- +353 (0) 68 27146
2 miles S of Ballybunion
Contact in advance - not at weekends
Jo McKenna, Lionel Hewson, Tom Simpson & Molly Gourlay
Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Ballybunion (Old)
Fantastic links playing around, through and in between dunes. The opening stretch seems to get a bit of stick, but between the opening shot with the graveyard on the right, the second hole with a tricky approach uphill between the dunes, then reversing back down hill for a par 3 are very good holes. Perhaps 4,5,6 are not the most amazing, but from then on its really fun golf that will vary in difficulty depending on the wind.
The 11th is a great hole that can be played in a lot of ways , and the finish is tough with three shots asking for a draw off the tee (for a right hander)
It does get busy here so try and get out early if you can. It's similar golf to Lahinch (old), I perhaps find Lahinch a little quirkier and more fun, but this is still a great sporty links
Listen to what some of golf's most knowledgeable writers have said about Ballybunion Golf Club. James Finegan calls it, "the greatest links I have ever played." Herbert Warren Wind said, "it is nothing less than the finest seaside course I have ever seen," and "like a Gaelic version of Pebble Beach." Tom Watson says, "I am now of the opinion it is one of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere in the world." I am a fan of Ballybunion and agree that it is a pure links course.
The first hole is a good starting hole, with an unusual hazard down the right hand side - a cemetery. The last time I played Ballybunion and had a 7:00AM tee time, the first group out. It was a brilliantly sunny, warm day and the round was very pleasant. My only criticism of the layout is that the 4th, 5th and 6th holes are all routed in the same direction, and all into the prevailing wind. This makes a total of 1,400 yards into the wind that can wear you down early in the round. I'm a bigger fan of routings such as Carnoustie and Royal Portrush that have more change in direction. Despite this shortcoming, Ballybunion is a worthy entrant in the top fifteen ranked courses in the world.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs
We are now leaving the Ring of Kerry, following the Wild Atlantic Way northwards to Ballybunion. The Old course is often rated a tick above the cream of Irish courses, even though it's not different in character - a links course that plays through the dunes. It's the quality of the individual holes and how they are seamlessly tied together to form one of the most exquisite routings in golf today. Click the link to read more… Ireland – any decent golf on the West Coast?