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 subsequently 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: 5.2 out of 6 Reviews: 35

The most enjoyable round of golf I've ever had - it's a tough course but very fair because you can always see what's waiting to bite you. Scenery is beyond compare. The best of 18 wonderful holes is probably #11 - you feel like you've gone through the looking glass into another world and if you can hit your drive over 275 yards, you get another 50 yards of roll for free.
6 / 6
Waterville
August 12, 2007


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You can see why the pros like to play here – the combination of such a rigorous test of golf and such a beautiful location must be very rare. For the amateur golfer the course is very demanding and lengthy even from the middle tees – this can make the golf unpleasant at times but correspondingly the satisfaction gained from playing a hole well on a course like this is much greater than usual. The best of the golf is on the back nine, where the course builds subtly to a grand climax as the final three holes lead you home along the ocean. In addition the 2nd, 3rd, 11th and 12th are all fantastic holes and there is not a weak one on the course. Not cheap (best rates in evening) nor easy golf, but well worth playing once at least.
5 / 6
Waterville
August 01, 2007


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Played Watervile for the first time Nov 05 and returned May 06. What a course! The new holes are great, a tough finish all set in stunning scenery. Surprised by some of the earlier negative comments. I play mostly links golf and this is one of the best. A special mention to Noel and his staff who make you feel as if you have been a member for years yet we're just visitors! Stuart Hunstanton Golf Club
6 / 6
Waterville
August 16, 2006


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It is 24 years since I last played Waterville and a lot has happened since then including changes to the course by Tom Fazio. I could remember some of the holes from that time but when I played it again recently I was surprised that I did not remember more, especially some of the opening holes, perhaps it was the rain in 1982! The 3rd hole is excellent, I love the curve round the bay and the green seemingly hung out to dry. The new 6th and 7th are fine holes. There is not a poor hole on this course and the variety in the design has produced such diverse holes as the long 11th, all duck or no dinner par 3 12th, dramatic 15th, 16th and 17th, and fine 18th. One of the best links in Ireland.
6 / 6
Waterville
August 09, 2006


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I can't believe some people don't like this place. Played it in May 2006 and although it was disapponting that the greens had just been dressed, they still payed true enough. The course is special - tough (but fair) and ver picturesque. I can't wait to go back again.
6 / 6
Waterville
June 01, 2006


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Judging from the reviews posted here Waterville seems to elicit a wide variety of responses. Put me down as a fan and admirer of a great links golf course. This course has a sterling collection of par 4's that, in my mind, is rivaled only by Muirfield. The bunkering is penal and stragegic, and the holes have a wonderful flow to them that gives a natural feel to the landscape. The Payne Stewart statue behind the 18th green is a fitting tribute to a wonderful person and golfer. My thanks to the Waterville members for honoring Payne. Richard Smith Knoxvile, Tennessee
6 / 6
Waterville
April 27, 2006


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Gerard
May 08, 2008
Muirfield ????in the same league as Waterville The Muirfield experience is about a nice lunch and sticky toffee pudding Waterville is as good as it gets
Played in June 2004 so my memories are already getting pretty old.... We had a great day there. The views are fantastic, as is the layout. One small deception, the fairways looked burnt and I doubt it had been that sunny before we arrived in early June. Maybe the salt?? but this course is nevertheless my favorite in that area, with Lahinch, ahead of Ballybunion....
5 / 6
Waterville
December 30, 2005


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I am compelled to write a review of this course because it is so overrated in these ratings. The layout is nothing special...until you get to 16,17, 18 which are special. In addition when I played the conditioning was awful. Yet the annoying thing I have to say is how "Americanized" (btw - I am an American) this place is: statue of Payne Stewart; carts; etc.). This I can get at Pinehurst. I do not expect it at a "world class" links course. I would not go back. Kelly Conway
2 / 6
Waterville
December 18, 2005


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michael rowley
August 14, 2007
carts and a statue of Payne Stewart are superficial - the course is superb
nick
April 01, 2008
is this guy for real, to belittle waterville is golfing ignorance, it is one of the finest links courses on the planet and maybe our american friend should appreciate what real links golf is, the only reason the course has become american friendly is to cater for mr conway and his friends
Having just returned from a visit to Southwest Ireland, I can safely say that Waterville was the highlight of our trip, which included both courses at Ballybunion, Tralee, Lahinch and Dooks. This was the first time for me at Waterville and I realise that I cannot compare the old layout with the post 3rd phase of the Fazio changes (which I have been keeping an eye on via the Waterville website). The thing that I like the most is that Waterville is in balance as a course (unlike Ballybunion Old and Tralee). The opening hole is quite ordinary and simply gets you away and then things get better and better. The yardage chart wasn't much help because bunkers have come and gone and it was quite confusing getting accurate distances. Granted, we were lucky with the weather, which was sunny and warm with a light winds. When I come back to this neck of the woods (and I will), I will head for Waterville first and probably stay here. Billy.
6 / 6
Waterville
October 06, 2005


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I have played 126 top courses in the UK and Ireland. I have absolutely no doubt that Waterville is THE most over rated course I have ever played -July 2003. Even in mid summer parts of the course were very very wet. 5 or 6 good holes - the rest are very ordinary as was the condition of the course.Would not get in my top 60.David Worley.
3 / 6
Waterville
October 05, 2005


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ally
April 29, 2008
Hi,stunned to hear that - one of my favourites. Play all over the world and would have WV in my top 10 easy, probably top 5.Was it breezy? Are you a hacker?Ally
David Worley
February 25, 2015
Just noticed my July 2003 review of Waterville in which I was clearly underwhelmed. Not knowing anything about recent 'problems' I think it is only fair that I comment as per my book 'Another Journey through the Links' - "The Waterville I played in 2006 was brilliant - immeasurably improved upon from my visit in 2003 when apparently renovation works had just started and it was in poor condition." The Tom Fazio changes have also been beneficial.