Located south west of Dublin near Brittas and designed by Nick Bielenberg, Lisheen Springs (originally known as South County Golf Club) only opened in 2002 but it has already received much critical acclaim – though suggestions that the design is reminiscent of MacKenzie or Colt may be a little over reactionary, quite frankly!
Nonetheless, it is a fine parkland track built to USGA specification with holes laid out over gently undulating terrain. The Brittas River meanders through the property and comes into play at many of the holes, bringing both beauty and danger to the layout.
Lisheen Springs Golf Club can be played between 5,543 and 7,039 yards in length and from the back tees, the four par threes measure between 179 and 191 yards. Furthermore, seven of the ten par fours are longer than 400 yards when played off the back markers, so Lisheen Springs can be set up as a very lengthy golfing test if required.
However, the Bielenberg design has no huge carries off the tee, no bunker dominated landing areas nor any wildly undulating putting surfaces favoured by some golf course architects who think the game is only played by big hitting, low handicap amateurs or professional golfers.
Bielenberg says, “my philosophy in designing a course is that it should start with easier holes… and then build up to a crescendo on the second nine… This approach sustains the player's interest longer and keeps him in the competitive hunt… The second nine will require both good shot making and course management.”
The 185-yard par three 16th is regarded by many as the signature hole with the green set into a steep hill and a pond protecting the putting surface front and right. Even taking the safe line, if you do not find the green you could well find your second shot hampered by two large hawthorn bushes!