The course at Mount Juliet is set in lush, rolling parkland, part of a 1,500-acre old Irish country estate with an 18th century mansion as the clubhouse. Magnificent mature trees line the fairways. The River Nore cuts through the course and is popular for salmon fishing. This is the place to allow the Walter Mitty in you to daydream about having your very own private course. But wake up, because this is one of the best inland courses on the Emerald Isle.
Jack Nicklaus and Ron Kirby must have been delighted when asked to build a course on this beautiful country estate. They created a manicured parkland gem. In 1991, the Golden Bear opened the course himself with an exhibition match against Christy O’Connor Snr. It is not surprising that there is a distinctly American feel to this layout, with numerous teeing areas, plenty of bunkers and water hazards. The course even has concealed drainage and irrigation systems. Thankfully, the buggy paths are absent; it would be sacrilege to drive on these immaculate fairways.
This is a course that can cater for the very best golfers, measuring well over 7,000 yards from the back tees. Three of the world’s best have already won the Irish Open here: Faldo (1991), Langer (1992) and Torrance (1993). Another, less well-known golfer won the WGC - American Express Championship here in 2002, someone called Tiger Woods. The course, however, is eminently playable for the handicap golfer from a choice of forward tees.
Nicklaus has designed a fun golfer’s golf course. Water is the main hazard, but if you can avoid it, you will have a great time. Certainly Ernie Els enjoyed his stay here, beating a star-studded field to win the 2004 WGC - American Express Championship. Are you sure this is not America?
Mount Juliet was due to host the Irish Open in May 2020 for the first time since 1995, but the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The European Tour hoped to stage the Irish Open later in the year at Mount Juliet, but quarantine restrictions for travellers into the Republic of Ireland forced the European Tour to move the tournament to Galgorm Castle in Northern Ireland. The event did return to Kilkenny in 2021, however.
History: The Earl of Carrick named the Mount Juliet Estate after his wife Juliet, and she would have been proud. The Estate consists of over 1500 acres of lush riverfront pastureland and now incorporates one of the classiest small hotels in the world. The property also accommodates a horse stud, golf course, residential properties, gardens and trails.
The golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1991
Mt Juliet hotel: The Mount Juliet Golf & Spa Hotel is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and is truly a wonderful place to stay. With first class accommodation, dining and service, your comfort is assured. And if you want to get active you can play golf, ride a horse, have a putt, walk the gardens, cycle, fish the River Nore, shoot clay targets, or take up archery. The stud farm and equestrian centre are world class.
Putting Course: One of the most fun and perhaps unique things to do at Mount Juliet was to play on the putting course set in the gardens of Mount Juliet House. The full 18 hole grass putting green was outrageously good fun with holes surrounded by water. It was both beautiful and challenging..
But sadly the maintenance costs were seen as too much of a burden and the putting green is no more!
Golf Course: Jack Nicklaus has fashioned an American parkland type course in the lush rolling terrain at The Mount Juliet Estate.
The golf course winds through mature trees, around and over lakes, and is strategically bunkered as you would expect from a Nicklaus design.
With multiple tees, the course can cater for all standards of player and has hosted a number of professional events over the years including 3 Irish Opens, an American Express Championship, and Shell's Wonderful World of Golf.
Notable holes include:
- the par 3 third hole, an all water carry to an almost island green in a gorgeous setting
- the short par 4 fourth hole- a very tight drive through a treed valley to a green protruding out into a lake
- hole 10 is a short thinking man's par 5 with a large tree central to the approach- do you go left or right?
- hole 11 is pretty mid length par 3 over water
- hole 13 is a brutish longer par 4 which requires a strong tee shot over a hill and a long approach over water
- hole 18 is a challenging long par 4 finishing hole with a heavily bunkered green and water all the way down the left hand side of the hole
Mount Juliet is one of the great places to stay and play golf. The golf course is very pleasant and has been voted the best inland course in Ireland. Whilst it has some lovely holes, the course overall does not perhaps reach great heights.
Nevertheless it has a beautiful setting, a nice golf course, and is an absolutely world class place to stay.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Absolutely what a parkland should be - trees well back from playing areas except when they are placed strategically on of near the fairway. Apart from Adare Manor, these are the best greens I have payed on this type of course (like a fast carpet). Very playable if you choose your tees wisely.
Mount Juliet is a good parkland course, part of a beautiful extensive estate with mature trees and general bucolic idyll. Although there are house dotted around they don't intrude much on your game here.
Although its star may have dipped a bit from its glory days hosting WGCs the new owners have been investing in the course and the conditioning has now improved. There is a new driving range area opening this year , but sadly the putting course seems to have been dug up which is a real shame.
The course is not terribly exciting or unique, but is a pleasant stroll. From an Irish point of view, this is one of the best parklands in the country, but if I was coming from abroad I am not sure this would be top of my list. Although there are some interesting holes with a bit of strategy like number 2, 8, 10, and 13, some of the holes are fairly uninspired, like number 6, 9, 12. There is a bit of elevation on the site, but unfortunately you usually walk / down these to the next hole which ends up being flat. Kind of a shame really.
There is plenty of mounding around but it doesn't serve much purpose, I presume it's there to alleviate the flatness of the actual holes but doesn't really work. Despite this, this is still a good parkland track, but does not come close to the character of the big links courses. It does also get quite boggy in the winter.
If you are in the Southeast of Ireland its the course to play along with Carlow in terms of parkland.
12 is a fantastic hole, strategic drive required over the bunkers on the left. 2nd shot requires less club down the hill into a tree lined green which is protected by bunkers all around the green. Best parkland course in the country (never mind the southeast)