- Belleek Road, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, BT93 7ED, Northern Ireland.
- 44 0 28 6632 3230
Northern Ireland features some outstanding golf courses and Lough Erne Resort happens to have two of them. Located on a peninsula between Castle Hume Lough and Lough Erne in the northwest of the country, you’ll find the Faldo Course, which was designed by England’s six-time major winner Nick Faldo in 2009 and was ranked No. 3 in Northern Ireland by Top100GolfCourses.com in 2017, and Castle Hume, a course that has hosted 10 Ulster PGA Championships.
Faldo’s course is a must-play for visitors to Lough Erne Resort, which European golf writer and President of the European Golf and Travel Media Association Jo Maes rates as one of the 10 best in the world.
“The Scene of a recent G8 meeting, this five-star resort offers traditional Irish charm wrapped in a modern cloak,” he said. “You feel as if there were lakes everywhere – there are – and the tower-styled lodge suites are dotted along the shores of Castle Hume Lough.”
Faldo’s course sets out along Castle Hume Lough and works its way through pine forest before heading to the Lough Erne side. The course record was set by former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who was attached to the club as the touring professional – he shot a 68 on the par-72 layout. It’s a true challenge for golfers of all levels, according to Maes.
“It will make you long for that pint of expertly poured Guinness after you’ve navigated your way past all the obstacles put in front of you. Elevated tees, deep bunkers, water hazards, sloped greens … this course has it all and it will test you.”
It’s a stunning course with 18 unique holes and 14 of them with views of the water, said course professional Lynn McCool.
“As you play the course you get a real sense of nature and challenge,” she said. “As you complete the par-3 fifteenth hole and walk to the back tee of 16, you pass what is locally known as The Faldo Turn. There lies in front of you one of the most breath-taking finishes in golf.”
Accuracy and distance management are crucial on the Faldo Course. Holes play next to two lakes and wetlands so there are many water hazards to contend with, especially playing approach shots over water. Many deep bunkers protect the quick greens, some of which are almost surrounded by water. Pro’s tip: go with the safe option – don’t be tempted to drive the green on any par 4.
Castle Hume has over thirty bunkers, numerous water hazards and seven thousand trees across its layout.
When to play: Year-round.
Par: The Faldo Course 72. Castle Hume 70.
Yardage: The Faldo Course 7167 yards, 6562 meters. Castle Hume 6204 yards, 5673 meters.
Slope: The Faldo Course 129. Castle Hume N/A.
Standard scratch score: The Faldo Course N/A. Castle Hume 69.
Best hole: The Faldo Course’s 351-yard (321-meter), par-4 hole 10 is the standout. The green has been built out on a man-made peninsula on Lough Erne with water almost surrounding it. Big hitters are invited to go for it, but many will find the water. Castle Hume’s signature hole is a short par 3 called Ely Island.
The designer says:
“I’ve played golf on every continent in the world and I can honestly say I am overwhelmed by the location and beauty of Lough Erne Resort.”
Sir Nick Faldo *
The resort experience:
Located in the town of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, this five-star resort overlooks the Faldo Course and Fermanagh Lakelands. The accommodation consists of 120 rooms and suites in multiple buildings on the property that have a striking Irish-round tower design. Due to its scenic location and the fine service on offer, Lough Erne attracts honeymooners and wedding parties as well as keen golfers. Interestingly, the resort features a Thai Spa – said to be Northern Island’s only one – that has sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and infinity pool, all of which are complimentary for guests. Lough Erne was named 2010 Golf Resort of the Year by the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association.
Dine and wine:
Executive Chef Noel McMeel aims to use the freshest local produce each day for the meals prepared at Lough Erne. You’ll find fine dining at the Catalina Restaurant, which has photos on its walls of World War II seaplanes that were based at the Lough on its walls. I’m hoping to be there on Monday for the seven-course tasting menu. If that doesn’t work, I might try the Lough Erne Pork Dish, which has pork belly, pork fillet, pork cheek, ham hock, black pudding palmier, washed down with a drop of Le Domaine D’Albas, Chateau d’Albas, 2014. (I’d be nervous if I was a Lough Erne hog). After dinner, settle in by the open fire with a glass of Irish whisky in the Gordon Wilson Library. Other eateries include the Blaney Bar, which has a grazing menu, and the Loughside Bar and Grill (enjoy prime Irish meats and views of the Faldo Course).
The accommodation: There are six options for travelers, starting with the Traditional Rooms, which have a homey Irish country-estate style to the interiors along with a king-size or twin beds, and small luxuries such as a bathrobe and slippers. At the other end of the scale, you can select a three-bedroom lodge suite, which has a striking turreted design. Inside you’ll find en-suite bathrooms for each room, dining and living spaces, a claw-foot bath and luxurious Irish bed linen.
The Thai Spa is a highlight at Lough Erne. Bathe in the infinity pool before taking a treatment such as the Age-Defyer Facial, Personalized Body Wrap or Hot Stone Massage. Outside the resort, fish for salmon and brown trout in the surrounding loughs and rivers, explore the Upper Lough on canoe, or visit a remarkable subterranean world at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
* Source: www.lougherneresort.com/the-faldo.html