There are two 18-hole courses at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club and the Killeen golf course is considered to be the best. Killarney is set in its own National Park within the famous Ring of Kerry. Here we have some of the most magical and enchanting scenery in Ireland, the Killeen course being set on the banks of Lough Leane, the largest freshwater lake in the southwest. The backcloth is the majestic Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, one of the many peaks of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks, and this is the most mountainous region in the Emerald Isle.
Golf at Killarney dates back to 1891, but the Killeen course is relatively young, opening for play in 1972. Eddie Hackett and Billy O’Sullivan originally designed the Killeen. It was a complicated project which involved splitting the original Mahony’s Point course in half and building nine holes on newly purchased land. David Jones updated the Killeen course ahead of the 1991 Irish Open, which was won by Nick Faldo. The Irish Open returned to the Killarney’s Killeen course in 1992 and once again Faldo triumphed.
Donald Steel undertook a complete reconstruction of the Killeen course over a fairly lengthy period, which overlapped the transition from Donald Steel & Co to Mackenzie and Ebert. The revamped Killeen course re-opened in the summer of 2006 with new greens, tees and bunkers. Extra length was also added, most notably the par fives. The Irish Open returned to the Killeen in 2010 and it was the Englishman, Ross Fisher, who won, thwarting a late surge from Padraig Harrington. Simon Dyson finished strongly to claim the 2011 Irish Open, winning by a single shot from Australia's Richard Green who had a long birdie putt on the last to win but ended up making bogey. On each of the four occasions Killarney has hosted the Irish Open an Englishman has lifted the title.
Despite the proximity of the mountains, the Killeen golf course is set on flat ground. The lake comes into play immediately and remains a hazard until the 5th hole, which turns inland. The course then plays in more traditional parkland surroundings until the 7th hole, which once again plays alongside the lake.
The tree-lined fairways appear narrower than they really are, especially from the back tees; keeping the ball in play is the order of the day. Scoring well will be a challenge for the very best golfers especially if you choose to play from the 7,000-yard plus back tees. There are three other tees available, so choose carefully to ensure the maximum enjoyment, but remember that everything is measured in metres here, so take at least one club more if you are used to yards.
The fantastic experience at Killarney is made up from many factors – the setting is breathtaking, the conditioning of the course is first class, the holes are varied and exciting and, last but not least, the Irish welcome is warm and friendly. In fact, the Irish greeting "Cead Mile Failte" was the main reason that Killarney was voted Golf Club of the Year in 1993. Surely there can be no prettier place in the whole of Ireland to play inland golf.
June 03, 2014