Waterville Golf Links Course Review

Waterville is a true links blessed with one of the most dreamy, unspoilt locations in the Top 100

Waterville is blessed with the most beautiful and peaceful setting (Pic: Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Waterville is a true links blessed with one of the most dreamy, unspoilt locations in the Top 100

Waterville Golf Links Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 20 Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 21 2017/18 - 18 2015/16 - 15 2013/14 - 11 2011/12 - 08 2009/10 - 09

Summer Green Fees

Round - €250

Visitors: welcome at all times, contact club for details

Medal Tee: Par 72 - 6,810 Yards

www.watervillegolflinks.ie (opens in new tab)

Changes since previous ranking

On the course, the most significant improvement has been a complete renovation of all 96 bunkers to ensure total playing consistency from every one. The club has invested €500,000 in new equipment, and €300,000 in fairway topdressing, which has greatly improved the firmness and drainage capacity of the fairways. There has also been a complete renovation of the clubhouse with over €3 million invested.

The par-4 third (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

Waterville Golf Links Course Review

Although golf was played here a long time ago, it was at a rudimentary level and eventually petered out. The land received new ownership in the 1960s by Irish-born American Jack Mulcahy. His ambition was to create the most testing courses in the world. He worked with leading Irish architect Eddie Hackett, and with Claude Harmon, a former Masters champion. The links opened for play in 1973 and is undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in Ireland.

An aerial view of the seventh (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

While the layout is therefore still relatively young, it has the look and feel of a course that has been here forever. Almost completely surrounded by water, there are views over to the mountains and it is an excellent test of golf. More recently, Tom Fazio completed a project to make the topography more consistent throughout while enhancing the challenge, beauty and traditional links playing surfaces.

Waterville Golf Links Course Review

Surrounded by Beauty

The opening two holes lead you down to the shore before the next two hug the edge of the dunes and beach. Great holes always leave you wanting more, and Waterville delivers these in abundance here.

The par-5 eleventh

You head back to the shoreline at the 15th. The lie of the land on the right-to-left dogleg 16th then seems to do all it can to lead you to water. The hole is 366 yards, but former European Tour pro Liam Higgins once recorded a hole in one here! There is then a stunning par 3, while the 18th is a long 3-shotter where the beach is a constant threat until you’re safely on the green.

The fabulous dunes at Waterville

Magical, mystical, wondrous. Waterville is all of these things and more.

Assessor Feedback

Despite the drive, it is clear to see why Waterville is on most American golf tourists hit list.

GM Verdict

Waterville is a true links blessed with one of the most dreamy, unspoilt locations in the Top 100

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 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 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the 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 nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 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.