Old Head of Kinsale

Old Head of Kinsale

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Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club

Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

The Old Head of Kinsale is easily in the most unique location of any golf course on the NCG Top 100 Great Britain & Ireland list. This is simply down to the fact that the course is surrounded by the sea, sitting as much as two miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

It is located at the very southern tip of the Republic of Ireland, with the aerial view of the golf course, and the surrounding ocean, being one of the most used pictures in golf.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, good scoring at the Old Head Golf Links depends on the direction and ferocity of the wind. If its a still day, then scores are there to be had, but good luck if that wind gets up!

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A Brief History of Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club

Old Head dates back some 350 million years ago, with the sandstone rock being formed around that time in the earth's history. The Lusitania passenger liner was sank just off the coast of the Old Head in 1915, with more than 1,000 people losing their lives. 

In 1989, John and Patrick O'Connor bought the 220 acres of land on the Old Head with the aim of creating a world-class golfing establishment. They certainly managed that!

The pair commissioned Ron Kirby, a world-renowned golf course architect, and former Ryder Cup player Paddy Merrigan, to design the course. The course opened in 1997, eight years after the O'Connors had acquired the land.

The course has only been around for a quarter of a century, but it has quickly become one of the most well-known courses not only in Ireland, but in the world. It is surely a bucket-list golf course for the majority of golfers to play at some point in their lives. 

Old Head of Kinsale Golf Club Review | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

The Front Nine

The Old Head Golf Links has a range of teeing options to suit ability and handicap, with only the very best (or the biggest idiots), taking on the course from the Championship tees at more than 7,100 yards. 

You can gather your senses on the 1st, which is a gentle opener. The 2nd tee is where the thrills begin. It is advisable to hold on to your hat. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th are golf holes without comparison. They hug the Atlantic, and with a breeze off the sea on the day we played, they are not for the faint-hearted.
'Trust the wind,' our caddie preached. Easy to say but harder to do as shot after shot started life over miles of ocean. These holes don't just offer spectacular views – they give you choices, angles to negotiate and interesting green complexes. Old Head has arrived in your memory and these holes will stay there.
When you get to the 7th tee, the sea is back, this time to your right. From here you can fully appreciate the uncommon sliver of land that links Old Head to the mainland. The 8th and 9th take you across the centre of the promontory, a gentle par-5 offering you a scoring chance which is immediately snatched back with a tough par-4 to finish the front half. 

The Back Nine

The 10th is another reachable par-5 that sweeps left to right off the tee, and requires a second shot to clear a wasteland shy of the green, while the 11th offers a taster of the thrills to come as you send a mid-iron across a pit with the ocean to your left.
12 is a par-5 like no other. The tee sits atop the highest cliffs and provides you with a view that begs you to take on an impossible carry. Under strict instructions you aim further right than is plausible and blast out into an expansive fairway, leaving you a view into a green site perched like a crow's nest on the most extreme point of the course. If you were constructing a golf hole on a computer game, you may well end up with this one. It is immense, bonkers and beautiful, and indeed is the signature, some might say.

The 13th is brand new, and you would have to say a triumph. It asks you to hit a short iron to a green buried into the cliff side. It is short on yards, long on charm and anywhere else would be the stand-out hole. Old Head is nowhere near done with you yet though.
Perhaps the architectural genius of the routing of Old Head is that it uses the land to the max. It blows your mind at the start, provides you with respite through the middle of the round and builds to a climax that is the rival of anything I have played. With that in mind the 14th eases you back down to the western edge and you are buckled in for a four-hole stretch that offers almost everything.
The 15th is a short 4, a shorter version of the 14th at Cruden Bay. Then comes the toughest of the 3s – at least in the south-easterly we played in – and Championship in stature. 17 is a monster of a par-5, and it's followed by one of the very best finishing holes. All four are played along the cliff edge, three with the ocean to the right, before turning back to the clubhouse for the monumental last.

What is the closest airport to Old Head Golf Links?

The closest airport to Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, is Cork Airport (ORK). Cork Airport is approximately a 20-30 minute drive from the golf course, making it the most convenient option for travelers visiting Old Head Golf Links.

What are the Old Head of Kinsale green fees?

The Old Head Kinsale Golf Club website does not currently have listed green fees, however non-members wishing to play can inquire about booking a tee time using the number +353 (0) 21 4778 444 or by using the inquiry/contact form on their website.

Visit the Old Head of Kinsale website here.
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