Adare Manor Feature Review

By: Andrew Picken | Mon 17 Jun 2019 | Comments


Adare Manor is confirmed as the 2026 Ryder Cup venue. Golfshake's Andrew Picken had the opportunity to visit this spectacular location in Ireland, sampling the facilities and playing the beautifully manicured golf course. Andy describes his experience in this feature.


Adare is a beautiful town, as an archetypal tourist, I admired the quaint thatched houses and brightly coloured doorways from our bus. Its chocolate box appearance has always been an attraction for the visiting tourists. Close to international airports such as Shannon, Dublin and Cork, there are great transport links.

Adare Manor has always been a focal point for the local community having been the family home for the Quin family who later became the Earls of Dunraven in the 19th century. Adare means “fort of the oak”.

The earl and his wife created what is known as a Calendar House - 365 stained glass windows for the days of the year; 52 mantelpieces (for the weeks of the year) fed into 12 (for the months) chimneys; there are four towers (for the seasons of the year) and seven pillars (for the days of the week) in the great hall. Add to this The Gallery, the second longest room in Ireland after Trinity's library - with its stunning stained-glass windows and its carved choral pews dating from the 17th Century.

The Manor house had been used as a hotel before its purchase by multi-millionaire JP McManus. He clearly recognised the amazing canvas upon which he could write his legacy. He is a huge charitable benefactor to Irish charities and has assisted the local economy by the increased chances for employment. He followed the example given by the Dunravens who had also provided much of the local employment; they taught the local girls Limerick lace and many examples can be found on the walls of the basement where the luxurious spa is now housed.

The hotel is a five-star resort set in an 840-acre estate. It has been winning accolades globally, including being recognised as the “Hotel of the Year 2018 at the ‘Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards”.

In the hotel grounds there are beautifully manicured topiary to the side of the house, a pet cemetery (where the Dunravens buried their beloved dogs and cats including Smugger, Nibs and Jock), a walled garden and a series of Ogham stones showing Ireland's earliest form of writing, which one of the earls had found in Kerry. Watch out as well for the Adare Bear who stands proudly watching over the grounds and the putting greens.

The culinary offering includes the luxury Oak Room restaurant for fine-dining; the Carriage House restaurant, terrace and bar, for a more informal dining experience; and The Gallery, where the very popular afternoon tea is served. The resort is home to Ireland and the UK's first and only La Mer Spa.

They have a competitive cocktail preparation team and experts who provide the best wines, whiskies and gins. Check out the device that screen prints onto the head of a pint of Guinness.

Any designs can be completed that allowed them to provide a tribute to Tiger Woods following his 2019 Masters triumph. These messages do stay with the pint as you drink it but I had to try several just in case my hypothesis was wrong.

There are very few venues that could live up to this billing but Adare Manor does it and some. An unfettered budget linked to a desire to the best offered globally has provided this venue with all it needs to succeed.

Is it any coincidence that Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood were observed at the course?

Golf Course

The course already had excellent standing and was a quality facility given its pedigree of design by Robert Trent Snr. It hosted the Irish Open for two years in 2007 and 2008, providing Lee Westwood the chance to establish a course record of 64.

In 2014, JP McManus wove his millions and entrepreneurial magic into the period home. The course underwent significant redevelopment across 2016 and 2017 as part of a total redesign of the entire property

Celebrated golf architect Tom Fazio has taken what was already an award-winning course and transformed it into a parkland paradise. The new course has been created to harmonise with the beauty of its surroundings: lush, softly rolling terrain, sculptured, arborial work and the sweeping banks of the River Maigue.

It is simply manicured and presented to perfection. Despite its relative lack of age, the turf is sublime. The greens are outstanding.

54 greenkeepers work on the 18 holes of the course to keep it in its pristine condition. They are supported by the compulsory caddies that accompany each golfer who is lucky enough to play on this hallowed turf. The caddies add real value to the experience. They are all excellent golfers in their own right and have an intimate knowledge of the course and particularly the greens.

The greens are superbly kept. Any tiny blemishes are repaired by the caddies who seem to be incentivised to spot and repair the tiniest indent on each green. The caddies carry turf mix around with them in tubes. These are replenished and restocked at strategic points around the course. Divots are repaired and reseeded within seconds of the shot having been played. This attention to detail is evident in all parts of the course and its infrastructure.

The clubhouse houses the Carriage House Bar & Restaurant, private dining and meeting rooms, a fully stocked pro shop, locker rooms and a membership office. 

Is This the Ultimate Stay and Play Venue in the World?

The 5* Manor Hotel on-site has to be your first choice for any stay in Adare. This 18th-century manor is set on 840 acres of formal gardens and great parkland set along the River Maigue. The manor house is a masterpiece of towers and turrets while the estate offers some great golf and river fishing. Its luxuriously appointed bedrooms ranging from standard, deluxe, stateroom to the ultimate Dunraven Stateroom boast complimentary internet access.

High ceilings, plush furnishings, together with great service will ensure your stay is comfortable. There are also 11 exclusive clubhouse bedrooms or a range of 2- and 4-bedroom townhouses on the estate to choose from. Other facilities include heated indoor pool, fitness room & Spa. For the golfer with a taste for independence, there is the option of the self-catering golf village, containing Villas and Lodges.

The resort owner’s commitment to these works saw them close the doors for two full years and the results of these can now be seen in the fact that Adare is undoubtedly one of the finest golfing properties throughout Europe.    

Fazio already has a stunning CV given his input into Winged Foot and Oak Hill. He has been a member at Pine Valley for thirty-five years and he has been involved in additions at historic clubs such as Pine Valley, Merion, Rivera, Bel-Air, and Cypress Point. He has also worked with Augusta National since 2002 on tweaking (as sympathetically as possible) the host venue for The Masters.

Work started in March 2016 and, over the next 24 months, Fazio oversaw a root and branch renovation of the layout. He has produced a beautiful parkland layout that will be ideally suited for the Ryder Cup. Many of the improvement works are actually hidden from the view of the spectating public given that they include SubAir aeriation system that can be used to dry out the course as required at the switch of a button.

Over 220,000 tonnes of sand were unloaded on the course to ensure that every inch has the drainage required to withstand even the toughest of Irish winters.

All 18 greens have the benefit of super fine bent grass. Link this to the sub air system that removes moisture through vacuum pumps and guarantees firm play each day. There’s no real rough to speak of but rather 170 acres of low-cut, sand-capped grass.

Over 120 trees have also been planted, whilst there are 41 bunkers to negotiate as well as lots of water, which comes into play on 14 holes.

All of this, combined with pristine white sand in the hazards and yellow flags on the greens, brings to mind a particularly famous course that starts with ‘A’ and ends with National’. 

Everything about this course is simply exceptional. It really does go “Beyond Everything”

Key Holes

There are multiple tee options for all levels of player and I would suggest that you take advice from the caddies as to which option will give you the most enjoyment.

These options range from 7,509 yards from the Championship tee boxes to 6,505 yards from the whites to 5,860 yards from the greens to 5,120 yards when using the reds. It is a par 72.

Check out the J P McManus Pro Am to be held in July 6th and 7th  2020 to assess the spectator areas and ability to hold such a major event.

Tickets are already on sale for this event that has commitments to play from a stellar array of global stars including Tigers Woods and Rory McIlory. Spectators buy caps and these act as tickets to enter the event.

2nd, 459 Yards, Par 4

The same tract of water protecting the opening hole runs the entire length of the fairway for this hole protecting its left side. Bunkers loom large to the right and trees cover any shot pulled left. This is a lovely looking golf hole from the tee with all the hazards obvious and intimidating.

4th, 177 Yards, Par 3

This is a lovely well framed short golf hole.At the rear sits the river and the multi-tiered green is protected to its right side by a deep bunker. The sand is specially imported and has additives that allow it to look even more striking for TV cameras. They are brilliantly drained and it was a pleasure to play from them.

7th, 535 Yards, Par 5

Simply glorious. Water features along its entire length to the right as it skirts the edges of a beautiful lake. The fairway dog legs left to right and bunkers protect the outer elbow of the turn at its elbow to prevent a deliberately long tee shot off the wrong shape. Bunkers protect the fairway at the point where lay ups for the second shot would be expected and then the green itself is well protected by water right and long.

9th, 633 Yards, Par 5.

This hole heads back towards the Manor House and is very cleverly bunkered at all points en-route. Bunkers feature left and right at exactly the correct distance to cause problems from any of the tee box options. Swales and runs in the fairway add the chance of an uneven stance to add more difficulty to the shot. The bunkering around this green complex is stunning and the conditioning is to drool over. The Half Way house is superb and the home produced drinks and snacks are delicious.

14th, 439 Yards, Par 4

There is a single bunker on this hole covering the pulled tee shot and its other protection is the proximity of water to the green right and long along with the swales and hollows within the green itself. Three and four putts are not unusual due to its complexity.

15th, 347 Yards, Par 4

This is the ultimate risk or reward hole. Water features along its entire length to the right and a cavernous bunker protects the left side of the green for the pulled or over adventurous tee shot. The Manor House is in view at all times when playing this hole and it is distractingly beautiful as well. The weir also provides a great soundtrack to the hole as the river rushes by.

16th, 157 Yards, Par 3

This is a magnificent golf hole offering again a range of tee and pin positions for every level of golfer. The green is 86 yards in width and a depth of 20 yards protected by water and bunkers front, right and long. Expect this and the preceding hole to feature heavily in any tournaments played at this venue.

18th, 585 Yards, Par 5

This is another visually stunning hole with water featuring in every singe shot. The tee shot is required to skirt the edge of the river to find the fairway. Bunkers sit to catch the over ambitious approach. The fairway runs to the right of the river for the full length of the hole but the final green sits on the opposite bank. It is shaped and moulded along its length giving a range of potential pin positions. There are multiple tiers and swales are built into the green itself. The bunkering is also clever giving the impression that they are much bigger than the size of ground they sit upon. I loved this hole it is a gem of a finisher offering challenges for each shot at every level of ability.

Summary

This is an exceptionally well-conditioned, designed and maintained golf facility that will be a global leader for many years to come. It is likely to set the standard for others to follow and it was an absolute pleasure to be given the chance to experience all this resort has to offer. 


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