I was lucky enough to play the Hermitage as a guest for the first time a few years ago. What a course this is – and so close to Dublin city! Naturally when the chance to play it came again more recently – I was glad to jump at it.
This must be just about the best parkland course in or around Dublin. It’s an old established members’ club (been there since about 1905) and is streets ahead of any of the more recently built proprietary, “trophy” type courses I’ve played.
What you get is corridors of trees, the added bonus of cherry blossoms in early May (because of this year’s late spring) and beautiful views of the Liffey Valley (all year round). Yes, it’s hard to believe you can find such a beautiful setting so near to our capital city.
And it’s fair to the average golfer too – course is superbly manicured, rough not too long, small to medium sized bunkers (as opposed to those pretentious, expensive to maintain, sprawling American style bunkers I’ve found in proprietary courses both here and in Spain). There are enough obstacles to overcome in terms of tight fairways, undulations in the topography, trees and water, without adding excessively long grass and water hazards almost everywhere you look.
Hermitage certainly carries the hallmarks of a successful and well run club. It seems to have lots of players anytime I’ve been there (4 times so far) and it is being continuously improved year on year (e.g. lots of newly surfaced pathways since I last played it).
For me the best hole is the signature par 3 10th (even appears on the scorecard). Here, you tee off from an elevated tee-box overlooking a well-bunkered green against a picturesque backdrop of the River Liffey – absolutely breath-taking. The par 5 11th, which runs along the Liffey, is also stunning.
The clubhouse has a wonderful homely and welcoming feeling – food and service are first class – what more could you want!
Members must be justifiably proud of their course – long may they prosper into the future.
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