- +353 (0) 41 988 1530
5 miles NE of Drogheda
Contact in advance
Cecil Barcroft, Tom Simpson, Molly Gourlay
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.