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Our selected golf courses in County Kerry:
Killarney - Ballybunion - Waterville - Dooks - Doonbeg - Tralee - Lahinch

Killarney Golf & Fishing Club – three courses

A beautiful setting along the shores of Lough Leane. As Henry Longhurst put it: “Only a man devoid of soul could not rapture in the splendour and tranquility of Killarney Golf Course”.

Killarney - Killeen golf course Killarney - Killeen  Architects: E. Hackett & W. O'Sullivan (1971)  18 holes: 6,474m: par 72

A recently remodelled course (it was closed for most of 2005/6), Killarney's Killeen course is now enjoying a renewed flush of popularity.  The course winds its way around Lough Leane and is a joy to walk for the scenery alone.  The course itself is a strong parkland test with good bunkering and Greens that are fast yet receptive.

Killarney - Mahony’s Point golf course Killarney - Mahony’s Point  Architect: Sir. G. Campbell (1891)  18 holes: 6,164m: par 72.

The original Killarney test and many people's favourite - although the debate rages the full length of Killarney every night...  Mahony's Point is the shortest of the three Killarney courses, but demands thoughtful play to attack the well guarded Greens.  The course builds to a climax with the three closing holes alongside the lough lingering in the memory - particularly the par three 18th with its Green jutting into the water.

Killarney - Lackabane golf course Killarney - Lackabane  Architect: D. Steele.  18 holes: 6,410m: par 72.

A more recent addition to the Killarney threesome; Lackabane sits over the road from the Clubhouse and so away from the Lough.  The course has been well designed on a tricky patch of land, agricultural warehouses protrude into the layout from the roadside, but whilst paying they seem to slide out of view.
A good place to warm-up for your Killarmey golf - albeit on a course that hosted the Ladies Open!

Waterville Golf Club Waterville  Architects: A. Mulcahy & E. Hackett (1889)  18 holes: 7,225yds: par 72.

The scenery en-route gives you some idea of the treat in store. About as far West in Ireland/Europe as you can travel, but the trip is more than worth it to tee it up on this magnificent natural links.  Undoubtedly one of the world’s great courses.  A favourite of the late, great, gentleman Payne Stewart.

Skellig Bay Golf Club Skellig Bay   Architect: R. Kirby (2006)  18 holes: yds: par 72.

Rather under the RADAR, Ron Kirby (of Old Head notoriety), has crafted a second golfing masterpiece on the opposite side of Waterville to the links.  Overlooking Ballinskellig Bay, the course opened in 2006 and is a very different golfing test to the Old Course.  The front nine plays inland through pure Kerry countryside, complete with areas of bogland, dry stone walls, cairns for sightlines and the meandering river Fionglassa in play.  The back nine is on higher ground with exceptional views of the entire crescent of Ballinskellig Bay and Waterville.  There are some unique hazards on this nine: stone "bunkers" a modern twist, protected Ogham Stones and a Fairy Fort (both of the latter at least 2,500 years old).  Built using only local materials it sits very naturally into the landscape.  Big hitters will relish the width of some Fairways - play now before more bunkers are delivered...  Clubhouse currently a very simple affair, sure to develop over the coming years.

Ballybunion Old golf course Ballybunion – Old  Architects: L. Hewson & J. McKenna (1893)   18 holes: 6,593yds: par 71.

A pure links course, constantly in the World Top Ten and rated by Tom Watson as “the best in the world”: what more could we possibly add?

N.B.  Day ticket (Old + Cashen) is very good value, if you have the courage and the strength!

Ballybunion Cashen course Ballybunion – Cashen  Architect: R. Trent Jones Snr. (1971)  18 holes: 6,306yds: par 72.

The "other" course at Ballybunion, which many agree is the tougher of the two with its snaking fairways and hidden Greens.  Somewhat overshadowed by the praise that has been ladled upon the Old Course; 'tis a shame to come to Ballybunion and not experience the delights of both courses.

Doonbeg golf courseDoonbeg  Architects: G. Norman (2003)  18 holes: 7,225yds: par 72.

Greg Norman's first opus in Europe - and what a start.  Admittedly he had almost the perfect tract of land to play with, but he has added a lot and subtracted nothing from the original wild beauty of this stretch of bracing coastline.

Tralee Golf ClubTralee  Architect: A. Palmer (1995)  18 holes: 6,877yds: par 71.

The huge dunes of the back nine catch your eye as you head down the first, but don’t be distracted as you will need all your skill to make it through the front nine to the turn...

Dooks Golf ClubDooks  Architect: The Members (1889) & M. Hawtree (2002)  18 holes: 6,586yds: par 71.

It seems that the holes at Dooks have been selected rather than designed with greens and fairways falling naturally amongst the humps and hollows of the medium-sized rolling dunes. One of the world's finest settings for golf, against the backdrop of Dingle Bay and the Slieve Mish mountains; Dooks should not be overlooked if you are golfing in this part of the Emerald Isle.  The lovely old Clubhouse has now been replaced by a more modern design, yet is still as warm and friendly as ever.

Ring of Kerry golf courseRing of Kerry  Architect: E. Hackett (1998)  18 holes: 6,923yds: par 72.

A parkland course in another wonderful setting, made all the more enjoyable by oftentimes looking down on the surrounding landscape. Quite a hilly course so a buggy worth considering.  If you have heard stories about the unplayable contours on the Greens, rest assured that these were dug up and re-laid in 2001 (frankly, they needed it!).  Ring of Kerry is now a very proper golf course.

Beaufort   Architect: Dr. A. Spring.   18 holes: 6,587m: par 71

Encircled by MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the pretty Beaufort course enjoys a setting that is pure Kerry.

Killorglin Golf Club

Architect: .
18 holes:
A no-nonsense parkland course that offers well cared for, inexpensive golf and some good views from the elevated Clubhouse of the hills around.
A friendly Club, with very reasonable Green-fees, where you will be warmly welcomed and meet a lot of truly local golfers.

Other courses to consider:

Dingle. Architects: E. Hackett & C. O’Connor Jnr. 18 holes: 6,690yds: par 72.
On the tip of the Dingle peninsula, Dingle is a savage beauty. Here you feel locked in a battle with Nature itself as you tread the pure links turf between the mountains and the sea.

Shannon G.C. – Very handy if you are flying from Shannon airport.

Adare Manor – Close to Limerick, where there is also excellent accommodation in apartments and the Castle itself.

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Guest Comments

"9/10 Lahinch - Excellent Links.
7/10 Connemara - New and a bit wide.
8/10 Doonbeg - Good but too manicured for traditional Links.
8/10 Dromoland - Very nice course, especially the back nine.
10/10 Ballybunion Old - Best links along with Royal County Down: fair and spectacular.
6/10 Ballybunion Cashen - Very good, only spoilt by Trent Jones holes"
Mr. P. Walker - Northants.


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