Malone Golf Club has some attractive holes based around the lake on the Ballydrain Estate
Malone Golf Club was founded in 1895, but the current course is its third.
Its second one was designed by Dr Alistair MacKenzie. So unenamoured of his handiwork were some of the members of Golf Club that Dr MacKenzie returned part of his fee by way of reparation. Fortunately the members at Augusta, Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne and elsewhere have been more forgiving of his work.
The present Malone Golf Club course is laid out over the Ballydrain Estate which the club bought in 1960. The clubhouse is Ballydrain House, which was built in the Tudor Revival design and completed in 1843.
There are in fact three nine-hole courses here. The Drumbridge and Ballydrain nines making up the championship layout.
Ballydrain has the prettier holes as this nine is played around the lake.
The best stretch of holes are 13-15. The 13th is with the tee shot is over edge of lake. Then 14 is played down to a green which has the lake horseshoeing around the back of the green. But there is plenty of run off behind green so the approach shot need not be that intimidating.
The 15th is a par 3 over water to a green jutting out into the water on the left. However there is a bail out area to the right for the nervous mean. The ladies however have a straight carry – or a real zig zag of a manufactured dog leg if they feel cautious.
The final hole is an attractive one which runs alongside the lake, but at a fair distance so should be no danger of drowning your ball here.
As we were preparing to tee of on the 5th, a lady member stormed across from the first fairway to tell us we were playing her next hole. She instructed us we should have played the course in the order of the 1st hole followed by the 4th, then 3, 2 and 6. She seemed amazed that we had played the holes in numerical sequence.
On the back nine she told us we had to play it 10 then 13 then in numerical order through to 17, then double back to play 11 and 12 before you tackle the 18th last.
She was wrong. But talking to the pro later it turns out they do sometimes play the course this way in winter. This routing avoids steep walks between holes when it might be wet.