HOLE 1/10: “THE MAPLES”
No easy opening hole here! This is the Stroke Index 1/2, the most challenging hole on the course. Out of bounds along the left or water on the right will punish any errant tee shot. A good drive must pass the two magnificent trees guarding the fairway. An uphill second shot to a well protected green requires anything from a mid-iron to a 5-wood, depending on conditions. A 5 will feel like a par on this hole!
HOLE 2/11: “THE STEEPLE”
This short Par 4 offers a good birdie opportunity, but treat it with respect! An accurate tee shot should leave only a short iron approach, which needs to be precise to avoid danger at the front and back of a green uncomfortably close to water. The hole takes its name from the steeple on the magnificent Cathedral in the historic port of Cobh, which can be seen across the harbour from the tee and provides a good target line for your drive.
HOLE 3/12: “THE QUARRY HOLE”
Strategically placed trees between the tee and fairway make this blind tee shot visually intimidating. The fairway slopes left to right, towards trees. An elevated green, set into a steep hillside and well bunkered at the front, makes it difficult to get home in two shots. Par here is an excellent result.
HOLE 4/13: “WOE-BE-TIDE”
The course’s only Par 5 is a dogleg to the right which runs along the sea. The two alternate tees offer quite different perspectives. One tee is from a height which offers stunning views of busy Cork Harbour, while the other tee sits alongside the water in an inlet of the estuary. The latter is the toughest shot of the two, requiring a drive over water with a long carry to the fairway. Only the brave or desperate will try to reach the green in two. The second shot is blind over the corner of the dogleg running to the right , to a fairway which has trees and water on either side. Most prefer to lay up, so as to play a short iron to a green which is well protected by bunkers.
(Note: While playing this hole, the Hole 3/12 fairway is out of bounds.)
HOLE 5/14: “VALENTINE’S”
This short Par 3 begins a series of three holes known by the members as “Amen Corner”. More difficult than it looks. The tee shot is uphill to a long green, guarded on the left by a prominent tree. Out of bounds beckons to the right of the green.
HOLE 6/15: “THE GARDEN WALL”
Alternating tees (for front and back 9’s) give this short dogleg added complexity. Definitely a birdie opportunity – provided the tee shot finds the fairway. An accurate pitch to the long green tucked away around the trees will yield good results.
HOLE 7/16: “HADRIAN’S FOLLY”
A tough Par 4 which doglegs sharply to the left around trees. An accurate tee shot is a must, with sea to the right and trees on the left. But beware if you try to play safe – you may not have a shot to the green. The two-tiered elevated green is well bunkered and subtle breaks make it a test for even the best putters.
HOLE 8/17: “NEAR-LEE-DARE”
Without doubt, the most beautiful hole on the course and, for many, also the best. Tucked away into a corner of the causeway between the lagoon and the sea, the tee points straight at the green, inviting long hitters to go for it (if conditions are favourable). Mere mortals will be happy to make the long carry over water to the fairway, which leaves a short iron approach. The green has water at left and rear, with bunkers guarding the front door. A stunningly attractive hole and a fine test of skill.
HOLE 9/18: “SWAN SONG”
The final two holes at Raffeen Creek make for a superb finish and exciting golf. This challenging Par 3 is played entirely across water to a wide green, bunkered left and right, with awkward slopes at front and rear. Don’t be lulled by the beauty of the swans on the lagoon, or this could become your “Swan Song”!