I returned to the Mussenden course the other day to have a look at the renovation that took place over the winter. With Martin Hawtree as the architect and Esie O’Mahony of SOL GOLF overseeing the construction, I expected a good job to have been done and that’s exactly what I found.
What started out notionally as a bunker renovation project across the entire course evolved into a more concentrated effort across six holes, with fairways, greens and bunkers all receiving some attention. It made sense to upgrade the greensites of the opening and closing holes as part of the upgrade plan as the 1st hole sets the tone for the round and the 18th leaves a lasting impression.
Removing the unsightly buckthorn to the right of the fairway on the doglegged 2nd hole was also a smart move, as was bringing the green forward almost fifty yards, away from the housing on Circular Road which runs along the perimeter of the course. That improvement ticked environmental and safety boxes in one go.
The most pressing issue of poor drainage was also met head on at holes 11, 13 and 15. It’s hard to imagine such a problem could have arisen so close to an enormous dune beside the 11th green but the former sand hill was put to good use, raising the putting surface and green surrounds on 11 and 13 to overcome the aquatic difficulties.
Hole 15 is still a work in progress but, once the new fairway is properly bedded in, the adjacent 3rd hole will also profit from less water running down the side slope onto it. All in all, the improvements have significantly enhanced the course’s appearance, even though a large proportion of the changes have taken place below ground level.
Course Manager Charlie Edgar and his green keepers must be commended for the work done over the last few months in tandem with the SOL staff. The maintenance and conditioning bar has now been set high at a course which has lived way too long in the shadow of its more famous near neighbours.
Date: May 10, 2018