Amateur golf legend and Walker Cup stalwart Peter McEvoy fronts the Sporting Projects golf design company and they have been responsible for the creation of over thirty new golf courses – half of them in Ireland – since the mid-1990s.
McEvoy is better known in the Emerald Isle for his earlier designs at Fota Island and Powerscourt but this more recent addition to his portfolio at New Forest Golf Resort has brought with it much critical acclaim since it was opened for play in the summer of 2006.
Part of a development that now features luxurious 2-bedroom lodges as residential accommodation, the course is complemented by a 18th century former estate manor house which has been impressively converted into a most interesting and inviting clubhouse.
Located in the heart of the Irish Midlands, the 18-hole New Forest parkland course is laid out over gently undulating terrain in such a way that the routing ensures most of the mature trees and marshland within the estate remains untouched.
The most difficult hole on the outward half precedes back-to-back par fives at holes 5 and 6. The 455-yard, par four 4th begins with an intimidating drive (where the tee shot must avoid out of bounds on the left) and ends with an approach to a green guarded by sand and water. The front nine concludes with a 128-yard, par three hole that is rather unique as it is located entirely within a walled garden!
The 12th and 13th are feature holes on the inward half. Hole 12 is stroke index 1 on the scorecard and rightly so as it’s a demanding par four, dominated by a tree in the middle of an island fairway surrounded by streams – shades of the 17th at Carnoustie here! The 13th is a great driving hole, played through a chute of trees to a green protected by a pond and framed by oak and beech trees.
We played the New Forest back in 2007 in our first ever Cyder Cup, back when we were pretty new to golf and getting our first ever official handicaps.
We weren't expecting too much before we arrived on the basis that the course was not a so-called 'famous' one however all players were very complimentary about the course following the round.
I found the course to be a really good parkland course which was quite expansive. The course was in very good condition and was an enjoyable round.
The best hole on the course is the 'Walled Garden par 3, 9th. As it sounds, nearly the entire hole is surrounded by a wall giving it an air of tranquility and serenity. There is nothing more you want to do standing on the tee than find the green with an echoing thud. Definitely an underrated course.