Explore Ireland’s Most Beautiful New Golf Destination
Source: Architectural Digest
Robert Trent Jones II’s first designed course in the Emerald Isle is backed up by locally inspired—and seriously stylish accommodations.
For fans of Irish golf, the name Waterville is synonymous with greatness. Now, five minutes from Waterville Golf Links, in County Kerry, Ireland, another club has joined the party. Hogs Head Golf Club is set to make the town of Waterville into even more of a golf destination.
Overlooking scenic Ballinskelligs Bay, Hogs Head Golf Club comprises a Robert Trent Jones II–designed golf course—Jones’s first in Ireland. The 7,140-yard, par-72 headlands course features Atlantic Ocean views and tee-to-green fescue (grass cover). The property also features a 17,000-square-foot clubhouse, 48-guest-room lodge, and seven private, four-bedroom cottages. For the construction, owners Bryan Marsal and Tony Alvarez II enlisted Dublin-based architecture firm Henry J Lyons, as well as American designer Robert Rizzo of Cobble Court Interiors.
From the start, the buildings at Hogs Head were designed to fit into the Irish landscape. “We started with the stone and the slate,” says Rizzo. “All the stone on the buildings is local Kerry stone.” The clubhouse, which was built first, proved a guiding force for the other buildings. Rizzo adds, “When we first designed the clubhouse, that material—the stone, the zinc gutters, the slate roofs, the glass and bronze—those were basically our list of components. We then used those same materials for the lodge and the cottages. It’s all very masculine, but with every comfort and texture of home.”
Rizzo made 15 to 20 visits to the site, and was on the property for a month during the installation of the lodge. “Rob’s a special guy,” says Marsal. “The attention to detail which he invests—I call him the director of taste.” Rizzo’s inspiration for Hogs Head was simple: “What inspired was the view. The views are just spectacular.” The team chose an elevated site for the clubhouse, to emphasize such vistas over the water. The clubhouse’s motif, according to Marsal, was also Rizzo’s idea. “Rob said, ‘Let’s make it look like a Viking meeting hall.’ And so he chose the wood—the oak—and the stone, and the glass so you could do all the viewing you want.”Across the Ring of Kerry (literally) from the clubhouse sits the Lodge at Hogs Head.
”Hogs Head—named after a marine bearing point on the Ballinskelligs Bay—subscribes to a “Built by friends, for friends” ethos. With all of its comforts, Hogs Head is groundbreaking for the region, and sure to encourage visiting golfers to linger in Waterville. Marsal sums it up well: “I’d like [visitors] to feel the magic of the environment. You’ll just unwind here. That’s what I want people to do.”