Fota Island rounded off another busy golfing year recently when they hosted the final of the Inter-Company Challenge. This is the second year that the novel event has been held and entries were up for the qualifying rounds. The format was based on eight colleagues playing in a singles format with the top five scores counting towards the team total. After a number of busy qualifying dates, Cork Airport PJ Hegarty, Stryker and Vistakon all made it to the series final. Stryker came out on top of the four finalists with a grand total of 162 points, and they won a society outing in Fota Island including dinner for 20 people. Open events in Fota take a back seat over the coming weeks as green fees will be in high demand over the Christmas break. Despite the fact that resort is hosting the third edition of their Christmas experience event, all 27 holes will be open over the coming weeks offering golfers three separate course variations. The course is currently in great condition given the volume of rain over the past two weeks and the investment in sanding and overall course improvements is now paying dividends.
Castlemartyr followed up their 2014 IGTOA award with the 2015 Best Golf Hotel award at the Golfers Guide awards held earlier this week. The Golfers Guide is Ireland’s longest running golf publication and the publishers have run the awards for a number of years. There were two other Cork courses that made the winners circle. Fota Island won the Best parkland course in Munster award, while Monkstown won the hidden gem award for Munster. It seems be the time of year when all the awards and all of the rankings are compiled for the year. Golf Digest Ireland released their “Top 100 ranked courses in Ireland” last week and as usual their ranking was met with an equal amount of praise and criticism. Any such listing will always have a subjective element and will always generate some clubhouse debates. Kevin Markham is a man who has played every golf course in Ireland and is one of the few authorities who has earned the right to cast a view over all courses. He highlighted a few strange moves in the latest rankings and Cork Golf Club was one of the changes he homed in on. Cork Golf Club is down for the 5th year in a row. It’s down 4 places to 39th. The club has made recent and significant changes to its bunkering, taking it back to its MacKenzie roots” said Markham, “It is undeniably a better course as a result. How can it still be dropping?” Markham published his third edition of “Hooked” which is an informative first-hand guide to every single golf course in Ireland. Not surprisingly Kinsale’s Old Head hold the top spot of all Cork courses at 14th. The constant evolution by the owners and world famous designer Ron Kirby has seen the course rise by ten places over the past five years. Fota Island’s Deerpark course has maintained its placing at 30th. Five years ago the three time Irish Open host venue was listed at 40th but subtle changes and possibly an increase in profile has resulted in the climb into the top 30. Castlemartyr is the only other Cork course to make it into the top 100. Currently ranked at 79, the inland links course has maintained its position in the 70’s for the past five years.