The town of Arklow – named after Arknell, a Viking leader – is located at the mouth of the River Avoca on the east coast of Ireland and was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1798 rebellion. The town is divided by the river, which is crossed by the Nineteen Arches Bridge, a stone arch bridge linking the north part, Ferrybank with the south side, where the golf course is situated.
Arklow is an old-fashioned links course, constructed in 1927 by Fred G. Hawtree and John H Taylor. Many of the greens from the original layout are still in play but parts of the course have been lost over the years to the encroaching shoreline. Eddie Hackett was involved in restoring the 18-hole layout in the 1970s then Eddie Connaughton remodeled the course at the end of the 1990s.
Arklow’s 6,516 yards are laid out over classic links land with plenty of humps and hollows, sand hills, gorse, marram grass and bunkers to be negotiated throughout the eighteen holes. It is configured with five par threes, two par fives at the 16th ("The Bow") and the 18th (“The Sconce”) and eleven par fours, eight of which are over 400 yards in length.
Arklow is an old classic links course just on the edge of the town of it's namesake. The course is not fancy, or does not have any fanfare, but nonetheless is a magnificent place to play golf.
The course starts very strong, and has all of it's best holes on the front nine. I do truly love the front nine here and would play it on repeat if I could. It has all the makings of a great links course, it has some larger dunes which break up holes, it has fairways with knolls, humps and bumps, it has tiny pot bunkers that will swallow up your ball and beautiful greens with runoffs on all sides.
I find the back nine and more inland holes a less interesting, and almost like they were tacked on to the course. There are some good holes on the back nine, but in general it is a lot less memorable.
My favorite holes at Arklow are basically the whole front 9, and the stretch of 4,5,6,7 really stick out to me. 4 and 5 play with OB (the Irish sea) to your right, with well placed bunkers on the fairways and around the greens. 6 is a big dog leg left par 4 that has a heavily bunkered green. 7 is a short par 3 that plays into a very shallow green with a burn running in front of it.
Arklow is an incredibly fun place to play golf, and might be the best deal in Ireland, as you can play in their open competitions for around 20 euro. I wish there were more approachable links golf courses like this around Ireland.