The Magnificent South West.

Ireland Golf Tour.

Ireland Golf Tour is based in the mighty shores of Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Home of the most requested golf links in Ireland Ballybunion Old Course all thanks to its famous visitors including Five time Open Champion Mr. Tom Watson.

Old Head of Kinsale.

Nowhere has there ever been a course that was a must play course than the Old Head of Kinsale. Located just outside the fishing port of Kinsale Town this majestic course is situated 250 / 300 feet above the sea!

 

Views of at least 50 miles all round and a course to match the feeling of a state of awe comes to mind. With the Sun shining the wind at your back and the course in front of you then you are truly on the path to Heaven at the Old Head of Kinsale.

 

The images are just stunning, the course unforgettable, the people at Kinsale a delight, the food a must and you going there is without question.

 

Die hard golfers and beloved spouses can now enjoy the Clubhouse that includes 15 Luxurious Members' Suites which complement the magnificent beauty and setting of the site.

 

The ultimate in relaxation, the Old Head Spa offers a place to unwind and restore. The Thermal Spa includes a Sauna, Steam Room, Footbaths and a Heated Lounger.

Adare Manor.

The multi award winning Parkland course of Adare Manor set is 840 acre estate with famous Old Castle Hotel. Designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones USA this is indeed his finest work in Ireland! Personally I rate the Adare Manor in the top three Parkland courses in Ireland! From the opening hole at Adare Manor this is a good as it gets to the 9th hole par 4 as you play into the view of an Irish Castle warms you into the feeling of grandeur. Nothing prepares you for the back nine where the 12th,13th and 14th is my Amen corner the finest three holes personally I believe on this course.

 

With the river Maigue as recognized as one of Ireland’s best Trout rivers flowing through the course and the Adare Manor Castle estate what a setting for the twice National Irish Open Golf as won by Irishman Padraig Harrington in a dramatic shootout finish that captured the hearts of all golfers not only in Ireland but all over the world. The Par Five 18th hole ranks as one of the best ever designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr. Situated only 25 minutes drive from Shannon Airport and one hr drive from Ballybunion Adare manor is ideally located. The course measures 7,453 yards and uses 230 acres of lush Irish countryside. The course record of 64 was shot by Lee Westwood during the Irish Open 2008.


Ballybunion Cashen Course.

At the door steps to the World Famous Old Course at Ballybunion lies a hidden gem designed by Robert Trent Jones of the USA the “Ballybunion Cashen Course”.

 

With high Sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean Ballybunion Cashen course open’s the front nine with a brilliant Par Five.

 

The elevation changes of the 4th Tee box overlooking the mouth of the river Field that flows into the Cashen estuary only enhances the natural Hidden links of this course.

 

Two par Fives 8th & 9th couldn’t be more different with a par on the dogleg left 8th hole indeed very rewarding and the strait forward 9th opens a long drive to a birdie!

 

The back nine of Ballybunion Cashen unwinds to the last five holes on this course as the best value for money in the Irish South West.

 

The 15th hole par five into Shell Valley leaves one in wonder as the earliest settlers of Europe have been traced back to here.

 

The 16th Hole par 3 is awaiting the brave to take aim out of bounds to allow the prevailing wind to take to the awaiting green.

 

Easier said than done and many have tried and chicken out! But even them you not done the Ocean Par 5th 17th Hole draws out of any golfer the wonder of what could have been at Ballybunion and only a return to the links of Heaven of Ballybunion could only accommodate.

Ballybunion Old Course.

No finer links in Ireland that we have indeed called Ballybunion Old Course the Irish Home of Links Golf. The Old course is on the bucket list for golfers all over the world and a small amount of golfers about 9,000 a year get to grace the shores of Ballybunion each year. It is fair to say of every three / four golfers requesting a golf time one fails to make it and is disappointed! 90% of Golfers coming into Ireland start out with Ballybunion Old Course on the list of things to do and courses to play.

 

Early Booking is a must and if we based in Ballybunion can’t get you folks on the Old Course then it was never going to happen at all. The Old Course first tee box right beside the local burial grounds cemetery only adds pressure to hit the right first shot of the day.

 

The 3rd hole Par three was the last Hole in one by the late Payne Stewart. But the true critics of Links golf say Ballybunion comes alive from the 6th tee box home. Here lies the holes of wonder the 11th the greatest par four in links golf the world over with rolling dunes stepped fairways and the Atlantic ocean to add to the all in experience. If any designer was building the greatest 18 holes of golf in the world then sure enough Ballybunion 11th would be in the front nine! But then this back nine host two stunning par 3’s the 12th and the 15th holes more photos than birdies have been taken on these holes. But in our opinion the Par 5th 16th hole dog leg left is unknown to most golfers as you hit your second shot into the valley looking at the green ahead.

 

This valley was created when no machines, load loaders and dumpers were available. Just a team of men, Donkey’s and cars moved in three months with pride and passionate love for natural links of Ballybunion.


Dooks Golf Links.

Dooks Golf Links one of the oldest courses in Ireland has been a hidden gem for years. Often passed over for others when time was short but never again! R&A architect, Martin Hawtree was asked to have a look over the course and his suggestion were put into place in 2006 to the result of Dooks a former hidden gem getting a polished look in the face of Links golf in Ireland.

 

It is hard to describe having played and fell in love with the Dooks Golf links but when the changes were unveiled eagerness awaited to see the results. Each hole opened up new and exciting pathways over the links.

 

While I have to say I missed the Old 4th green the replacement added length to the hole and a different meaning of playing into the prevailing wind. The par three 5th hole will put manners on most golfers with the prevailing wind pushing the ball into the course. Many a good man hitting out of bounds for the wind to help matters only to get the dreaded strait shot! The 18th hole par four just when you may feel a little tired is not for the faint hearted as two of the best shots of your life is required here to help make par.

 

The green guarded all around by mounds with a very small entrance at the front leave one to wonder back over the course. So a Hidden gem Dooks Golf Club is no more but a diamond that has brightened to the every golfer level to take aim.

 

The scenery as located on the driving route of the Ring of Kerry leaves the surrounding areas of each golf hole with views of 50 miles around you to the warm Irish welcome at Dooks I always look forward to going back to play again.

Doonbeg Golf Links.

The course opened on July 9, 2002, as designed by Mr. Greg Norman mush to the delight of locals and International golfers alike. Personally speaking I think it has the best par five opening hole in links golf in Ireland to this very day ! The golf course itself is also controversial - visitors tend to either love of loathe Doonbeg. The ordinal owners of Kiawah Island resort who develop Doonbeg took pride in the par three 14th hole which I had to admit it took a long time for me to get use to a 85 yard par 3 that could take any club up to a five iron to make the green. In the down turn Doonbeg Golf Links was in trouble and we in the world of golf thought it may be lost but here stepped in Mr. Donal Trump took over the resort in 2014. Shortly afterwards a bad storm took some holes out of commission and the Atlantic Ocean with coastal erosion took its toll in the winter of 2014.

 

Thankfully word is coming through that Doonbeg is getting a back on track with work well underway to bring back Doonbeg to the highest level of golf in Ireland. This was the promise by Mr. Trump when he bought the place and this is one golf tour operator going to hold him to his word. Doonbeg is set in natural land of links golf and the finding of endangered spices of snail didn’t help the original designer but hopefully next visit I looking forward to the fairways of Heaven that Doonbeg Golf Links Promise of what will be! Located in the heart of Doonbeg golf links is a Five Star accommodation’s in which I just love the Court Yard suites. Located right beside everything you could just need included the first tee box one minute walk away what more can you ask for. Darby’s Bar and wonderful fresh local food overlooking the opening hole as you watch the players tee it up is what golf is all about. Spa treatments, and nothing is too much trouble at Doonbeg where a welcome fit for a Kings awaits your arrival.


Killarney - Killeen.

Golf in the South west of Ireland have mainly links golf course on the plan. However one might add this special course a Parkland golf course set in and around the Lakes of Killarney “The Killeen course.” The open hole with the lake to the right hand side brings judgement to how far to hit the opening shot to set up the approach. What looks near often finds a bath early in the day. The holes set in true mature grounds and natural beauty. Requires good striking for rewarding shots.

 

The 4th hole par 4 looks for a draw to avoid the water when the green set out so inviting over the lake invites the rewarding shot to be hit. Hole after hole this majestic course ask for different shots to be played. The 18th hole Par 4 371 meters. Great finishing hole, a par here is really a birdie. Members in the bar will be betting on how many putts you take so beware. In 1991 The Irish Open was held on Killeen with a clinical Nick Faldo emerging as winner over Colin Montgomerie with David Feherty setting a course record of 65 on the closing day.

 

Nick Faldo was one of only three players to finish below par. In 1992 huge attendances witnessed a dramatic finale with Nick Faldo emerging as winner in a heart stopping play-off with the relatively unknown South African, Wayne Westner.

 

In 1996 the Curtis Cup was played on Killeen with the ladies of Great Britain and Ireland beating the USA is a famous victory. In recent years, Killeen has played host to the 2010 and 2011 Irish Open, with England's Ross Fisher and Simon Dyson the respective winners of the tournament.

Killarney – Mahony’s Point.

Killarney Mahony’s Point course every level of golfer the chance to enjoy golf in Ireland at reasonable cost. Set is beautiful mature parkland course with the Lakes of Killarney and the Mountain’s overlooking say it all for a golf course setting. The third hole par four the hardest hole on the course. Good drive to right side of fairway helps matters to see an elevated green second shot the yardage can be help by a low running second shot. Personally the last four holes are my favourite in Killarney The 15th wind prevailing par four one could get home off the tee, The Par five 16th take the challenge to make the green in two with the lake in the back drop what a setting.

 

The Par four 17th hole looks easy but between the trees on the right and the lake on the left may not always be a driver off the tee. The last hole at Mahony’s is just world class par 3 with very few better setting in Ireland not mind Kerry. It’s a hole you want to play several time over and a par is indeed a good score. Well worth the visit on sheer beauty alone and the golf layout is best value of money spent in Ireland.

 

Tournaments

 

In 1975 the European Amateur Team Championship was held on Mahony's Point. Thousands of spectators watched the competition under fabulous sunshine as the Scottish ran out as eventual winners.

 

In 2005 The Ryder Cup Challenge Tour Event in 2005 won by Mark Warren of Scotland was held on Mahony’s Point.


Waterville Golf Links.

Waterville Golf Links enjoys the notability of a Famous links in Ireland such as the Ballybunion Old and Tralee and Lahinch all in this one majestic bracket. There is something magical about the place personally I love coming to Waterville. Waterville Golf Links was original designer the memorable Eddie Hackett masterpiece got a modern update by embarked on a new chapter when noted international golf architect, Tom Fazio, was commissioned to update the famous Links course.

 

Fazio has assisted many of the world's leading clubs including Winged Foot, Pine Valley and Augusta National. These changes included remodelling the outward half to enhance the sand dunes in keeping with the existing back nine. The old 6th hole was replaced with a stunning Par 3 that’s well guarded by bunkers and a water stream to the right.

 

The 7th holes has also been replaced with new terrific par-4, slightly doglegging to the right that requires a tee-shot played to a fairway framed by dunes but it is the approach to the green against the prevailing wind that’s special.

 

The last day I play this shot a solid four iron out of the screws, bottom draw stuff came up short much to my same disappointment today. What a course you can’t possibility miss. The 15th and 16th holes have also been remodelled to open the natural views of the course and the surrounding area. Least not forgetting the 16th hole, Par four (Liam's Ace).

 

The long hitting Pro at Waterville golf Links notable hole in one on a par four. Can it ever be done again? I don’t think so but they said that before Liam did it. Prior to the 1998 British Open, O'Meara, Stewart and Woods were joined by Appleby, Duval and Jansen, all of whom became members of Waterville.

 

Later that year at a ceremony during the now famous Ryder Cup in Brookline, Massachusetts, United States team member Payne Stewart accepted the Captaincy of Waterville – the last golf honour he would receive before his tragic death. Today, a life sized bronze statue pays tribute to his Captaincy and his special relationship with Waterville.

Tralee Golf Links.

Arnold Palmer-designed course at Barrow, Ardfert is non other than Tralee Golf Links located 7 miles from Tralee town itself is in the very same league at the Ballybunion Old, Lahinch and Waterville links courses. Often describe as a tail of two cities between the front and back nine holes. Even the legendry designer Mr. Palmer stated he designed the front nine and God designed the back nine. So let’s take a look at Tralee : Opening Par 4th classic into the prevailing sea breeze. The 2nd par five around the coastline till you meet the undaunting Par three 3rd hole then you better be awake at this stage. The Castle ruins could tell a tale of a late night’s out as the Atlantic comes crashing over the protective rocks while you ball try’s to find the green. The par four’s of the 5th and 7th can make humble be comings to any score card.

 

The back nine took a tale of wonders some small years ago with some unreal work done to several holes creating a little help to God work to say the least. The 10th lets you know where your going a dogleg left right good par four protected now by great mounds of sand dunes. The Par five 11th hole bring you to the height of the whole area over looking Banna strand but nothing compares to the 12th hardest hole at Tralee links. A bogey here 90% of the golfing days is very good for the likes of the Sundays golfers and Visitors alike and it will feel like a birdie. Then meet the 13th Hole over the valley to a shelf green you could reach out and drop the ball on the green but you can’t. A stiff test of nerves as a nine iron or better descends from the air and you hope you’re not short! The classic finishing holes of the par three 16th Hole leaves little to how this was created and nothing to compare at home either. The 17th part four to the elevated green as you look back to what might have been – and plan I do better next time…… A course not to be missed for any golfer wanting to experience Ireland. A little bit of History about the area of Tralee Golf Links The spectacular view of beach, which runs at the back of the 1st hole and to the right of 2nd hole was the location of the beach scenes of the 1970 epic movie Ryan’s Daughter, which won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The stretch of beach just north of the 15th tee box is the lonely part of Banna Strand on which Roger Casement was landed from a U-boat on Good Friday 1916. He was arrested a short distance away, tried for treason in London, and executed. The beach behind the 16th green and off the right of the 17th hole was where many ships ran aground, including one vessel from the Spanish Armada in 1588.


Lahinch Golf Links.

I have to put a personally that this course outside of Ballybunion old is my favourite course in the whole of Ireland. A classic true Irish links to test anybody’s game! There is something about this laid back links course that invites everybody’s game. There is a lot of History as listed below but it has its true designer’s engineering their very best of Links golf to create a natural charm of welcomes. I love the course right now as it is the most of all. The par three 8th hole created by Hawtree is stunning by any standards in replace of the old 3rd hole that was not in true fitting with a links although the locals love it when it came to match play as a lot of match’s ended there.

 

The Dell and Klondyke holes are a love / hate relationship with them but I think there brilliant to have stood the test of golf by Old Tom all these years! The back nine has also seen great strengthened in recent years. The Par five 12th hole along the sand dunes running along the shore line of the River Moy as you await your third shot into a tight green is just stunning to say the least. The 15th & 17th holes are formidable par-4's both a stiff test from the championship tees. A true championship links course five minutes away from the Cliff of Moher. Courses designers are ( 1894) Tom Morris, two of Morris’s creations were the famous Klondyke (4th) & Dell (5th) holes, these still remain today. (1927) Alister MacKenzie After Lahinch, MacKenzie went on to design among others; Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.

 

To this very day a large amount of people travel over the world to play the Alister MacKenzie golf trail courses. (1999) Martin Hawtree. In 1999 the famous British golf architect Martin Hawtree, who has re-designed several British Open links for the R&A, brilliantly modernised Lahinch creating an outstanding challenge – even in the modern era. He re-routed 4 holes and added 2 new par 3′s, the 166-yard 8th and the 170-yard 11th, both set deep in the impressive sand dunes. In all 16 tees were re-built and 14 greens completely re-shaped, restoring them to their original character conceived by MacKenzie. Hawtree wisely left the magical “Klondyke” and “Dell” holes alone. The improvements include the re-routing of holes towards the Atlantic Ocean and the amplification of trouble around the greens where bunkers, swales and mounding now make approach shots from any distance a challenge. The par 4 holes at Lahinch in particular are now generally regarded as the best in Ireland offering a wonderful challenge even to the strongest player. The finished Martin Hawtree “restored MacKenzie course” at Lahinch has received world-wide acclaim and is now consistently ranked among the world’s greatest links courses.

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