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Hole 14, Church Fields
Hole 14
A healthy whack with something in the region of a three iron, this hole is relatively straightforward.

The waterfall back left and the creek running from it are really just for decoration, not so the two deep bunkers front and right of the green at this the last of the four short holes.


My favourite hole on the Palmer Course is the 14th. This is a fine par three which can be a five iron or up to a three wood depending on the wind. Sharon Smurfit, K Club member (and owner's daughter!)

So much of the K Club is about water and, for the amateur, it often seems that each of these aqueous features has magnetic powers. And so it was years ago with the 14th hole, a relatively unthreatening par three with a nice "pond" off to the right-hand side. Here, every Wednesday, happy trout would leap into the air with amusement, as they watched me manage to make a fool of myself once more with a shank that resembled a baseball player trying to inflict serious damage. But that's me and my game.

In the overall scheme of things, this small pool of water could be overlooked most of the time, which meant the 14th was one of the holes where you would be "unlucky" to find you ball going for a swim. That was until some bright spark (who must have been trying to impress the boss) suggested that they build a waterfall and a small river running down to the "pond". Yippee! Even more water!

Grudgingly, I had to admit that it was a lovely addition, even though I knew that it meant the homing devices in my golf balls now had multiple targets to aim for. And so, having resigned myself to its beauty and to the undeniable enhancement of what used to be a simple hole for us not-so-talented golfers, I brought two friends of mine from Northern Ireland down to view its charms during the European Open a few years ago.

As we stood there oohing and ahhing about this thing that would cost me immeasurable amounts of lost balls in the future, one of my pals quipped, "Och look, it's wee Darren on the tee box." And sure enough, there stood Darren Clarke, cigar in hand, proud as punch having broken the course record the previous day.

Quiet descended and after a couple of practice swings, wee Darren stroked his ball serenely into the air and watched it as it bounced on the fringe of the green and started to roll towards the hole. Great shot! And then the crowd as one seemed to realise that this was better than that. There was a quick intake of breath and the roar started to grow until, WOW! The ball dropped. Hole in one!

We all leapt and hugged each other, sure that our encouragement had made the difference. Wee Darren was doing his own version of an Irish jig on the tee box. What a moment. My pals were chuffed to bits with their "lad".

Years later I stood on that same tee box and looked up at the cascading waterfall with its little river ambling down to the "pond" on the right, beckoning my ball to come visit. A couple of warm-up swings later and the ball was away. The girls I was playing with politely commented that it was a good shot and I concurred, "yes, I am delighted with that." And then as I watched it bounce on the front part of the green and roll to the right I suddenly saw it disappear. Could it be? I looked at the girls in disbelief and then I let out a holler that could be heard all round. Lady members craned their necks from every direction to try and identify the yelping crazy person doing the Earth Wind and Fire In Her Pants dance on the 14th tee. A Hole in One!

Alas, no crowds that day to applaud my feat, but as I strolled towards the green I thought to myself that whether you're an amateur golfer or a pro, the feeling of elation must be the same. And as I bent down and retrieved my ball, I also looked at my friend the waterfall. No matter how many of my golf balls find their way into its liquid depths in the future, from now on this hole would always be my favourite. Peaches Kemp, K Club ladies' vice-captain

Easy to pull left and wind up in the stream to the left of the green or push it right into the bunkers! Also it is arguably one of the toughest up and downs if one misses the green - you can easily walk off with no points.

In my memory is a shot by the late, great Mick Holly, whose company built the golf course and who is commemorated by the name of the 10th hole. It was a big Charity Classic Tournament and it was a horrible, rainy and windy day. He played a three wood which must have started 20 yards left of the green and nine feet off the ground. The ball was slicing towards the flag, took one bounce just short of the green, rattled the pin half way up and dropped straight in for an ace!

As one of the other players birdied it with a shot, we walked off with 9 points! A great but dangerous hole. David Adamson, K Club member

Not an easy par three. The deep bunkers on the right will collect any wayward shots. A well executed bunker shot will then be needed to get anywhere near the pin on a sloping green. Kevin Norton, K Club member


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