Kerry is blessed with more than its fair share of fantastic golf courses – from the great links of Ballybunion, Waterville, Tralee and Dooks on the coast to the inland Killarney complex, the county is truly fortunate to have so many top tracks.
A relative newcomer on the Kerry golfing scene is Beaufort Golf Club, near Killarney where a fine 18-hole layout was opened in 1995 by the Magill family who engaged Dr Arthur Spring to route a 6,600-yard course over part of the 300-acre Churchtown Estate.
Dr. Spring, from Tralee, is something of a latter day Alister MacKenzie, switching from a 20-year career in the medical profession to golf course design where he has now laid out a number of courses – East Clare, Kilrush, Woodstock and Newcastle West to name but a few.
Beaufort is located in a valley with the backdrop of the highest mountain range in Ireland – the MacGillycuddy Reeks – in view from all parts of the course. The course is maturing nicely and it enjoys good natural drainage which allows golf to be played all year round.
The back nine are sited nearer to the mountains on the south side and are dominated by the presence of Castle Core, a 15th century ruin situated near the 13th green. Two holes of note are the 187-yard par three 8th where the tee shot is played from a small copse to a green protected by deep bunkers and the 482-yard par five 12th which winds its way along a shaded valley to a well-protected green.
Tom Mackenzie was commissioned to make some
alterations to the layout prior to the Great Recession of the late 2000s, which
included a pond on the 18th, a new 18th green and a short hole on the front
nine. Some fairway bunkering was completed and the course was lengthened to 7,004 yards for the benefit of those who
like to open their shoulders. However, due to the economic climate, the architect's proposals were unfinished.
Located less than 15 minutes away by car from the lovely town of Killarney, Beaufort is well worth checking out if you're planning a trip to this part of Kerry. The course is a relatively modern parkland affair with spacious tree-lined fairways, good bunkering and a few water hazards to spice things up a little. Add in the mountain backdrop, the remains of a 15th century castle and more importantly, a very well maintained course and you can't really go wrong for such a modest green fee. The final three holes all have water in play, the best of them being the dogleg 18th with a large pond biting into the front left of the green adding real excitement to the final approach shot.
A wonderful parkland course, incredibly welcoming people and a great variety of holes, From long par 5's winding through the trees to tricky par 3's with great green complexes, this place has it all.
A great choice if you want a break from the links. Doesn't have the awesome views of Killarney GC but otherwise beats it hands down.
Ah Beaufort… a lovely course with challenging blind holes, great multi-tiered greens, deep and tricky bunkers and stunning mountain views. Taken together with nearby Dooks you cannot fail to be disappointed with this course. The estate in which the course is located is full of history even the historic ruins of an old castle stand by the 13th green. It’s not a long layout about 6500yds from the back tees but a pleasing test. Well worth playing.