Dingle Golf Club was originally a Gem on the Top 100 website and it became a ranked Irish course when we extended our list. Dingle was nominated by Hugh and was added to the site in February 2005. Hugh’s nomination comments are as follows:
“Dingle isn’t the easiest golf course in the world to find but it’s well worth seeking out the most westerly golf course in Europe. There is nothing fancy about this traditional and unpretentious links course, which was designed by the great Eddie Hackett. It’s sometimes referred to as Ceann Sibéal, which I believe translates to Sybil Point in Gaelic. The course overlooks Dingle Bay and it can get frighteningly windy here. At 6,700 yards, it’s a testing but fun course and I challenge anyone to leave here without thoroughly enjoying the experience…it’s truly a hidden gem and stunning value too.”
Situated a short drive from Ballyferriter on the Dingle peninsula, Ceann Sibeal is the most westerly golf club in Ireland. The original Dingle Golf Club was formed in 1924 at Doonsheane, three miles east of the town, near the racecourse. The club’s HQ was in Ashe’s pub in Dingle. It disbanded in the 1960s, as local farmers required the land back but the club stayed in existence and reformed in the 1970s at the links in Ceann Sibeal where it is today.
The club now play on a rugged and remote links course that has been updated over the years. It was originally a 9-hole course designed by Eddie Hackett and was later extended to 18 holes with input from Christy O’Connor Junior.
Little was done in the way of earth moving when the holes were laid out. Dingle has a simple, straightforward routing as holes are etched into the natural landscape with a meandering burn dissecting the property to add interest and a little danger in equal measure. Throw in some strategic bunkering and gently undulating terrain and it amounts to a real test of links golf.
The views out to the Blasket Islands in the Atlantic are simply spectacular and well worth the effort to seek out such a secluded golfing spot in an area rich in Gaelic tradition where the Irish language is still very much a part of everyday life – hence the names chosen for each of the 18 holes on the course.
The signature hole is the 197-yard, par three, 10th named “An Tiaracht” which is played uphill - out of bounds on the left – to a blind green nestled in front of a large sand dune with three pot bunkers offering further protection on the right. If the wind is up off the Ocean – as it often is on such an exposed course – then a three on the card will be very well earned!
The above article was updated on November 14 2008 following feedback from John, as there were inaccuracies in the text. John went on to say: “The course is, in my biased view, one of the best gems in Ireland. There is a fantastic welcome there always from Steve the Manager and John the barman. A must play course and place.”
This was a 36 hole day for us, playing Dooks in the morning before heading further west along the scenic Dingle Peninsula to play Europe's most westerly golf course. Adding to its remoteness, the course lies another 25 minutes beyond the pretty seaside town of Dingle making this a ninety minute journey in total.
Taking the location into account, we were somewhat surprised to find a very busy course for a Monday afternoon. There were no large groups, just members and late summer holiday golfers enjoying what is obviously a very popular venue.
This is natural uncomplicated links golf with wonderful views adding to the experience. Most of the course is laid out on the gentle slopes below the clubhouse from where all eighteen greens can be viewed. There are none of the big sand dunes often found at some of the more famous Irish courses, just low lying humps and hollows, a solid routing and a number of well placed bunkers. That said the course does have some teeth. A meandering stream that comes into play on no less than eleven holes has been used to great effect causing consternation on numerous approach shots, particularly when the wind blows.
Whilst Dingle doesn't quite match up to the best links on the West Coast of Ireland it does offer an enjoyable round with a nice variety of holes and good greens. It's also a very reasonable green fee.
I played Ceann Sibeal on a relatively calm day and thoroughly enjoyed my round (even though I didn't play very well!). The location is amazing. The course is situated in a basin surrounded by rolling hills and craggy mountains with the bay and it's crashing waves in near distance.
Admittedly, I do slightly agree with the comment(s) regarding Ceann Sibeal as not being a "true" links course. A few holes didn't quite feel at home here, personally, the 6th & 13th, I just felt they didn't quite have that link's character to them.
Overall, I would say Ceann Sibeal is a good place to start if you're new to links style golf. It's not particularly a difficult course, but it's a great place to whet your appetite for links golf.
(Plus you can claim you've played in the most westerly course in Europe!)
Ceann Sibeal golf course is located in a splendid spot with views of Sybil Head, the Three (or “tree” as the locals put it) Sisters and Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest. The finest stretch of holes starts the back nine. After a challenging uphill par 3, holes 11 and 13 are doglegs requiring plenty of strategic thought. They are sandwiched around a cunning par 3 with a contoured green set an angle to the tee shot.
The rest of the course is not quite as good. The routing is a bit mundane as 14 holes are on the SE/NW axis. And most require little thought as to the best spot to place one’s drive. While Dingle is set on linksland, it lacks the dunes that characterize the great Irish courses. Indeed, there were a couple spots where it appeared to me that Eddie Hackett might have built some mounds to give it some life. And there’s more water to contend with than at any other links I can think of, as a burn crosses 10 of the holes.
The other interesting view when I was there in June 2016 was of the Star Wars movie set just up the hill from the course. While force was not with me (or my golf game to be precise) that day, I still enjoyed Ceann Sibeal.