From the moment you enter the tree-lined driveway of Bunclody Golf & Fishing Club you know that something different is afoot. The driveway is long and narrow with large mature trees in the centre of the road to be driven around like natural mini roundabouts. Speckled sunshine breaks through the leafy canopy to frame brief glimpses of distant greens to the left (the daunting 5th) or riverside tee boxes below to the right (the 6th) through breaks in the foliage. The lane finally opens out to reveal the well appointed driving range, putting green and excellent chipping area which includes a couple of deep bunkers for pre round honing of your short game skills. However, the most impressive aspect of the entrance drive is the clubhouse itself. The imposing thatched roofed circular building is unique and contains everything you could possibly want in a clubhouse. Well-stocked Pro shop, large plush changing rooms and shower area, comfortable and spacious lounge on the top floor with a fantastic balcony area overlooking the 18th green where you can watch your mates finish out in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
The course itself stands up to scrutiny. The length off the forward green tees is 6291 yards but is as long as 7164 yards from the blacks. Off the white tees the course plays to 6728 yards. In the main, societies will play from the green tees. This year 2 holes in Bunclody Golf & Fishing Club made it into the Top 100 Irish Golf Holes 2016 by Golf Digest, the 9th and the 15th, more of which later.
The front nine opens with a long dog-leg 558 yard par five which is only reachable in two by the very longest of hitters. This is followed by the fantastic risk reward index 2 par four. Protected by a green side lake on one side and by mature trees on the other, giving in to the temptation to go for the green in two is often punished! Thereafter follows another 550 yard par 5 which dog-legs slightly right to left. A difficult start in which failing to warm up properly could be regretted. Other highlights on the front nine are the long par three 5th hole, again over water, and the brilliant short par 4 9th which is reachable at 296 yards but has plenty of green side traps to catch errant tee shots. With three par fives on the front nine and some relatively short par 4’s the chance for scoring well should be taken as the following nine presents a different challenge.
The back nine starts with four par 4’s on the trot, each of which has its own particular difficulties but where a good drive is a must on all. Short drives on these 4 holes leaves a long shot into protected greens and, apart from the 11th, can leave the stray golfer struggling for par. The 14th hole is a wonderful par three which is situated in it’s own wooded copse. An elevated tee can fool the relaxed golfer into taking the wrong club and many balls come up short. Don’t be taken in by the low index! From there the golf course truly comes alive. Walking down to the 15th tee box it becomes apparent that Bunclody has something special. I don’t think there are many better views in golf. A strategically positioned tree in the middle of the fairway takes your eye but even without the obstacle to be avoided, the hole presents a fine challenge. A meandering stream that can come into play with almost any pin position protects the green. Many golfers play this hole as a par 5 and there is no shame in laying up to protect a good score.
The 432 yard 16th is next and is the index one for good reason. The tee shot requires a long drive with a slight draw and any hook or slice will be severely punished. The out of bounds on the left hand side of the fairway follows the golfers all the way to the green. A four here is a great score. After playing the interesting but relatively short par 3 17th the golfers are treated to something very different on an Irish golf course. A lift to the 18th tee box! Very nice and an opportunity to catch your breath before finishing out with a definite birdie chance in front of your mates on the downhill 506 yard closing par 5.
The greens and tee boxes are subject to lots of society traffic but stand up extremely well and, except in the worst of Irish weather, remain playable all year round. In conclusion, Bunclody Golf & Fishing Club is a great test of golf for all levels and is a treat to experience. A warm welcome is guaranteed by the friendly clubhouse staff and amid perfect post round ambiance it can be a difficult place to tear oneself away from.
Somewhere to visit over and over again!
Green Fees range from €25 to €55.
Annual membership fee for 2017 now €975
Under 35 membership €500 Year 1, €750 Year 2, €975 Year 3 (Under 35 offer available to new members on a once only basis. You must have been born in the year 1982 or later, photo ID required)
Distance membership €700: 40 miles from Bunclody GFC
Student membership €272.50: in full time study & student card required
Junior membership: €109: From 11yrs – 18yrs
Juvenile membership €54.50: From 8yrs – 10yrs
No Joining fee
Contact Details – Bunclody Golf & Fishing Club, Carrigduff, Bunclody, Co Wexford.
Phone – 053-9374444
Professional – Gary McLean
General Manager – Caroline Dunne