The Irish Midlands, or Heartlands, is often overlooked by visiting golfers rushing to play links golf around the coast of Ireland. Athlone is one of the most centrally located towns in the country, situated between Galway and Dublin, and it offers a very welcome, alternative parkland golfing experience for anyone who chooses to stray a little off the well known tourist golf tracks.
Athlone Golf Club has been chosen many times by the Golfing Union of Ireland as a venue for competitions at all levels, including the Schools Championship in 1996, the Youths Open three times in the 1970s and again in 1989 and the Seniors Open in 1976 and 1992. The club also hosted the prestigious All-Ireland Cups & Shields Finals in 1998.
Although Athlone Golf Club was founded in 1892, the club moved home twice before settling here at Hodson Bay in 1938.
The course is a delight to play, with tree-lined fairways, intelligent bunkering and large, generally flat greens. Lough Ree bounds the 6,194-metre course on three sides, but only comes into play on the 11th and 16th holes. Two of the three par fives on the course are played at the 5th and 7th holes but the feature holes are the 151-metre par three 6th on the font nine and the 396-metre, right doglegged, par four 13th on the homeward half.
January 28, 2010