Old Head Golf Links
Located on the west coast of rural Ireland, the Old Head Golf Links course is situated in a place steeped with history, dating back thousands of years. Offering a golfing experience like no other, the course which is just a stones throw away from the quaint town of Kinsale, regularly attracts visitors from all over the world.
Open for six months of the year between April and November, the venue offers incredible views across the 220-acre diamond of land which the course stretches across, extending two miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, meaning visitors are surrounded by the ocean as they play. The golf club comes with a range of practise facilities as well as the course itself, so visitors can practise their swing before heading out for a round on what is one of the most visually stunning landscapes in the world.
95% of the visitors to the golf club are international with around 70% coming from North America, and the course’s close proximity to Cork Airport is ideal for visitors who are jetting in to experience what the course has to offer.
The course itself was opened in 1997 but the origins of the location’s headland actually dates back hundreds of years. Long before businessmen John and Patrick O ‘Conner decided to add a golf course to the picturesque setting, Old Head was full of unique sights including the iconic lighthouses that have overlooked the location since 1610. Now, some 400 years later, the lighthouses make up some of the course’s best areas including one that can be found in full view of the fourth hole.
Danny Brassil is the Director of Golf at Old Head Golf Links and he discussed some of the stand out holes that the course can offer. He said: “The fourth and 12th are ones that stand out for me. The fourth is where the lighthouse really comes into play, it’s known as the ‘razor’s edge’. A doglegged left par 4 hugging the cliff edge all the way from the tee to the green. That hole runs down to the headland where you are looking at endless ocean. In my opinion the 12th is the most intimidating tee shot in golf. You’re right on the cliff edge and the hole gets narrower the closer to the hole you get. If you lose a ball here at Old Head, it will never be found again as it will end up in the depths of the ocean.”
Another unique factor that Old Head Golf Links provide, is the fact that guests tee off in 15-minute intervals. This means that players won’t have to wait around for other people to finish a hole, giving the unique and hard-to-come-by impression they have the entire course to themselves. As the club’s caddies can also provide fascinating insight into the history of some of the course’s ruins and features.
Each hole on the course also comes with the option of six tee boxes, depending on the weather and wind conditions, a different tee can be used, meaning that guests receive a unique golfing experience from one day to the next.
A feature that has became increasingly popular in recent years is the courses heli-golf options which sees visitors able to fly to and from the course in helicopters. Danny explained how this offering works. He said: “During the high season we tend to see an average of eight to ten helicopters per week coming in to play at the course and they can fly from course to course within Ireland. In some cases, our North America visitors will fly to the golf course from the airport. It’s very popular and also an amazing way to see Old Head for the first time as you fly in to the course getting an amazing birds eye view of the remarkable scenery we have here.”
Not only does the course provide fantastic golfing experiences, but their range of suites and spa, sees visitors relax in style. Their clubhouse comes complete with 15 luxurious suites that can be used by both members and guests, including rooms that overlook the ocean, making it the perfect place to wake up to. Each suite has their own private outdoor area which looks over the Lighthouse and 18th green, and there is also a spa on site which offers a whole host of massages and treatments to help guests unwind.
Looking to the future and Old Head Golf Links are continuing to improve their offering all the time, regularly making changes to the holes on the course, giving visitors a fresh new experience.