Cork Golf Club in Ireland restores its beloved parkland course by Alister MacKenzie

LITTLE ISLAND, County Cork, Ireland -- Most Americans don't come to Ireland to play parkland golf. Cork Golf Club gives a good reason to ignore the seaside links for a day.

It's a unique, fully restored Alister MacKenzie gem dating to 1927. It's not on par with the Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club -- MacKenzie's other contribution to Irish golf -- although it's definitely worth playing to study his handiwork.

Architect Martin Hawtree -- famous for his Trump International Golf Links in Scotland and his work at Lahinch, Portmarnock and elsewhere -- finished up a three-year improvement plan in 2013. He artfully sculpted MacKenzie's magical bunkers, renovated tees and reshaped the 12th green.

A lack of land within Cork's industrial sector creates awkward moments where golfers must drive over preceding greens and a corner of the driving range, a traffic hassle some purists just can't forgive. The 6,731-yard golf course veers from its parkland setting into a rock quarry for holes 4-11. The treacherous par-4 fourth and par-5 fifth holes play in a beautiful setting along a large lake.

Jul 30, 2014

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations 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 Twitter at @WorldGolfer.