THERE was huge disappointment for Cork golfers when it was confirmed that Waterrock Golf Course would not reopen.
Both the men's and ladies clubs were notified by management that the course, on the outskirts of Midleton, would not be reopening now or in the future. The news is particularly unfortunate as it comes on the back of the revised Covid-19 guidelines allowing courses to reopen from May 18.
When the Healy family opened the Waterrock course for play in late 1994, the concept of pay and play golf courses was new, all other local courses operated with both green fees and members.
Using the natural changes in elevation and the quick draining ground, designer Paddy Merrigan sculpted a very playable 18th hole layout. As a result the course quickly became a venue of choice for many golfers. As the game flourished locally the new pay as you play concept was a real hit allowing non-club members to access key weekend tee times.
Waterrock was a staple on every golf society calendar, it’s popularity with all levels of golfer making it a good choice for organisers. An impressive clubhouse was added soon after, providing golfers with excellent hospitality before and after golf.
Waterrock’s offering developed in the past 10 years as the game changed. In 2009 Harbour Point Ladies moved from Little Island to Waterrock after the course in Harbour Point closed. In 2015 the club affiliated to the GUI and opened for male members.
Again Waterrock management were innovative, offering a low cost membership option with additional pay as you play opportunities. This proved to be a very popular option for beginners and for those who wanted to retain a handicap but didn’t want to pay high membership fees.
Measuring almost 6,300 from the back tees, the course which was once a farm was suitable for all levels. Easily playable from the forward tees, the course turned into a serious challenge once you moved to the back tees.
The signature hole of the Merrigan design was the 240 yard par three 12th hole, known locally as 'Swan Lake'.
This was truly a magnificent par three providing the brave golfer with the intimidating prospect of a 200 yard carry over water from the back tee and had been described as one of the best 50 holes in Europe.
While the front nine were considered very playable, the back nine were testing, with water and elevation changes testing golfers over the closing holes. The course hosted a GUI area final in 2015 and proved to be a great course for matchplay golf.
While the news is disappointing for members, they will have a choice of courses to join with offers available from all local clubs as they aim to recover the season after a testing few months