Designer: Arnold Palmer
Set amongst 330 acres of lush Kildare countryside, the K Club is arguably the finest parkland golf course in Ireland. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the K Club has hosted the prestigious European Open since 1995 and will host the Ryder Cup in 2006, the first time the event will be staged in Ireland. And though there are many who insist that the Ryder Cup should have been played on one of the great Irish links courses, anyone who has played the K Club will know that the course is a worthy venue for an event of the magnitude of the Ryder Cup. If ever a golf course reflected the personality of its designer, then surely the K Club is it. And while it may seem odd to describe a golf course as charismatic and cavalier, from the moment you arrive at the first tee here, a unique atmosphere envelops you. This is quite simply one of Europe's most spectacular venues. It charms, entices and frustrates and though it is recognised as one of Ireland's most testing inland layout, the course invariably brings out the best in your game.
The course has few if any weak holes and following a realistic birdie opportunity at the par five 1st hole, the sharp doglegging 2nd offers a much more fearsome challenge. Your second shot here is one of the most exacting of the entire round, requiring a downhill approach to a small green guarded by trees on one side and a pond on the other. One of the finest holes at the K Club is undoubtedly the par five 7th hole, which measures over 600 yards from the championship stakes. The hole double doglegs its way over sand, rough and water, while the sanctuary like green occupies its own little island, sandwiched between two arms of the River Liffey. The return journey is equally challenging and begins with a drive from an elevated tee down a fairway lined with towering pines on the right and a lake on the left. Measuring 170 yards, the par three 12th is a stunning hole that resembles the 12th at Augusta, in that it's played over water to a shallow, angled green. The closing stretch is one of the finest around with the 16th and 18th standing out. Rated as the hardest on the course, the 16th is the quintessential all or nothing two shooter, where an accurate drive must be followed by an even more precise approach over water to an island green. It's the 18th however that's the crowning glory of the K Club. The setup dares the golfer to drive over the top of a bunker strewn hill and then tempts you to fire straight at the flag in search of a heroic finish. Possible surely, likely possibly not.
Designer: Arnold Palmer
The Smurfit Course at The K Club has already been described as probably the greatest inland Golf Course to be developed in Ireland and has already hosted a Smurfit European Open. The best way to describe the Smurfit Course at The K Club is that of an inland links. However, its true attributes do not stop there. The Course has many dramatic landscapes with dune type mounding throughout. Some fourteen acres of water have been worked into the design especially through the final phase of holes 13 to 18. A watery grave awaits many a golfer on the home stretch. In essence the Course is entirely different from the Palmer Course located just across the River Liffey. From feedback to date golfers state that it is almost impossible to make a comparison such is the difference in experience. The most significant golf hole on the Smurfit Course is the Par 5 7th measuring some 606 yards. This hole will probably be regarded as the most dramatic in Europe. It has a series of water cascades and water features which are just some factors of this development. In its construction, the Fairway was dropped some sixty feet below its original height.