Dooks Golf Club - Par 70 - 6,155 Yards
Dooks, established in 1889, is the oldest golf course in Kerry. It is a wonderfull natural links, full of humps and hollows, full of quirks and full of atmosphere. The links is a throwback to what golf must have been like in the late 19th and early 20th century - this would be a great place to take out persimmon drivers, hickory shafted clubs and gutta-perch golf balls.
The situation is wonderful, the course overlooks the huge local beach at Rossbeigh and across to Inch beach on the Dingle peninsula. These two beaches mark the division between Dingle Bay and Castlemaine Harbour and the views across these to the Dingle peninsula are stunning.
The course itself has undergone some modernisation over the past two years. Some of the old quirkiness has been removed but sufficient remains for the course to have improved.
The old first hole, always a contentious opener with the visitor, has been remodelled with a new green protected by bunkers and a severe fall on the left down towards where the old green was once sited. The old second hole (a short par-3) has been removed entirely and replaced by another par-3 (the new 11th) at the opposite corner of the course.
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We played Dooks again in Oct 07…first played on Oct 03. It’s the only course in the country that our group from the US has ever played twice. The new course is in great shape, and retains much of the best of the old…follows the contours of the land, spectacular views etc. There is a part of me that longs for the old, however, which was quirkier and totally unpretentious. When we played in 03, I am recollecting that 2 or 3 holes were closed, but we were given an all-day rate of something like 35 EU, and had a blast. In 07, the difference was palpable. Bigger clubhouse, many more tourists, gift shop is no longer a closet. The new 18th provides a wonderful vista of the entire course. On the old 18, I managed to hit one in, and then out of, the burn.
What has not changed is the hospitality. In 07, we showed up at tee time (in other words, late), and there was a busload of golfers waiting to go. The starter had us go off as a 5-some, then split to 2 and 3-some after the first hole. We remain most appreciative, as we might still be playing otherwise.
Dooks has decided to compete with the Ballybunions, Watervilles, and Lahinches of the world, and leave the Castlegregory and Ceann Sibeal crowd. All well and good…It remains a good value and the hospitality is first rate. Highly recommend.
Senerth, Kenneth 15-01-08
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