PAR 5 | 540 YDS
The first hole, known as Shake Hands or “the welcome hole” by its designer Robert Trent Jones Jr, was designed to align with the philosophy of A.W. Tillinghast, who believed that the first hole should ease the player into the round. This hole is a par 5 reachable in two for the long hitter. The tee shot should favor left center, followed by a generous bailout area to the left of the green. Trying your hand at Shake Hands is a pleasant way to get your round started.
PAR 4 | 395 YDS
The second hole, a short par 4, is named for the famous Waterville House that frames the back of the green. The tee shot should target the center of the fairway while a good drive will leave a short pitch to a turtleback green. With the completion of this hole, your welcome is over.
PAR 3 | 195 YDS
This gem of a par 3 was named Finglas for the river that runs the length of its green. An elevated tee box looks down at the Finglas River which protects the small narrow green. The green forms at the water’s edge and is protected on the right rear by a bunker. A well-lofted right to left shot should master the hole. In any event, it might be wise to take an extra club.
PAR 4 | 455 YDS
Running along the left side of this hole is the Finglas River, a famous Atlantic Salmon-spawning run that feeds Lough Currane and ultimately drains into the Ballinskelligs Bay. It is also a strong defense of par. A nest of bunkers defines the landing area, forcing the ideal tee shot to be targeted to the elevated fairway above the river. A second shot into this long par 4 would suggest landing on the right half of the green.
PAR 3 | 195 YDS
From the tee box of this hole a player can see the backdrop of mountains that source the flows of the Finglas, which cascade down the side of the hole in a series of pools. Once again, this stream plays a role in the defense of par. The tee shot needs to be precise and preferably kept to the right front of the green.
PAR 5 | 560 YDS
The sixth hole is named Biarritz for the deep swale running through the center of a large green. While the Biarritz concept was usually employed by the Master architects on par 3s, the designer felt that this would make for an interesting strategy for a player’s third shot on this hole. From the tee, a player should favor a wide-open left side with a left to right slope on the second shot.
PAR 4 | 465 YDS
This hole is named Limbo for the two ancient burial sites located behind the 7th tee and along the left side of the fairway. In the 6th century AD, unbaptized babies, who died at birth, could not be buried in sacred church ground. A beautiful site, looking toward the beaches and sea, was chosen as the final resting place for those entering Limbo. Please respect these burial sites and avoid walking on the monument ground. Playing downhill and into the prevailing wind, the hole is a stout straight par 4. A tee shot should take advantage of the speed slot right of the center fairway bunker to shorten the hole. In an effort to defend the elevated green, no bunkers are present, so this hole should be a breeze.
PAR 5 | 520 YDS
The shortest of the par 5s, this hole offers the player a breather as they take a nice walk to the sea. The first shot is slightly uphill and play is generally into the prevailing wind. A tee shot favoring the left half of the fairway will lengthen the playing distance of the hole. The approach shot must carry the central bunker short of the green and thread the needle between two bunkers that flank the green. The back half of the green is hinged to fall away, making a long approach shot more difficult.
PAR 4 | 485 YDS
This dogleg left par 4 will typically play downwind. It opens with an up-and-over tee shot defined by dunes bracketing the fairway target – there is more fairway to the right than you think. This is followed by a long downhill approach shot that is generally helped by the wind. The hole gets its name from the shape of the green: the bowl is chipped at the front left corner, spilling back onto the fairway. The safe line is left of the first fairway bunker well short of the green, followed by a short punch shot that funnels onto the putting surface. Broken Bowl presents great variety in creative shot-making for those who embrace the ground game.
PAR 4 | 445 YDS
This sharp, dogleg right par 4 rises to the highest point of the seaside holes. From the green a player can see the lake, village, sea, mountains and Finglas views of Hogs Head. The faint-hearted will be best served to favor the left center of the fairway from the tee while the strong player should aim right, challenging the bunkers to significantly shorten the approach shot. The shot into the green must avoid the deep bunker right, as well as the fall away grass slope left.
PAR 3 | 160 YDS
The 11th hole is aligned with the rock outcropping known as Hogs Head. On the right side of this hole, you will discover a 2,000-year-old sundial marking the summer solstice. The hole is a short par 3 into a well-bunkered, cliffside green located on the highest seaside point of the property, particularly sensitive to windy conditions. On a calm day, an accurate tee shot should result in a par or better. If the prevailing winds are blowing, how close to the cliff edge do you dare? This hole is called Gail’s Dare in honor of Tony Alvarez’s bride – “a petite, fun woman who can be tough if you get on her bad side.”
PAR 4 | 415 YDS
With the cliffs of Hogs Head defending par along the right side, a large trap along the far left, and with the shot influenced by a right-to-left prevailing wind, this hole requires a great deal of courage. That is, play your tee shot as close to the cliff edge as you dare for an easy second shot to an inviting green.
PAR 3 | 165-230 YDS
This hole is a beautiful par 3 with two separate cliffside greens, each offering distinct challenges. The hole is called Kathleen’s Choice in honor of Bryan Marsal’s bride – “an Irish beauty who can push you over the edge.”
PAR 5 | 575 YDS
This hole is a strong uphill par 5 that will test all who play it. It climbs to a green shared with the 11th green, with protection on the left front from a large bunker and on the right by a series of green side bunkers. As to the name of this hole, from the tee one can see a crooked wall on the right where the contractor suffered the after-effects of too much celebration on St. Patrick’s Day.
PAR 3 | 220 YDS
This downhill cliffside par 3 offers a beautiful view of the Village of Waterville. Challenge the bunker short and right of the green using the ground as your ally as the putting surface tips gently toward the sea. Pub’s Calling is the last of the cliffs of Hogs Head.
PAR 4 | 435 YDS
The hole is bordered on the left by tenants who claim squatter’s rights. One of these tenants is four-footed: a goat. You can only find this kind of charm in Ireland. In any event, the hole is an uphill tee shot and a downhill, slight dogleg left par 4 with the green protected by bunkering. The tee shot should target the lighthouse bunker well long of the landing zone to reach for the right center of the fairway.
PAR 4 | 320 YDS
This downwind par 4 is short and reachable by a long and precise tee shot, provided a player can control the ball on the ground as well as through the air. Some will be tempted to go for the green, whose undulating putting surface is invitingly large, but be mindful of the native sandy hazard right of the green that must be challenged. Four left bunkers guard the green and the approach. For the less daring, a conservative tee shot placed short of the fairway bunker followed by a wedge should yield a par. A player will find that a risk taken and executed well will be rewarded.
PAR 5 | 565 YDS
The tee shot easily clears the Finglas River to the front but the stream may come into play along the far left. For best results, target the right center. The second shot is into a tight fairway landing area protected by right-side bunkers and a left-side drop off. The third shot is likely a pitch shot to a large elevated green, protected by bunkers along the front and left-side. Your fellow golfers will enjoy viewing your second and third shot from the Clubhouse terrace.