Q&A with Alan MacDonnell, Golf Course Superintendent


Alan MacDonnell Q&A:

Describe Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort. What, in your eyes, makes this place so special?

Having started my working life at Adare as intern, I have a real connection with the place and the course. However, undoubtedly it is the people and team that all share a dedication and passion to providing the best service and standards for guest experience. The mantra of ‘yesterday’s stand is tomorrow’s norm’ really comes to the fore here.

  • How does it compare to other great golfing resorts around the World?

The course here is truly extraordinary. Every day we strive to deliver an experience like nowhere else, with a distinctive Adare Manor feel. In chasing perfection, we catch excellence, which can be seen meticulous efforts and work separates Adare quite from anything else. It is all about producing perfect playing surfaces all year round.

  • Tell us about the design process; who was involved, what was the vision?

The build was mammoth and possibly the biggest of its kind ever undertaken on this island. We involved Tom Fazio for the renovation – Tom being the most revered architect of his generation which follows from Trent Jones being the most revered architect of his generation, a brilliant collaboration of two great people. For me to be involved in that makes me immensely proud. Tom Fazio first came to the property in the fall of 2015, with his lead architect Tom Marzolf. Working with both Toms, who I now count as great friends, has been a career high and a privilege to be involved and have front row seats to the renovation.

The criteria from the outset was to futureproof the course as much as possible with the latest technology and have an infrastructure in place that would make Adare Manor capable of hosting future tournaments. I will always remember 4th July 2016, a day that will live long in the memory after the first seed was dropped on the new golf course.

  • What kind of course is it, how would you describe it?

The desire is that we produce firm and fast surfaces that offer superior levels of presentation for our members and guests, where the premium is on accuracy of the second or third shot to the greens. 14 of the 18 greens have elevated putting surfaces with bentgrass surrounds which, in my opinion, is one of the standout features of the course; subtle but elevated putting surfaces with devilish surrounds that run as fast as some of the greens is probably the course’s greatest defence. Whilst the course in its original, or in its present incarnation, is still relatively new, you never get that sense at Adare Manor. The traditions and ‘feel’ which is created in some sense by the Manor House itself, is further accentuated by the matureness of the trees on the golf course / estate and the hand cut stone boundary walls and bridges.

  • What is the scale of the workforce here? How will it need to increase over the coming years?

We have a fabulous team of 50 greenkeepers here, who all have drive and motivation within themselves to produce the very best. The Ryder Cup, like any major event, will require many volunteers and since the announcement there have been many messages from willing people looking to be involved and assist with the event. We’ve had messages from Ireland, the UK, Europe and from the US.

  • What added prestige is there in knowing you and your team are responsible for a (soon to be) Ryder Cup golf course?

Excitement, coupled with trepidation and the realisation that the biggest show in golf is coming to Adare Manor. A lot of the team have been here for a long time, so it is a real journey together. We are so privileged to be joining a select group of people and honoured to be recognised with the responsibility of staging a Ryder Cup. We are now extremely focused on now delivering the best Ryder Cup that Europe has ever seen.