Welcome to a Golf Tours Ireland Special Offer close-up
Welcome to another of our ‘close-up’ series of Irish golf links courses that make up the 6 beautiful masterpieces of our Golf Tour Ireland Special Offer 2015. Previously we have looked at Robert Trent Jones Senior’s last crafted wonder work of Adare, we have looked at County Clare’s Trump International Resort at Doonbeg, and we have also looked at Tralee. For a course to get on Mike Ryan’s ‘A list’, it really does have to have more than a little X factor – it has to be world class, completely capture your imagination, and ultimately….what can I say, blow your mind. The best way to achieve that is to play Old Head at Kinsale, because it is absolutely unique to the world, both as a links golf course and as an Atlantic site seeing gift from millions of years of geological forces that have carved this near-island shape out of a jutting peninsula from the south coast of beautiful County Cork. If Mike has any input into the courses played by his clients on their customized golf tours Ireland he will always steer them in the direction of Old Head as he knows clients are always proud to say they have played this most dramatic golfing challenge. It’s not always playable all year round, but when possible it’s such a rewarding 18 holes, that it inevitably brings people back time and again. Hopefully this review can show you why Old Head near Kinsale should be on your shopping list for either an Ireland golf vacation package or even as part of a golf trip day out for people in Ireland. There are three classifications of Golf Courses: links, parkland and then you have Old Head! This place is on it’s own and so unique we give her its own classification. For nowhere else have we played on what can only be described as green carpets laid out over sea-carved caves that form mystical hollows underneath your footsteps. Nowhere have we seen the intensity of Atlantic rage shape a course so violently beautiful that each and every shot is one of lure, danger and so demanding of accuracy. The Lighthouse at the end of this diamond shaped 220 acre land mass seems to serve as a sort of sentinel or guardian of this gift from Mother Nature over all who dare take on her challenge. Yes, respect is the order of the day. You’ve no choice really but to respect this long, really long par 72 championship triumph. There is nothing short here, no par 3, 4 or 5 is in anyway relatively short so try as you might to bring your long game, you will be coerced into yielding to danger and laying up sensibly where on other golf courses that are by comparison merely mortal, you would attack. By all means do go ahead here and be attack-minded, if you have vision like Superman or some sort of GPS tracking device on your golf ball! As your Executive Hire personal driver chauffeurs you up towards the golf course, you will have internalised with a keen anxiety a wonderfully challenging day for your best golfing wizardry. But all that said, the first hole seems to serve as something to calm the nerves, warm you up and settle you right in. Maybe best to forget trying to match your usual card score here and just enjoy the day as it folds, and if you make 4 on the first, ‘don’t get cocky’. You’ll see why as you brave the 2nd tee box where the perfect right angle dog leg faces you. Anyone who thinks they are John Daly here better be good at taking short cuts because if it’s wrong, its gone, pure and simple. What is required is a measured drive to the apex of the dog leg, and a soundly straight approach shot to the green. Sounds simple eh? Ha ha, if only! Often we write about well guarded greens, and that applies here but for the fairways too. The third hole can be a chance to score. It’s one of the shortest holes on the course and while the green has a slope, really Mike’s tip is stay right, and think of getting down in 3, not two. You’ll here us say ‘stay right’ a lot around this place! On the 4th hole par 4, for your drive and your approach shot….stay right.
Back 9 at Old Head, All that is good about Links Golf in Ireland
On the back 9 comes a hole that has left strong memories for every golfer who graced this tee box. The 12th is one sure to test bottle and nerve, long before you even think of the green. The fairway, narrow as it is forms a bar of land either side of which is a sheer drop into the rocky platforms that offer the caves behind some meagre protections from the always-on onslaught of the Atlantic. For tee and approach shots, play it safe and play it straight. Treat it as the par 5 it is as heroics are seldom rewarded at this hole which one could scarcely conjure up in the wildest of imaginations. In keeping with the dramatic, the stunning par 3 is just a joy to play. If you cant make out where the fairway is as you stand on the tee box, don’t waste too much time looking any harder! Just think about what club is going to get you to the green, and if I’ve said stay right before, best to ‘unlearn’ that dictum for this one. Straight and pin high is all you want to do here. If you can do that much you might just have a shot at birdie. Enjoy this short hole as a long 17 awaits you. What a par 5 this is. Here you have the Atlantic Ocean everywhere to your right for the full length of the hole. This is links golf as it ought to be, feel the wind in your face as it keeps you fresh at s the end of the challenge comes upon you. Take this hole one shot at a time and aim to make par, not a birdie as hitting the green in two is not playing the percentages. In fact it’s dicing with an unhealthy combination of short odds and long lost little white balls. Take Mike’s advice and getting to the green is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Ah! The 18th at Old Head. This is the culmination of many’s the Irish Golf Vacation. As you stand tall on the tee box the old lighthouse is at your back, with out-of bounds on your right and guess what on your left. By all means use the 3 wood as that usually carries you far enough to have a shot at green from a fairway lie. It’s still a long way to green and that’s ok because your better attacking this one. If you can do that much, just savour your paces to the green and enjoy what’s left of a day that will undoubtedly be one of a dream golf vacation. Turn around and drink it in, it really is a vista to behold and cherish. Old Head is one of those courses that fellow discerning golfers nod knowingly at when they hear you’ve experienced it first hand. So you can see why we love including Old Head on our Golf Tours Ireland Special Offer 2015. The other courses we play are Tralee, Ballybunion, Trump International at Doonbeg, Adare and Lahinch. Each one is covered in golfing glory and lore and each serve you Irelands west coast at her beautiful best. Palmer, Norman and Trent Jones Senior have all played their part in making the Southwest the Ireland Golf Tours heaven she is. For the special offer we base ourselves at Limerick City’s finest Hotel, The Savoy, for here, the finest luxury meets the City Center and the many delights Irelands 2014 capital of Culture has to offer. Mike regularly finds his guests sumptuous dining experiences, live traditional Irish music, cultural attractions, great shopping and all within short walking reach. But it doesn’t stop there, the offer allows for each guest to have their own private room, or if travelling as a couple, you get an upgraded suite. The 2015 Golf Tours Ireland Special Offer also means you get one of our highly commended private driver chauffeurs in your own dedicated Mercedes vehicle to suit the size of you family or group. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about one of the world’s most renowned golf courses. To find out more about this and any of our Irish Golf Vacations Packages and customized golf tours Ireland wide why not call us toll free from US and Canada at 1 888 793 0416 or from anywhere else at + 353 87 7930447. Also, see what our clients say about us, in particular our private driver chauffeurs who are the glue in any Ireland Golf Vacation Package, both on Trip Advisor and on our own luxury tours Testimonial page, where perhaps our many returning clients say it better than we can. Hope to hear from you soon as we all get ready for what I hope will be a wonderful Thanksgiving 2014 for you and yours.
Images courtesy of Old head Golf Links