The K Club Golf Club

Address Straffan
Co. Kildare
 W23 YX53
Telephone: 01-6017200
Public No:  
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.golfreservationsThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Founded: 1991
Membership: 263
Green Fees Midweek:
Green Fees Weekends & B.H.:
Green Fees With a Member:
Green Fees For Opens:
Practice Area: Yes
Club Hire: Yes
Buggy Hire: Yes
Soft spikes: Yes
Lady Captain:  
Hon. Secretary:  
Club Pro:  
Hon. Treasurer:  
Designed by: Arnold Palmer 
Smurfit: Harrison Minchew
Course opening hours: Daylight hours
Clubhouse opening hours: 7.00am to 12.00pm
Mobile phones: Not on course or in clubhouse
Dress Code: Neat and casual, jacket and tie required even -strictly no denim
Catering: Full catering facilities
Days to Avoid: Wednesdays
Green Fees and Societies Welcome: Other days
Pre-booking for open tournaments: N/A

Course Description
Course Description:

Designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer, who has transferred his talent as a great golfer into a great course architect. Officially opened in July 1991 The K Club has been selected as the venue for the Ryder Cup in 2006. The services of Palmers’ design team have been called on again to design the second eighteen-holes at Straffan Co. Kildare. This course is presently under construction and is primarily being built so as the original course can be rested before the great event. It is also necessary as the demand for tee times far out reach the availability. Such is the reputation the K has achieved in the short period it has been open, both at home and internationally. This was Arnie’s third course design in Ireland, the other being Tralee, his first in Europe.

The Kildare Hotel and Country Club, part of the Jefferson Smurfit Group plc. Is Ireland’s first grade AA 5 Red Star Hotel offering every creature comfort imaginable. Other recreational facilities include tennis, swimming, archery, croquet, and off course salmon and trout fishing. All are available on the 330-acre site, once the ancestral home of the Dukes of Leinster that can trace its roots back to 550 A.D. The Hotel is presently undergoing massive redevelopment and extension, in preparation for the arrival of the greatest golfers from the US and Europe. The clubhouse has already been extended and houses the biggest collection of Jack Yates paintings to be found anywhere.

Developed by Dr. Michael Smurfit, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Jefferson Smurfit Group plc. Arnie is reported as saying "What I have done is offer the option of an extremely testing course of the back tees or the playing of a more modest length from the middle to forward tees. Either way I feel that I have guaranteed that the player will get enjoyment from his efforts and that is the design concept that myself and Michael Smurfit set out to provide" Standing on the terrace of the magnificent elevated clubhouse behind the 18th green, Palmer mused "We could draw for a 100 years and still not have come up with as good a vision". True testimony indeed, to this magnificent course.

The course itself is undergoing constant upgrading and improvements and is the venue for the European Open Championship, the second richest PGA event, each July. Measuring 7,178 yd's from the Championship tees, 6,829 yd's from the w hites, 6,244 yd's from the greens and 5,479 yd's from the ladies tees. The men’s course is a par 72 and the ladies, is par 72. Darren Clarke shot a course record of 12 under in his third round of the Smurfit European Championship in 1999, a record that will never be beaten.

Water comes into play on then of the holes, with the majestic river Liffey coming directly on the 7th, 8th, and 17th. The course is littered with man made lakes, which brings water into play from the 15th to 18th often refereed to as the "Hooker’s Graveyard".

Having played The K Club you will remember it for the rest of your life, and I assure you, you will look forward to your next visit.

Societies are welcome and group rates are available.

The K Club Palmer Course was voted the No. 10-ranked golf course in Ireland, by “Golf Digest Ireland” in 2008.

The K Club Smurfit Course was voted the No. 41-ranked golf course in Ireland, by “Golf Digest Ireland” in 2008.

The K Club Palmer Course was voted No. 2 Parkland/Inland Course in Ireland by "Backspin" Irelands leading Golf magazine in 2008, the panel comprised of a selection of 52 Professional and amateur golfers throughout Ireland.

The K Club Smurfit Course was voted No. 14 Parkland/Inland Course in Ireland by "Backspin" Irelands leading Golf magazine in 2008, the panel comprised of a selection of 52 Professional and amateur golfers throughout Ireland.

Open & Major Fixtures 2011
See Event Calendar here.

Club History
Club History

The 2006 Ryder Cup was played here in September 2006, this was won by the European Golfers 18½ to 9½ a great win and an overall success for the K Club and Irish Golf.

The inaugural European Open was held at Walton Heath in 1978, won by Lenny Wadkins. It was not until 1995 that it became a special date on the Irish Golf Calendar. When Dr. Michael Smurfit agreed to sponsor it and make it the second richest PGA event in Europe.

Although a relatively new course designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in July 1991, the K Club was in a fit state to host a major championship. Bernhard Langer won it in 1995 with a score of 280. After that the Swedish invaders made it, there own for the next three years. Per-Ulrik Johansson won it in 1996 and 1997, it is interesting to note that there were 10 shots in the difference in his winning scores. He was, followed by his fellow countryman Marthias Gronberg in 1998 with an identical score as Langers’.

1999 saw the first of Lee Westwood back-to-back victories. That same year he put together a fantastic final round, when I’m sure he thought he was playing for second place. As on the Saturday Darren Clarke shot the lights out when he went around in 60 shots braking, the course record by 4 shots, this was his second 60 in his professional carrier, which included a Hole-in-one. I would consider it, the best round I have ever had the privilege to witness. Darren was six shots clear of the rest of the field, going into the final round.

I bumped into Chubby Chandler as Clarke was teeing off and I commented to him "This is only a stroll in the park for Darren" the wise manager replayed, "Every Championship has to be won". How right he was and his other charge step in, and stood on the podium on the fine Sunday afternoon. Lee became the only player to successfully defend the title in the Millennium with a score of 276.

The Smurfit European will continue to be played on the course until 2003, when it will find a new home, on the new 18 under construction at the K Club. The "old" course is to be rested before the arrival of The Ryder Cup in 2006.

The new 18 opened in July 2003 at an estimated cost of £7.5 million. The first sod was turned in February 2001 and was designed by Harrison Minchew of the Arnold Palmer Company and the project co-ordinator is Jesse Wilson. The new layout is on 220 acres on the other side of the River Liffey. Minchew is quoted as saying "It is going to have a distinctive, links feel about it as an interesting contrast to the existing course. We have also designed it essentially as a tournament venue and with an awareness of how good the modern professional can be. So we have made it bigger, covering 170 acres, though it will be easier to walk than the existing one".

Harrison Minchew has been greatly influenced in his design concept by Royal Co. Down. By excavating areas for water hazards, about one million, cubic m in total, they have enough soil to create what he had in mind. He said, "My objective is to get a sort of Royal Co. Down feel about some of the holes, where you play down into the dunes.

We’ll also introduce links characteristics in the fescue grasses we plant, along with some gorse and shrubs. We’re going to plant spinneys, but nothing like the extensive tree planting on the existing course. The greens were completed by the end of summer 2001 and "they have a different grass on them. In terms of agronomy, things have improved since we did the existing course, though it will become a subjective thing as to which layout is better" Michael has said. A very interesting concept, a links in the Co. Kildare! Couldn't wait to play it after what the professionals said about in having played the 2004 Smurfit European Open over it.

Members Achievements

Congratulations to The K Club on winning their first All-Ireland green pennant and indeed their first Leinster pennant, when they beat Castle Golf Club in the final at Enniscorthy Golf Club on Saturday 11th August 2007; to win the Irish Mixed Foursomes. It was on to Athlone Golf Club on Thursday 6th September where they met Ulster Champions Balmoral Golf Club by 3 matches to 2 matches.

The team was Vincent Coyle, Michael Lavelle, Peaches Kemp (Lady Captain 2007), Mary Burnell, Tom Freeman, Emmet Savage, Alice Doyle, Jody Gilhooley, Pat Desmond, Patricia Lacey, Michael Morrissey, Karena O'Connor, Lou Soden, and Beryl Bowden.  

The Ladies of The K Club won the All-Ireland Challenge Cup at Athlone Golf Club on the 30th September 2007; they beat Boystown Golf Club by 3 matches to 2 matches in the Semi-Final and met Galway Bay Golf Club in the All-Ireland decider.

First up was Sarah Newman who beat Helen Fitzgerald by 2 and 1, she was followed by Marianne Fitzgerald who lost to Nano Gough by 4 and 2. Next on the tee was Terry Somers who lost to Clare Noonan by 2 and 1. Things were not looking too good the ladies from Straffan until Phyllis Kelly delivered a 3 and 2 win over Jacinta Quinn and Margaret Canavan had the same result against Marie Kelly, to clinch the title. For a club with little or no track record in inter-club competition The K Club had a memorable year making this the 2nd All-Ireland green pennant having already won the All-Ireland Mixed Foursomes.

2005 Lady Captain Pamela Furlong and her Captain’s Prize winner Liz Burke qualified in the Volkswagen/Irish Independent Lady Captain’s Classic in this scotch foursomes format. It was off to the National Finals at The Heritage Golf Club on Monday 3rd October where they were paired with the Castletroy pair of Anne Hackett and Yvonne Cassidy.

The K Club won the Eastern District Final of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Fourball Championship at St. Margaret's in 2002, when the team was Kerena O'Connor, Sharon O'Brien, Anna Freyne, Lou Soden, Miriam Callaghan and they were, captained by Ann Lynch. They went on to be crowned All-Ireland Champions when they beat Ulster Champions Massereene in the Final by 2.5 matches to 0.5

The K Club had its third win in the McDonnell Cup on August 2nd 2002 when they beat Rush by 8 matches to 6 matches. The team included three members of the previous two winning teams in 1994 and 1996. They were Martin Fitzgerald, Frank Ward and Tony Moran. The remainder of the, squad were Maurice O'Connor, Declan O'Reilly, Frank McCarthy, Jimmy Boucher, Seamus Tully, Brendan Barrett, Tony Kelly, Joe Higgins, John Clohessy, Tony Kerr and Brian Grassick.

Lady Captain Mary Merrins, Captain Liam Lacy and Honorary Secretary, Joseph O'Grady qualified for the National Final of the Mercedes-Benz Irish Independent Executive Golf Classic at their home club on August 12th 2002.

The K Club trio of Lady Captain Melanie Lawlor, Captain Michael Kenny and Hon. Secretary Joe O'Grady got off to a flying start in the Mercedes Benz-Irish Independent Executive Golf Trophy. In April 2001 they played Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links in a swirling breeze that came at them from all sides. With two scores to count on each hole they were the leading qualifiers. Melanie playing off 20, Michael playing off 11 and Joe off 6 returned 80 points which gave them two points to spare over Grange. They booked their place in the National Finals at their home club on August 13th. The three made history when they delivered, by winning the National Final with a score of 75 points. The trophy, a replica of the Ryder Cup was very fitting. As we all know the Ryder Cup matches are to be played here in September 2006.

Congratulations to past Captain Arthur and Bosco French on winning the World Invitational Father and Son Tournament, organized by Marty Carr, each year at Waterville G. C. There was a record entry in the Millennium year. They had a score of 126 points.

The Ladies of The K Club won the fourth-team crown, in the Clarins-sponsored Autumn Team finals, when they beat Newlands, at Lucan Golf Club in November 2000.

Card of the Course
Card of the Palmer North (Ryder Cup Course) (yards)
Name Hole No Blue White Green Par Index Red Par Index
Bohereen Road 1 418 401 361 4 11 298 4 9
The Tunnel 2 413 399 370 4 7 292 4 11
The Island Beach 3 170 157 120 3 13 109 3 17
Arnold's Pick 4 568 545 518 5 15 456 5 5
Square Meadow 5 440 402 363 4 9 310 4 3
The Liffey Stream 6 478 412 376 4 3 316 4 7
Michael's Favourite 7 430 395 371 4 1 301 4 1
 Mayfly Corner 8 173 155 155 3 17 134 3 15
The Eye of the Needle 9 461 427 402 4 5 384 5 13
  Out 3,551 3,293 3,036 35   2,600 36  
Mick Holly 10 584 561 501 5 6 405 5 8
Lily Pond 11 415 382 358 4 10 289 4 14
The Domain 12 182 173 150 3 18 134 3 18
Laurel Haven 13 428 386 246 4 8 287 4 6
Churchfields 14 213 197 179 3 16 151 3 16
Stream Pheasant Run 15 446 407 382 4 4 362 4 4
Inishmor 16 570 534 483 5 2 466 5 2
Half Moon 17 424 364 327 4 14 296 4 12
Hookers Graveyard 18 537 518 478 5 12 441 5 10
  In 3,799 3,522 3,204 37   2,531 37  
  Total 7,350 6,815 6,240 72   5,131 73  
  SSS 76 74 72     72    

Men's Course Record: Pro: 60 Darren Clarke 31/07/1999
Ladies Course Record: 

Card of the Palmer South Course (yards)
Hole No Blue White Green Par Index Red Par Index
1 449 426 396 4 6 362 4 6
2 179 166 146 3 16 130 3 16
3 603 574 555 5 8 423 5 14
4 394 378 339 4 10 330 4 8
5 403 367 327 4 14 277 4 12
6 436 411 382 4 4 316 4 10
7 600 553 501 5 12 441 5 4
8 144 129 122 3 18 109 3 18
9 464 443 415 4 2 354 5 2
Out 3,672 3,447 3,183 36   2,742 36  
10 551 520 493 5 11 439 5 7
11 365 337 305 4 17 288 4 15
12 214 189 168 3 15 143 3 17
13 468 433 400 4 3 331 4 1
14 394 381 354 4 7 330 4 11
15 376 356 338 4 13 270 4 13
16 457 441 422 4 1 313 4 3
17 202 186 174 3 9 135 3 9
18 578 534 507 5 5 442 5 5
In 3,605 3,377 3,161 36   2,691    
Total 7,277 6,824 6,344 72   5,433 72  
SSS 75 74 72     72    

Roll of Honour
Mary Ward 1996 Ladies Captain
Anna Freyne 1997 Ladies Captain
Patrice Lacey 1998 Ladies Captain
Karena O'Connor 1999 Ladies Captain
Mary Burnell 2000 Ladies Captain
Mrs. Melanie Lawlor 2001 Ladies Captain
Mary Merrine 2002 Ladies Captain
Ann Lynch 2003 Ladies Captain
Sharon O'Brien 2004 Ladies Captain
Elizabeth Burke 2005 Ladies Captain
Pat Desmond 2006 Ladies Captain
Peaches Kemp 2007 Ladies Captain
Michael Smurfit Jnr. 1991 Men's Captain
Michael Smurfit Jnr. 1992 Men's Captain
M. J. O'Brien 1993 Men's Captain
J. F. Hogan 1994 Men's Captain
J. F. Hogan 1995 Men's Captain
M. F. Holly 1996 Men's Captain
T. M. Murray 1997 Men's Captain
Pat Mangan 1998 Men's Captain
Arthur French 1999 Men's Captain
Tony Lynch 2000 Men's Captain
Mr. Michael Kenny 2001 Men's Captain
Liam Lacey 2002 Men's Captain
Frank Ward 2003 Men's Captain
Frank Ward 2004 Men's Captain
Sean Hehir 2005 Men's Captain
Michael Smurfit Jnr. 2006 Men's Captain
Martin Fitzgerald 2007 Men's Captain
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1991 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1992 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1993 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1994 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1995 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1996 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1997 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1998 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 1999 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2000 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2001 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2002 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2003 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2004 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2005 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2006 President
Dr. Michael Smurfit 2007 President
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