Calling all Golfers – Kerry courses await!
We have had four weeks with NO RAIN in Ireland. This must be a record. Anyway regardless of whether you are a seasoned or fair weather golfer I am very happy to recommend the Kingdom of Kerry for a ‘golf blitz’. There are so many golf courses to choose from in this part of Ireland. Killarney is probably the most central location and where else to stay other than Killeen House on its outskirts. This compact Country House is definitely a ‘mecca’ for golfers; you would be hard pressed to find some golfing memorabilia not already there.
The Killarney Golf & Fishing Club would be a good start for your golfing blitz as there are two excellent parkland courses: The Killeen Course, their signature course is a Par 72 and 7,252 yards long: There is also the very attractive Mahony’s Point which is 6,780 yards long and a Par 72. Not too many people are aware that they also have a nine hole course, more suitable for beginners. In other words no need to be intimidated!
Beaufort Golf Club is only a stone’s throw from Killarney and another picturesque parkland course for keen golfers. The eighteenth hole (par 5) will certainly test your mettle and gets several mentions in various golf magazines.
Now we come to my favourite in Kerry which is Dooks Golf Club which is one of the county’s oldest links courses. It can only be described as scenically stunning with its abundance of gorse and wild flowers. The word ‘dook’ comes from the Irish ‘douagh’ and means dunes. There are several very memorable holes on the course and a hint would be not to put your ball in the gorse as it is impossible to play out of that thorny stuff!
Slightly further afield (50 minutes from Killeen House) is Tralee Golf course. This links course is outstanding for its scenery and can be a tough course to play when there is a south west gale blowing! My own favourites are the 16th and 17th holes which are adjacent to fabulous beaches. If you are playing badly you might be tempted to abandon the golf and head down for a quick swim to restore your equilibrium (just joking)!
My final recommendation has to be the famous (or infamous) Waterville Links golf course. It is over an hour’s drive from Killarney but you cannot talk about golf in Kerry without mentioning this jewel in their crown. The byline for Waterville is Where Champions Thread and Golfers Embrace Perfection. It holds the No. 1 ranking for links golf courses in southern Ireland so enough said. A historic course dating back to the 1880’s there is no doubt about its lure for the golfing fraternity. Most of the great professionals from across the globe have graced this course with their presence. From the first hole nicknamed Last Easy to the iconic 11th hole, nicknamed Tranquil, a round here will definitely feature in your memory for many a year.
Just remember when you return to Kileen House after your game of golf not to exaggerate too much about your prowess on the course as most of the golfers who stay there are seasoned veterans!
P.S. Mea culpa!! I should have included the most wonderful fabulous links course of Ballybunnion. It is about 70 minutes drive from Killeen House Hotel in Killarney. Here there are two very difficult links courses; the Old Course (Par 71), which dates back to 1893 and the newer Cashen Course (Par 72) which dates back to 1984. My excuse (and it is a good one) is that I was going to play (the Old Course) but when I arrived I was told that the Marshall watches everybody teeing off on the first hole to ensure that they can keep up with the group ahead. I am afraid that I chickened out and left the other three to play whilst I went off touring. So going on second hand information the best description I received was that it was ‘challenging’ and that came from all three other players. They really enjoyed it, however. One tip here is if you are playing during the summer be sure and put on lots of sun block as the wind is a big factor. This is a BIG course and not for the faint hearted but my team were just delighted to have been there. It is one of those courses to tick off that bucket list – still on mine!