Perched high above the spectacular Kenmare Bay, Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland's most scenic courses.
Ring of Kerry Golf & Country Club was the dream of Donal O’Shea whose parents originally owned the property. His business partner, Dominic Reid, formed a new alliance with Tom McNicholas when Donal tragically died in a car crash to ensure the project would become a reality. The course architect Eddie Hackett also passed away during construction so “The Ring” had some difficult hurdles to overcome before it finally opened in 1998. Universal Golf Consulting, a partnership between Brendan Breslin and Ed Edwards, has managed it since 2003.
A relative newcomer to the golfing scene in the south west of Ireland, Ring of Kerry has matured in a very short space of time into one of the top courses in the Province. It is set in a wonderful landscape of lakes and mountains, overlooking Kenmare Bay with the Kerry mountains as a stunning backdrop.
This parkland course plays between 5,400 and 6,814 yards in length with a par of 72. The overall configuration may be classical – four par threes, four par fives and ten par fours – but there are old-fashioned aspects to it with back-to-back par fives on the front nine at the 4th and 5th holes and a par three hole to finish on the 183-yard 18th, named “Grenane”.
Two major features combine to make golf at Ring of Kerry so good – exhilarating elevation changes that enhance the visual pleasure throughout the round, and water which comes into play at a good number of holes, adding both definition and danger. More than half of the original putting surfaces were criticized for the severity of their undulations when the course was first opened and these have since been modified to provide a fairer test on the greens.
Many consider Ring Of Kerry to have not one, but two signature holes, played back-to-back on the back nine. The 233-yard par three 13th, named “An Neidin” is played from an elevated tee to a green that slopes sharply from left to right, with water protecting the front. It is followed by the 433-yard par four 14th, called “Tahilla” which plays slightly uphill to a fairway that doglegs left, slopes right to left and narrows all the way to a green framed by trees with an enormous bunker in front – unsurprisingly this hole is stroke index 1 on the card!
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