M – Mount Juliet
GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A
I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabet order. It is my ode to some great and in some cases, unknown golf. Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab.
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Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
Wahoo another great parkland course, who’s relative newness doesn’t detract from it being a fantastic play and location just an hour and half from Dublin.
This beautiful Irish country Estate extends to approx 500 acres with the River Nore shaping its very existence as it dissects the 180 acre golf course.
Completed just 30 years ago
In 1991 Jack Nicklaus was called in to give it his signature treatment. This basically means he got involved and visited the sight personally before coming up with this little gem of a course. It has to be said, at first glance, I would not have said it was a Golden Bear design. I can usually tell if a course is one of his, but this one was tricky for me to pin point its designer.
Mount Juliet is fun to play, it’s takes in the established estate and works with the mass of water to bring that in play too. Hole 4, par 4 292/404 yards is a tight driving hole which seemed to narrow in the middle before opening up to the shot to the green. Or so you think, in fact the entrance to the green is also narrow. Water sits to the right of the green too, making it on in 2 is quite a challenge!
It was one of my first experiences of a Nicklaus course, and I recall at the time being impressed by the splodge bunkers, I now know are a trait of his. Typically in play for the drive, the bunkers became less attractive as the round went on!
Water and bunkers
Do play a big part of the design of Mount Juliet. There are around 80 bunkers. Five lakes were also constructed to come into play over 6 holes but this does enhance Mount Juliet’s natural and unique beauty. It is little wonder it was voted best Parkland Golf Course in 2008 and 2010 and more recently the same from Golfers Guide to Ireland.
The 16th, a par 4 335/452 yards is a strange one. A slight dog leg from the back tees but playing straight from the forward tees. Out of bounds on the left. The inevitable bunkering more likely to catch the back tee players. Then this little splodge bunker in front of the green. Nothing weird about that, right? Behind the green is where you feel as though you’ve playing a desert course. A very large expanse of sand which almost envelopes the green itself. In fact if that desert bunker wasn’t there, with it being out of bounds behind it, I guess it does save the golfer a little?
Measure 7,000 yards
It has been built to stage championship golf. The Irish Open was meant to me played here last year but wasn’t due to Covid. With many a top golfers already given the opportunity to play Mount Juliet, I’m sure it won’t be long until it hosts another punchy event soon.
It is a number of years since I played Mount Juliet. I often wonder about changes that might have happen to improve the course and whether those changes actually have improved it. It seemed pretty special to me when I played there!
But what of its name?
Several changes in name for the estate have included Waltons Grove and Kendals Grove, depending on who owed the Estate at that time. But as we all enjoy a good love story, it was the Earl of Carrick who named it Mount Juliet after his wife, Lady Julianna Butler, aka Juliet.
Hotel accommodation is also available on site.