I was down for a few days and planning visits to Skellig Bay and the mighty Waterville. Two very different courses that both capture the imagination but in very different ways. Skellig Bay came first and a late evening visit took me down the Ring of Kerry into a ball of sun that made seeing the potholes in the road nigh on impossible. This is one of the most bizarre routes on the planet: stretches of smooth blacktop interrupted with furious regularity by potholed chaos, narrow roadway and cliff-clinging barriers that look far too precarious for your health.
[Photo: stunning views over the 2nd green from the 3rd tee box]
Especially when buses come hurtling around corners towards you with a startling degree of indifference. It is just crazy and I feel sorry for tourists who are driving on a different side of the road for the first time – we encountered an American couple who had burst a tyre and buckled the wheel because they had driven too close to the edge. As we chatted to them and made calls to the hire car company, the wife threw in the classic “I told you you were driving too close to the edge.” A lesser man might have taken the jack to her, but the husband seemed remarkably unfazed.
The holes above the ocean are the holes that are probably most memorable, but the best holes are further inland – holes 14, 15 and 16 – where a river runs and trees add to the atmosphere of startlingly rural Irish golf.
[Photo: The par three 14th - a magnificent hole]
It costs €500 to join here and while it is a long way for many golfers, it is worth a visit, especially if you’re playing Waterville five minutes away. The lady in the clubhouse was keen for me to revise my review of the course (which she hadn't even seen), on the basis that 84 out of 100 (I think) was not up to her high expectations. I think my review is a good one and Skellig Bay is something that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else. Of that you can be sure.