Founded in 1889, Dooks Golf Club is one of the 10 oldest golf clubs in Ireland and home to the oldest golf course in Kerry. Not too much has changed since its founding, culminating in an experience that’s delightfully old-fashioned. From clubhouse to course, much of this glorious Irish institution has been left untouched by the hands of time.
The name “Dooks” is derived from the Irish word for dunes, so it should come as no surprise that this 18-hole romp on the edge of Dingle Bay is rife with them. It had only nine holes originally but was expanded upon in the 1970s by local members under the supervision of Eddie Hackett.
Measuring barely 6,500 yards from the blue tees, the course at Dooks Golf Club has been referred to as “links golf in miniature.” Despite the modest yardage however, the course record stands at 70. That’s because this links course is trickier than it lets on, also requiring the kind of imaginative punch and bump and run shots called for when playing Dooks’ famous neighbors, Ballybunion, Waterville, and Tralee.
One of Dooks’ most storied holes is the 12th, which was not part of the 18-hole layout initially. It was instead an extra “19th” hole fittingly dubbed “The Spare,” put in play whenever maintenance was being done to one of the others. It became a favorite over time and was added to the course’s official layout in recent years.
Another one of Dooks Golf Club’s many quirks is the presence of natterjack toads. These diminutive toads have claimed the sandy linksland at Dooks as one of their last remaining habitats. But since they are nocturnal, you probably won’t see any out on the course. One place you can always find a natterjack toad though, is on the club’s official emblem.