Collinstown, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
Nestled in a splendid sylvan setting on the shores of fishing mecca, Lough Lene, lies the host venue for the 2011 Irish National Matchplay championship finals. Collinstown is small rural hamlet situated between the towns of Athlone in the Irish midlands and Navan in the north east. The local St. Mary's Pitch and Putt club will become the focus of the sport's community next June
Collinstown Pitch and Putt club was founded in 1971 and affiliated to PPUI in 1975. The club hosted the 1977 National Ladies Matchplay championship, quite a feat for a fledgling operation.
Collinstown is the home club of international Pitch and Putt's most successful campaigner, Alan Hanlon. Hanlon played on the Ireland team that won the 2005 European Team championship in Holland. Another Collinstown legend is PPUI NEC Member Paddy Browne, who is the most honoured international team manager in Pitch and Putt history.
Collinstown is a short course, even by Irish Pitch and Putt standards. It features eighteen small raised greens and a quirky 27 metre 17th. The strong midlands breezes and tough chipping can make par a tricky objective.
The statistically toughest hole arrives early in the round. The 64 metre second plays into the prevailing wind. A cavernous bunker protects the front of the green. The green is also raised quite high on the left hand side with the green encouraging the ball to fall off on that side. The place to be, if your are to miss this green, is the right hand side as a the chip from that position is not difficult. The green itself is mainly flat in the centre but slopes dramatically off the left hand side. A par is a very satisfying result on this hole but many a double bogey has been recorded on it by the best of players.
The 60 metre 4th boasts a very challenging green. The left to right slope makes stopping the pitch a difficult equation and putting is not easy, particularly when the surfaces are fast.
The uphill camber of the 11th makes the Index 2 hole play slightly longer than it appears. Pitching left of the green is not advised as the result is a lightning fast downhill chip.
Collinstown's signature hole is the 63 metre 15th. Although it's Index 4, it's the hole that most visitors remember, as they may have recorded anything from a birdie to six or more. A huge tree blocks the straight line route to the green from the tee. The ideal pitch flies high to clear the tree. A ball striking the tree could end up in all sorts of trouble, bunkered or, worse still, short of the tree with the obstacle to be tackled once more on the second shot. A 1.5 metre drop over the back of the green adds to the hole's appeal and complexity.
The visitors to Collinstown for the Irish Matchplay next June will undoubtedly find Collinstown a course to savour. After successful stagings of the 1996 Inter-County weekend, the 2001 Leinster Inter-County and the 2010 provincial Matchplays, Collinstown has proved its calibre as a championship site par excellence.
Thanks to Collinstown Webmaster John Browne for his expert assistance.
Course address is:
St. Mary's Pitch and Putt club