Waterville Golf Links - hole 18
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 18
The 18th green sits steps from the clubhouse and the beach at Waterville Golf Links in Co. Kerry, Ireland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - Payne Stewart statue
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Waterville Golf Links - Payne Stewart statue
Waterville Golf Links pays tribute to Payne Stewart with a statue near the clubhouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 2
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 2
Bunkers litter the right side of the second fairway at Waterville Golf Links in Ireland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 3
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 3
The third hole at Waterville Golf Links skirts the estuary. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 4
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 4
There's a reason the par-3 fourth hole at Waterville Golf Links is called "Dunes. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 6
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 6
A stream runs up the right side of the par-3 sixth hole at Waterville Golf Links. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 8
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 8
The eighth hole at Waterville Golf Links sweeps left to a well bunkered green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 11
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 11
The 11th hole at Waterville Golf Links -- called "Tranquility" -- winds its way through the dunes. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links - hole 12
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Waterville Golf Links - hole 12
The 12th green at Waterville Golf Links sits as a shelf among the dunes. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Waterville Golf Links in Ireland
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Waterville Golf Links in Ireland
The dunes and beach create a beautiful setting at Waterville Golf Links in County Kerry, Ireland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
10 Images

Waterville Golf Links: A 'new' course in southwest Ireland that feels centuries old

WATERVILLE, County Kerry, Ireland -- For an Irish links as authentic as they come, it's interesting just how many American influences have helped shape Waterville Golf Links.

At least five prominent Americans have molded this magical modern links flanked by the Atlantic Ocean's Ballinskelligs Bay and the River Inny Estuary. Waterville dates to 1889, although the links fell dormant for nearly a decade in the 1960s. Irish-American John Mulcahy hired Claude Harmon of Winged Foot fame and Ireland's Eddie Hackett to resurrect the layout in 1973.

The legend of Waterville was enough to convince Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Mark O'Meara and Payne Stewart to stop by before the 1998 Open Championship. O'Meara went on to win that claret jug, and Stewart later became Waterville's club captain before his death in 1999. The club erected a statue in Stewart's honor.

Enter Tom Fazio, who completed a renovation in 2006 that created two new holes and shifted a number of greens to open up vistas and enhance the intimacy of the dunes. Waterville's spectacular second and third holes, two strong par 4s, introduce the estuary before the par-3 fourth dives into heavy dune cover. The views of the ocean energize the three finishing holes. American made, perhaps, but blessedly Irish.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Waterville Golf Links: A 'new' course in southwest Ireland that feels centuries old