Southwest Ireland is perhaps the greatest venue for world-class links golf anywhere, home of such greats as Ballybunion, Lahinch, Tralee and Waterville. These and other notable links and parkland courses are located within a 3-hour radius of Shannon Airport. Here you have the Southwest’s newest links golf addition, the Greg Norman-designed Doonbeg, as well as the breathtaking panorama of Old Head, built atop a peninsula jutting into the Atlantic.
Yet your visit to Southwest Ireland is about more than just great golf! A few off-the-course sights to see include the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, and wonderful towns with many superb restaurants and fun-filled Irish pubs such as Killarney, Kinsale, Kenmare, Lahinch and Cork.
Lahinch Golf Club – Old Course
In 1892 officers of the Black Watch Regiment came upon this vast dunes land and, being good Scotsmen, knew at once they had found the perfect terrain for a golf links. The original layout was designed by Old Tom Morris, and subsequent alterations were made in the 1920’s by Dr. Alister McKenzie. One of the best classic links courses in Ireland, the Old Course overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Liscannor Bay. The links have two historic holes, the 4th hole (Klondyke) and the 5th hole (The Dell). Several holes on the course underwent major reconstruction in 2004, making this world-class links better than ever. Ranked #16 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg
One of Ireland’s newest links course, Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg was designed by Greg Norman. Perched high on the cliffs along the coast, it is said all that was required to create a world-class links was to lay out the holes and mow the fairways. Norman stated upon his first visit in 1997, “I am almost speechless. I have never seen a piece of land like this in all my travels.” The layout is unusual in that it has a combination of five par 3’s and five par 5’s, the signature hole being the short 111 yard par 3 14th. Hitting the green here is easier said than done as the wind will dictate whether you take a sand wedge or a 3 iron.
Ballybunion Golf Club – Old Course
Southwest Ireland’s most renowned links, Ballybunion Old is the most sought after tee time in all of Ireland. If Ballybunion Old is a “must play” course in your travel plans, we highly recommend planning your trip by September of the prior year so that you won’t be disappointed. Tom Watson continually raves about it, and many golf icons such as Tiger Woods annually warm up here prior to The Open. The Old Course provides an extremely challenging links land with spectacular views of the Atlantic and a round where the wind is almost always a factor
Ranked #7 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Ballybunion Golf Club – Cashen Course
The Cashen Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., is a long, difficult, spectacular links course with mammoth sand dunes. The Cashen requires you to fly the ball to the many elevated greens. Carts (called buggies in Ireland) are allowed on the Cashen course, and currently you can book a tee time on Ballybunion’s Old Course and receive a complimentary round on the Cashen.
Tralee Golf Club
This links is majestic both for its setting as well as for the course layout itself. Twelve holes trek through the seaside sand dunes, each with a unique view. The back side has 5 holes along the ocean which are truly breathtaking. Tralee is an extremely challenging course, especially with the ever-present winds blowing in off of the Atlantic. A testing course as well, course designer Arnold Palmer deserves special credit for his use of the natural terrain without manipulating the land. Perhaps one of the most picturesque and unique links courses to be played anywhere, Tralee consistently ranks #1 as our returning customers favorite all-around golf experience in Ireland’s Southwest. Ranked #77 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Waterville Golf Links
Located at the half-way point of the famed and stunningly beautiful Ring of Kerry, Waterville was founded in 1889 and redesigned in 1973 by Eddie Hakett and John Mulcahy. Waterville is one of the longest links in Europe totaling 7,311 yards in length. Scenic views include cottages dotting the adjacent hills, Ballinskelligs Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The greens are mildly undulating and spacious. While the front 9 are fairly flat, the back nine is full of large sand dunes. Look for the fascinating story on a sign at the Mass Hole (12th). Consistently ranked as one of the top links courses in Ireland, Waterville has undergone many changes and improvements in the last few years by Tom Fazio, making play on this links an even more enjoyable golf experience. Ranked #45 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Dooks Golf Club
If you want to experience playing an Irish links course amidst the Irish, than Dooks is the place! A lovely links course set along Dingle Bay with mountains on three sides, Dooks provides an interesting combination of features including high elevated greens on some holes, and flat expansive greens on others. There are also trees, blind shots, and some flat and clearly visible holes, all which create quite a unique combination. The 18th has a surprise finish, created by the club’s members. Dooks in 2004 & 2005 underwent major reconfiguration including the construction of a new clubhouse. This course is a “hidden gem” surprise for most of our returning customers who continually rave about their golfing experience there.
Killarney Golf & Fishing Club – Killeen Course
Host to the Irish Open in 1991 & 1992, the Curtis Cup in 1996, and more recently the Irish Open in 2012 & 2011, Killeen is a challenging parkland course layout which includes intelligent use of bunkers, stands of old-growth trees, and many water hazards. Most of the greens are large and undulating, and many of the holes follow the shores of Lough Leane with the majestic mountains of Kerry rising in the distance.
Killarney Golf & Fishing Club – Mahoney’s Point Course
While the shortest of the three courses making up the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, this is an excellent parkland course with great views of the Lakes of Killarney and the mountains in the distance. Most of the course plays through stands of old-growth forest, challenging golfers to keep it in the fairway. Romantic and picturesque lakes, along with old estate charm make for a stunningly beautiful Irish golf experience.
Adare Golf Club
This Five-Star Resort’s own Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed parkland course boasts four sets of tees on each hole, providing a true test for all skill levels. Set among gorgeous lakes with the Maigue River winding throughout, mature trees, castle ruins, and the majestic Manor itself towering above you, Adare Manor is an idyllic and absolutely beautiful setting for a relaxing round. The 18th finish, well, you just have to visit and play here to experience yourself.
Old Head Golf Links
Golf at Old Head will be a visual memory that will last a lifetime and a test of your game if the wind is blowing. Called the “Pebble Beach” of Ireland, this course has incomparable views. Designed by a group of Ireland’s golfing greats (Ron Kirby, Eddie Hackett and Joe Carr) and built in 1997 atop the Old Head Peninsula, this seaside course will stun you with its beauty and breathtaking views of the surrounding ocean and the caves below which provide refuge for hundreds of species of birds. Facilities include a full-service modern clubhouse/restaurant/bar. On all but the calmest of days, the constant wind and seaside weather will provide a true test of your game. Ranked #60 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
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Click here to watch video of 4 Irish Guys Playing Old Head – Kinsale
Cork Golf Club
Designed by Alister McKenzie in 1927, this is a mature parkland course with many stands of old-growth trees and numerous patches of gorse. The course is a rolling to slightly hilly tract that works its way to and from the River Lee. Several holes are affected by the famous Cork limestone quarry, including the 7th which is actually on the floor of the quarry.
Fota Island Golf Club
Originally founded in 1883, the course reopened in September 1999 following an 18-month revitalization program during which all 18 greens were rebuilt and 8 of the holes were redesigned. Fota has hosted the Murphy’s Irish Open in 2001 and 2002, one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour. This is a lovely parkland course where water plays a significant role. The club is located within a 780 acre estate which also houses the Fota Island Wildlife Park and is included in the “Inventory of Outstanding Landscapes of Ireland”, while the splendid woodland and water features combine to create a challenging layout.
Ceann Sibeal – Dingle Golf Links
This links is set in a spectacular setting of steep cliffs jutting out into the ocean and gently rolling dunes terrain. The course is surrounded by some of Ireland’s tallest mountains including Mount Brandon. This is a relatively wide-open course whose greatest difficulties are the wind, dune grasses and a river that runs through the course. Dingle is a great value round, and getting to & from the course provides some of the most scenic and beautiful drives you will experience in Ireland’s stunning Southwest.
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