Lough Erne is an outstanding place to visit. It has played host to the G8 Summit and thousands of other visitors, all of whom have hugely enjoyed this stunning golfing location.
The course was designed by Guy Hockley with Sir Nick Faldo when Guy was principle architect at Faldo Design. It is a real masterpiece. The fairways fold and tumble alongside the Lough and rise high above it in the middle section of the course, giving panoramic views across the whole region.
There are two courses at Lough Erne and both are in remarkable condition throughout the year. On the Faldo Course, the rolling fairways, manicured run-offs and lightning fast greens are kept in pristine order by the large team of greenkeepers. As with many Faldo inspired designs, much use is made of contouring. The fairways and greens have a rollercoaster feel to them which makes for so much more fun and so many different types of lie for approach shots, chips and pitches. The bunkering, as you would expect, is extravagant and dramatic. All of the greens provide the opportunity for placing difficult, medium and easy flag positions and this can greatly affect how the course plays. The greens are not only undulating, but also extremely large so can play several clubs difference, depending on where the flag is positioned.
The Lough is in play on eleven out of the eighteen holes and provides the backdrop to the majority of the holes. There are five sets of tees which allow a whole range of different levels of ability to enjoy the course: the back tees make for a long course which is far too brutal for normal amateur play. It is a big course, and there is some walking between the holes, so much of the play for amateurs is with buggies.
There is a beautifully appointed halfway hut at the end of the 9th providing a welcome break for what is a physical exertion if you are not in a golf buggy.
Castle Hume Course
The second of the two courses at the resort is Castle Hume. This is a good course in its own right and and at 6800 yards, par 72, it is no slouch. Opened in 1992, it has a thriving membership and has a warm and friendly atmosphere. Both courses share the excellent greenkeeping team and all the specialist equipment that is required to run any top venue. Castle Hume has hosted the Ulster PGA Championship on ten occasions and is very popular with members and visitors. It is also a great course to play with the Faldo and offers a totally different golfing experience, but no less charming.
There is an excellent golf range, with covered bays and a European Golf Machinery dispenser. There are also outside bays, a very wide range area and a comprehensive array of short game areas. All of this makes it the ideal place for a proper golf academy, which is run by head professional Lynn McCool and her team of professionals. Tuition options include: beginners’ courses, individual tuition, corporate golf packages, junior days and camps and all are covered by flexible tuition gift vouchers, so you can give the gift of improved golf in great surroundings.
The accommodation is made up of hotel rooms and magnificent suites and also lodges scattered across the lakeside, all just a short walk from the glorious clubhouse.
This is a genuine five star resort and the rooms are exquisite. There are a number of lodges in the grounds, which were particularly favoured during the G8 Summit as security was much easier - and keeping the sulks and tantrums of world leaders from the ears of others is easier in a space controlled by one’s own security team. In the hotel, the rooms are all extremely well thought out with every conceivable luxury. There are a number of larger suites which provide even greater cosseting, fabulous views and even more space than the standard rooms, which are beyond generous.
The food and drink is on another scale altogether.
Noel McMeel is the Executive Head Chef for the whole resort and a true ambassador for local produce. Noel has dedicated his entire career to one very simple goal: finding, preparing and serving fresh food in season. For Noel, what we eat has to delight the taste buds, ensnare the senses and nourish body and soul. Now firmly established at Lough Erne Resort, Noel has introduced his own particular brand of modern Irish cooking to a new and discerning audience. He is responsible for all of the food at the resort and Lough Erne is now an eagerly sought venue for those who we might term as ‘foodies.’ The gourmet offerings are of the finest quality, as are the bar snacks, sandwiches and breakfast menus.
Lough Erne has a fabulous Thai Spa and it is a world leading opportunity for rest, relaxation and total pampering. You can experience a Thai massage, which is deeply therapeutic with no oils or lotions, just a deep tissue massage using pressure points and stretching techniques. Just what you need after a long day playing golf. There is also a full fitness suite.
Weddings and Functions
Any golf resort that can satisfy a G8 Summit is going to be on the short list for any special event in the region, and with an unbeatable blend of golf, accommodation, food and a world class spa, it is not surprising that there are functions on most days at Lough Erne. During the week, these tend to be aimed at the corporate market, whilst at weekends private parties and weddings come into their own. To many couples in the area their wedding day is the most important event - ever. It stands to reason that it has to be magical - and Lough Erne has all the features and elements required, but it also has those amazing views and photo shot opportunities and always provides an glorious backdrop for the most special of events.
Golf Features caught up with Guy Hockley:
“Obviously, I am very proud of our involvement at Lough Erne. It is a beautiful piece of real estate and the course was always going to be a picturesque place to enjoy the sport. We have had some very pleasing comments over the years and it reflects very well on all those involved.”
Golf is big business in Ireland and the resort is perfectly placed for golfing tourists looking to break the journey from Belfast and Dublin as they travel towards the wild Atlantic coast to the west, and the glorious links courses that await them there.
Lough Erne suffered some problems as a result of the financial crisis from 2008 and was in administration for a few years. This did not prevent it from attracting a G8 Summit and the world’s leaders descended on the resort to hold a high-level meeting considering all of the important issues of the day. There are many stories about this event, as it completely captivated the local community.
There are so many things to do in the Enniskillen area that golfers looking for more than just a golfing break will be highly attracted to the charm of the location. It is also a great place to be based for a golfing tour, as its central location gives easy access to the Atlantic coast and the courses to the north and south.
Lough Erne is the complete resort and a treasure to visit. The service is charming and the staff can't do enough for anyone visiting.
For further details, please visit the website: www.lougherneresort.com