9 things to know about Waterville Golf Links in Ireland
March 7, 2016
It’s been said that playing golf at Waterville Golf Links in County Kerry, Ireland, is a mystical experience, complete with the beauty of classic links land, surrounded by the sea, yet forever challenged and shaped by the elements.
In 1987, the course embarked on a new chapter of its fabled history when noted international golf architect, Tom Fazio, was commissioned to update the memorable Eddie Hackett masterpiece. Fazio has assisted many of the world’s leading clubs, including Winged Foot, Pine Valley and Augusta National.
Trinity Golf recently caught up with Waterville’s general manager, Noel Cronin, who began working there in 1989, to talk about one of our favorite golf destinations, as well as one of the best links golf courses in Ireland.
A must-play for the traveling golfer
“Waterville Golf Links is a championship links rated 10th in Golf World ‘Top 100 in Britain and Ireland,'” Cronin says. “It is the # 1 course in the Republic of Ireland whose membership includes, among players, Tiger Woods and Mark O’ Meara.”
It’s an Irish golf course enjoyed by amateurs and professionals, alike.
“Waterville hosted the 2014 Irish Seniors Amateur,” Cronin says, “and, as in the years past, it is the favorite links for US Tour players before the British Open.”
A must-stay, as well
If you’re playing Waterville, there’s nowhere better to stay than the Waterville House, which sits on a narrow isthmus facing the wild Atlantic with beautiful Lough Currane on its eastern perimeter.
“Waterville House is an 18th Century Manor with 12 ocean view rooms, health facility and Tom Fazio practice area surrounding its 40 acre estate,” Cronin says. “It sits directly on Ballinskelligs Bay and next to the Currane River, one of Ireland’s most famous salmon and sea trout fishery.”
Little ‘Sanctuary’ on No. 3
Each of Waterville’s 18 holes has its own clever name, from “Prodigal” on No. 9 to “Tranquility” on No. 11. But don’t let the names fool you. Hole No. 3, named “Sanctuary,” is the hole Cronin calls the most difficult on the course. Sanctuary is a 433-yard Par 4 from the blue tees, with little break and water haunting golfers all along the right.
The ‘Peak’ of the course
Hole No. 17, called “Mulcahy’s Peak,” is Cronin’s favorite hole at Waterville. Arguably the course’s signature hole, this 194-yard Par 3 sits on the highest point on the course, Cronin says, with a spectacular 360-degree view of the property.
And speaking of views…
The clubhouse, which overlooks the 9th, 10th and 18th holes, offers beautiful, scenic of the course and its surroundings, Cronin says.
Also, be sure to stop by the life-sized bronze statue of Payne Stewart, which pays tribute to his Captaincy and his special relationship with Waterville.
Don’t forget the 19th hole
Before leaving Waterville, Cronin recommends grabbing a pint while sitting out on the deck of the clubhouse that overlooks the 18th Hole and Ballinskelligs Bay. Inside, “We also have a great restaurant, lovely food and an amazing view,” Cronin says.
Advice for golfers new to Ireland
While any golf trip to Ireland will surely be amazing, Cronin’s advice to newbies to Ireland: “The weather varies a lot, so never travel without rain gear.”
May the course be with you
While golfing at Waterville is a no-brainer, Cronin’s suggestion for a must-see landmark near the course is a boat trip to visit Skelligs Rock, which is about 12 kilometers off the southwest coast of Ireland. Part of those island is Skellig Michael, where a scene from the new Star Wars movie was recently filmed.
How to golf at Waterville
Waterville is among the best Irish golf courses that Trinity Golf has access to and is a regular stop during our many Ireland golf tours. If you’re interested in playing Waterville, please contact us today for more details.