Waterville Golf Links: Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

Waterville Golf Links is blessed with one of the most idyllic, peaceful and remote locations in the Top 100 and is a pilgrimage worth making

Waterville Golf Links
Surrounded by sea, river and mountain, Waterville is extremely beautiful
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Waterville Golf Links Key Information

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
AddressWaterville, County Kerry, Ireland
Phone00353 66 947 4102
Email info@watervillegolflinks.ie
Visitor TimesAny day subject to availability
ParMen 72, Women 73
SlopeWhite/M 123, Red/W 125
ArchitectEddie Hackett, Tom Fazio
Golf Monthly Verdict

Waterville Golf Links - Hole 2

(Image credit: Waterville Golf Links)

One of the great joys but also drawbacks of Waterville is that it really is quite a long way from anywhere else. However, the pluses heavily outweigh the minuses and more than reward the effort made to get to this idyllic outpost of County Kerry on Ireland’s spectacular Atlantic coast. This is a supreme links in a heavenly setting that is an equal mix of strategic test and visual delight from start to finish.

Reasons To Play Waterville

– This beautiful and expansive championship links sits on the edge of the world

– The journey here is an adventure in itself and really whets the appetite

– Panoramic mountain and sea views accompany you all the way


UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 22

Waterville Golf Links enjoys a very special setting where golf was first played a very long time ago. Back then, it was at a more basic level and eventually it petered out altogether. Happily, in the 1960s, this amazing plot of land was taken over by Irish-born American Jack Mulcahy. It was his ambition to create here one of the most testing courses in the world, and so he recruited leading Irish architect Eddie Hackett, as well as former Masters champion, Claude Harmon. The resulting links opened for play 50 years ago in 1973 and it is one of the very best golf courses in Ireland.

Such is the location and topography that it soon had the look and feel of a course that had been sitting there forever. It is almost completely surrounded by water, there are glorious views over to the mountains, and it is an excellent test of golf. In more recent times, Tom Fazio has worked here with the aim of ensuring that the look and feel is more consistent throughout while at the same time enhancing the challenge and improving the links playing surfaces. It was Fazio who helped raise The Golf Course at Adare Manor to the next level and return it to the Golf Monthly Top 100.

There are two returning loops of nine to the east and west, with the opening two holes leading you enticingly down to the shore. The next two hug the edge of the dunes and the beach, a par 4 followed by the first short hole with its green in the dunes. A succession of strong holes leads you back to the extremely smart clubhouse for some hopefully well-earned halftime refreshments.

The back nine is arguably even stronger and includes three par 5s raising the hope of perhaps a birdie. Strong closing holes are ideal to leave you wanting more, and Waterville delivers these in abundance. Having returned to the shoreline at the 15th, the lie of the land at the next seems to beckon you towards the water. The hole is 386 yards from the back, but former European Tour pro Liam Higgins once recorded a hole in one here! The penultimate hole is a stunning par 3 with sensational views from the green before you return home via a par 5 where the beach is a constant threat until you’re safely there.

The west coast of Ireland is blessed with some spectacular courses such as Ballybunion and Tralee, and Waterville is a very special course in a very special location.

Waterville Golf Links - Hole 3

Looking back along the lovely par-4 third at Waterville

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Tim Browne UK&I Top 100 panel
Tim Browne

This is an amazing setting on a spit of land that is pure sand and just sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a beautiful part of Ireland and there are great views from the course. A great Irish links course comparable to many other such links but perhaps with fewer outstanding holes than its rivals.

Robert Dunne - Top 100 Panellist
Robert Dunne

The clubhouse is spectacular. It blends into the surroundings cleverly and from inside provides panoramic views of the course and the coastline. What a course, always a joy to play! The thing that does it for me here is just how natural it is. This is a fantastic place to come and play golf.

Tim Gorman UK&I Top 100 panel
Tim Gorman

The greens generally have sharp, deep run-offs and are heavily bunkered. The fairways are mostly generous. There are stunning views with the backdrop of mountains on 300 degrees and water on 3 sides. It’s off the beaten track but well worth all golfers making the effort to get here.

Waterville Golf Links Location

Waterville Golf Links Green Fees

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Apr-Oct €300Row 0 - Cell 2
Off SeasonContact Club For DetailsRow 1 - Cell 2
Row 2 - Cell 0 Row 2 - Cell 1 Row 2 - Cell 2

Waterville Links Scorecard

Waterville Golf Links scorecard

(Image credit: Waterville Golf Links)

Best Courses Near To Waterville Links



Sometimes a little overlooked in favour of the premier league clubs on the west coast of Ireland, Dooks is in the Next 100 and is an extremely attractive links worthy of any golfer’s attention and time. The views alone are worth the green fee at this genuinely friendly club.



Killarney has one of the most beautiful inland locations in golf. The views are sensational and it is all too easy to be distracted, but the Killeen Course is a consistently fine test all the way with plenty of variety and inner beauty.

Best Places To Stay Near To Waterville

Waterville House - Book now via Waterville Golf Links

This elegant 18th century Georgian manor house is the perfect place to stay when playing Waterville Golf Links.

Butler Arms Hotel - Book now via Booking.com

Directly opposite the beach, this hotel has views of the Atlantic Ocean and offers spacious rooms and a seafood restaurant. Traditional Irish breakfasts are served and the restaurant has a varied menu and daily fish specials. There is a traditional bar menu on offer at the Fisherman's Bar.

The Smugglers Inn - Book now via Booking.com

Most rooms have sea or mountain views, and the hotel has a bar and a gourmet restaurant specialising in fresh seasonal local produce and seafood. There is a gastro bar food menu and a garden for al fresco dining at lunchtime, weather permitting.

Waterville Golf Links Gallery

Historical Top 100 Rankings UK&I

  • 2023/24 22
  • 2021/22 20
  • 2019/20 21
  • 2017/18 18
  • 2015/16 15
  • 2013/14 11
  • 2011/12 08
  • 2009/10 09

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Waterville?

One of the absolute joys of Waterville is its remote setting on the furthest shores of County Kerry in Ireland. It is the most westerly course in the Top 100, and any effort made to get here is amply rewarded by the beauty and serenity of the location.

Has Waterville hosted the Irish Open?

Not yet, but this is probably only for logistical reasons; it would be a long drive for spectators. The course itself is more than capable of hosting a professional event, but has so far staged amateur tournaments such as the women’s home internationals.

Which famous golfers have played at Waterville?

Prior to the 1998 Open Championship, Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara and Payne Stewart played here. Stewart also accepted the captaincy of Waterville, but sadly died before he could take office.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,200 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during that year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! During the 2021-22 review period, Rob played 36 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.