Founded in 1889, Waterville Golf Club was one of the first clubs to join the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI). In 1891, the GUI became the first golf union established in the world and Waterville and its members have played an important role in the development of golf in Ireland ever since.
The course has a spectacular setting framed by Ballinskellings Bay and sits in the shadow of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland.
The original 9-hole course was part of the Waterville Athletic Club that serviced the men and women who worked on the first overseas cable that stretched from Ireland to the United States. The cable company left the area in the 1950s and it wasn’t until an American John “Jack” Mulcahy in the 1960s that the Waterville golf links we know today came into existence.
It was Mulcahy’s goal to build the best course in the world. Not totally over the flats where the existing course was routed, but rather reroute and reconfigure that original nine into a spectacular opening for the new layout that would weave in amongst some of the most dramatic dunes in Irish golf. He enlisted the enthusiastic support of Ireland’s own golf architect, Eddie Hackett and fellow American Claude Harmon to craft his vision to perfection. Completing the team to attract and maintain a strong national and international membership he installed the popular long hitting Irishman Liam Higgins as his head pro, who is still there.
Completed in the modern era opening in 1973, the course can be stretched to over 7,300 yards from the tips and players should heed what is to follow with the first hole aptly named “Last Easy.” Other notable holes include the 17th “Mulcahy’s Peak” whose tee is the highest point of the course and offers breathtaking panoramic views.
The famous 12th hole called “Mass” pays homage to the Catholic worshippers that used the neighboring depression to practice their religion and escape persecution. Originally, that historic depression was intended to be part of the hole’s design, but it was decided by Hackett not to incorporate the sacred ground.
While Waterville is perhaps the most famous, and certainly the highest-rated Killarney golf course, there are several other standouts in the Ring of Kerry golf family. Including the Ring of Kerry Golf Course and the two championship courses; Kileen and Mahoney’s Point at the Killarney Golf & Fish Club.
Waterville Golf Club, a must-play on every southwest Ireland golf itinerary, is a private club and enjoys a very active local, country and overseas membership. They are very proud of their magnificent links and therefore allow limited visitor play so others may experience it in person.
However, as is the case with many of the highly rated courses their visitor diary fills quickly and it is suggested to plan well in advance, a year or more, prior to your scheduled visit to not be disappointed.
Play Waterville as part of a South West Ireland golf tour. Include Tralee, Ballybunion, Old Head and Lahinch, 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