Christy Cooney, the Dublin builder who established Blainroe, had the very good sense to commission a reputable architect, Fred Hawtree, to design his new golf course for Blainroe Golf Club in the mid 1970s.
Located on cliff tops a few miles along the coast from Wicklow, Hawtree created an 18-hole layout that has matured into one of the best parkland courses on the east coast of Ireland.
Almost thirty years after his father created Blainroe, Martin Hawtree was involved in a renovation and upgrade programme on the course, redesigning tees and installing USGA specification greens before the course was reopened in 2005.
The course is routed in two loops of nine, each ending beside the clubhouse. The front nine contains back-to-back par fives at holes 4 and 5 and the first par three is not encountered until the 194-yard 8th hole, played downhill from an elevated tee position.
Nearly half the holes on the card are doglegged; some downhill, others uphill, often with out of bounds on one side of the fairway to further concentrate both tee shot and approach play. The signature hole is the 330-yard, par four, 14th where the tee shot is played over the edge of the cliffs with out of bounds (75 feet below!) on the right and a wooded area on the left of the fairway.
Great golf course. Not a bad hole on the course and the back 9 in particular is one of the best 9’s I’ve played. Great views.