Old Head of Kinsale Review

Par 72, 7,159 yards, links

The course is built on a peninsula that sticks out two miles into the Atlantic Ocean and is, without argument, one of the most stunning links on the planet. It is simply breathtaking. It is also fairly exposed so when the wind blows it represents quite a challenge. At the end of the peninsula is a lighthouse that can be seen from every part of the course. Players are encouraged to walk and to hire a local caddie. Buggies are discouraged. 

The 1st hole is typical of the rest of this remarkable golf course, which comprises five par 5s, five par 3s and eight par 4s. It is a par 4, measuring more than 440 yards and requires a perfectly placed drive, avoiding bunkers on the left and right before an approach played to an elevated green - always take one more club than you think you need. 

The 3rd is a spectacular, 160-yard par 3 - pull your shot left and you will be reaching for another ball as it vanishes into the ocean hundreds of feet below the green. 

The 7th is another wonderful par 3, measuring 192 yards, with the ocean on the right - but go left or long and you will be left with a devilish recovery.   

The 10th is a 518-yard par 5, with a dogleg to the right. All the trouble is on the right and the center of the green is raised, making for a difficult approach.  

The 14th is a wonderful 452-yard par 4, with trouble on the right, three well-placed fairway bunkers and two further traps guarding the green.  

The 17th is a breathtaking 620-yard par 5 perched on the clifftop - slice your drive and you will be playing three off the tee. Go too far left with your second and you face a blind approach, with the water waiting again.  

And then there is the final hole, where you drive from the shadow of the lighthouse to a green that is 434 yards away - there is out of bounds on the right, thick rough on the left and well-placed bunkers protecting the green

old head of kinsale golf course


Find out more detail or request a quote if you are interested in playing this course as part of your golf vacation with the golf travel experts at Golfbreaks.com.

Dereck Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.