Ring of Kerry Golf Club,
Designer: Eddie Hackett
Championship Length: 6.663 yards
SSS (Course Rating): 73
One of the late Eddie Hackett's last design projects, the Ring of Kerry Golf & Country Club is without doubt the most spectacular parkland golf course in Ireland and is acclaimed by many as the finest new course in the country. The Killarney courses are beautiful but Ring of Kerry is simply majestic. Overlooking beautiful Kenmare Bay, the golf course nestles between the towering MacGillycuddy Reeks and the Caha Mountains. Majesty alone of course does not make a great golf course. The scenery helps but it's the layout, stiff challenge and excellent greens that make Ring of Kerry Golf Club one of the finest new golf courses in Ireland.
Given the strength in depth of the golf courses of Ireland's southwest, it takes a special development to ensure inclusion in any list of top courses. The Ring Of Kerry course is that little bit special and like Adare and Killarney, is the perfect complement to some of the region's rugged links courses. Testing holes abound at Ring of Kerry but one of the best on the outward nine is the 6th hole, called "Ladies View" due to its scenic splendour. The tee shot on this short par 4 is surely the most breathtaking in Ireland. From a raised tee, the best shot here is a feathered long iron with an emphasis on position given that the landing area is quite narrow, with water lying right and a stream and ditch to the left.
Some of the best holes on the homeward journey include the two par threes and the par5 14th, which requires an accurate tee shot as close as possible to the large fairway pot bunker. Reaching the green is then a choice of playing conservative or bold - Playing through a tight avenue of trees with out of bounds left and just behind the green can result in many a double bogey if opting for the latter! Just before this is the long par three 13th hole measuring over 200 yards from a raised tee to a well protected green. This is an excellent hole and requires the tee shot to be exact; anything short is in trouble, while from anything long, it's very difficult to save par. The closing hole is another par three over a stretch of water. The sloping green is bunkered to the left, while a shot to the right is likely to lodge on the bank, requiring a delicate approach chip just in front of the club house balcony!