Located close to Dublin airport, and only a few miles from the city centre, St Margaret’s Golf & Country Club is in prime position. It’s amazing what can be done with a few farmer’s fields, especially when Tom Craddock and Pat Ruddy are involved.
A significant amount of earth was bulldozed to create the sculptured golf course at St Margaret’s, and it opened for play in 1992. Craddock and Ruddy have given Dublin a cracking inland course and already it has been recognized, playing host to a number of top tournaments. In 2004, St Margaret’s hosted the Irish PGA Championship – Padraig Harrington edged out Philip Walton in tough conditions on the 72nd hole during a windy week.
Clearly this is a modern, American-style layout, with receptive greens, plenty of sand and of course water. It’s a lengthy beast too, measuring almost 7,000 yards from the back tees, with par being set at 73. There are four sets of tees to choose from, so the course is eminently playable for all levels.
The most difficult hole on the card is the 525-yard par five 8th, a testing driving hole with water on the left off the tee. For big hitters, a decision has to be made whether you go for the island green in two or, lie most golfers, lay up and play a shorter third shot across the water - it's a real risk/reward hole!
The short par five 12th is a gem. It’s a classic risk and reward hole, throwing up a real birdie opportunity for the big hitters. But if you don’t hit a sweet second shot, you could find yourself making bogey, or worse, because there is water waiting to catch anything other than a perfect approach shot.
The 18th is a memorable finishing hole. A par four (par five for the ladies), measuring more than 400 yards from all four tees. A downhill left doglegged hole, the tee shot is played between fairway bunkers, leaving a long iron into a two-tiered green protected by water on the right and a bunker on the left. It’s a tough end to a challenging golf course.
St Margaret’s was a Following the Fairways favourite and we have to agree. It’s an exciting and enjoyable course – well worth a visit.