Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort is located about a 40-minute drive to the west of Dublin and the course is draped across part of the 550-acre Balyna Estate where the historic Balyna House – a gorgeous 19th century Italianate mansion – provides a magnificent backdrop.
Andy Newmarch caught up with Rob Coles shortly after his win at Moyvalley and asked him a few questions: Q What did you think of the condition of Moyvalley A It was in great condition and the greens were very good to putt on all week. Q Which were the most challenging holes? A I thought the last three holes were the strongest and provided a good finish. Also the 7th and 12th are both good holes. Q How much can you take forward from the Moyvalley win? A It was just great to win, it gives you confidence if you get in that position again. Q Can you place your favourite Top 3 worldwide courses in order? A 1st Royal Lytham & St Annes, 2nd Royal Melbourne, 3rd Sunningdale.
Darren Clarke worked with European Golf Design to create a tournament golf course at Moyvalley, which has already played host to the 2009 Challenge of Ireland tournament, an event on the European Challenge Tour. England’s Robert Coles claimed the title on a course with creeping bent grass greens that are among the very best surfaces in Europe.
“I’m especially delighted with the greens,” commented Clarke on his first foray into golf course design, “which are among the best putting surfaces in the country. We created gentle slopes which will make players think about where to place their approach shots, especially when the greens are fast or in windy conditions.” Moyvalley opened for play in 2007 and the course is already considered to be one of the best modern tracks in the Dublin area.
If you are looking for tradition then steer clear of Moyvalley, but if you are seeking a challenging and strategic test on a golf course with truly outstanding playing surfaces, then look no further. A parallel exists between Moyvalley and The Grove in England. Each course is topographically challenged with little in the way of elevation change but each course has been nicely shaped, is a real test and is perfectly manicured.
As with many open country courses, Moyvalley relies on swaying fescue grass for its definition and you can expect a windy test. The free-draining site is open and exposed and the wind whips across the 7,370-yard layout which routed in two 9-hole loops that return to a stunning clubhouse that boasts panoramic views across the courses from three sides.
There are a number of good holes at Moyvalley but none is better than the incredible 602-yard closing hole that is surrounded by water. It requires a precise approach shot to a pristine green that is jealously guarded by a lake to the left and a huge anvil-shaped bunker to the right.
In November 2015 it was announced that Christy O’Connor Jnr has been appointed to upgrade and develop the course at Moyvalley. One of the first things on the Irish golfing legend’s plan is to plant two specimen oak trees on the opening holes as a signature feature, then the course will be re-branded “Twin Oaks”. No doubt further changes will be announced in due course, otherwise this upgrade could be nothing more than blarney.
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Average Reviewers Score:
I have played the course 3 times now and enjoy it so much I am thinking of becoming a member.
The course is as other reviewers have noted relatively featureless in terms of hills and trees and has been styled as an ‘inland links’. This doesn’t mean it is easy though. The rough is evil and quite often a wayward ball is a lost ball.
My last visit there was for a works golf society outing and the staff could not do enough. The manager went out and set up both furthest drives and nearest the pin markers and offered to bring out another golfer who was running late to whichever tee we were on when he turned up. That is what I call customer service!
The practice putting area and chipping areas are right next to the first tee. The course starts with a relatively easy looking par 4 dog leg left before a tricky par 3 … but you can always look on the website for a course description so I won’t describe every hole. I don’t think there are any boring holes on the course and there a few outstanding ones. The 4th a par 4 a dog leg left with bunkers waiting to punish anything slightly wayward, the 6th a long par 4 with water to clear from the tee and water all down the left. The long 8th with water all around the back and front left of the green and the 10th with the lone horse chestnut tree to the front right is very picturesque.The long 13th has some amazing bunkers protecting it.
However the 16th, 17th and 18th and the best closing 3 I have played on any course. The 16th is a dog leg left with water down the left the entire length of the hole. The 17th is a par 3 with water all around the back to prevent anyone over hitting the ball from escaping. Then the 18th… A long, long par 5. A drive and then a decision do you go left, lay up and have a tricky approach over the water or follow the course round and take the full 3 shots before an easier green shot.
The clubhouse has fantastic views of the course from all sides and is very plush with great locker rooms too.
Played Moyvalley last weekend and despite recent heavy rains the course was very playable and well presented. It is somewhat reminiscent to look at of the Monty course at Carton House, just down the road and relies very heavily on its bunkering, its thick rough and a challenging wind. In benign conditions there is little to seriously trouble the good golfer until you reach the last three holes where water comes into play in a big way. As others have mentioned, 16 and 18 are an excellent test where you really have to plot a course through the abundant water hazards. For the pros, however, I'm sure it's a completely different test - around 7,400 yards from the tips. As a course it is enjoyable, but the lack of definition to the layout was in my view uninspiring and I won't be rushing back to play it. There are a good many better and prettier parkland layouts in the area (K Club, Carton House, Druids Glen), although you cannot fault the conditioning or, in particular, the practice facilities which were excellent (and very close to the clubhouse and first tee which is always a nice surprise).
The course is only two years old but has already hosted the European Challenge Tour (June 2009) and I heard that the pros were very impressed, especially with greens. The course will rely heavily on its conditioning and not surprisingly just after the event it looked great – if this can be maintained then Moyvalley will get plenty of return visitors. There are enough tee options to test the best and also give the high handicappers a chance to but do keep the ball out of the rough, which is very tough. New courses are always up against it terms of being compared to existing courses but I think Moyvalley has started well. As comparisons go, the courses in the same style would be; The London Club, The Grove, Hanbury Manor, Chart Hills (all from around the SE England) and my opinion is that Moyvalley as a course is achieving it’s intentions – looking at it in June 09, it will be difficult to see it looking any better. The course does have a stronger back nine in my opinion with the 16th and 18th the pick; both have water to negotiate and are great fun to play. The modern clubhouse has a great ambience with views over the course from the first floor bar. Overall I would recommend Moyvalley because it delivers on what it has set out to, whether it becomes an Irish ‘great’ is doubtful.
Played this course three times in a competition some weeks ago and I was very impressed with the condition of the course in particular the greens , which are by far the best Ive ever seen .
The course overall however was uninspiring, it just gives the impression of being manufactured (which of course it is ) and for me this is always quite dissapointing, I always much prefer course which are built around what is allready there. Put simply other than a couple of outstanding holes, this could be any new course in the UK.
Some of the better holes however were truly excellent, the 16th and 18th in particular. The 18th is a real headscratcher !! Having played it three times I still dont know how to play it !!!!
It’s a real treat to play. It is kept beautifully, and having played it 3 times now, I find it more and more enjoyable each time I play it. I see new things. Some courses are pretty but after one visit they get boring. Not Moyvalley. It’s a real golfer’s course, lots of thinking and planning during your round. It deserves to be right up there with the best in Ireland. I had such a great day there again recently, the staff fall over themselves to look after you and have fun.
One of the most scenic golf courses i have ever had the pleasure of playing on.
I have only been playing golf for a short amount of time and the PRO in the shop gave me some fantastic advice and was really helpful.
Absolutley beautiful surroundings with the stately home etc
I took the wife & kids along, they spent some time shopping in Dublin and we are looking forward to coming back later in the year.
Played this awesome course a few times,it's challenging and tests you at all aspects of your game.The fairways are like are like carpets and the greens are some of the best I've played on.Def in my top 5 courses around the globe.the resort as a whole should be 5star get your tickets booked and go you'll not be disapointed.
Not to be dis-respectful but if this course is in your top 5 from around the globe I would to know where you have played. Yes this a decent new course and can be applauded for a number of things so far but this really will never make the top 5 even in the Dublin area, sorry.
Moyvalley has been voted onto Golf Digest’s Ireland Top 100 for the last two years and it’s big Darren’s first layout. Let’s be honest, the land is not very exciting from an elevation change perspective but it was originally set up as part of the Champions Club stable. This is no ordinary venue, no expense has been spared both on and off the course but the credit crunch caught up with the concept and it’s now effectively a reasonably priced pay and play. The course is not inspiring but its greens were among the best I've seen in Ireland and that really is saying something. When we played here last month it was a treat, with rough swathed with tall, swaying fescue grass and simply outstanding playing surfaces, especially the greens. For me the back nine is the most interesting, but no holes should really be described as dull. A few holes are certainly more forgettable than most but for me the course really comes alive on the back nine and ends with a jaw dropping crescendo on the last. It was a blisteringly hot sunny day and the craic was good so I kind of enjoyed the rather surreal Moyvalley. If the staff can continue to maintain the truly incredible greens, then this course will remain worthy of playing. However if it doesn’t remain in great condition, then Moyvalley will soon become a nice but rather expensive pay and play.