• On the Course

Taking on the Dunmore challenge

Alex Livie June 11, 2012
Don't go left from the 15th tee at Dunmore East © Getty Images

Golf in Ireland is an appealing prospect. Throw in a competition and you have something to whet the appetite of most players.

Dunmore East Golf Classic celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and ESPN took up the challenge on the South West Coast of Ireland.

Spawned from an idea by Charlie Boland, Dunmore East Golf Classic has flourished and this year played host to 250 players.

If you're looking for 25 degrees and unbroken sunshine you are in the wrong place. Event organiser Tony Boland told us the sun would shine tomorrow. He said this on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! But if you're looking for high-quality, challenging golf in a welcoming atmosphere you're in the right place.

Teams of four play a stableford competition played over four days on four different courses. This year's iteration took in Dunmore East, Faithlegg, Tramore and Waterford Castle.

All four have their own charms: Faithlegg's splendour, Dunmore's stunning coastal views, Tramore's parkland test and Waterford's setting amid complete peace and quiet.

The coastal village of Dunmore East, the clue is in the title, plays host to the event and the whole area buys into it. There's a prizegiving ceremony in a different venue each evening, with the craic going on long into the night, and pubs and restaurants such as Azzurro, The Strand, The Spinnaker, The Haven Hotel and The Lemon Tree offer superb dining options each evening.

ESPN did not trouble the judges in the big push for prizes, but that mattered little as good golf and good company in a fabulous setting made up for the wayward nature of our play.

Repeat visitors have already signed up for next year, which takes place from April 28 to May 2, but there are places available and event organisers are offering a team of four golfers five nights' accommodation in a self-catering holiday villa, four rounds of golf and a four course meal each evening after golf for €399. Further details can be found at www.discoverdunmore.com.

The number of repeat visitors speak volumes for the event and if your weekend fourball is contemplating a trip away, you will not be disappointed by a few days in the Waterford area next April.

There are 36 courses in the region and for those who cannot make it over for the Classic, Tourism Ireland has laid on the 3 Club Pass which allows play on Faithlegg, Waterford Castle and the famed Jack Nicklaus-designed Mount Juliet for €123. To say you can play some pretty ropey courses at home for that amount of money, the value speaks for itself.

Course details:

Dunmore East Golf Club
Par: 72
Length: 6070 metres
Cost: €30
Getting there: Dunmore East Golf Club
Dunmore East

Tramore Golf Club
Par 72
Length: 6055 metres
Getting there: Newtown Hill

Faithlegg Golf Club
Par 72
Length: 6690 yards
Cost: €35
Faithlegg Golf Club
Co. Waterford

Waterford Castle
Par 72
Length: 5827 metres
Cost: €30
Getting There: The Island

There are a host of other engaging Irish amateur events that UK golfers can take part in throughout the year. Click here for more details

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Alex Livie Close
Alex Livie was editor of ESPN.co.uk