Ireland’s southwest has become a standard on any wandering golfer’s bucket list, thanks to courses like Ballybunion, Tralee, Lahinch, Old Head, and Doonbeg. (The most thorough travelers add Dooks and Ceann Sibeal to their lists.) But rarely do Americans recall any more fondly than Waterville on the Ring of Kerry. Maybe it’s the way the long sunset kindles Waterville’s sands, or the wind finds your back more often than you would expect. Maybe it’s that they arrive on a course with distinct and generous fairways that remind them of home, with a soft opening hole (called “Last Easy,” in case you thought you wouldn’t need the rest of the balls in your bag), and a statue of a relaxed and smiling Payne Stewart. Or maybe it’s a Yankee favorite because there is genuine American love and sweat in the Waterville dunes.
Tag: Irish Golf
In the way that legendary breaks like “Jaws,” off the north coast of Maui, or “Mavericks,” near San Francisco, are magnets for big-wave surfers, it’s a certain kind of golfer who is attracted to big-dune links courses. They’re hardy and fun-loving, more accepting of quirky design, and, perhaps, a bit more interested in pulling off heroic shots than strictly adhering to a card-and-pencil mentality.
Scotland has its share of big-dune designs—Donald Trump’s new layout in Aberdeen is just the most recent—but the west coast of Ireland is its equal. There’s Lahinch, of course, and bruising Enniscrone, and Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s intense Cashen Course at Ballybunion. But the Big Daddy of them all is Carne, which this past summer opened a new nine that should quickly gain renown as one of the best big-dune circuits in the country.