Dooks Golf Club
Designers: Martin Hawtree
Of all the sublime settings for golf in Ireland, one would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place to play the game than Dooks Golf Club. The name itself translates to “dunes,” however the course is not as exposed to the elements as other Irish links. This allows numerous varieties of wild flowers, gorse, and heather to form a delightful stage against the backdrop of Dingle Bay and the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains. It also provides a perfect environment for the Natterjack Toad – a hideous little creature that serves double duty as the club’s logo. The Natterjack notwithstanding, the sheer beauty of Dooks is simply impossible to deny.
And it was all nearly lost for good.
After the club was formed in 1889, Dooks took out a 75 year lease on land from the Besford McGregor Estate to build a 9-hole course. Fast forward to 1963, when the club received notice to vacate the land at the end of the lease as it would not be renewed. The estate had plans to sell the property for the construction of a hotel, holding firm in their assertion that the Dooks Golf Club had to go. A media campaign to “Save Dooks” was launched, with support pouring in from all corners of Ireland to help preserve one of the ten oldest clubs in the country. After a two year fight, the landowners eventually bowed to the pressure and agreed to sell the club the property for a sum of £7000.
With its future now secure, and the links filled to capacity with visitors drawn by the publicity, the club undertook the task of extending the course to a full 18-holes. The painstaking work was completed on a shoestring budget and on the backs of the members themselves. Yet their determination and hard work resulted in a course that remained untouched until 2002. In that year, the club invited Martin Hawtree to come “have a look” and offer a few suggested improvements. Those “suggestions” amounted to a complete overhaul of the links, which the club proudly debuted in 2006.
Leaving a memorable impression amongst the collection of historic links in southwest Ireland is no easy task. And while Dooks may never reach the notoriety of its illustrious neighbors, it stands right alongside them both in terms of unforgettable beauty and gracious hospitality. If nothing else, a few souvenirs with that unmistakable logo are sure to bring a smile for years to come.