Old Head - Cork - Ireland

Old Head Golf Links,
Kinsale,
Cork,
Ireland


  • +353 (0) 21 477 8444

  • John Dwyer

  • Ron Kirby, Joe Carr

  • Danny Brassil


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Old Head

A number of people were involved in the creation of Old Head Golf Links: Dr Joe Carr, Paddy Merrigan, Ron Kirby, the late Eddie Hackett, Liam Higgins and Haulie O'Shea. The course opened for play in 1997 and it's laid out on a narrow headland, jutting out for two miles into the Atlantic Ocean.

Old Head Golf Links has to be one of the world’s most exhilarating sites upon which golf is played. You feel as though you are on the edge of the world here at Old Head and if you suffer from vertigo, some of the tees might present a problem. Three hundred feet up, looking over the edge of the cliff, you will notice seagulls gliding below you. Atlantic waves crash onto the rocks, booming and echoing as they smash into the cave tunnels. It certainly takes your breath away.

Take some extra golf balls; you may well lose a few unless you are really on top of your game. There is little margin for error along the edges of the holes bordering the cliff-tops. The signs should be adhered to; they warn you off looking for balls for obvious reasons! Take note of the marker posts, or should we say “Stones of Accord” (the club’s logo) – they give you the right line for your tee shot.

Old Head really is a very special place indeed. The peninsular tells a lamentable tale, perhaps mourning the loss of life (many vessels sank in this vicinity). The Lusitania went down here too, in 1915, not because of the rocks, but courtesy of a German torpedo. Or perhaps it’s the spirits seeking peace from golf balls peppering their ancient burial ground at the approach to the 10th hole.

There are many memorable holes at Old Head, none more so than the 17th, called “Lighthouse”. It's a long par five requiring a bold second shot to the right-hand side of the fairway, anything left will leave a blind approach to the green that is nestled in a punchbowl on the edge of the cliffs. The 18th is a dramatic closing hole that should be played from the high back tee for maximum drama. Our favourite hole, is the do-or-die par five 12th – it’s one of the most outrageous holes in golf – whatever you do with your tee shot, don’t bite-off more than you can chew.

Anyway, we recommend that you dig deep and pay the green fee at least once. It’s unlikely you will play a more dramatic course anywhere in the world.
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Reviews for Old Head

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Description: Laid out on a narrow headland, jutting out for two miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head Golf Links has to be one of the world’s most exhilarating golf courses... Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Reviews: 43
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Jay Carey
I'm a rapid golfer from the States, and Old Head is the most picturesque course I've ever played. It's more beautiful than Ballybunion, Tralee, Lahinch, Waterville, and Doonbeg. It's not a links course, but it's situated on the cliffs. We played it in October 2015 amid glorious sunshine and light winds. You have to play this course at least one time. It's breathtaking and a genuine challenge. I'm delighted that they continue to make improvements to the course.The only course that compares to the vistas is Tralee, which is another modern course in Ireland.
November 02, 2015
10 / 10
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6 people found this review helpful

Doug Roberts
I have had the pleasure to play Old Head 4 times. My most recent was two weeks ago. My first was in the first year it opened. I have also traveled to NZ to play Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs. I use to say Old Head was Pebble on steroids and Cape was Old on steroids. Well this past visit redefined that. Old Head reigns supreme. It just keeps getting better. The holes on the edge…10 of them are just breathtaking. The new 13th par 3 which green sits back to back with 7 is another cliff hangar. Dig deep and analyze the architectural merits and maybe it is just better than average. But the greens were the best we played in all of SW Ireland and we played all the go to’s. The turf while not per se links is seaside at elevation and in great shape. The non stop beautification thru additional plantings is spectacular. The only negative is the built up berms take away many of the views from the interior tee boxes. Old Head is far superior to the ratings it gets. Time will prove that out. We hired a photographer for the day here. Nelius Buckley….Free plug. If you have a group…Do that…The place is so very special and having good photos just doubles the experience.
October 09, 2015
10 / 10
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5 people found this review helpful

Fergal O'Leary

Old Head Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThe highlights include the routing along the spectacular cliff edges, the rolling topography, the magnificent green-site locations on the par threes, the stone ruins and of course the emblematic lighthouse.

World class facilities, service and photo opportunities await you!

May 21, 2015
6 / 10
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Brian Ward
Playing the Old Head of Kinsale is certainly right up there amongst my most memorable on-course experiences. Despite having to endure strong winds and heavy showers for much of the round I can honestly say that I loved every minute of our time at this extraordinary location. On no other course have I felt such a keen sense of both exhilaration and trepidation due to so many tees and greens being situated on the cliff edge.Old Head Golf Course - Photo by reviewer With a rough sea crashing onto the rocks a few hundred feet below this was without doubt an adrenaline fuelled experience. There are so many memorable holes to choose from but I would pick the par-5 12th as one of my favourite holes from anywhere in the world. The hole gradually turns left following the edge of the cliff all the way to the green which is attractively and perilously situated amongst rocky outcrops. From the par-3’s, the 7th, 13th and 16th would all have to be described as spectacular and I would pick the 2nd, 4th and 17th as standouts from the longer holes. Take a walk to the back of the 18th as the tee shot over a rocky inlet has to be seen to be believed. Kinsale is a great little town to stay for a few days and with good food and lively bars on offer it certainly ticks all the boxes. The green fee may look a little top heavy at 200 plus euros but for an experience of this magnitude I can’t wait to go back. Brian W
February 18, 2015
10 / 10
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Goffy
Playing golf at Old Head is something that should be on every serious golfers bucket list. I have been lucky enough to play golf at a lot of the Top 100 courses in GB & I but this was an experience like no other. As with all golf in Ireland you have to be prepared for all weather and unfortunately as well as 35mph winds it was also tipping it down for the 1st 6 holes but this didn’t detract from the drama of the course it just means you have to lower you expectations for your score. We did have a magical moment though, as we got closer to playing the stunning par 5 12th a mist descended and visibility was down to about 170yds, we were all gutted, but as we stood on the tee waiting for the group in front to play the mist lifted and the hole appeared in all of its beauty in front of our eyes, simply stunning.
September 15, 2014
10 / 10
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Steven O Sullivan
January 28, 2015
Decent golf with extraordinary views.Pebble beach on steroids.Word of caution....it is designed for right handed players.Right handers get to enjoy the views and turn their backs to the ocean and tee off.No such luxury for us lefties.Phil Mickleson reportedly refused to even go up to the back tee on 18.If you do play left handed and don't have a head for heights you should unfortunately skip it. A design marvel. If the wind blows you need to be of a scratch standard and hit world class shots just to keep the ball in play.
David Nolan
Having had the pleasure of playing this course twice over two days I cant recommend it highly enough. as a 22 handicapper i assumed it would be way ahead of my abilities but the way it is set up takes into account your ability. So the low handicap golfer can attack the course and reap rewards and mere mortals such as I can get around within our skill set.That said it is extraordinary from every hole, the views are breathtaking if you can get there do so.
July 31, 2014
10 / 10
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David Oliver
Readers, I urge you to play Old Head. It is quite simply an experience that will stay with an awful long time. I stayed onsite which was also very rewarding. Arrived late at night but at 6.30 the next morning I opened the curtains to see the lighthouse, the ocean the cliffs and 4 superb golf holes. Just simply breathtaking. I have never wanted to play a golf course so much than Old Head at first sight. Back to the golf. I am a 6 handicap golfer who played OH on 21 April 2013. It is possible that the staggering scenery can overshadow the design. This would be a very good golf course without the scenery. I have played Pebble Beach, and this is as memorable. There are only 1 or 2 holes that are not directly on the cliffs, but these remain good golf holes with astonishing views. I am a huge fan of links golf and I much prefer a links to an inland course. I do think however that the reason that Old Head is not more highly ranked is some links based snobbery. I have played the vast majority of courses in Ireland that are ranked higher than OH and very few deserve to be ranked above it. This course is disctinctly playable with room off the tee and sensible greens. There are too many holes that warrant special mention. It is just an sensational experience. The day was grey and quiet which gave the land a mystical property. This is a top 50 world golf course.
June 26, 2013
10 / 10
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Mitch kalcheim
This and Spyglass Hill are my tw favorite courses in the World. Recreational Golf does not get any better than this. If you don't love this track you are not human!!!1 The cliffs, the views, the style the elegance. If I could play this course 5 times a week I would never tire of it!!!!
May 09, 2013
10 / 10
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Jeff Kimbro
Played Old Head in 2007 and can say it was one of the best experiences I've had playing golf. The drive to the clubhouse and thru the "pearly gates" starts getting your juices going. The layout was very good, but not necessarily great. The condition of the course was excellent. What makes the course is the views. The only two courses that I've played that can compare views are Pebble Beach (which isn't quite as good) and Cape Kidnappers (in New Zealand) which is on par. The front nine is fairly tame and wide open. You can get away with some stray drives. However, the back nine gets a little tighter. The final 3 holes are as good as it gets. $350 American to play, but I'd pay it again in a heartbeat.
January 23, 2010
10 / 10
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Arch Underwood
April 05, 2012
The most scenic course I have played and I have played 12 of your top 100 and been to 4 others
erik
Played in the middle of Sept 09 and had great weather. This course is Pebble on Steroids. I played Old Head, The European Club, Royal Portrush, Royal County Down, The Island, & Portmarnock. This course is No2 out of all of those. Great layout, esp the back nine. Great par three's and the best piece of land of this earth. The town of Kinsale has the best food in Ireland and the people are great. Stay at the Perryville house which I would highly recommend except for the small beds. Great staff, great food and drinks, and just a wonderful experience. Take a caddie and hit from the back tee's on No18 and see if you can reach the fairway. My friend aced No 7 !! This course should be higher ranked
October 15, 2009
10 / 10
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