A remarkable feature of Kerry golf is the sheer range of diversity of different courses, there really is something for all tastes. The windswept link in Ballybunion typically tops course rankings (www.top100golfcourses.com placed it first in Ireland!) the Arnold Palmer designed Tralee golf course has undergone a renaissance of late, and the 18-hole Killeen course in Killarney retains all its charms – with fescue fairways trimming the shores of Lough Leane and the majestic McGillicuddy Reeks as a backdrop, Killeen is not to be missed.
Relative newcomer is the Robert Trent Jones jr. designed Hogs Head course in Waterville, South Kerry. The new designer fully revamped the original Skellig Bay Course (which closed in 2006) and the result is a course that fully exploits the rugged natural environment.
Visually spectacular, golfers traverse through windswept dunes, mountain vistas and heather adorned embankments. Golf veterans should love the classic “biarritiz” green on the 6th, where a large depression (or swale) has been hollowed into the centre to add extra difficulty.
The 13th is called “Kathleen’s Choice”, and it gives players a choice between comparable greens, both with their own unique mountain vista. Perhaps the course’s most striking feature is the choppy river Finglas, which can be seen gushing through the fairways and the beautifully curved stone bridge on the 3rd brings its own unique charm.
It is also worth noting that the diversity of golf experiences in Kerry, the fantastic range of different styles and types of courses, is something the owners of Hogs Head, Bryan Marsal and Tony Alvarez, New York based management consultants, appear to embrace. Marsal doesn’t view Hogs Head as a one off destination for golf tourists, but rather one destination on a golfing trail that spans the entire county: “(after) playing two rounds at Hogs Head and one to two rounds at Waterville, then they could go play Ballybunion, Dooks or Tralee, or maybe the Old Head” the American management consultant told the Irish Independent.
Whether this is feasible or not, will perhaps depend on time constraints and budget, but, if you visiting Kerry for golf, it is advisable that you try and sample some of the diversity of golfing experience on offer.
Any golf enthusiast should certainly visit Ballybunion, one of the finest, if not thee finest, links courses in Ireland, with rolling fescue-turfed fairways, windswept dunes and beautiful sea vistas. Tralee, Killarney or Dooks could well be next on the list, courses that exploit the rugged scenery to fantastic effect. However, if you have an opportunity to try something new and different, then this fresh, new and risky Hogs Head golf course may be just the thing. Remember, in the words of ww.top100golfcourses.com, a reasonably reputable and unbiased course ranking website, “golfers are spoilt for choice in Kerry”.
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