Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club

Near the fairytale village of Kinsale is a new links built on the cliffs with 14 out of 18 ocean holes. In 1999 Links Magazine called it “the world’s most spectacular golf course”.  “Spectacular beyond belief” is how the site of Old Head GC has been described and the course is easily the most remarkable golf project in Europe in the last twenty years.  In fairness, it has 6 great holes, 6 average holes, and 6 others. Therefore, the course is better just than average but sitting on world class real estate. But what a setting!!!  Situated 45 minutes from Cork Airport, the course sits on a tiny peninsula, almost completely surrounded by water and alongside the old lighthouse and castle ruins.  The Erainn Celtic people worshipped this area, dating back before Christ, and built a castle on this magnificent jetty of land.  A camera is a must here and non-golfers would enjoy the walk too!  A magnificent new clubhouse was built, discreet on the outside but gorgeous on the inside, with the interior decorated in fossil antiques. On the cover of Links Magazine, some years ago, Old Head was described as the ‘most extraordinary golf course on earth.’   Remember to bring your camera!

Tralee Golf Club

Designed by Arnold Palmer, and situated on a beautiful corner of Kerry’s southwest coast, some of the greatest views in the world can been seen from the tough holes. The front nine is a little softer, but you better have your “A” game in place by the time you tee off on #10!  The back nine is a good and tough as it gets!  This 18 hole layout spans 160 acres on the Western side of “Barrowe’s Island” from Poulgorm on the North, to the Randy at Barrow Harbor on the south.  “I have never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course!” said Arnold Palmer, the architect. The clubhouse is among the most welcoming of all the west coast courses, and the members are very proud of their club!  By car, Tralee is about 40 minutes south of Ballybunion, or 45 minutes from Killarney, on a finger of land bravely jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, near the coastal hamlet of Barrow.  Premier Golf Rating: A

 

Ballybunion Old Course

This course is one of Ireland’s greats, a natural course of the highest class, with perhaps the finest natural dunes ever for a championship links.  Founded in 1896, Ballybunion GC Old Course is so beautiful that Tom Watson, a noted player and golf historian, once said "a man would think golf originated here on this seaside links course."  Ballybunion is ranked #17 in the world (2013 Golf Magazine.) You will never tire of playing this fine course, despite the wind playing havoc with your score.  The course starts with a downhill drive from the clubhouse, with a graveyard on the right hand side.  After this “grave” beginning, the course offers several challenging holes, tucked in between giant mounds of sandy dunes. Most consider the downhill par 4 11th as the best on the course, as it hugs the coastline. The famous 17th hole, a 385 yard par 4 off a high elevated tee, doglegs at the sea, and will also remain etched in your mind for years to come.  Don't forget your cameras!  Premier Golf Rating: A+

 

Lahinch Golf Club

Lahinch features a couple of blind holes, and true classic links flavor. Golf Magazine rates it #40 in the world. Lahinch Golf Club was laid out in 1892 by Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews fame, and in the early 30's, Dr. Alistair MacKenzie redesigned some holes, making it one of the best links courses in Ireland.  Some even call Lahinch "The St. Andrews of Ireland," but that may be selling the course short, as far as difficulty goes.  It is in the scenic area of western Ireland, complete with ruins, cliffs, blind tee shots and yes, plenty of wind! The course is 6735 yards and par 73 from the championship tees (par 72 - 6276 yards from normal tees), and features breathtaking views from the 9th and 13th holes.  The famous par 5 fifth, and par 3 sixth (“The Dell”), both feature blind shots over a huge mound of sand.  Lahinch is famous for some legendary weather forecasters: some goats huddle around the clubhouse when storms approach.  Be sure to enjoy lunch in the clubhouse after your round, perhaps with a shot of Irish whisky to warm you up, as you look out over the beautiful fairways! Premier Golf Rating: A

 

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