Fota Island will get their competitive golfing season up and running on the 13th March when they host their Senior Scratch Cup. The competition is being held over 18 holes and they have again partnered with Top Golfer, ensuring that there will be some great prizes on offer. The senior scratch cup has generally marked the start of the competitive season in Cork and a full time sheet is expected as golfers travel from all over Munster. In fact golfers could travel from further afield this year, Fota Island are hosting the GUI Senior Interprovincials so you can expect to see golfers from all four provinces playing on the Deerpark course between now and July. The entry fee is €40 and anyone interested in playing should contact Fota without delay as the timesheet is filling. The Deerpark is the showpiece course within the 27 hole inter-linked complex, it hosted the 2014 Irish Open and it’s certainly the most popular course for local golfers. Like most clubs in Cork, Fota has seen a rise in membership in the past year and according to Fota Island’s Golf Sales Manager Clodagh Stanley, queries for membership in 2016 indicate another increase this season. She also gave details on some of the upcoming competitions that are open to non-members: “We will be running our Spring Open Singles every Wednesday starting Mid February and the entry fee is €40 per person. Our Summer Open Week will take place this year the last week of July. The very popular Seniors Team of four will continue monthly with February dates already full. We have some other events in the pipeline and they will all be confirmed in the near future.” The competition entry fees are great value considering the rack rates for green fees that Fota have in place for the 2016 season. The standard week day-fee in the high season is €75 per person and that rises to €95 at weekends. Reduced rates are available until the end of March and society rates are also available. Dates for the popular intermediate and junior scratch cups will be available shortly.
Although the Deerpark course in Fota is probably the most free-draining parkland course in Ireland, the course did close during the worst of the recent wet weather. Despite the intensive sanding programmes that have taken place for over a decade nature took its toll. The rain over the past seven weeks has had an unprecedented effect on golf courses in Cork, with many closed for much longer than the big freeze of 2010. While every course in Cork was closed at one point, Fota suffered less than most due to their long term course development plan. As a result Fota is almost uniquely positioned to bounce back from the as Clodagh explained: “Unfortunately the unprecedented volume of rain has resulted in course closure. However it is holding up well, and if we do get 24 hours without rain it will see us right as we have excellent drainage. The Academy held up very well during the weather and we have definitely seen an uptake in both usage and membership for 2016.”
This year will see a major amateur competition returning to the three time Irish Open venue for the first time in several years, in July the Deerpark course will host the senior interprovincials. The Munster team, under Captain Phil Cooney will be hoping to go one better than last year, and win a third title for Munster in five years. Although Fota is famed for the golf course and much work has been put in to maintaining and developing the championship parkland layout, the clubhouse is also undergoing some work. “We are currently doing some renovations to the Clubhouse explained Clodagh Stanley, “which will be completed in the next two weeks which will certainly add to the golfers experience when dining before and after golf. Part of this work includes addition of new terrace area in front of the Clubhouse overlooking the lake and 18th green. This will be a fantastic area for outdoor dining and a range of events including BBQs. It also boasts a covered area which will seat up to 70 people.” It looks like the change of ownership at the resort in 2013 has changed little as they continue to pursue excellence on and off the course.