Kevin Markham enjoys the five-star charms on offer at this luxury Cork resort
Castlemartyr Stay And Play Review
Par 72, 6,728 yards
Greenfee: €40 all week for residents
Castlemartyr’s low-running, open course promises an interesting inland links-like adventure.
Ridges of golden fescue chaperone rippling fairways, and while they may flash dangerously in the sunshine, they are rarely punitive.
This is a resort course, after all: it has been made playable and fun for everyone.
Castlemartyr opened in 2007, and it wraps around the hotel in a C-shape.
The front nine is considerably shorter, with three par 4s under 300 yards (white tees) and two par 5s under 500 yards.
This is the place to score, as the back nine is far tougher.
The par-5 11th will test and bemuse in equal measure – it is also C-shaped – while the closing stretch is a stern test.
It’s an enjoyable course that is never less than elegant.
Also play… Fota Island has hosted three Irish Opens (fotaisland.ie) and Cork was designed by Alister MacKenzie (corkgolfclub.ie).
Centred in an 18th-century manor house next to a 13th-century castle built by the Knights Templar, this is five-star luxury through and through.
Set on 220 acres, with lakes, woods and a tranquil lake, there are 103 rooms and suites, as well as self-catering cottages and lodges.
Golfers are well catered for within the ‘Pod’ – the tubular-shaped clubhouse – but hotel guests can also enjoy the Italian restaurant, Franchini’s, or the culinary splendour of the award-winning Bell Tower.
The hotel’s spa includes an indoor swimming pool, sauna, infinity pool and numerous treatment rooms, or you can just relax in one of the manor house’s original rooms and experience afternoon tea, the Irish way.
A fabulous welcome is guaranteed.
Where else… The new Titanic Experience in Cobh is 30 minutes away, or take a tour of the original Jameson Whiskey distillery in nearby Midleton.
Two nights’ B&B with one dinner and one round of golf costs from €265pp.
Or rent a lodge, where two nights’ B&B with one dinner and one round costs from €190pp for four people sharing.
Castlemartyr is situated 25 miles east of Cork, Ireland’s second-biggest city.
Cork airport flies to 13 UK destinations.
Green Fees: €40-€60
Buggy hire: €35
Trolley hire: €4
Power trolley hire: €12
Club hire: €40
Driving range: No
Putting green: Yes
Short-game area: Yes
Pro shop: Yes
Changing rooms: Yes
Sky TV: In the bar
Price of a pint: €4.50
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