Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort is located about a 40-minute drive to the west of Dublin and the course is draped across part of the 550-acre Balyna Estate where the historic Balyna House – a gorgeous 19th century Italianate mansion – provides a magnificent backdrop.
“I’m especially delighted with the greens,” commented Clarke on his first foray into golf course design, “which are among the best putting surfaces in the country. We created gentle slopes which will make players think about where to place their approach shots, especially when the greens are fast or in windy conditions.” Moyvalley opened for play in 2007 and the course is already considered to be one of the best modern tracks in the Dublin area.
If you are looking for tradition then steer clear of Moyvalley, but if you are seeking a challenging and strategic test on a golf course with truly outstanding playing surfaces, then look no further. A parallel exists between Moyvalley and The Grove in England. Each course is topographically challenged with little in the way of elevation change but each course has been nicely shaped, is a real test and is perfectly manicured.
As with many open country courses, Moyvalley relies on swaying fescue grass for its definition and you can expect a windy test. The free-draining site is open and exposed and the wind whips across the 7,370-yard layout which routed in two 9-hole loops that return to a stunning clubhouse that boasts panoramic views across the courses from three sides.
There are a number of good holes at Moyvalley but none is better than the incredible 602-yard closing hole that is surrounded by water. It requires a precise approach shot to a pristine green that is jealously guarded by a lake to the left and a huge anvil-shaped bunker to the right.
Moyvalley has been voted onto Golf Digest’s Ireland Top 100 for the last two years and it’s big Darren’s first layout. Let’s be honest, the land is not very exciting from an elevation change perspective but it was originally set up as part of the Champions Club stable. This is no ordinary venue, no expense has been spared both on and off the course but the credit crunch caught up with the concept and it’s now effectively a reasonably priced pay and play. The course is not inspiring but its greens were among the best I've seen in Ireland and that really is saying something. When we played here last month it was a treat, with rough swathed with tall, swaying fescue grass and simply outstanding playing surfaces, especially the greens. For me the back nine is the most interesting, but no holes should really be described as dull. A few holes are certainly more forgettable than most but for me the course really comes alive on the back nine and ends with a jaw dropping crescendo on the last. It was a blisteringly hot sunny day and the craic was good so I kind of enjoyed the rather surreal Moyvalley. If the staff can continue to maintain the truly incredible greens, then this course will remain worthy of playing. However if it doesn’t remain in great condition, then Moyvalley will soon become a nice but rather expensive pay and play.