Slieve Russell Golf Course

Slieve Russell Hotel Golf and Country Club, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, Ireland

The natural drumlin valley landscape of West Cavan provided the course architect, Paddy Merrigan, with a blank canvas on which to create a masterpiece. The course has been designed with a certain boldness and sureness of instinct, these elements combined with the foresight of the proprietor, Sean Quinn, have resulted in the development of a truly fine parkland course.

Christy O'Connor Snr wrote "One of my criteria in judging a golf course is that you get pleasure from it each time you play it. I played the Slieve Russell many times and each time; I can't wait to get back. I can honestly say that there are no weak holes on it, off the back stakes, there are many that will test the best, while all the greens are a tribute to the green keeper."

He rates the second hole (434 yards) with the water coming into play, as a great driving hole, and believes that the back nine have some of the finest holes in Ireland. The water plays an intricate part on holes 11, 12, 13 and 16. Some as the most impressive element of the design rate the greens, where devilishly tricky putting surfaces present a searching examination of accurate play.

The crucial quality of the course lies in the fact that its design is strategic rather than punitive. The intention is not to penalize the golfer who strays off the straight and narrow but to encourage attacking shots by rewarding their success and punishing failure.

Typical Cavan terrain of small fields, scrub ditches and poorly drained soil degenerating into a boggy swamp have been transformed into an 18 hole layout of stunning quality, both from a visual and playing perspective.

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