Golf Course Architecture - Issue 63, January 2021

48 INTERV I EW ALAN MACDONNELL A river runs through it The River Maigue plays a central role in the layout of The Golf Course at Adare Manor. We spoke with golf course superintendent Alan MacDonnell to find out more I n 2016 The Golf Course at Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland, underwent perhaps the most comprehensive redesign ever seen in Europe. The estate was purchased by racehorse owner JP McManus in 2015 and, with a desire to host the highest level of tournament golf (which would ultimately be fulfilled with the awarding of the 2027 Ryder Cup), he hired Fazio Design to rejuvenate the Robert Trent Jones Sr layout, which originally opened in 1995. One of the course’s key defining features is the River Maigue, which bisects the 840-acre property and plays an important role in many of the golf holes. GCA spoke with golf course superintendent Alan MacDonnell to find out more. Can you tell us about the different ways in which the course interacts with the river, and the roles the river fulfils? The course was built with the water very much at the design’s forefront. The front nine features a large 15-acre lake that anchors holes three through eight. The lake is in play from the very beginning as it effectively acts as a tributary of the River Maigue, with its outfall featuring on holes one, two and three. Following the safety of a water-free ninth, the river returns into play to encourage drama on the way back in. Players are reintroduced to the Maigue from the tenth tee and it then continues to flirt in and out of holes as an ever- present threat. The sound of the river also plays an important role as it tests the mental game of golfers, creating a subtle announcement of the water’s danger. It may well be out of sight but still very much in mind! On the back nine, players are asked to cross the river twice, at the eleventh and eighteenth, as the water plays an instrumental role in both holes’ risk and rewards drama. Teeing over the water, the bunkerless par-three eleventh is guided by the Maigue down the right-hand side to