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2 miles E of Waterford, off the R684 road to Dunmore
Des Smyth with Declan Branigan
The Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Club is the only true island golf course resort in Ireland and can only be accessed by private ferry.
The 310-acre island on the River Suir lies two miles from the city of Waterford and was the family seat of the Fitzgerald family for over 800 years until it was sold in the 1950s. It has changed hands several times since then and the Castle, originally a 15th century Norman Keep, is now a deluxe 19-bed hotel and reputed to be one of the best in the country.
The 18-hole Waterford Castle golf course is a par 72 championship parkland resort, designed by Des Smyth and his associate Declan Branigan. It opened in 1992 and holes are intuitively routed through mature woodland with an overall length of 6,814 yards from the medal tees.
Sand based greens and tees were used when the course was first built and this method of construction goes a long way towards allowing play at most times of the year. A substantial number of well defined bunkers were also included in the original design to challenge even the most accomplished of golfers.
Water may surround the property but that does not prevent four internal water features coming into play. The first three are located between “Drake’s Pond”, the 2nd hole and “Play Canny” the 4th hole. The final pond is situated on “Des’s Favourite” the 206-yard par three 16th which, as its name suggests, is the pick of all the holes by its designer.