With its location right on the Ring of Kerry the former hidden gem status of Dooks has certainly been affected by a healthy infusion of Tourist play. It's still a very scenic course with a number of good holes, but its idiosyncrasies, which were previously viewed as charming, have to stand up to a different kind of scrutiny today. The conditioning is rustic and the green surrounds often a bit too rough for putting. And then there are the heathland holes towards the end of the round, which play fine, but look a bit out of sorts on this seaside property. All of that is perfectly ok for a quirky village track, but perhaps less fitting for an Irish links heavyweight, which is what Dooks is trying to represent today.
Despite its pastoral character the turf is plenty firm and the running game quite alive, which is welcome news considering that many greens are raised or even sit on their own plateau. It's certainly a good course that profits immensely from its setting with the ocean and the Dingle peninsula on one side and MacGillycuddy's Reeks on the other. The quartet of par 3s are all fun holes, although they are almost identical in length. A few of the longer holes are a bit too straightforward, but the joy of playing between sand dunes rarely gets old. A lot of the work on the course has been done by the members themselves and for that the result is quite outstanding. Starting with the Hawtree changes the course has been brought into a new era, while still having one foot in the old.