all day and standing up on the next tee box never disappoints.  The 12th, 14th and 15th run alongside the River Brickey, which is as natural and peaceful as the course itself.  It warms the heart.  The 17th and the 18th are two long and tough holes that will rattle the best golfers.  When you climb that final slope, remind yourself that this course opened only in 1993.  It is maturing spectacularly.

Course Designer

Eddie Hackett:

Born in a Dublin pub in 1910, twelve years before Irish independence, Hackett survived a Dickensian childhood of periodic penury and grave illness (he spent long stretches in hospital with

EHackettWhile Eddie was still a teenager, the family fell on hard times and so Hackett was thankful to get a job as a clubmaker at the Royal Dublin Golf Club.

He worked on his game, became an assistant professional, and in 1939 landed the job as the head professional at the exclusive Portmarnock links for the princely sum of 10 pounds a week.

"As the professional I was never allowed into the clubhouse," Hackett remembers."I'm an honorary member now, and I still don't go into the clubhouse. It's just the way I am."

Hackett left Portmarnock in 1950 to take part in an ill-advised business venture. The next few years turned out to be the worst of his life, and he spent another nine months in bed in a near-fatal battle with meningitis.

Hackett returned to golf almost by chance in the early 1960s when the Golfing Union of Ireland asked him to give teaching clinics across the country. One of the clubs was looking for someone to design a golf course (one of the first full-length courses to be built in thirty years) and Hackett's name was recommended. He stumbled his way through the job and suddenly he was an expert. For all intents and purposes he was Ireland's only golf architect.

"In those years, there was no one else to go to," says Hackett, "unless you went to an English architect, but they were expensive. All my life I've been charging too little, but at that time, you see, I wouldn't have the confidence in my abilities."