Course Spotlight

World’s Most Beautiful Golf Courses: Old Head Golf Links

By Danny Brassil, Director of Golf for Old Head Golf Links
Published on
An amazing spectacle

Old Head Golf Links is certainly a beautiful golf course but even more, it's a beautiful piece of property. I've certainly never seen anything like it and the breathtaking views and the unique setting offers our players a memory I don't think you can recreate anywhere else. We sit 300 feet above the water and the majesty of the cliffs; with the sounds of the ocean and the smell of the air, you could put many things on this land and it would be beautiful. But put a world-class golf course here like we've done and now you have something that is really one of the unique and amazing spectacles you could find anywhere.

On the edge of the world

Old Head is situated on a 220 acre diamond-shaped area that extends two miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the southern tip of Ireland, it is both remote and still accessible. In fact, one of the phrases that we hear from many players is that they feel as if they are on the "edge of the world." And we love that. The green complexes for each hole have been designed to be as open as possible, thus offering the player a view of the ocean from every hole, from every view. So in that sense, we are a world onto our own, offering 360-degree, panoramic views of the ocean from this stunning perch high above the water. How many courses can offer that?

The course finally appears out of nowhere

The Old Head experience actually starts before you ever set foot on the course. As you come to visit us, you are driving through some rugged land with no real view of the ocean or the beauty of the surrounding area. But then, as you approach the course, the last 150 yards or so, you come over the hill and just look down on this diamond mass that is so stunning. Most players get off the bus right there and start snapping pictures. And you can't blame them.

A natural fit for the land

And once you are on the course, the excitement and appeal only grow. The owners of the land wanted very much to have a walking course and to promote it; the walkways of the course really utilize the natural surroundings to offer the most incredible, powerful views. The second hole is where the seaside walks start and you often are walking right beside the incredible cliffs before being directed back onto the fairway. There's no way to properly describe the sensations that you feel when you are out here on the course, but I think it's fair to say that you couldn't replicate them anywhere else. We offer so much in terms of a diverse ecology and wildlife as well, all which fit in so naturally to a course that, despite having opened in 1997 for play, seems to fit the land like it has been here forever. There is just a connection to the environment when you are playing here, something that while not really describable, is unforgettable to those who have visited with us.

The newest lighthouse is more than 150 years old

The sense of history here at Old Head is also overwhelming and I need to mention how it also plays a part in the Old Head experience. Like I mentioned earlier, the course has been open for play for just over ten years, but the land itself dates back thousands of years. You can still see evidence of this in the headlands area. The Stone of Accord dates back to pre-Christian times and the unspoiled feeling of the area really offers you no evidence of what era you are in as you look around in wonderment. On the course, there are not many man-made structures, but one that we have is the remains of a lighthouse built in 1667. Our "newest" lighthouse (there are three total; two are remains of lighthouses, one is operational) was built in 1853. Just off shore are the sites of many famous shipwrecks including the sinking of the Lusitania, one of the most pivotal moments in 20th century history, no doubt.

So with the hundreds of golf courses that could have made this list, we are very appreciative that we were named as one of the top few. But we also understand that it's no accident. We offer golfers a view, a test, and an experience that they just simply can't get anywhere else. And we are committed to keeping it that way.

The World's Most Beautiful Courses is a list of courses selected by the PGA.com Editorial Advisory Board. The only prerequisites asked of the Board were 1.) they select courses open for public play and 2.) they not vote for their own course. The top 12 courses will be featured, in no particular order, other than the top vote getter which was selected by a unanimous vote.

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