Par 4 – 232 metres index 17 (Men), 198 metres (Ladies)
That this course is designed for the average golfer as well as the low handicapper becomes evident on this opening par 4. Here, the risk / reward theme sets the scene for many of the holes that follow.
All down the right, there is a pond (yes, with reeds) that, sneakily, works its way around the back of the green. Anyone tempted to drive the green has more than just a contoured putting area to find; the penalty for being long or right is a severe one.
The safer option is to use an iron off the tee, to set up a short iron approach into the green.
Par 4 – 364 metres index 7 (Men), 315 metres (Ladies)
With a slight dog leg left, the hole is rarely reachable in 2 for the average golfer.
Trees and long rough guard the left and mounds the right, so hitting centre fairway is essential to set up your second shot to the generously sized split level green.
Par 4 – 354 metres index 3 (Men), 303 metres (Ladies)
Dog legged left and slightly downhill, a good drive to centre fairway sets up your approach to the green.
But don’t be short with your second as a low run in shot has to negotiate a drain and 2 bunkers and sloping green surrounds require an accurate high shot to ensure par.
Par 4 – 325 metres index 13 (Men), 301 metres (Ladies)
A walk along the lake bordering the 18th tee and through high gorse on the 9th finally brings you to the 4th tee.
A spinney, small drain, shrubs, pond and bunkers come into play for wayward tee shots to right of fairway.
If your tee shot is too far left, you could find water, mounding or rough.
You need to position your tee shot for a good line to green.
The large, slightly sloping green is guarded by a bunker on left and by elevated green surrounds, where accuracy will almost certainly be rewarded by birdie or par.
Par 3 – 158 metres index 11 (Men), 105 metres (Ladies)
This demanding par 3 requires a good tee shot over a picturesque but intimidating stretch of water.
The elevated green is guarded by bunkers and mounding to left & right.
Being too long from the tee requires a well played chip shot to recover the green
Par 5 – 482 metres index 5 (Men), 415 metres (Ladies)
The first par 5 calls for a good tee shot, the penalties for inaccuracy being a large shrubbery and out of bounds on your right and mounds, long grass and a fairway bunker to your left.
The lake to the left of the fairway doesn’t really come into play but water will always impact on a golfer’s mind.
Most golfers will need 3 shots to make the green and only a very wayward 2nd will be punished by a small pond to the left and bunker / out of bounds right.
Your approach to the 6th green must not be too long as the lake before the next hole comes into play directly behind the green.
Hole 7 (Amen Corner)
Par 3 – 121 metres index 15 (Men), 88 metres (Ladies)
Balcarrick members have understandably named this short par 3 as their own “Amen Corner”, with a lake directly fronting the green, not unlike the 16th at Augusta.
For the less experienced, there is a bail out area to right, but most will want to go for green, where correct club selection and executing a good shot are the key ingredients for success.
Par 5 – 469 metres index 5 (Men), 424 metres (Ladies)
The 2nd par 5 on the front nine, requires an accurate tee shot, with most of the trouble in the form of a drain and out of bounds being on the right.
Setting up your approach to green demands an accurate, longish 2nd, making sure not to visit the water hazards to left and right.
You are then left with a medium iron to clear the drain that runs across the apron fronting an upward sloping green.
Par 4 – 399 metres index 1 (Men), 321 metres (Ladies)
The index 1 par 4 9th presents a very tough challenge in terms of length and avoiding trouble.
A tee shot to the fairway will keep you well away from water hazards on both sides.
You then have a long uphill approach to a sloping green. Best to be below the hole for your putt as downhill and side-on putts are very tricky indeed.
Par 4 – 248 metres index 18 (Men), 220 metres (Ladies)
A straight forward risk / reward decision is required as to whether to opt to drive for ace or eagle or lay up before the water and go for par or birdie.
It is not a long hole but requires accuracy and sound strategy to play it successfully.
Mistakes can be costly as the green is subtly protected by water hazards on 3 sides.
Par 4 – 357 metres index 2 (Men), 306 metres (Ladies)
The index 2 par 4 11th presents you with a tricky dog leg left, with long rough, mounds and out of bounds to your left off the tee.
Accuracy off the tee is demanded from long hitters, with mounds, high grass and a bunker guarding the landing area for long shots.
For your approach to green, danger presents in the form of out of bounds to the right and a well bunkered green.
Par 4 – 346 metres index 12 (Men), 314 metres (Ladies)
With views of Lambay Island in the background, an offline drive will be penalised by heavy rough, mounds and thick gorse shrubberies.
Your approach to green needs to be on target as its elevated position will ensure shots to left, right or over the back will require a lofted pitch for recovery and par.
Par 4 – 343 metres index 10 (Men), 307 metres (Ladies)
A straight forward hole with no unexpected trouble – just make sure to keep away from the shrubberies and spinneys to left and right.
Accuracy with your approach shot to the elevated green will almost guarantee par.
Par 4 – 360 metres index 4 (Men), 312 metres (Ladies)
The large pond on the right comes into play for long hitters off the tee.
The aesthetics on the approach shot typify Balcarrick’s trademark as “a link between water, the sea and the estuary”.
The beach bunker on the lake, just right of the green, looks for all the world as if it has always been there.
Par 5 – 471 metres index 8 (Men), 421 metres (Ladies)
Even locals agree that the first par 5 on the back nine is never easy.
The long dog rose shrubbery, out of bounds and troublesome mounding are very much in play for tee shots that don’t make the fairway.
Your next shot has to traverse a wide drainage canal and out of bounds to re-gain the fairway for an uphill approach to green.
Again, you need to hit the green for your third or face the prospect of bunkers or a high lob from below the elevated green.
The split level green also demands accuracy to avoid a difficult putt.
This photo of 15th Green in Winter clearly demonstrates what we mean by “year round greens”.
There are no temporary “winter greens” in Balcarrick.
Par 3 – 140 metres index 16 (Men), 106 metres (Ladies)
This short index 16 par 3, with a view of Malahide estuary behind the tee (photo left), has no apparent trouble but wind can make it deceptive.
With bunkers well placed to catch errant shots, just make sure you hit the green with your first or 2nd to give you a chance for par.
Par 5 – 449 metres index 14 (Men), 400 metres (Ladies)
The last par 5 tees off from an elevated position overlooking a reeded lake.
Most of the trouble is on the right in the form of a reeded drain, mounds, spinney and long grass.
More spinneys to left and right demand hitting the fairway with your second to set up a short iron to the elevated split level green.
Par 4 – 372 metres index 6 (Men), 300 metres (Ladies)
Reasonably tough and slightly doglegged, you have to clear the reeded lake to make the fairway.
Most of the trouble is on the right where inaccuracy will be penalised by mounding, shrubbery and a reeded drainage channel.
Your second will be a longish shot to green, avoiding bunkers on both sides to make this perfect as a finishing hole.