Over these 5 days you will play at the following courses:
Adjacent to the Ring of Kerry, Waterville Links is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland. Waterville is consistently rated one of the top five courses in Ireland and one of the top twenty links courses in the world. Many professionals, such as Tiger Woods, have visited Waterville to polish their skills prior to the British Open.
The combination of sand dunes, native grasses, firm fairways, sod faced bunkers and subtle putting surfaces at Waterville results in a perfect links course.
Every hole at Waterville Links is a masterpiece. Elevated tee boxes, which continue to rise as play progresses, allow players to see the flag in the distance, often tucked behind cascading dunes. The beginning holes are open over wide fairways, unlike the back nine, where dunes are larger and more prevalent.
"Waterville has to be one of the greatest golf courses ever built," said three-time British Open Champion Henry Cotton. "If it were located in Britain, it would undoubtedly be a venue for the British Open. I have never seen a more consistent succession of really strong and beautiful golf holes than here."
BALLYBUNION - OLD
Ballybunion is one of the most highly regarded courses on the southwest coast of Ireland, and for good reason. This particular stretch of coast is home to some of the largest, most formidable dunes seen on links land anywhere and provide a thrilling challenge. Golfers will want for nothing at this simple, yet magnificent links course.
The Old Course at Ballybunion is an unyielding test of skill and endurance. It wastes no space on weak holes and, instead, uses large dunes and ruthless bunkering to challenge ambitious golfers.
"If sheer pleasure is the yardstick, then Ballybunion's Old Course gets my vote as the No. 1 in the world," said famous English golf writer Peter Dobereiner. Golfers enjoy gloriously green hills, rolling sandhills, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic as they are pushed to their limits on the Old Course. 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.
In terms of scenery, Tralee Golf Club has it all: a rocky harbour, a castle ruin, beaches, and last but not least, a stunning golf course. The course is historically significant on many levels, as a vessel from the Spanish Armada sailed by the 17th hole in 1588, and the scenery of the first and second holes were featured in the beach scenes of the 1970 Academy Award Winning Film Ryan's Daughter. All the caddies at Tralee Golf Club are also members of the club, making for a relaxed and sociable atmosphere during your golf break. Although the course was built and designed by Arnold Palmer, the world-renown golfer and businessman claimed that he had some outside help, commenting: “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine." Tralee was the first European course to be designed by Palmer and is one of the most beautiful. While the view may be a peaceful one, playing the course most certainly is not. Holes become increasingly intimidating as golfers make their way towards the back nine, which are dominated by large dunes. Yet, as prodigiously daunting as it may seem, masters of the traditional bump-and-run method will be rewarded on this enjoyable links course.
KILLARNEY - MAHONY’S POINT
With 36 holes on offer, there’s no shortage of great golf at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club in this glorious enclave on the north shore of Lough Leane. The Killeen course – a long-time host of the Irish Open – might be the senior partner, but don’t overlook Mahony’s Point, which dates back to the late 1930’s. The course was designed by no less than Sir Guy Campbell – best known for his work at Rye, West Sussex and Machrihanish – in the late 1930s. The course was eventually split in the 1970s and extended in two directions to help create the new Killeen course but as the club itself says “many feared a great course would be lost, but instead two fine modern courses were born”. Always in immaculate condition and playing through serene parkland, Mahony’s Point is famed for its trio of closing holes that culminates in a remarkable 18th. Like Royal St David’s and Lindrick, the course rather unusually closes with a par-3, this one measuring no less than 180 yards and demanding a carry over water. As the course’s signature hole, it’s a fitting finale to a unhurried and tranquil round.
OLD HEAD OF KINSALE
A perennial favourite with Irish and international golfers alike, Old Head is surely laid out on one of the most dramatic landscapes in Ireland. Located on a narrow peninsula in Co Cork, Old Head is almost completely surrounded by water and thus has some of the most stunning vistas found on a golf course anywhere in the world. The course, which is set up on a daily basis, was designed by an impeccable team of golf professionals, including Australian course architect Paddy Merrigan, building contractor Haulie O'Shea, and former Irish golf professionals, the late Dr. Joe Carr and Eddie Hackett. The Old Head is designed as a walking course that encourages all visitors to walk the links with their Caddie. Stretching more than three kilometres into the ocean, the course is relatively new, but does not feel manufactured at all, instead feeling like it's woven seamlessly into the natural environment. Standing on the 2nd tee box, for example, golfers will meet the edge of a cliff that will undoubtedly cause every player’s jaw to drop. Even though inner holes lack the same excitement of holes that follow the cliff’s edge, fairways still moves gracefully between ancient runes, rocks and pampas grass.
Dooks Golf Club was founded in 1889 and is one of the oldest, most charming Links in Ireland. The charm, the atmosphere and the superb seaside setting of a truly traditional golf links makes Dooks a must-play for any fan of coastal golf. Originally a nine-hole course, the members themselves designed and built nine extra holes back in the late 1960s. More recently, Martin Hawtree has improved on that work, and the result is stunning. The links is set out on one of the three stretches of sand dunes at the head of Dingle bay. In the immediate foreground are the sand dune peninsulas of Rossbeigh and Inch and just a few miles away the whitewashed houses of Cromane fishing village provide an eye catching distraction.
Also in view are the famed McGillycuddy's Reeks. To the southwest are the lovely valleys and hills of Glenbeigh, and across the bay to the north are the Slieve Mish and Dingle Mountains. Dooks golf links provides a true experience with nature, which exists through the flora, birds, and other animals that inhabit its environment. The dune's beautiful wild flowers sprout into action in the spring and summer months, and skylarks are often seen and heard flying above the course. Perhaps the best animal sighting is the Natterjack Toad, a rare and preserved species that has become the emblem of Dooks Golf Club.
Accommodation: Killarney Plaza Hotel or similar