Located in Killenard, near Portlaoise in County Laois, the championship golf course is only one of a number of leisure pursuits at the luxury 5 Star Heritage Golf & Spa Resort – there is also an indoor and outdoor bowls facility as well as a comprehensive health and fitness centre featuring as many hydrotherapies as you could care to imagine.
The gently undulating Heritage course has been constructed to a high specification in a collaboration between Seve Ballesteros and Jeff Howes. The former needs no introduction, of course. The latter made his initial mark in golf architecture when he designed the Gowran Park course in County Kilkenny in 2001, blending eighteen holes in and around the racecourse there. It is fitting that The Heritage, constructed to national championship standard, hosted the “Seve Trophy” in 2007.
Opened in 2004, The Heritage is composed of two huge loops of nine holes routed over a 300-acre site with each loop joined at the 9th and 18th holes which play down either side of a lake that runs from tee to green. In fact, there are five lakes in total around the course – covering 10 acres – and water comes into play on half the holes on the card. Factor in over 7,000 newly planted trees, almost 100 bunkers and a championship length of over 7,300 yards to understand why it is tough to post a good score here. The Standard Scratch Score of 76, four over par for the course, endorses the degree of playing difficulty.
The signature hole is regarded as the 214-yard, par three, 4th hole where a stream runs diagonally from left to right into a pond that protects the right of the putting surface. Stray too far the other way and there are two enormous bunkers guarding the left flank of the green. Three on the card is a satisfying score.
Another fine hole on the back nine is the 12th which is the longest par four on the course, measuring a shade under 500 yards in length. The tee shot must avoid the bunker complex on the right of the landing area where the fairway kinks right. Water runs down the right side of the hole from 100 yards out and the putting surface is further protected with two bunkers short left and two greenside. Forget a par score here unless you are a really big hitter who can get close with two mighty blows.
In 2007 the Heritage Golf & Spa Resort played host to the biennial Seve Trophy, played in a similar format to the Ryder Cup but between teams from Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe. The 2007 event saw team GBI emerge victorious beating Europe by 16½ point to 11½.
played here last week, only an hour from dublin, the course was in great shape. The greens were true and on the quick side, the faiways were in great shape. The clubhouse is nice and the staff very helpful