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Old Head of Kinsale

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Founded: 1997
Designer: J. Carr, R. Kirby, E. Hackett, P. Merrigan
Championship Length: 7,121 yards
PAR: 72
Type: Links

Designed by a combination of Ireland’s golfing heroes and design experts, the Old Head Golf Links is quite simply one of the most remarkable developments ever conceived in the history of golf; an Atlantic promontory that will never be rivaled in terms of drama and beauty. The course rises hundreds of feet above dramatic cliffs, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all sides and commanding the most spectacular views from almost every part.

The Old Head of Kinsale is an area rich in historical, archaeological and scientific interest. It is a national monument and an ancient royal site, fortified by a castle at the narrowest part of the promontory, with history traceable back to several centuries before Christ. Scenically awesome and rugged, it is the only place known by historians that can be directly linked with the Eireann Celtic tribe, from whom it is assumed that the country got its name (Eireann being a Gaelic term for Ireland). The Old Head has seen much change during its past and the golf links provides yet another chapter in the history of this remarkable place.

You may have walked the fairways of Augusta, manoeuvred around the cliffs of Pebble Beach or witnessed the history of the Old Course at St. Andrews but rest assured that you have never seen a golf course as overwhelmingly striking as the Old Head of Kinsale. The 220 acre site of five par 3′s, five par 5′s and eight par 4′s is configured as two returning loops of nine holes. Eight of the holes play directly along the cliff tops, providing an exhilarating test of golf and concentration. On a fine day, the Old Head can actually accommodate a fairly low return but the vagaries of the Atlantic winds ensure that the course offers a different challenge every day.

For a golf course of this magnitude, it is fitting to conclude with the thoughts of one of Ireland’s greatest golfing sons, 3 times British Amateur Champion and former captain of the Royal and Ancient, Joe Carr. Speaking about the course, he commented: “The Old Head will in my estimation rate with the great golf courses of the world. Its location, its scenic reality and spectacular terrain remind me of Cypress Point and Pebble Beach. I see Old Head as a golfer’s paradise and it has the potential of being the eighth wonder of the world, in golfing terms.” Strong words but accurate indeed.

Dooks (2 hrs, 30 min); Dromoland Castle (2 hrs, 45 min); Fota Island (1 hr, 10 min); Lahinch (3 hrs, 30 min); Tralee (2 hrs, 40 min); Waterville (3 hrs, 10 min)

Ballinacurra House (20 min); Friars Lodge (20 min); Hayfield Manor (1 hr, 10 min); Perryville House (20 min); Trident Hotel (20 min)

Situated approximately 25 minutes south of Kinsale Town. From Kinsale, follow the signs to Bandon and Garrettstown until you come to the bridge. Cross the bridge following the road to the right. The course is signposted from here.

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