Waterville - Kerry - Ireland

Waterville Golf Links,
Waterville,
County Kerry,
Ireland


  • +353 66 947 4102

  • Noel Cronin

  • Claude Harmon, Eddie Hackett, Tom Fazio

  • Jay Connolly


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Waterville

The town of Waterville is a famous angling centre, located on a strip of land that separates the Atlantic Ocean from one of the most beautiful lakes in Ireland, Lough Currane. The name Waterville, or An CoireÁn (Little Whirlpool), is the premier coastal tourist centre of South West Kerry. Every year, Charlie Chaplin came to Waterville with his family, and they have named the annual two-day AM-AM after him. The AM-AM has been held since 1984, a two-day golfing extravaganza involving teams from all over Ireland. It also involves a certain amount of merriment!

Golf at Waterville started around 1889 with a modest 9-hole course, laid out on the eastern section of the present course. In the 1950s, the club folded until Jack Mulcahy (an Irish American) bought the links in the late 1960s. Mulcahy commissioned Claude Harmon, his friend and the 1948 Masters champion and Eddie Hackett, Ireland’s most prolific architect, to design a new course. In 1973, the “beautiful monster” course at Waterville opened for play. Tom Fazio was recently commissioned to update the course.

Waterville plays on a promontory surrounded by the sea. It’s a stunning, remote location with views to the northeast of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range and to the southwest across the beautiful Ballinskelligs Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The fairways are gently undulating, the front nine plays across relatively flat ground whilst the back nine weaves its way through avenues of tall dunes. The view from the elevated 17th tee, an excellent par 3 called “Mulcahy’s Peak” after the founder Jack Mulcahy, is simply breathtaking.

There are few courses that can boast such a fine collection of unique and great golf holes. Waterville has three outstanding par threes and three excellent par fives, the par fours are pretty good too. The 11th is a heavenly short par five with a rippling fairway protected on both flanks by towering dunes. The 366-yard par four 16th was once called “Round the Bend” because it follows the natural curvature of the Atlantic coastline. It was here that Liam Higgins, the local pro, had a hole-in-one on his way to setting a course record of 65. Fittingly, the hole is now called “Liam’s Ace”.

The remote location of the Waterville links has precluded it from hosting any big competitions, but many famous golfers find their way here and they all leave with the feeling that Waterville is a very special place.

Payne Stewart was due to be Honorary Captain of Waterville in 2000. Tragically, in October 1999 he died when his private jet crashed in South Dakota. A bronze statue pays tribute to him and his affiliation with Waterville.

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Reviews for Waterville

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Description: Waterville Golf Links plays on a promontory surrounded by the sea. It’s a stunning, remote location... Rating: 5.1714285714286 out of 6 Reviews: 10

So it ended up being "one of the worst days we have had in 5 years" by the end of the day, but fortunately we played the first 13 holes in only a mild storm, the 3 club wind and sideways rain did not start until the home stretch. That said, after a tour of the best of SW Ireland, Waterville comes in a strong second behind Lahinch for me. Strong holes throughout, eminently fair - just a great experience and course. Would not hesitate to make the drive again. Can only imagine what it would have been like if the weather was nice.
6 / 6
Waterville
July 29, 2009


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Played in Sept. 2008. I've been lucky enough to play many great USA, Scotland, NW England and Irish courses, and this is right up there. The Ring of Kerry drive to get there is spectacular, the surrounding views of the mountains and water is incredible, and the shotmaking value of this course is exceptionally good. The finish of 16-18 in my book is wonderful as well.
6 / 6
Waterville
December 05, 2008


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I first played Waterville in 1991, when much was made of it's length compared to other courses at the time. That's pretty much how we remember it from those days - long, tough but very beautiful and fair. Now all new courses seem to be 7000+ yards and so returning to Waterville in 2008 was not quite as intimidating. There are many new alterations and subtle changes to the course, but having played many of the UK's best, I would put this right up there with the very best. Every hole throws up a new challenge, you never play the same direction on consecutive holes, and the finish is spectacular. It's more of a brute to get to - the roads are shocking - unless you can hitch a ride on one of the ever present helicopters! My world top 4 - in no particular order - Royal Birkdale (slightly biased I have to confess), Royal Dornoch, Waterville and Royal Melbourne.
6 / 6
Waterville
August 18, 2008


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Simply a wonderful golfing experince. Fantastic hole after fantastic hole. One of the best courses I have ever played.
6 / 6
Waterville
July 30, 2008


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Quite simply stunning, far more relaxed than other big named courses in Ireland. Total package for me, true Irish hospitality from the moment we drove in. The course itself is awesome, there are a few holes said to be the best in Ireland and I totally agree. The course like Royal Birkdale is tough but a fair challenge, we got it on a beautiful links type of day, gentle breeze with the sun shining, I envisage a tough challenge would lie ahead when it blows. I could bore you write pages about the place, just go and experience this magical place for yourself. Certainly in my top 3.
6 / 6
Waterville
July 26, 2008


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Best course in the world!! Great par 5s great views stunning sourounding best course I've played in the world, this should be ranked the best in the world
6 / 6
Waterville
June 28, 2008


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Mike
July 24, 2008
This is the best golf course I have ever played. It is God's golf course - if he were to be a member anywhere it would be at Waterville. The views are out of this world and there isn't an average hole. Not only is it gorgeous, it's mean as well - it oozes with character and it's as tough as you can get but extremely fair. My advice to any golfer - go play it; you will not regret it.
A little like the first time I played RCD, very blustery and overcast weather did its best to interfere with my review of a very fine course (and it was the twelfth 18-holes I’d played in six days so a little mental and physical fatigue was maybe Waterville - Photo by Jim McCanncreeping in as I carried my bag round the course). However, the inclement conditions could never detract from my appreciation of a Tom Fazio renovation that didn’t have a single weak hole anywhere along its routing. I was surprised in places to see one or two areas of rather lush fairway, clusters of imported tropical vegetation and a fair amount of artificially created grass mounding - the last of these should, of course, blend into the landscape over time. To compensate for the slightly more manicured aspects of the layout, there were many patches of lovely yellow gorse in full bloom and the bearded bunkering looked terrific throughout. I really liked the new holes at 6 and 7, where great use has been made of a diverted stream on both fairways whilst “Tranquility” and “Mass Hole” (11 and 12) were brilliant back-to-back holes on the back nine. Waterville is a stern test where the fairways flow one after another in an unrelenting fashion, culminating in three mighty holes in the dunes beside the sea. The club, like others on the west coast of Ireland, has its hands full coping with the sand and sea spray blowing in from the Atlantic at this part of the course but efforts at keeping nature in check are well worth it as the trio of “Liam’s Ace,” “Mulcahy’s Peak” and “”O’Grady’s Beach” form a fitting finish to a fantastic round. Jim McCann
5 / 6
Waterville
May 09, 2008


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Nick, the “replies” you’ve posted on april 1st 2008 (see also the Portmarnock page) are really spot on. This course is superb from start to finish, the routing is so natural and the round seems to fly in minutes. Waterville has to be deserved, the first step is getting there! And the road system is Kerry is far off from 2008 standards. But after all, that’s for the best! It leaves the place with all its charms: a world class course near the far end of the world, probably the only reason why Waterville never hosted big events. Because the course is definitely up for it. 7300 yds from the tips is a looooonng way, 6800 yds from the whites in the condition that we had was tough enough, thanks! Unlike Jim, and if I really want to be picky, 6th and 7th were the holes that impressed me the least. I hope to be back very soon for a salmon fishing/golf combo at their Waterville House: that’s how life should be! Cédric
6 / 6
Waterville
May 09, 2008


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A fantastic experience. If you have not played this course then you have missed out on a gem.Great condition throughout and very friendly staff.The par 5's are absolutely brilliant.You could play the 11th or 18th all day.
6 / 6
Waterville
April 06, 2008


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Of all the southwest courses Waterville and Lahinch were our favorites. Of Waterville-18 terrific holes, none weak, (11 was like being in another world), condition excellent for a links course,beautiful setting, the nicest people of all the courses, and the best practice range I've ever seen. It was simply an outstanding experience in every way.
6 / 6
Waterville
September 28, 2007


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