Wexford is God’s country for a child armed with no more than a bucket and spade and a big imagination. But it's just as much fun for big kids with golf clubs and a desire for some seaside golf and the satisfying 'ring' of fairway metal off springy links terrain.
If you’ve never played the links at Rosslare Golf Club, it’s time to tick it off your bucket list and find out why it’s a such a well-loved classic.
Henry Cotton, the three-time Open champion, loved the 13th hole and while many visitors point to the difficulty of the 11th, the tempting par-five 18th is another of Rosslare’s treasures well worth investigating.
Situated between the Irish Sea and the huge expanse of Wexford Harbour, Rosslare is much more than the 18-hole championship links.
There's also the lovely 12-hole Burrow Course, designed by the late Christy O'Connor Jnr, not to mention the fine clubhouse with its professional's shop, bar and restaurant, all set in beautiful natural surroundings in the sunny south-east.
The course was designed in 1928 by the renowned team of Fred Hawtree and J.H. Taylor —a five-time Open champion— for a fee of £15 5s plus expenses.
It turned out to be money very well spent, as Lionel Hewson explained in the Irish Independent when he went down to see how the then 5,800 yard, par-71 links was progressing in 1930.
"Two years ago I saw Rosslare promising to become a fine course, and last week saw that the promise has materialised," Hewson wrote on August 12.
"The 18 holes at Rosslare are in fine order, full of character, and so testing that the lower handicap players have a much better show than is the case on most courses. The future of Rosslare as a golf resort is assured, and championships must in due course find their way there."
Hewson was correct about Rosslare's bright future and the club went on to host the 1934 Irish Amateur Close Championship when Waterford's Joe Brown beat Cecil Ewing in the semi-finals before going on to defeat Royal Portrush's Roy McConnell 6 and 5 in the 36-hole decider.
The club also hosted the Irish Women's Close Championship three times with wins for the great Philomena Garvey in 1948 and 1953, and Elaine Bradshaw in 1966.
Founded in 1905, Rosslare has battled erosion for many years and in 1958 a huge storm resulted in severe damage and the advent of major changes to the course layout.
In 1968, it became the first provincial club to install a fully automated watering system and a year later, the first of the very successful Rosslare Pro-Ams, organised by the club's former professional Austin Skerritt, attracted the likes of Christy O’Connor Snr, Peter Townsend, Harry Bradshaw and Jimmy Martin.
Since 1982, the course has benefited from major investment with new tees at the first, third, eighth and 16th and major upgrades to the fourth and seventh greens.
The par-four fifth and the par-five seventh are two of the outstanding holes on the front nine with the challenging 11th, measuring 469 yards, undoubtedly the toughest hole on the course.
Played into the prevailing wind, a blind second requires you to aim over a red and white post, giving the hole its name — "The Barbers Pole".
The finish is exacting — three demanding par fours from the 15th to the 17th, followed by the tempting but often treacherous, par-five 18th.
The 2017 Kelly's Resort Hotel & Rosslare Golf Club Pro-Am takes place on September 9. But you don't have to wait that long to take on the links with Open Week scheduled from 31 July to 13 August.
The club also will host the Senior Home International matches from 25-29 September, further enhancing its reputation as a true championship test.
Club professional Jamie O'Sullivan continues to work hard with Rosslare's up and coming stars with Gary Collins on the Irish senior squad, Jack McGarry on the Boys Development panel with John Brady quickly emerging as a major talent following his wins in the Connacht Under 16, Irish Under 16 and Leinster Boys championships in recent seasons.
Despite its popularity with its growing band of Dubliners and having a total membership of 1,100 members the good news is that some vacancies still exist in all membership categories at Rosslare Golf Club.
Rosslare Golf Club - Factfile
- Address: Rosslare, County Wexford
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 053 9132203
- Web: www.rosslaregolf.com
Mid Season, midweek €30, weekend €35. High Season, midweek €40, weekend €50. Society rates on request
- Buggy hire: Yes, €25
- Club Hire: Yes, €25.
- Electric Trolleys: Yes, €10
- Driving Range: Yes. €2 for 35 balls
Signature hole - 7th, 554 yards, Par 5
A long, narrow par-five played from a slightly elevated tee with a well-placed bunker guarding the left side of the fairway and thick marram grass on the right. There is room on the left for your approach to a large, undulating green.
Aim right of the fairway bunker from the tee if you're looking for a kick forward and some extra yards. Otherwise, favour the left side, then aim towards the middle of the gorse, left of the green. The green falls from left to right so favour the left-hand-side with your approach. A par five is always a good score.
Full member special offer €975 (includes €100 credit in bar)
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This piece first appeared in the Irish Independent's Tee to Green golf supplement on 13 April 2017