Dun Laoghaire Golf Club recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary.

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Dun Laoghaire Golf Club recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary.

Dun Laoghaire Golf Club recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary.

Dun Laoghaire Golf Club recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary. Please read my blog remembering some of the challenges faced during the design and construction.

Dun Laoghaire recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary. It was probably the most exciting and challenging project I have worked on to date. The original golf club was a Harry Colt design located in the centre of Dun Laoghaire, bordered closely by housing and split in two by a main road. Health & Safety therefore became a huge problem, with holes being closed or shortened. The Club recognised that its future was uncertain and approached a property developer, Cosgrave’s with the view to relocate.

The rest is history. Dun Laoghaire moved to a new 27-hole golf course, with all the possible “mod cons” a golf course could possibly have while the developer received 75 acres of prime real estate land – a great deal for everyone.

The project was exceptionally complex and it would require many pages to fully describe the intricacies of the design and construction.
However, an example of one challenge was that the site was located above the Irish equivalent of a SSSI which under no circumstances could be affected by the golf course. Extensive drainage was installed, all of which, because it could not outlet into the into the SSSI, had to be pumped back up the site into the reservoir and before this could happen, all drainage waters had to pass through a series of reedbeds that would treat the drainage water of any remaining chemicals put on the golf course. This was a hugely complex design and engineering feat involving the installation of a large pump at the bottom of the site and a complex system of pipes and reedbeds sized accordingly to treat a particular drainage footprint. It works perfectly and it turns out that the reedbeds play an important part of the visual and strategic strength of the golf course, creating habitats for a wide variety of wildlife.

The site was largely treeless; a farmer’s field with a 100-metre elevation change from top to bottom. The challenge of the layout (and brief from the Club) was to layout a golf course without excessive uphill holes. We achieved this with only the 9th middle, 9th lower and part of the 5th upper (the 3 nines were split into Lower, Middle and Upper) playing uphill. The remaining holes are flat or downhill with all the elevation change occurring from green to tee rather than on the hole itself.

Hole 3 Upper,  Under Construction 10 Years AgoHole 3 Upper, 10 Years On

Picture of 3 upper from (more or less) the same spot. Note how well the trees have matured in just 10 years.

The Club’s brief was to move into a golf course that did not look as if it had been built in a farmers field; they wanted an instant feeling of visual framing and maturity. A challenging request but one that we successfully achieved, using the combination of significant earthworks that moulded the land and separated the holes, large intricately shaped visually strong bunkers, several lakes and reedbeds and extensive trees planting including 50 mature trees imported from Germany. A relatively plain field was soon transformed into a stunning, ecological rich golf course enhanced by stunning views of the well-known Dublin landmarks, the Great and Little Sugar loaf pair of mountains.

The Club relocated in September 2007 and during the past 10 years the golf course has continued to evolve. The high specification methodology of the tree planting has ensured their rapid maturing and therefore framing of the holes, allowing for some bunkers to be gradually removed. Some tees have been added, some removed and a pitching and bunker green also added.

In 2016 the course hosted the Curtis Cup (Europe emerging victorious) and it has also hosted several less high profile events. In 2013 and 2015, the Club was voted best parkland golf club in Ireland; a great achievement for such a young course and a proud accolade for me.

It was an amazing project to work on; one that has been very much part of my life for the past 10 years. I very much look forward to watching the golf course continue to evolve during the next 10 years; who knows, maybe host the Irish Open or even the Ryder Cup one of these days – it is certainly good enough.

Happy 10th anniversary Dun Laoghaire Golf Club.