Padraig Harrington plays from a bunker on the sixth hole at Adare Manor
HE won the Irish Open there in 2007 and Padraig Harrington has returned to his old stomping ground at Adare Manor to offer his “expert opinion” on the upgraded course currently being developed at the resort.
The Manor is undergoing a massive renovation and upgrade having been bought by JP McManus for around €30m in 2014, with the championship golf course also undergoing significant “construction and enhancement”.
Golf course designer Tom Fazio, who has worked on two of the courses at Pinehurst in North Carolina, has worked on the course’s redesign, which will when complete, a spokesperson has said, “set new standards of golf presentation in Ireland”.
Three time major winner Harrington visited the golf resort in recent days to offer his “expert opinion” on the varieties of bunker sand being trialled on the course, which has undergone a very significant transformation, the Leader understands.
Harrington was accompanied by Adare Manor CEO Colm Hannon, golf pro Gary Howie and golf course superintendent Alan MacDonnell as he examined the “six different sand samples from a few different countries”, plus one from a local supplier, according to a series of posts on the Manor’s Facebook page.
It is understood that the upgrade of the 18-hole championship course, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and which played host to the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008, is being undertaken with a view to returning the Irish Open to Adare, with a longer term aim of landing the Ryder Cup in 2026.
Several members have been taken on tours of the course in recent weeks, which has seen the rough removed and replaced with a new grass, a large number of trees cleared from the course, which has been significantly opened up and all of the greens upgraded with highly specialised replacement and several remodelled – with some raised and sloped towards the water.
The Manor has said the course is in the "midst of a groundbreaking expansion".
"Previously celebrated as the top parkland golfing experience in Ireland, the championship course is being entirely restructured to include an extensively renovated course as well as a new arrival experience, driving range, caddy program and clubhouse.
"Each hole of the golf course will have distinct character and unique playability for a complete and grand golf experience for all levels from forward tee to back tee players – where any hole could be the finishing hole.
"In addition to incorporating basic qualities for the majority of golfers, Fazio was also charged with considering capabilities for amateur and premiere professional golf events given Adare’s distinctive “all world” environment.
"Consideration has been made for drainage, new irrigation and water delivery as well as sand capping of all fairways and roughs for the driest playing conditions. Construction will include greens and bunkers as well as significant underground installations for drainage and wiring for tournament power, media and telecommunications. In addition, Fazio will account for hospitality and infrastructure of roadways and access areas for major golf events and operational usage."
A new wing is being added to the Manor itself, with additional bedrooms, a ballroom, a state of the art spa, a swimming pool and even a cinema.
It is set to re-open later this year, with a number of weddings already booked in, the Leader understands.