For the last 20 years we have held an annual father and son golf outing and over the years we have played many different courses. Last week we played Dingle (Ceann Sibeal) on Thursday and Dooks near Glenbeigh on Friday. Definitely a couple of Irelands golfing gems build on truly wonderful golfing sites and in this part of the golfing world, arguably the best golfing value available.
View of 9th green at Ceann Sibeal Dingle
On the way from Dingle to Dooks I stopped for a walk on Inch Strand which is a wonderful walking beach about 15 miles on the Killarney side of Dingle. Cars can drive on to and park on the beach, which is about a mile long, and a super walk when the tide is out. Across the water from Inch is the village of Glenbeigh on The Ring of Kerry and the wonderful golf links at Dooks.
View of first green at Dooks..yes one ball on the green well done David Russell!
Whilst I walked along Inch Strand my eyes kept looking inland even though there are wonderful views out to sea. The reason my eyes kept wandering is that all the way along the beach there are these most magnicent looking enormous sand dunes that I just know would make the most wonderful site for a links golf course.
View of sand dunes at Inch
I am not the first person to think that and indeed my old friend Dr Arthur Spring from Tralee who sadly departed from us last year had a lifelong ambition to create a true links course on the site. There may be other similar brilliant sites available in Ireland but I have never seen anywhere a site as good as the one alongside Inch Strand.
View of Inch Strand and dunes from Dook’s Golf Club
Arthur Spring was an interesting man and designed many fine golf courses including one at Castlegegory just over The Conor Pass on the Tralee side of Dingle. Arthur was born in Tralee and just loved that part of Kerry.
Arthur was a medical man before he became a golf architect as indeed was the renowned Dr Alister Mac Kenzie the designer of Augusta, and in Ireland, Lahinch ( Tom Morris did the original layout) and Little Island in Cork along with many other famous golf courses around the world. Like Dr Mc Kenzie, Arthur decided that he too would prefer to spend his time designing golf courses rather than looking after medical ailments.
Arthur was very passionate about the unique site at Inch feeling that it could be turned into a great seaside golf course. He also felt strongly about the tourism benefits that it would bring to the area.
Unfortunately for Arthur planning permission for building golf courses came in just after he became involved in its design. The need for permission as far as I remember came in around 1995 and ultimately he never did get approval. There were objections in relation to the protection of the wild life on the dunes similar to Doonbeg and perhaps like the Old Head of Kinsale there were some right of way problems involved. Planning permission was always required for a club house, but back then the planners felt that a golf course protected the wild life rather than interfering with it.
And so probably the most magnificent bit of natural golfing terrain, possibly in the world just lies there unused but magnificent.
The next time you are passing Inch Beach on the way to Dingle stop off for a walk on the beach and view the dunes and let me know what you think.
Ted Dwyer Family Business