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.
April 18, 2005