Old Head Golf Links Review

Reviewing Old Head Golf Links

It would not be unusual if you have seen pictures of The Old Head Golf Links and think to yourself, are the images real or photo-shopped? Well, the photos are a poor second cousin compared to being there in person. The course is nothing short of the most spectacular golf course in Ireland, and the views will not disappoint. Concierge Golf Ireland has prepared the following review to provide the reader with a snippet of insight into the Old Head Golf Links experience. 

Old Head Golf Links Review, Concierge Golf Ireland

Old Head Golf Links the Review:

A service member of staff will meet and greet golfers on arrival at the main gate. After a quick introduction, golfers will be directed to the car park and clubhouse. At the same time, the services team are notified of the group’s pending arrival. Where a merry golf cart will meet you to take your clubs to the practice ground and direct the group to check-in.

The layout of the clubhouse reception area is laid out similar to the shape of a hexagon. Wherefrom, the main reception, guests can access the downstairs leisure facilities & hotel suites, the restaurant & bar, the golf shop, the locker rooms, the member bars and the exit to the course.

Where to Checkin? 

Yes, check-in for tee times at the golf shop. Plus, it is worth noting that the golf shop has the most beautiful and latest golf apparel. Yes, indeed the Old Head Golf Links logo looks great on all shirts, hats & etc, and you won’t be disappointed shopping at the club for gifts.

Both the bar and restaurants are ready and waiting. Also, once the weather is good, I would suggest dining on the veranda before and after golf. Why? Because the views are just too good to miss overlooking the Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean.

Once checked in for golf, warm up on the driving range, work on chipping on the chipping & bunker area. Followed up by rolling a few putts on the putting green before play, which is next to the 1st tee. Certainly, the practice facilities are all very well maintained and be sure to get there early to enjoy hitting all the practice shots you need.

Yes, I recommend booking caddie services, because of the caddies course knowledge. Also, caddies are introduced on the range before play. The starter will come looking for golfers before tee off and he will help golfers with any questions. Finally, you pick up scorecards, tees, pencils, ball markers, and pitch repairs from the starters hut.

The Suites at Old Head: 

Currently, there are nineteen standard suites overlooking the lighthouse and they are just beautiful. The typical size of the suites measures from 40 to 60 m² (430 to 650 ft²)! Also, there are another two larger suites 86 m² (925 ft²) in size, making a total of twenty-one suites. 
Notably, the rooms can be set up for single, double and or twin occupancy. That is not all, Old Head is planning to build more accommodation capacity in the coming years. 

The Old Head Golf Course:

The course is set up with 8 par 4s, 5 par 5s and 5 par 3s. The greens are spacious and not so undulated, but the slope of the greens is typically from back to front. Also, the greens are tricky to read and take the caddie’s advice. As I find it is easy to under-read greens. 

Notably, there are five sets of tee boxes. Essentially, the Black Course is the longest and the Red is the shortest course to play. Consequently, the courses at Old Head measures from 7,137 to 5,413 yards in length depending on what course colour you play. But, since there are so many tee box options, it is unlikely that golfers would play the same course two days in a row.

Also, be mindful and play the course length that suits the group. The course starter will help with that decision, whereas the white course can play from 6200 – 6400 yard and from chatting to the starter, the white course is the most popular.

The course’s elevation from the sea shows really cool views. Plus, you can see the ocean from just about every hole. It is worth noting that ten holes border the ocean with spectacular views, and the views will not disappoint.  Finally, click here for the up to date pricing and booking information at Old Head Links. 

The Course Challenge, Old Head Golf Links the Review

From my experiences at Old Head, the main challenge is finding the right club to play. Mainly, this is due to the depth of the greens is long, the wind blows, and the course elevations can deceive my eyesight. The direction of the tee shot can be hard to trust because the landing areas are narrow.

The essential knowledge which holes should golfers play for position off the tee? A good example is the 5th Hole. The ball tends to kick hard right on the 5th and there is a chance of losing a ball in the junk on the right of the 5th hole. Also, the 10th hole is another good example where golfers can lose a ball by missing the fairway left on the 10th hole. 

Sure the bunkers are deep and playing good bunker shots is essential for scoring. Also, chipping around the greens is not straight forward, but that is the game. Bring your chip and run game too!

Indeed, a good strategy to score at Old Head, is that I find that playing conservatively, aiming for the middle of greens or to the front of the greens is probably the best strategy. But, come on that is so boring! Grip it and tip the ball at the flag! 

Spectacular Holes and picture opportunities:

Amazingly, there are photo opportunities on every hole almost anywhere on the course from the 1st tee to the 18th. The picture location is down to you. However, a few examples are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 12th, 13th,15th 16th & 18th tee boxes tee. Yep, that’s a lot! 

Another couple of places to consider photo opportunities;

  • At the back of the 6th green and walking to the 7th tee.
  • Walking from the 4th green to the 5th tee and meet at the stone of accord.
  • On the 12th tee box, possible the most amazing view. 
  • Also, on route to the 13th tee box. 

Notably, holes 4 and 12 are my top 2 holes for the best views. Please, do take the short route along the right side of the 4th hole, named the razor’s edge. It is a short sea walk that loops down towards the ocean and up to the 4th green. The 12th hole is breathtaking with the sea on the left and it is fair to say that to finish the 12th in par or better is a job well done. 

Notably, each golf hole setting is completely different and I found that golfers remember the Old Head experience more than other golf course played in Ireland.

Old Head Golf Links Review

A players Guide to Old Head Golf Links.

The Front Nine Guide

1st Hole: Par 4 Sli Na Firinne

Starting off with a good shot up the left centre is a good line off the tee. A common mistake is that golfers second shot is too often too short of the green. It is easy to take an extra club to play but keep the ball short of the hole. Mainly the reasons are the green is quite deep and it is hard to see that from the fairway. Also, the green slopes dramatically from back to front and the green is raised.

2nd Hole: Par 4 Gun Hole

The ideal line is down the middle of the fairway or just short of the fairway bunkers on the right. The green slopes from the centre of the green to the back, and you can’t see that slope from the fairway. However, playing for the centre of the green is a good play on this occasion. 

3rd Hole: Par 3 Bream Rock

Centre of the green all day is the best line to play. Pin positions toward the back of the green are sucker pin positions. Because play too much club and the ball is in the Atlantic Ocean. 

4th Hole: Par 4 Razors Edge

Yes, the right centre tee shot is the way to go and play for the centre of the green with the next shot. The green is a similar concept to the 2nd green, but the slopes are more severe than the 2nd.

5th Hole: Par 4 Hake Head

Left centre shot off the tee and play for a level lie 2nd shot. Following, play for the centre of the green. The green is entirely raised and like the 1st hole the green slopes a lot from back to front.

6th Hole: Par 5 All Points

I would recommend a couple of ways to play this hole. If you are a big hitter, and you fancy hitting the green in 2 shots. Take a line over the left of the fairway bunker and then go for it! Also, for the golf mortals, hit the first two shot up the middle of the fairway. The green is up high on a plateau, and it is a two tire green, and no significant slopes to report. However, please note that the green slopes from back to front.

The Challenge: Play the last 3 holes in Par or Better? 

7th Hole: Par 3 Legal Eagle

The hole is straight in front of you and not much to report except, don’t miss the green right!

8th Hole: Par 5 God’s Acre

If you have played the Old Head up to 2019, the green has moved to the right and it is a raised green where is it much harder to hit the green in 2 shots. 

However, hitting the tee shot up the right side remains the same, and I would suggest based on the distance is try to lay up to the 100 yards to the centre of the green area. The green is raised again, but not that long, and there is more width to the green.

9th Hole: Par 4 The Dolmen

The hole is straight away, and a slight dogleg left. A right centre shot is the line and play for the centre of the green would be great. The green is more bowl-shaped than the others.

The Back Nine Guide

10th Hole: Par 5 Dun Cearmna

A left centre tee shot, and if the hole plays downwind, you may have an excellent chance to go for the green in two.  If not, lay up to the right and ensure that the ball is well short of the fairway bunker on the right and the burial ground of the ancients. The green is one of the smoother greens to negotiate.

11th Hole: Par 3 Galley Head

Ensure to use enough of club and right centre of the green would be a good line, as the left greenside bunker is a grave for golf balls and golf scores. The green slopes mainly from back to front.

12th Hole: Par 5 Courcean Stage

The 12th is one of the most spectacular holes on the course, and it is a dogleg left hole. Hit for the stone on the hill, and bigger hitters would aim further left. The lay-up area becomes narrower as the hole develops towards the green and I would suggest to lay-up to the 100 yards area. The front section of the green slopes to the front and the back section of the green is flatter.

Old Head Golf Links, Old Head Golf Links Review
Score Card Old Head Golf Links
Best Golf Courses in Ireland | Old Head Golf | Old Head Golf Links 12th hole
Old Head Golf Links 12th Hole

13th Hole: Par 3 The Sovereings

The 13th is a short par 3, but fun! Getting to the green is not the problem, and the main challenge is the green. If possible, I would suggest keeping the ball below the hole and take dead aim for the centre of the green.

14th Hole: Par 4 Raven’s Run

The right side of the fairway is a good line, or the tiger line is to hit over the left-hand fairway bunker. Also, I would recommend playing for the right side of the green, because if your ball ends up short, it is likely the ball to kick left onto the green. It is worth noting that the green slopes a lot from right to left.

Add a Goal! Play the last 4 holes in par or better? 

15th Hole: Par 4 Haulies’s Leap

Yes indeed, the hole is a driveable par 4 and hit for the left side of the hole. The green is protected by bunkers left and right and the green slopes from back to front.

16th Hole: Par 3 Coosgorm

The 16th requires one of the best shots of the day to keep the ball on the green. Should you miss the green short, you are left with a tough chip or a bunker shot. Also, should you miss the green long or to the right the ball is gone fishing! The green is one of the flatter surfaces and easy to read.

17th Hole: Par 5 Lighthouse

Ideally, a left centre tee shot followed by a lay-up shot to the left side of the fairway. Golfers could go down the right-hand side which would offer a better 3rd shot, but a miscue to the right with that shot and the ball is in the Atlantic Ocean. The green is tricky to reach but mainly slopes from back to front.

18th Hole: Par 4 The Sanctuary

Finally, the last hole! A tee shot up the right centre is perfect and the second shot is to a raised two-tiered green. The green slopes mainly from back to front and it is a tough up and down should you miss the green.

A note on The Finishing stretch Holes 15 – 18:

The last four holes are not really for chasing the opposition as there are lots of places to lose balls. But, there are opportunities! Such as the 15th hole is a short par 4 and driveable, the 16th is medium length par 3 and nowhere is safe but on the green.

The 17th is a tricky par 5 where the tee shot and approach shot to the green need to be good. Finally, the 18th hole is approximately 400 yards from the white tees. However, keep the ball below the hole on the 18th, the green is really difficult to read and the pace of the green tends to be quick.

The Final Note: 

Please feel free to comment and make suggestions to Concierge Golf’s Old Head Golf Links Review. The purpose of the review is to talk about items that we are very likely to agree on which are the on-course views. 

I firmly believe that a golfers review is entirely objective, and yes, the golfer’s opinion is what matters, because it was his or her experience. For that purpose, I do avoid negative comments about golf holes. That is not to suggest that Old Head has many or any negative points. 

Finally, I find the service standard at Old Head to be what you would expect at a similar type of golf venue. Also, the course maintenance is kept to a very high standard. Yes, the course will more than likely be a little rough at the start of the year in April compared with May to October. However, overall, the Old Head Golf Links is possibly the best-golfing viewing experience in the world.   

I would recommend hiring a caddy at Old Head. The service is pretty good, and the caddy entertainment is good fun. 

Please contact us at [email protected].