Mel Flanagan .ie

Cracking The Golf Code

Tubbercurry Golf Course

by | April 16, 2018

I would take a bet, that Tubbercurry Golf Club it is the best run 9 hole Golf Course in the country today.

Here is why, it is totally debt free and has, during 2017, increased its membership, it is always in pristine condition and 2017 saw Tubbercurry win two GUI Pennants.

What is their secret?

The committee system in my opinion is always a fool’s playground. Chesterton said ”I’ve travelled long and far and yet to come across any statue anywhere of a committee”.

I have witnessed first-hand mind-boggling suggestions and subsequent decisions adopted that cost clubs dearly at committee level. I do not want to be a grumpy old man, but I have seen clubs spend €7o,ooo on toilets when the fairway mower and rough mowers are always broken.

Not in Tubbercurry, the committee here makes make practical decisions; they operate off a tight budget and cleverly fund raise every year. B.S. is simply not tolerated.

I can hear you thinking, this is a paid article, there must be some not so right aspects that you are ignoring.

OK, I will level with you. I have brought golfers to those lovey fundraising days. They loved the ambience, atmosphere, home cooking, and a million welcomes. However, they found the course most difficult to score on.

Their criticism was that it is much too difficult a course. These golfers are clever and quite fancy themselves and they play a lot. I have to agree though, I see golf as the great teaser, the ‘shoulda’ game, golfers love nearly having a score.

“Tubbercurry has to soften its demeanour somewhat”, that was my criticism.

In fairness, though the course opened in 1993 and it was a difficult course to play. The committee approached me to help them with the re-design of their lovely little course. Over the years, I have designed some 18 golf course in Ireland and around the world; sure this is what I do.

The original design started with a very difficult first hole away from the clubhouse, you were not ready for it. You should ease your way into a course so you can get a feel for the round. Gently does it as you get your momentum. As the old bull says, “No son, lets walk down that hill….”

Each subsequent hole caused much the same kind of problem, too many bunkers, many elevated greens and it was just far too difficult to get a decent score around the course for the average golfer.

Golf is a Game; you should enjoy playing it each and every time. This course took enjoyment out of the game, for me anyway.

Now, however, we refined the route of the course. It is so much easier to get around in a comfortable manner without too much exertion. We softened the playable aspect of the obstacles, even taking out the ones that were unnecessary.

The committee and I put enjoyment back into the course leaving just enough of a challenge to keep the golfer focused as he meanders around from hole to hole, but not too much of a challenge that they are truly exhausted when they are done.

Tubbercurry Golf Course is now a wonderful course to play from beginner to advanced, for men women and kids. Any golfer can visit and play a round they will truly enjoy and want to come back to. Even if I do say so myself.

Tubbercurry Golf Club IS A WINNER, no more no less.

Golf Course Review.


The first hole is sited Right next the clubhouse facing due west. A gentle opening par 4 with a right to left slight angle on it down to an elevated green. The green is hard to hit even with a wedge. There is a most beautiful backdrop to the green of mountains and Glens -a stunning west of Ireland setting. All in all this is a perfect opener, plum in the middle of the site .


This is one little demon of a par 3. The hole plays longer than the card suggests because of the prevailing wind and the elevated green and it is hard to hold. This is a one very good par 3.


A par 5 in the opposite direction and a long though with the helping prevailing wind. Only 2 mighty blows will get home here. The tiered green is well guarded by bunkers so beware.


Hole 4 is a right to left dogleg and a tough par 4. The drive is tricky and the second so often comes up short, as there is a depth perception to the dip not visible to the naked eye causing an illusion of the foreshortening distance to the green. One very good par 4.


A highly individual par 4. Firstly, you must drive down a valley and evade a specimen tree in the middle of the landing area and secondly you drive up to a very elevated green on the great of the hill. This is a most interesting par 4. I cracked a drive as hard as I could muster up. I was very proud with my chest proudly out only to be told Rory McElroy skipped his drive onto the green in one, some 90 yards forward of my best.


A long par 3 would fit into the very best of golf courses. The tee is elevated and the raised green is so hard to hit. There is a beautiful random stonewall embedded into the green front and supporting the tee boxes. This is one visually beautiful par 3.


is a unique par 5 with a very blind second shot. It is hit and hope for the best really. The third shot is east to a demanding green with a very tight bunker tucked in to its side. A full of personality hole of varying elevations, created by God and ever so slightly modified by man. This is one memorable golf hole.


This is the signature hole on the course, a one giant par 4. The tee shot must be well struck, if there is to be any chance of reaching the dance floor. What is even more intriguing is that the tiny old sheep wall well off in the distance is the target line off the tee. Aim at it but hope your ball does not reach it. The green is multi-tiered with many in positions. One tough dude of a hole. It is the right hole in the right place. The penultimate hole, what a test.


is the perfect finisher. A short par 4 back to the clubhouse. It is easy yet with a delicately small and demanding green, and as the saying goes it is never over till the fat lady sings rings through here.

In Summary

Tubbercurry golf club is a gem with small elevated greens where no two holes are alike. It is up there with the very best and a stern test of golf from the get go. It’s balance is very good in that the start is easiest and the finish somewhat tougher.

Visiting teams are always thrown by its nuances, quirks and oldworldness. It always baffles the visitor, and it’s only the home cooking in the clubhouse that he/she begins to settle and realise the tiger course that Tubbercurry is “A diamond in the rough”.


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40 years playing and teaching professional level, I strive to improve the game for all my students.

Mel Flanagan PGA

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