Alister MacKenzie hallmarked 9 holes at the centurion Muskerry Golf Club when the Dr. extended the layout to 18 holes in 1924. Unusually, Muskerry has 23 holes on the property allowing various playing combinations.
A really good ‘club’ course around Cork City. The first thing that stands out for me are the quality of the greens (mainly subtle slopes but the speed of them is what sets it apart from other similar courses). It’s also quite a varied course, some significant changes in elevation (which makes it a tough walk for some people) are spread out quite evenly around, and the par 4s are a mix of shorter and longer ones, culminating in perhaps the strongest and most exciting finish in the area (and that’s including all the local big guns, although I haven’t played Old Head).
Stand out holes for me would be hole 6, a long iron or fairway wood Par 3, with a big valley in front of you all the way to the hole and a raised green: anything short or right will leave you well below the green, and all this is in front of the clubhouse so likely a few onlookers for added pressure. Hole 14 par 5 takes a few goes to find the right strategy for your own game, from the high tee a big downhill drive awaits, with the fairway turning right with a big tree on the left just beyond the landing area. So a ball on the right hand side would seem best, but the second half of the hole has a massive right to left camber, which is more easily approached from the left hand side.
The last 4 holes have been branded as the ‘Shournagh Challenge’, after the local river, although it doesn’t really come into play until the 17th. 15th is a drop-down par 3, hole 16 is a straightaway par 4 where the drive is the key shot. Hole 17 is one of the toughest in the area, a long tree-lined par 4 with the river guarding the green 20 yards short. I’m a 12 handicap and have never been on the putting surface after 2 shots (maybe 15 attempts). And hole 18 is a medium length par 4 with the river guarding the approach again, although slightly diagonally this time. Trees also come into play, narrowing the angles.
After the 4 standout courses in the area (Old Head, Castlemartyr, Fota and Cork GC), Muskerry is as good as any other option for a local game.