The K Club is located in Kildare in the east of Ireland in a luxurious and idyllic setting amongst 550 acres of rolling countryside in a large estate. The resort is home to not one but two highly regarded course,
The Palmer Ryder Cup Course and The Smurfit Course. The Smurfit Course deserves its own recognition as a great course, it can sometimes be overshadowed by its older and more famous “sister” course, the Palmer Course but, is a completely different course. The Smurfit Course was also designed by the great Arnold Palmer and opened for play in 2003. It is a par 72, and measures 7,300 yards from the back tees, it is at present the longest course on the European Tour circuit.
It is best described as an inland links course that benefits from a unique, modern and progressive design. However this does not adequately sum the course up, it may not appeal to those that prefer the traditional courses but, if you are looking for something new and exciting then you have found it. The design and layout works with the many dramatic landscapes with dune type mounding throughout, changes in elevation and humps and bumps evident.
Features of this course are
- vast sloping greens,
- ingenious and
- tricky bunkering as well as
- outstanding water hazards
- all combining to make this an exciting and invigorating course to play.
Wild species of plants have been used such as gorse and bracken but they have been planted in a decidedly haphazard fashion, so it looks like nature put them there, and gives a heathland feel. In addition four islands have been established within the lakes to promote the settlement of waterfowl. There are some truly exceptional holes, with water featuring on seven of the back nine. Wind can be an issue when playing as it more exposed owing to the lack of trees on the course.
The course is pristine and beautifully maintained. The large greens are flawless, slick and very quick, the fair sized fairways are flanked by by expansive water hazards. The rough is quite intimidating, the bunkers are harsh, they are large with ends that spread in all directions and can play havoc with your score.
Many consider this to be the easier of the two courses but, this is not necessarily true, the Smurfit plays longer shots than the Palmer, and everything is enlarged here, from the fairways to the sloping greens. The two courses are really not comparable. It provides a fair game of golf, if you play well you are rewarded however, a bad shot will be severely punished. Don’t let the Palmer detract from the enjoyment of playing the Smurfit, it is a fabulous course.