Fota Island Resort, Cork, Co. Cork
Fota Island Resort, twice host to the Irish Open, has championship golf courses set amongst beautiful parkland scenery, which are maintained to the very highest of standards to ensure year round golfing enjoyment. The Deerpark, with its receptive greens and strategic bunkering, impresses even the most experienced professionals. It hosted the Irish Open in 2001 and 2002. The Belvelly is a par-72 course, stretching over 7,121 yards from the championship tees and includes the new 9-hole layout, developed by Jeff Howes. While remaining perfectly loyal to the traditional style, values and playability that characterise Fota Island Golf Club, the Belvelly incorporates challenges such as the 16th hole, a 435 yards par four, that requires an accurately placed tee shot and where finding the fairway is at a premium – allowing those without the burden of a faint heart to take on the daunting approach over an old quarry to a very small target. The Barryscourt par-73 course also incorporates the new 9-hole layout. With 7,362 yards to be negotiated, this course is characterised by gently undulating greens designed to thoroughly test a golfer’s putting game. The newly designed par three eighth hole, cleverly guarded by a variety of hazards, will reward those who possess the advantage of an accurate tee shot.
Cork Golf Clours, Cork, Co. Cork
Founded in 1888, this championship, parkland course, is as graceful and mature as its age would suggest. Scenically situated in Cork Harbour, the club has played host to major amateur and professional championships over the years. The one major problem with Little Island, as Cork Golf Club is known, is that after playing it, you will need rose tinted spectacles to go anywhere else. For the club golfer, Cork Golf Club comes as close to perfection as makes no difference. It has beauty, variety and challenge in equally generous proportions. Consider the variety first, as the course opens with several holes of classic parkland, broad rolling acres of emerald turf studded with stands of ancient trees, rising gently to an escarpment overlooking the River Lee. From there comes an easy descent to two holes hugging the river bank over country rich in gorse and with a distinct touch of heathland. They lead to a series of holes played through and around an ancient quarry. What’s more, its pedigree matches the setting. The present course was designed by Alister Mackenzie in 1927 and the maestro produced a masterpiece, still largely extant, although lengthened a touch over the years. Hence the degree of challenge to the scratch men I watched.
Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Old Head is a remarkably dramatic piece of Ireland, protruding more than two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Located in County Cork on the South West coast, The Old Head of Kinsale is home to a world-class, 18-hole golf course and luxury accommodation. From the tips, the course stretches more than 7,000yd, with a minimum of five tees per hole. Nine holes play along the cliff tops and all 18 holes provide stunning ocean views. Facilities include a warm-up range and a short-game practice area.
Dooks Golf Links, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry
Golf has been played in Dooks since 1889 and so it is one of the oldest clubs in Ireland. The club is renowned for its friendliness and invites all its visitors to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the clubhouse. Even though it has been extensively remodeled, great care was taken to ensure it retained its old world charm and quirkiness. One can relax in the bar which was specially designed so that people at one end of the bar could speak to those at the other. Enjoy a pint of the best Guinness and recharge the batteries by availing of the3 excellent catering facilities which are available throughout the day.
Ballybunion Golf Club, Ballybunnion, Co. Kerry
Located on the northwest coast of County Kerry on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find two wonderfully challenging and unique links golf courses at Ballybunion, the Old Course and the Cashen. The Old Course exudes a majestic feel that simply cannot be compared to any other course on earth. With beautifully contoured fairways that tumble down through a blanket of grassy dunes, it’s no wonder these challenging holes have been consistently rated among the top courses in the world. The Trent Jones Cashen Course, located along the sweeping, undisturbed shoreline, offers breathtaking views throughout. There is a wild look to the place. Long grass covers the dunes that pitch and roll throughout the course. Whatever your choice of course, every hole, every hazard and every shot is defined by nature’s infinite presence.
Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, Killarney, Co. Kerry
The Killarney Golf & Fishing Club is comprised of three parkland/lakeside championship golf courses. They are located adjacent to Lough Lein with the McGillycuddy Reeks in the background. All three courses are built to modern specifications with sand-based greens and tree-lined, undulating fairways. Killeen is considered the flagship course of the club. It reopened in June 2006 and is slightly longer with faster greens, which have been brought closer to the water hazards around the course. Long accurate shots will be rewarded on this course. While Mahony’s Point is the most scenic and friendly of our 3 courses, it is enjoyable and challenging to golfers of all standards. The combination of undulating greens, well-positioned bunkers and water hazards ensure that there is enough danger to spoil a good round. Lackabane is the newest of our three courses and opened for play in 2000. Lakes and streams are featured throughout the length and breadth of the course, adding to the beauty and danger in equal measure. This course is best suited to mid- to low-handicap golfers and is an excellent test of the long game.
Doonbeg Golf Club, Doonbeg, Co. Clare
Chosen for his “least disturbance philosophy,” The Doonbeg golf site was designed by two time British Open Champion Greg Norman. Spanning 1.5 miles of crescent shaped beach and century old sand dunes, the course offers views across the Atlantic from the green, the fairway, or tee of 16 of the 18 holes. Variations in wind speed and direction ensure the course plays differently each and every time. The par-72 layout features a single loop of nine holes out and nine back, playing 6,885 yards from the back tees. The most natural routing within the existing dunes resulted in an uncommon combination of five par 3’s and five par 5’s
Lahinch Golf Club, Lahinch, Co. Clare
Established in 1892, the Lahinch Old Course is frequently referred to as the “Saint Andrews of Ireland” as it looks out on the ever-changing Atlantic Ocean and is subject to all its mood swings. It has an abundance of exceptional golf holes, where the natural terrain is utilised to optimum advantage. It hosts the south of Ireland Amateur Golf Championship annually and should be on every golfer’s itinerary.
Tralee Golf Club, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Surrounded by the Atlantic, Tralee’s magnificent and challenging Arnold Palmer course offers incomparable views on all sides. Castles, distant islands, towering mountains and the beach that figured prominently in the film Ryan’s Daughter will captivate you. Built by Arnold Palmer, this stunning setting represents a true paradise for those willing to challenge what is widely acclaimed as one of the finest links courses in Ireland. It comes as no surprise to learn that, due to the majestic beauty of this setting, Palmer chose it to be his first (and arguably finest) golf course in Europe. In addition to boasting a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean from every hole, Tralee’s magnificent and challenging course offers incomparable views on all sides.
Waterville Golf Links, Co. Kerry
Golf at Waterville is a mystical experience – the beauty of classic links land surrounded by the sea yet forever challenged and shaped by the elements. More than 100 years old, Waterville is rated among the top five courses in Ireland and the top 20 links courses in the world. The course was a noted training venue for the British Open by four past champions and combines sand dunes, gorse and native grasses, firm fairways, sod-faced bunkers and subtle putting surfaces all intertwined by the ever-changing weather. Waterville Golf Links is located on the south west coast on the Ring of Kerry. The course remains open all year round, weather permitting.