Old Head Golf Links
near Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
Deluxe Golf in a Remarkable Setting.
"This is such a special place for the Irish and such a
special place to build a golf course, I dont know if there will ever [again] be
anything like it."
Course developer John
"Old Head is far from cheap to play and the American market
is obviously their intended catchment area, which is something of a shame. The Americans
love the spectacular and they love the history. At Kinsale they can get both."
Golf writer Peter Masters in
"The Most Spectacular Golf Course in the World"
in Golf Leisure & Lifestyle, Volume 1 2000
Hole 1, Old Head Golf Links. Photo © B.
Ireland is awash in
Americans with clubs. Time was when American visitors to Ireland carried shillelaghs
instead of 5 irons. But in recent years Ireland has become at least as popular as Scotland
with Americans looking for great golf courses, great golf companions, and great golf
history, if not great golf weather. Ireland didnt fail to notice. The Americans have
been lured by the (relatively) inexpensive, historic, authentic linkses that surround the
island, places like Ballybunion, Lahinch,
Royal Portrush, and Portmarnock, places with names at once as
familiar and magical to Yankee golfers as Muirfield, Merion, and Medinah. The American
golf invasion of Ireland has brought standing-room-only conditions to many of the
legendary Irish courses, and created a demand for new links (and inland) courses that
cater (and Cater) to American golfing taste. Thus a rash of new, American-flavored golf
clubsmost but not all Triple-X: exclusive, expensive, and excellent. Include Doonbeg, the K-Club, Fota
Island, and, most spectacularly, Old Head Golf Links.
Looking for spectacular Irish scenery,
challenging golf, and friendly environs that offer great food, hospitality, touring and
accommodations? Willing to pay over $300/person for the experience? Even before the
helicopter ride? Read on!
Old Head Golf Links
Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: (+353) (0)21 477 8444
Fax: (+353) (0)21 477 8022
Open & Playable mid-April through October.
LENGTH & PAR: 18 Holes, Par 72
Black (Championship) Tees: 7212 yards
Blue Tees: 6866 yards
White Tees: 6476 yards
Yellow Tees: 5708 yards
Red Tees: 5132 yards
Golf Cart Rental: 60
Carts must be reserved in advance.
Carts must stay on designated cart paths at all times.
Pull Carts: not available for hire.
Club Rental: 40/round
Caddie Hire: 30/50 per bag. Caddies must be reserved
Fore Caddie Hire: 25/bag.
Food & Beverage: The de Courcey dining room at Old Head
is a five-star restaurant.
Reservations are welcome. Breakfast and lunch are also served in
our full-service Lusitania Bar.
A beverage cart is available for refreshments on the golf course.
"Heli-Golf" Jetranger helicopter service is
available subject to pre-booking.
Golfers fly to Irelands great links courses, cutting the
significant time of road travel,
and permitting spectacular aerial views of Irelands
Pick-up at the airport of arrival (Shannon, Dublin, or Cork, for
in Ireland can be arranged for a transfer to
anywhere in the country.
GREENS FEES (2006):
Per Round (18 holes): 275 per person
Per Day (36 holes maximum): 450 per person
Visitors Welcome: advance tee times required
SPECIAL RULES & REQUIREMENTS:
Maximum Handicap Men: 24
Maximum Handicap Women: 36
Maximum time permitted to play 18 holes is 4 hours, 15
Tee-time intervals are every 15 minutes.
Soft spikes only are required.
Singles and couples will be obliged to team up with other
golfers to make a foursome.
Mobile/cell phones are not permitted on the golf course.
Non-golfers are not encouraged to accompany golfers on the
Children are not permitted in the Clubhouse or on the golf
course at any time.
Dress Code: denim, collarless/sleeveless shirts and sneakers
are strictly prohibited at Old Head.
BOOKING OF TEE TIMES (required in advance):
Reservations of Tee Times: Tel: (+353) (0)21 477 8444 ext. 201 &
or e-mail: email@example.com
All players' names, official golf handicaps and home clubs must be disclosed.
Include: names, e-mail address, telephone, fax, number of players, preferred tee
time date and time.
Full payment by Credit Card is required at time of booking.
Tee-times are not confirmed until full payment is received.
Confirmation numbers will be issued for each reservation made. Please quote this
number as a reference in any correspondence to us regarding a particular reservation.
Made 30 days or more in advance of date of play: 50% of the
pre-paid green fee is refundable or transferable to another date in the same year.
Made less than 30 days in advance of date of play: non-refundable and
All cancellations/changes must be confirmed to Old Head Golf Links in writing, i.e.
fax or e-mail.
No Shows: failure to keep an appointed tee-time without the
appropriate written notice (see above) will result in full forfeiture of pre-payment.
Course Closure: Weather tends to close the
course at least one day a month, so its best to call ahead to check the conditions.
In the event of course closure, where the management deems the course unplayable, an
alternative date will be offered (based on availability) or payment will be refunded in
LOCATION: Old Head Golf
Links is set on a promontory, The Old Head of Kinsale, that juts into the Atlantic Ocean
south of the town of Kinsale, Country Cork, Ireland.
Hole 12, Old Head Golf Links. Photo © B.
From Cork city or Cork Airport to Kinsale: From the city center,
follow the signs for the Airport (south of the city). From the Airport follow the sign for
From Kinsale to Old Head Golf Links: Drive out of Kinsale
following the signs for Bandon/Garrettstown until you come to the bridge. Cross the bridge
following the road around to the right (Old Head is sign posted from here). Exactly 2
miles after the bridge, turn left at the junction. Follow this road for another 3½ miles
until you reach the Speckled Door Pub. Head straight on for 1 mile. This will bring you to
the gates of Old Head Golf Links.
NEAREST HOME AT FIRST LODGINGS:
in Kinsale, approximately 15 minutes from Old
Head G. L.
near Cork City on Great Island, approximately
40 minutes from Old Head Golf Links.
See: HOME AT FIRST in SOUTHERN IRELAND
Old Head Golf Links opened for play in June,
1997. In a remarkably short time Old Head has become one of the most talked-about courses
in the world. Frequently mentioned among the most spectacular golf courses in the world,
it is the expressed goal of the management at Old Head to have Old Head ranked the
worlds number 1 golf course.
Hole 17, Old Head Golf Links. Photo © B.
Old Head was designed by a team
that included Dr. Joe Carr, Paddy Merrigan, Ron Kirby, the late Eddie Hackett, Liam
Higgins and Haulie OShea. Dr. Carr prefers the location of Old Head to the settings
of the legendary California linkses at Cypress Point and Pebble Beach. "Old
Head," he raves, "has the potential of being the eighth wonder of the world, in
Old Heads clubhouse lies by the 18th
green with stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the 150-year-old landmark Old Head
lighthouse on the tip of a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the
Atlantic. Beneath this sandstone promontory are 5 caves that have tunneled completely
under the peninsula. Most of the former farmland has been converted into the links and
practice area. The remaining 40 acres are steep, undeveloped cliffs that rise to 300 feet
above the Atlantic, within sight of frolicking dolphins and breaching whales. Fourteen
miles further out lies the hulk of the liner Lusitania, torpedoed by a U-boat in 1915 at
the cost of 1,200 lives.
THE COURSE & SOME NOTABLE HOLES:
Comprising of five par 5s, five par
3s and eight par 4s, Old Head extends over 7,200 yards from the championship
tees. Each hole has multiple tees, accommodating a variety of skill levels and providing a
stern test to the touring pro and high handicapper alike. Nine holes follow the cliff
tops, and all 18 holes offer stunning ocean views as well as potential exposure to strong
sea breezes, salt spray, and horizontal rain. The weather limits Old Head Golf Links to
operations only from mid-April to the end of October.
Although every hole provides a different
dramatic view, some are more memorable than others:
The par-3 3rd hole edges the cliffs and
threatens watery perdition to balls hit left of the green.
The signature 4th hole (427 yards, par 4) is designed
with the Old Head lighthouse as the fairway target.
Similarly, a 200-year-old signal tower guides the way to the green of the
par-5, 495-yard 6th hole.
Radical sloping of the 12th fairway toward the cliffs
along the left edge challenges your tee shot on this difficult (564-yard) par-5.
The 258-yard 13th is the longest par-3 on Old Head,
made even longer when the wind is blowing against an approach shot to its elevated green.
Toughest hole on the course is number 14, a 452-yard par-4 that
can play like a 5.
The tight green placement of the last par-3, the 195-yard 16th,
reminds you that the weather isnt the only challenge on Old Head.
But on the 17th any headwind will remind you that
weather is the greatest concern here. (Winds nearing 160mph were recorded at the
lighthouse one stormy December in the 90s.) Its 632 yards can seem endless when sea
winds knock down even your longest hits.
Finishing in style, Old Heads 18th (460 yards, par 4)
asks black tee drivers to fly it the length of two football fields over a rocky shoreline
to reach A-position.
Amateur players and professional golf reviewers consistently rave about the
scenery at Old Head Golf Links. Many think the coursestill being tweaked during
the off-monthsdeserves a much-higher ranking that the current
55th in the world Golf Web has bestowed on
Old Head. (Cypress Point and Pebble Beach remain #s 2 & 3, respectively, and 5
other Irish courses are more highly ranked.) Unchallengingif difficult to
reachgreens, and disappointing fairway turf (rocky with topsoil fill rather than
soft, forgiving, well-draining sand-based true links turf) have been cited as design flaws
at Old Head. Still, the new course gets top marks for caddie service, restaurant quality,
and hospitality to guests. So, lets make that number 55 with a bullet. Hole 4, Old Head Golf Links. Photo ©
The nearby harbor town of Kinsale
is about 7 miles north of Old Head. Few model tourist towns in Ireland are more colorful,
offer more restaurants and high quality shops, or provide better access to an
international airport as well as to top golf. CorkIrelands 3rd
largest cityis 30 minutes further north. Its historic harbor town, Cobh
(formerly Queenstown), is worth a visit if only because of its associations with
Irish emigration to America and two great maritime disasters: Titanic (1912) and Lusitania
(1915). Theres more fine golf in Cork County, too. Within 40 minutes is Fota Island Golf Club, another important Irish club of recent
construction, as well as clubs in Kinsale, Cork, Cobh, Mallow, Mitchelstown, Macroom,
Monkstown, and Youghal. Southern County Cork is a fine base for exploring the many
fascinating coastal villages of the region, from Waterford in the east to Bantry in the
west. Also within reach are several impressive castles a few minutes inland in the county,
best known of which is Blarney Castle home of the Blarney Stone tourist mecca.
More information about travel with HOME AT FIRST to SOUTHERN IRELAND.
More information about GOLF IN IRELAND.