County Louth - Louth - Ireland

County Louth Golf Club,
Baltray,
Drogheda,
County Louth,
Ireland


  • +353 (0) 41 988 1530

  • Liam Murphy

  • Cecil Barcroft, Tom Simpson, Molly Gourlay

  • Paddy McGuirk


There is generally a certain level of anticipation when one plays a course for the first time. The approach road to the links of County Louth, or Baltray as it is better known, named after the local fishing village, is especially uplifting. This is a course that has remained relatively anonymous, except to those in the know. It is one of Ireland’s secrets.

County Louth Golf Club was established in 1892 but Tom Simpson and Molly Gourlay designed the present course in 1938. In 2003, Tom Mackenzie made some minor changes to the layout, most notably the addition of new tees which has stretched the yardage beyond 7,000 yards.

Darren Clarke won the East of Ireland Championship in 1989, an amateur stroke play event held at County Louth since 1941, although it is unlikely that anybody will beat Joe Carr’s record. Joe Carr was the “East” champion 12 times between 1941 and 1969. Amazingly, Joe’s son Roddy won the 1970 “East” championship.

Baltray has no weak holes. The course is laid out in two loops, and most holes run in different directions. However, the greens are County Louth’s hallmark – they are among the very best in the whole of Ireland. If you can avoid three putting for 18 holes, then you have the right to claim you’re a great putter.

County Louth developed two of Ireland’s best lady golfers. In 1938, Clarrie Tiernan was the first Irish woman to play in the Curtis Cup but the USA beat Great Britain and Ireland 5½ 3½ at the Essex County Club in Massachusetts. It was Clarrie’s rival, Philomena Garvey, who was the most successful post war Irish player. Phil was five times a finalist in the Ladies British Amateur Championship, winning once, in 1957 at Gleneagles. Phil also won a record 15 Irish Close titles in a span of 18 years from 1946.

Although County Louth is a championship links golf course, golfers of all levels can enjoy it. The back nine is especially entertaining with a number of holes running close to the shore with distant views towards the Mountains of Mourne. County Louth hosted the Nissan Irish Open in July 2004.

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Reviews for County Louth

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Description: The approach road to the links of County Louth Golf Club, or Baltray as it is better known, named after the local fishing village, is especially uplifting. Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Reviews: 22
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Andrew Tierney
A truly memorable experience from the moment I arrived at Baltray. Friendly reception, adequate rental clubs, hospitable members of which I joined 3 players for 9 holes as it was their 9 hole Monday morning regular half round. The links course is sublime, the dunes spectacular, the rough quite challenging but fair and the bunkers as you'd expect- small and mostly pot and requiring you to take your medicine and get the ball back into play. The routing and the greens the most excellent thing that will want you returning again and again. The greens relatively small with not much undulation but the roll and trueness is the thing you will love about putting. After the round I met the captain and the GM and received a club tie as a thank you for visiting and to encourage other members from my club to visit when staying in Dublin. Hard to argue about a better experience inside and out if the club. A must! Andrew Tierney, Royal Adelaide member.
May 17, 2014
10 / 10
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Nathan Carrington
County Louth is a top place. Front 9 is very good, the back 9 is excellent, as good as nearly anywhere. The welcome couldn't have been friendlier from the Paddy (the pro) and his team. Make sure you play at Baltray, if ever touring down the East coast.
September 15, 2012
10 / 10
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Richard Smith
County Louth is an isolated gem. There is a great sense of isolation both on the approach to the course and while you are playing this wonderful links. The course starts with 3 par 5's in the first 6 holes, but none of these are easy in any sense of the word. The second is quite short, but the severity of the green is such that none of our foursome of low single digit handicap golfers could muster a birdie despite the fact that all of us had mid to short iron second shots into the green. There are no massive dunes at Baltray; only excellent and well designed golf holes. I particularly like the par 3's. They are all relatively short, but the slopes and angles of the greens made them play to a high degree of difficulty and one of us could muster a birdie even though none of them played over 165 yards in length. This course was great fun. Our group was in route from Dublin to Newcastle to play Royal County Down and spent the night at the club, which was a wonderful experience. This is a great club with a wonderful course and I can recommend it to all lovers of links golf. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
August 02, 2011
8 / 10
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Dennis Slattery
An underappreciated natural links. I can also recommend the dormy flats. Friendly reception, and reasonably priced.
August 11, 2010
10 / 10
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Pat Ruddy
August 13, 2010
The links at County Louth has given pleasure and challenge to generations of discerning Irish golfers. A fine championship links with one of the best and most exciting sets of greens in the game! Tom Simpson and Molly Gourlay lavished love and attention on their creation. Similar delights abound on the neigbouring links at Seapoint (to host the Irish Professional Championship this year), over the Boyne estuary at Laytown and further south at The Island. The broader Dublin region offers great links golf, and city life, when you take these with Portmarnock, The Royal Dublin, St. Anne's, The European and Arklow. In keeping with Irish tradition visiting golfers are welcome at them all. Pat Ruddy
Keith Baxter
August 13, 2010
Thank you for your comments Pat and also for your endorsement of St Anne’s Golf Club, which is currently not featured on the Top 100 website. We’ll have a close look at St Anne’s immediately with a view to including it as a Top 100 Gem.

Jan 2011 update: St Anne's Golf Club has now been added to the Top 100 website.
DF
January 25, 2011
Don't forget Corballis. It's an 18 hole links course next door to The Island Golf Club in Dublin and is certainly worthy of a mention.
Hendrik Hilgert
We played County Louth in same week as Royal County Down and Portmarnock Old. While Royal County Down is ahead given the almost unique scenery and views, we were very impressed with County Louth. Course condition was better than at RCD and Portmarnock. Course layout very strong throughout. Slight criticism was that holes are not terribly memorable, they all look somewhat the same. Friendly reception in clubhouse. Greenfee of Euro 100 (weekdays) certainly ok for such a high quality course.
June 09, 2010
8 / 10
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rob
unbelievable worth every penny paul mcginley played there as a boy as he seeked to try links golf now honorary member rory mcilroys caddy member there too...... get to it at all costs
October 24, 2008
10 / 10
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Cédric
Unlike one of the previous reviewers, we made the detour (not a big one though) on our way from Ulster to Dublin and didn’t regret it for a minute! There is nothing fancy or manicured here, but Baltray is a very fine example of a completely natural links course. Set on relatively flat terrain, the back 9 enjoys the presence of dunes and hosts in my opinion the more interesting part of the layout. This is a real test with a big majority of the par 4s well above 400 yds (470 yds for the 11th hole!!). We thought the greens were some of the best looking of that area. Highly recommended. Cédric
May 04, 2008
8 / 10
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Jim McCann
Still chuckling at the sign on the side of a garage truck when I came through County Louth - Photo by Jim McCannDrogheda that read “23 1/2hr recovery service” (only in Ireland?), I made my way to the first tee at Baltray and immediately liked the look of the course. Wide and open, you see all before you on a relatively level layout that’s designed in two returning loops of nine. Three par fives in the first six holes give you the chance to open up your shoulders and crack a few long balls early in the round and three of the four par threes are excellent one-shot holes where the greens run off on all sides - only the fourth short hole at the 17th disappointed, and this was the only weak hole for me on the whole card. The stretch of par fours from 11 to 13 was especially pleasing (stroke index 1, 3 and 5!) with the last two holes played in a valley next to the dunes. County Louth may have been a surprise choice for many when it hosted the Irish Open in 2004 but it’s a big, honest course that ball strikers will love. Jim McCann
May 04, 2008
8 / 10
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john schick
A very welcoming course which is 100% links in nature but with only 3-4 really great holes to get the heartbeat elevated. The front nine isn't too difficult and is pretty flat. The back moves closer to the water and into some bigger dunes and that is where the better holes are located. Definitely play if you are nearby, but don't make a long trek to find this one.
September 11, 2006
6 / 10
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Jordan
There's a reason for Baltray to be "Ireland's most overlooked links": it's shockingly overpriced. Good, not great, holes, with penal rough and a similarity of design throughout. I paid E115 (about $140) for the opportunity to play what I would consider good value at E40 or so. it isn't that it's a bad course, it's just that nothing about it is especially memorable. The holes go out, the holes come back; there is little elevation change or drama throughout. The fairways are cut to dirt level, then there's 9" of rough--so your choices are hardpan or fescue, nothing in-between. In addition, the welcome at the pro shop was the least-friendly of my journey around Ireland; the pro and reception seemed to be doing me a favor to take my money. Good course, no value.
June 30, 2006
4 / 10
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Hugh
August 11, 2010
I personally disagree that Baltray is overpriced. €100 green fee in the peak season is not cheap, but compared to Royal Dublin and The Island, Baltray is good value and it's a better course too.