The fifth playing of Seve Ballesteros's 'mini Ryder Cup', pitting Great Britain and Ireland against a team representing continental Europe, will take place this September on a course he helped to design.
Following on from the British and Irish team's victory at the Wynyard Club in the north-east of England in 2005, the 2007 Seve Trophy will be played at the Heritage club in Portlaoise, Ireland, which opened in 2004. The course, designed by Irish/Canadian architect Jeff Howes, assisted by Ballesteros, was voted as one of the best new courses in the British Isles by Golf World in 2005.
Howes's design at the Heritage brings water into play on ten of the holes. Measuring over 7,300 yards off the back tees, the course is also protected by massive bunkers on many holes.
Holes to watch out for include the par five eighth, which has a stream down the centre of the fairway on the approach to the green. Pro golfers will almost certainly be going for this hole in two – especially in matchplay – but with the water hard against the right side of the putting surface, the approach will need to be precise, and anyone who chooses to lay up will have to think carefully about where the shot should be positioned.
The course also features a number of short par fours, which are likely to play an important role in matchplay competition. The sixteenth, for example, may not be long at 397 yards, and is the only hole on the course without sand, but the highly contoured table top green will repel all but the best shots. On the eleventh, the players will be faced with a completely different challenge: the hole is the shortest two shotter on the course, at 332 yards, but tight bunkering on both sides of the narrow green entrance will make anyone think twice before deploying the heavy artillery from the tee.
Incoming European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo will lead the GB&I team, while Seve himself will be the front man for the continentals.