Mount Juliet Golf Club

Kilkenny, Ireland

With a course designed by Jack Nicklaus and an 18th century Gregorian manor as its clubhouse, Mount Juliet Golf Club has but few equals. Mount Juliet Golf Club is set in 1,500 acres of quintessential Irish countryside in Thomastown, just outside Kilkenny City. It’s location makes it a good place to break up the trek from Dublin to the Old Head of Kinsale, or vice versa.

The Golden Bear himself opened the course at Mount Juliet in 1991 with an exhibition match against Christy O’Connor Sr. It’s no wonder Nicklaus couldn’t wait to play the course. After all, what he created, along with the help of Ron Kirby, is a stunning parkland jem. Mount Juliet has held two other notable tournaments as well: the 2002 and 2004 WGC-American Express Championships, won by Tiger Woods and Ernie Els respectively.

Like most other courses designed by Nicklaus, Mount Juliet has a distinctly American feel to it. You’ll find no shortage of teeing areas on this 7,200-yard par 72, as well as bunkers and water hazards. In fact, eight out of the course’s 18 holes are played over water, due in part to the imposing presence of the River Nore.

Water plays a big part on the third hole, one of the course’s signature par threes. On this hole, players must go from an elevated tee to a green defended in tandem by a natural stream and lake. Equal parts fun and challenging, this hole does a good job of summing up Mount Juliet’s course in its entirety.