The O'Meara course is the oldest of the two 18-hole layouts at Carton House, opening for play in May 2002. The layout was designed by Mark in conjunction with Tim Lobb when he was with European Golf Design,
Carton Estate was the family seat of the Leinsters from 1176 and it is Lady Emily Leinster who is credited with adding a wide variety of non-native trees to the property in the middle of the 18th century.
That is why you will find Blue cedars at the 7th tee, Lebanese cedars behind the 15th green and Copper beeches near the 16th hole. It is hardly surprising then, when you add this selection of trees to the many sycamores, firs and pines on the estate, that the O’Meara course is classed as a parkland track.
Tyrconnel Tower overlooks the course and can be viewed from eleven holes. Coincidentally, the same number of holes are designed such that they favour those who can shape the ball from right to left – just like the architect's trademark shot.
Holes are routed over gently undulating landscape but the best are kept until (almost) last with Carton’s own “Amen Corner” from the 14th to the 16th down beside the meandering River Rye.
The 561-yard, par five, 15th crosses the river not once but twice between the tee and green and this heroic hole is sandwiched between two wonderful par threes. The 185-yard 14th is played to a green surrounded by water to the front, left and behind – so pinpoint accuracy is called for with the tee shot – and the 180-yard 16th requires a tee shot with 150 yards of carry over water. No bunkers required to toughen up what is already a knee trembler on the tee!
Played the O Meara course at the end of May. It is a nice course but apart from 4 holes it is nothing special and quite easy to score on. Be advised as it quite a hilly course and we played on a hot day which made it a bit of a drudge.