GLENBEIGH, Ireland -- Dooks Golf Club - the best-kept secret in Irish golf - is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014.
One of the Emerald Isle's 10 oldest golf clubs, Dooks is home to an 18-hole links course along rugged Dingle Bay in County Kerry. Deriving its name from the Irish word for "dunes," the fun, player-friendly track boasts Atlantic Ocean views from nearly every hole. Framed by Ireland's highest mountain range, the McGillycuddy Reeks, Dooks' gently rolling site is awash with natural beauty.
"Golfers worldwide are invited to celebrate with us and see why we're so proud of our 'Friendly Dooks' nickname," says Michelle McGreevy, General Manager. "There will be an extra-enthusiastic welcome in 2014, with a host of special events and promotions at the club."
These activities are outlined on the club's newly-revamped, tablet and mobile-friendly website, www.dooks.com, as well as its Facebook page. To further commemorate the anniversary, guests are encouraged to inquire about 50%-off replay rates and overseas memberships.
A nine-hole layout for most of its first 80 years, it was expanded to 18 in 1970. The most recent renovations were completed by renowned golf course architect Martin Hawtree in 2006, elevating Dooks to "must play" status like neighbors Ballybunion and Tralee.
Hawtree, whose resume includes acclaimed make overs of Lahinch and Royal Dublin, rebuilt all bunkers, relocated tees and fairways, and shaped 16 new greens - 10 in new locations. A sporty par 71 measuring 6,586 yards from the back tees, Dooks is now a fairer test of golf that still drips with trademark charm.
Despite the relatively modest yardage, the course record is just 70. Ever-present southwest winds put a premium on the ground game and proper shot trajectory. Numerous greenside collection areas await mis-hit approaches and compel imaginative bumps, chips and pitches to get up-and-down.
Memorable holes abound. Number four is a spectacular beachside par 3. The 489-yard par-4 7th is statistically the toughest test, playing through a chute of dunes to an undulating green. And the 173-yard 11th endearingly features humps and hollows molded by sheep that still drift over from a nearby field as informal members of the grounds crew.
After a few holes that are more parkland than links in character, the 17th and 18th return to the dunes and play into the prevailing wind. Seventeen is a straight 400-yarder with an elevated tee and out of bounds down the entire left side. The finisher is 426 yards with white chimneys of distant houses marking the ideal line. Post-renovation, the second shot can now trundle along the firm-and-fast turf to find the putting surface.
"With our magical course, unparalleled hospitality, superb restaurant, and quaint, traditional bar, Dooks is the quintessential Irish golf experience," adds McGreevy. "Come see why we're a 'can't miss' on any southwest Ireland golf itinerary."
For more information: www.dooks.com, +353 (0)66 9768205.
Shannon Airport (SNN) is two hours from Dooks and offers non-stop flights from New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, London, Liverpool, Birmingham and more. Dublin Airport (DUB) is four hours away. Cities with non-stop service include New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Madrid and Abu Dhabi.