Any golfing region would significantly benefit from having a Dooks. It is playable, fun, not too long, has great green sites and a truly wonderful location. It’s the perfect foil for some of the more demanding, big dune golf that Ireland offers.
The course sits and plays so harmoniously with its breath-taking setting it really is a little piece of Kerry Heaven.
The Club dates back to 1889, one of Ireland’s oldest, but it had a facelift at the start of the millennium and this is mostly what we get to enjoy today. Originally it was a quirky little nine-hole links but was extended to 18 in the 1970s by Eddie Hackett before major change came in 2022 by Martin Hawtree.
Arriving in the car park you wouldn’t even know there was a golf course nearby. And even whilst playing the first hole you are not really prepared for what is about to come.
The opening hole plays to a ledge fairway with a mountain backdrop and is a fine hole in its own right but the course then immediately reveals itself as you walk to the second tee and you just know that you are going to enjoy the next few hours.
There is a sea of short grass, heather and spots of gorse in the most surreal of setting close to the waters edge. You can see most of the green sites and the majority of these are set up on little plateaus and the terrain just meanders naturally and effortlessly over a compact property.
It is a course that feels like it has a musical beat to it thanks to its varied holes and the shots it asks of you.
Dooks is a links where it is difficult to pick out individual holes because the sum of its parts is what makes it so special. Unlike some other Irish courses it doesn’t feel as exposed to the elements as it appears to sit in a sort of shallow basin.
There are plenty of medium length par fours with only a couple of really tough holes (5th & 18th) and a quartet of short holes which all play less than 180 yards, most around the 150 yard mark from yellows.
The par fives are very good too. The 6th is all before you whilst holes 9 and 10 are back-to-back par fives. The latter is probably the weakest hole on the course but is in the best location down by the shore.
The routing does get a little awkward towards the end and I did slightly prefer the front nine but honestly who cares, Dooks is such a great place to play golf it seems a little unfair to look for faults.
The most Dooks can play yardage wise is 6,511 (Par is 71) but I would argue it is even more fun by moving up to the Whites or Yellows which play just over or under the 6,000 yard mark respectively.