If coming from Dublin airport, Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, makes a perfect first stop on your south Ireland golf adventure. With its distinctive black and white striped lighthouse overlooking the course that is perched on a diamond-shaped headland sitting two miles into the Atlantic Ocean, with steep dramatic cliffs on all sides, the Old Head Golf Links occupies one of the most dramatic settings in all of golf.
The setting on which to build one of the world’s most recognized and highly rated courses was the brainchild of John and Patrick O’Connor, who purchased the land in 1989 and set about assembling a world-class team to bring their vision to life.
Opened in 1997, it is a true collaboration of a talented design team and to the club’s credit, they are all recognized for their efforts in doing justice to this ancient land. The group included Ron Kirby, who was a Jack Nicklaus design associate; Joe Carr, Ireland’s favorite son and storied amateur golfer; Eddie Hackett, a former pro and passionate golf course architect from down under, Paddy Merrigan, an Australian golf architect; and Liam Higgins, a southwest Ireland golf legend as Waterville’s first and only golf professional and successful Senior Golf Tour professional.
Built in the modern era, but designed as a walking course, the Old Head links course features a memorable collection of five par 5s, five par 3s and eight par 4s – nine holes play along the cliffs and all feature views of the sea.
While the neighboring town of Kinsale is a charming seaport and recognized as “the gourmet capital of Ireland” the five-star dining, spa and suite accommodations on property at Old Head rival the best food and lodging in Ireland. Be sure and have a pint of Guinness in the Lusitania Bar, named after the passenger steamship, that was infamously sunk off the head by a German U-boat in 1915. The bar also features artifacts from that fateful event whose loss of over 1,900 souls led to the United States’ entry into The Great War.
With an active membership hailing from both Europe and the United States and events for those members throughout the summer, those limited visitor tee times tend to be booked well in advance. And once they are all reserved the diary is closed to visitors, unlike the Old Course at St Andrews that holds out most times for a daily ballot. If the Old Head golf course is on your bucket list, it is suggested to plan your visit at least a year or more in advance not to be disappointed.
Play Old Head Golf Links as part of a South West Ireland golf tour. Include Ballybunion, Waterville, Lahinch and Tralee, on a golf package filled with the best coastline golf courses that South West Ireland has to offer.
6 nights accommodation and 5 rounds of golf
Prices starting from $4,100