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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Jeff Brown
Played a couple of times in July (was told this was the wettest July on record for Ireland, just my luck) - one in very nice weather (2 club wind) - one in ok weather (2 club wind with moderate to heavy rain). Agree with many, some of the best views, if not the best in all of golf. Also agree, thoughmany of the holes play hard and fast, clearly not a links course. I have a continual difficult time rating this one relative to other courses - l love the links style and rate RCD, Lahinch, Waterville and Ballybunnion the highest, but am I unfair to the golf at Old Head due to the spectalur views? How would 18 at Pebble Beach be viewed without the location? In any event, a grand experience and Kinsale is a great town to visit, particularly when there is live music in the central square.
August 26, 2009
8 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played on a gorgeous sunny day in Sept. Jaw-dropping scenery with some visually intimidating par threes and approaches to some longer holes. Accuracy is a must. Great welcome and pre-round talk of the history of the site, and excellent clubhouse.
December 05, 2008
8 / 10
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David Flynn
Played this course two days ago on a windy October day, and it was fantastic. I never imagined a golf course could have views like this, and the pictures i took could never do it justice. Its one of these things that has to be seen to be believed. I knew all about the course when i arrived, but nothing prepares you for when you reach the tee-box of the second hole and you see the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of feet below you. Its life changing. The course itself was in very good condition with a mixture of holes playing downwind, into the wind, doglegs etc, but its hard to describe just how hard it is. The wind is strong on any links course but when you are this high up its a different animal entirely - you need to be on your best form and rely on a bit of luck to post any kind of a good score here. I didnt score well but i will always have my 4 pars that day to tresure. The two lads i was playing with had far more experience than me in playing some of the worlds best courses and they both agreed that theyd seen nothing like this before. Some of the holes are truely world class. The 4th hole in particular is my favourite hole in all of golf, but all of the coastal holes here are very very good indeed. I have heard people giving the course a hard time saying it wouldnt be a good track if its location wasnt taken into account. The fact of the matter is that its location and setting is unlike anything else in the world and this is what makes the course the gem that it is. The fact there they built a golf course on this bit of land in the first place is a miracle. It would be like saying that pine valley wouldnt be as good if it was located somewhere else - of course it wouldnt - its because of its setting amoungst the pines that makes the course what it is - Old Head is no different. Lastly, this course closes all winter and ive heard a roumer that its because God himself can enjoy a round or two, on this, his very own golf course. Old Head is a Must Play at all costs.
October 20, 2008
10 / 10
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Charles Abraham
Just a fantatic experience. Save up and play it. I would rather play one round here than half a dozen rounds on some of the other courses in the Top 100. Just hope you get good weather!
July 22, 2008
10 / 10
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Mark Wolton
As many of the other comments state this is a must play if you find yourself anywhere near it. It is one of the most stunning landscapes you'll ever be fortunate enough to swing a club on and the condition, facilities and welcome are all exemplary.
July 16, 2008
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

If I ever return, I’ll take a fast speedboat to the far end of the headland on a moonless night, strap my clubs to my back, scale the cliffs, repel the myriad of staff attempting to keep me out of the sleek, ultra-modern clubhouse then - as I burst through its doors – there, Old Head - Photo by Jim McCannsitting beside the open flame fire in the middle of the lounge, will be one of the O’Connor brothers sitting in a deep bucket chair, stroking a white cat, cackling, “Ah, Mr. McCann, I’ve been expecting you…”

Only joking, of course, but Old Head, with its lush tropical vegetation throughout the property, feels like a remote island somewhere in the Azores (on a warm day, admittedly) which once doubled as a location for old Cubby Broccoli 007 movies; complete with helicopters flying in and out too! It is virtual golf come to life on earth, a fantastic golfing experience that every serious player should sample at least once.

Let’s get one thing straight though, it is NOT a links golf course - and never could be after so much top soil was trucked in during construction on its 180 acre site. However, the conditioning when I played on the second day of the season in April 2008 was second to none, with great attention paid to detail on the paths and steps around the teeing areas as well as the grass mounding and bunkering around the greens – several of which had been completely re-laid over the winter. Fairways are generally wide so handicappers of all abilities can score well.

Breathtaking is the only word to describe the first view of the cliffs from the second tee but even this sight is surpassed when standing on the 12th tee, and my photos could never do justice to the panorama before me – definitely one of the most awesome holes I have ever played!

Put aside the fractious arguments about public access to the course and be thankful that, if you are prepared to pay top dollar, you can pay and play here at all as it is simply the most stunning place to play golf. I’m so glad my week long trip to Ireland ended here on such a high.

Jim McCann

May 10, 2008
10 / 10
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Cédric
First of all, let’s have one thing clear: Old Head Golf Links is NOT a links and never will be. That being said, it is a wonderful experience that everybody should offer themselves at least once. I didn’t actually anticipate the peninsula would be quite that big, it actually looks like a clover, the course being on one of the leaves. There is surely enough space for another 18 holes!! Not sure the locals would agree though… In fact they could have had their 18 holes on the edge of the cliffs?? Because I didn’t think the “inland” holes were anything really special. Sure they are in wonderful condition, but put them on another location and they’ll look pretty bland. Or is it just the comparison with the rest of the course? Indeed, the “costal” holes are terrific (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 12th, 16th and 17th) with a special mention for the 12th which is surely the most incredible tee shot I have ever seen. For those holes, I would surely return any time. And if you like being pampered, this is heaven! Cédric
May 10, 2008
10 / 10
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Old Head surpasses any other golfing experience. The location has to be the most exhilarating of any in the whole world (and that includes the likes of Pebble Beach). Why is this course not ranked higher?? Are the rankings unduly bias to golfing tradition and given that it is only 10 years old it needs to grow a pedigree? I have played over 20 of the courses that sit above it in the Top 100 and many are made to look very ordinary compared to Old Head (Muirfield and Portmarnock being good examples). The layout of this course is perfection with seemingly the par 3's stretegically located at the most spectacular locations and many other holes beautifully hugging the cliff top with the the rest of the course falling around it. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th are so distinctive and incrediably spectacular and either nine could give claim to being the best stretch of golf anywhere! We will keep playing the Top 100, but i suspect that none will surpass this heavenly golfing masterpiece.
June 29, 2007
10 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played in June 2005- Gorgeous sunny day and an unbelieveable experience. It was so beautiful that it was hard to focus on the golf to be played. Some really interesting tee shots on this course and challenging 3-pars. Great place, would play again in a heartbeat.
March 15, 2007
8 / 10
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donal

The course has everything and continues to get better and better. I cant understand how the course is not ranked higher than it is. It is the most exciting golf experience on the planet. The course is over 7200 yards from the tips but plays just as difficult for the mid to high handicaps from the members tees. On a good sunny day its heaven...

February 09, 2007
8 / 10
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