Colin Montgomerie's eponymous course at Carton House near Dublin, erstwhile home of one of the country's leading families, is typical of the superb layouts he has managed to create even early in his career as an architect. The setting is elevated and attractive, and the design manifests Montgomerie's extensive experience as a championship player learning which way the wind blows and how to deal with it. Thus a significant portion of the first nine holes play downwind, while those on the back nine play into it, so that a round becomes progressively more difficult. Montgomerie, in contrast with many of his contemporaries, creates bunkers on the fairway that are strategic rather than ornamental, so if you find yourself caught in one, think of escape before worrying about your overall score. The accommodations at the hotel are excellent, especially if you secure a room in "the big house."