Kilkenny Golf Club is one of the oldest clubs in the country, formed five years before the Golf Union of Ireland was established in 1891. The club switched premises several times during its formative years, starting at Daly’s Hill then moving on to Richview, Garranacreen and Kilcreene before ending up at Glendine in 1923.
Set in 120 acres, the course is classic parkland in nature, even if it is, by the club’s own admission, laid out on mostly flat terrain – though there are some pleasant changes of elevation at holes 2, 4 and 5, in particular. Most fairways are bounded by a vast array of mature trees so careful golfers may choose to avoid arboreal trouble by using the driver sparingly off the tee.
Kilkenny plays to a par of 71, measuring exactly 6,500 yards from the back tees. Many regard the 302-yard 5th as one of the best par fours on the course, with a fairway that dips from the tee then rises towards a green that’s partially obscured on the right. The 9th may only rank as stroke index 12 on the scorecard but, unless you know how sharply it doglegs left at the top of an incline, this par five will jump up and bite you hard.
Kilkenny Golf Club is listed in Tom Simpson's catalogue of courses, titled Simpson & Company Golf Architects, which was produced for Javier Arana and printed in Spanish. The catalogue was re-printed in Fred W. Hawtree's book Simpson & Co. Golf Architects. So we can confirm that Tom Simpson and his associate Miss Molly Gourlay were the architects. Fred Hawtree commented as follows: “The partnership returned to Ireland again, and, in January 1937, Golf Monthly reported that they had laid out a new nine holes for Kilkenny and re-designed its existing nine.”