The architectural brief was to design a ‘world class’ golf course that would challenge competent and experienced players from the back tees, yet be playable and enjoyable for the average handicap player from middle and forward teeing areas. The brief also included that the golf course be to a standard capable of hosting professional golf events, both Irish and European.
After arriving at the elevated clubhouse, the first look back down the mountain reveals a breathtaking scene – the fairways and greens are superbly manicured, the bunkers are well maintained and raked, and you are in for a serious test of Irish golf. By definition, Ring of Kerry is a heathland course, but there are hybrid elements to it. The turf has a links-like firmness. The mounding, contours and rocky clusters on the fairways and in the rough, along with nasty patches of gorse and tall grass (typical of links golf courses), make the layout unusual. Add to that the mountain feel of the place (the only place in all of Ireland that offers the kind of mountain golf similar to that which defines such fine U.S. courses as Cascades in Virginia and Castle Pines in Colorado).
From the standpoint of location, design, topography and sheer golfability, this is one of the most unique golf courses in Ireland. The bottom line is that Ring of Kerry is a great golf course. In fact, the golf course may well be the jewel in the crown of architect Eddie Hackett’s lifetime of golfing achievements. Despite the fact that it is not a links, it is an example of the very best in new Irish golf-course design. It retains its Irishness, its Celtic temperament and flavor, its distinct character. And while there are American-style heathland courses that are not worth the time of a visitor from the United States, this Irish gem should be on everybody’s short list of superior Irish experiences.
The course boasts panoramic views across Kenmare Bay from every hole. One can enjoy these same fantastic views while enjoying a beverage in the clubhouse bar or a delicious meal in Greens Pizzeria & Restaurant. Combine this with the beautiful Kerry mountains as a backdrop, and you have one of the most spectacular settings in Ireland.