Tralee - Kerry - Ireland

Tralee Golf Club,
West Barrow,
Ardfert,
Tralee,
Co. Kerry,
Ireland


  • +353 (0) 66 713 6379

  • Golf Club Website

  • 16 miles N of Killarney

  • Handicap certificate required – contact in advance

“I have never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course," said Arnold Palmer. Tralee Golf Club was his first Irish endeavour and it opened in 1984; it’s a rugged and exhilarating creation. Now, let’s be honest, Kerry is a very special county, the ‘Lake District’ of Ireland, an unspoilt, quiet and romantic place. Surely anybody could design a golf course in these surroundings? Well, first of all we might need to remind ourselves that Palmer wasn’t exactly a run-of-the-mill golfer and when he turned his attention to design, he always wanted to choreograph a links course in Ireland. When the opportunity arose, he wasn’t going to mess it up, was he?

Palmer (and his associate, the late Ed Seay) designed a course that will stimulate the senses every bit as much as the enchanting and breathtaking scenery. According to folklore, Palmer created the first nine and Mother Nature did the rest. The front nine at Tralee Golf Club plays across fairly level links land, but the majority of the holes hug the coastline and the ground is elevated, affording magnificent views from the cliff top across Tralee Bay to the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The back nine plays through mountainous dunes with fearsome carries across ravines to plateau greens.

The combination and variety of the holes make the entire experience captivating and exciting. There are only a few courses that grab your attention from the first tee shot, keeping hold of it until the very last putt drops. The links at Tralee is one of those few captivating courses.

There are so many great holes that it is almost impossible to single one out, although the 3rd, called “The Castle”, is considered to be the signature hole, a par three measuring almost 200 yards from the back tees. Scenically, it is glorious and reminiscent of the 7th at Pebble Beach. Take a line on the ruined castle which stands sentry to the left and behind the green – anything hit to the right of this green will be eaten by the rocks and the sea.

The 17th is called “Ryan’s Daughter” because the landscape was dramatically filmed in the award-winning movie and the hole will stick in the memory for a very long time; an elevated tee shot on this 355-yard par four must carry across a ravine to a craggy fairway, leaving an approach shot to a tiny raised tabletop green.

We always say that the measure of a good golf course is that the holes stay in the memory forever. There are so many memorable holes at Tralee, so much so that you might need to throw away some lesser memories to make room for the experience that is Tralee. But not everyone is a fan.

In The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, Tom Doak remarked: “The course suffers from the same general problem as Ballybunion New – spectacular scenery at the expense of good golf – although the terrain itself isn’t as dramatic or as integral to the course. The “signature” holes, the par-3 3rd and 13th and the par-4 12th and 17th, are probably the worst on the course, although there are some dull inland holes as well. Some love the course, but I think some good land was wasted here.”

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Reviews for Tralee

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Description: At Tralee Golf Club, Palmer has designed a golf course that will stimulate the senses every bit as much as the enchanting and breathtaking scenery. Rating: 8.8 out of 10 Reviews: 52
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Anthony
Good afternoon, I will start by telling you that my wife is a Jehovah witness and this weekend she was in Punchestown for their annual convention. Their teachings are that when they depart this earth that they will live in paradise for eternity. I had cause to ring her on Saturday night and tell her I had beat her to it while I was still alive. I played in the intermediate scratch cup on Saturday and it was a truly magnificent experience. Every hole had spectacular panoramas and it was such a pleasure standing on every tee box. Never mind that as a combined group we left 24 golf balls for members to pickup. We could only marvel as we watched that they could go immediately to the thick rough and find it while we managed to find just one ball that strayed off a true line. Having played there around 15 years ago it is only on Saturday I understood the true majesty of the course. Having convinced my 2 playing partners we should make the trip from Cork it was rewarding to hear them raving about it just as much. As a Scotsman living in Ireland for the last 30 years I could always boast we had the best golf courses. I stand corrected. If you would discount us the cost of the 24 balls we would only be too delighted to return there sooner rather than later. In the meantime we will bore anyone who will listen about the time the mighty Tralee tamed us.
September 07, 2009
10 / 10
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Tim Gorman
Ah Tralee. My son and I played 36 here in September 08 and I have not stopped raving about it since. We played Ballybunion the day before (see my review), preceded by Doonbeg and Lahinch. Tralee is the one that won my heart. Admittedly we were blessed with very good weather and we both played pretty good golf but I am being objective when I put this just behind the peerless RCD for views. The 2 nines are contrasting but are highly efficient with a relatively short stroll from the 9th green to the 10th tee, past the entrance to the clubhouse. The 8th will remain notable for first-born pulling his tee-shot into the rocks from where it zinged 40 yards right back into play. A hole that reminds me of the 1st at Machrihanish. Eugene and all the staff were very welcoming but I would be pretty happy if I worked there. What a wonderful spot and one definitely inked in for a return...Tim Gorman
February 25, 2009
10 / 10
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Pete McMenemy
Played Sept 08' with group of eight. So windy that any description I try, will not do it justice...however, if you are going to the SW of Ireland, you must put Tralee on your list. Why? The back nine may be the most fun you can have trying to make a par anywhere on the planet!! The front has some ordinary holes, but the 2nd, 3rd and 8th will test your A game. The back nine is full contact golf...10 12 16 17 ...when you turn toward the club house on 18 you feel like the beating is finally going to stop!! Place the bet with your group now...if you make par on 12 into the wind, its worth a dinner!! Put your NA handicap and your swagger in your back pocket for 4hrs when you play here...especially if the wind howls..you will enjoy it more!!
December 16, 2008
10 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played in Sept. 2008 in a 30 mph wind and had a great time. Beautiful contrast between the nines.Great condition and views all around. To me, this is a very underappreciated course. The 12th may well be one of the hardest par fours on the planet!
December 05, 2008
10 / 10
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Ronan O'Driscoll
I played Tralee on a magnificent sunny Autumn day in November 2008. The course is beautifully manicured and in great condition. For a treat, we had caddies who were brilliant, not to mention hilarious. The course is sensational and the views over Banna Strand from some points are literally breathtaking. There was perhaps one average hole, the 9th - all the rest were top class. A great test of golf and an unforgettabe experience.
November 07, 2008
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

Married male golfers should be prepared to make space for another love in their life when they first play here as Tralee’s seductive charms will have them falling head over heels in love all over again – I know, Tralee - Photo by Jim McCannas it happened to me, too!

Palmer’s front nine is good, but God’s back nine is great and yes, holes 10 to 18 are right up there with the likes of Hillside as one of the very best that I’ve played.

The lovely “Castle” at hole 3 was off when I was here in April 2008 (head green keeper JJ told me the winter wall of straw bales surrounding the back of the green would be removed soon) and his assertion that the temporary hole around the corner was just as good was not too wide of the mark!

Apart from hole 6, I liked the remainder of the front nine and loved the way the small stone dykes had been incorporated into the design at holes 2 and 4.

The back nine were fantastic and the holes between “Palmer’s Peak” and “Ryan’s Daughter” (11 and 17) just sublime – the peerless James W Finegan describes this stretch of The Barrow in the Warren as “swashbuckling Palmer and the creative Seay at their take-no-prisoners best” and I for one am not going to argue against that astute observation – and my bogey 5 in a strong cross wind from the clubhouse at the notoriously difficult par four 12th with its narrow fairway felt like a birdie!

Sandra at Brook Manor Lodge operates a very comfortable and reasonably priced B&B nearby and this was recommended to me by the club house reception staff for which I thank them and Tralee head man Tony Byrne’s “aide-de-camp” Eugene was all that a visiting golfer could ever hope for when meeting a member of a club that they are visiting for the first time.

Hopefully, it won’t be the last time either.

Jim McCann

May 08, 2008
9 / 10
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Cédric
Tralee is a great place to play golf. It is not quite in the same league as the 3 giants in that area (Lahinch, Ballybunion, Waterville) but is very good nonetheless. The front 9 is not very special I must admit (6th being even questionable but 3rd awesome) but is definitely quality golf, and so tidy!! All the small things that make a difference (lovely paths between tee and green) are there for the taking. The back 9, apart from the par 5 11th , is a totally different story, with wonderful views. Unlike the previous reviewer, I thought 8th and 12th to be very good holes (on that stroke index 1 there is indeed little place to lay up if you don’t go for the green in 2, but that’s also what risk/ reward golf is about). Maybe not the toughest challenge in the area for the best players, Tralee is on the other hand a wonderful visitor’s club. A man named Eugene, officially a starter, but doing all sorts of things around, will watch out for you the whole time: this man is simply a Gem! Tralee, definitely a welcoming, relaxed golf club where it is always a joy to play despite not proposing quite the same challenge as the magical trio of the area. Cedric
May 01, 2008
8 / 10
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gearoid Linnane
A real test but there is a mix of the v.good and v.bad in golf design. Improvements a few years ago make it more playable. Front 9 has some great holes like the par 5 2nd and the superb par 3 3rd, but then lets itself down with the 8th which (sad to say) is a bit of a joke off the tee with no landing area except the side of a dune. Back 9 starts with a superb par 4 but from here home it is forgettable, scenery is great but the holes are poor none more than the index 1 12th that is impossible if the wind is blowing (there is just no bailout area if you cant reach the green in two). The 17th must be one of the worst holes in Irish links golf(enough said!!). The 18th is a good finishing hole which at least is a relief. Lovely clubhouse with great views but did I travel for the scenery or the golf??
October 30, 2007
4 / 10
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Jack Ryan
January 30, 2009
The idea that the 8th is a joke can only come from someone who does not thrust their game to play a power fade out over the water and let it slide back in and around the dune. My caddie advised me that I would be "Fine" after seeing me play the first 7 holes, I took the advice and had only 100 or so yards to the green.
David McGill
Well worth a visit on your tour of the Southwest, this is a very difficult course that was in pristine condition in Sept 2006. Much is made of a disparity in the nines, and yes the second nine is more visually spectactular. However, the front also requires shotmaking and good course management.Favorite holes include #2, 3 (birdie!), 7, 8, 10, 11......Also very friendly and accomodated our non-golfing wives to walk the course and enjoy our joy. That simply does not happen in the States.You will not be disappointed.Dave McGillToledo, Ohio
April 18, 2007
10 / 10
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Sam Hendrix
Wow, what a surprise! As we traveled around Ireland we heard mixed opinions of tralee, and were advised to skip it. The nines may be uneven, but the back nine is just spectacular. Almost any other nine would pale in comparison. I cannot understand the split views on this course (perhaps because it was designed by an American?), but don't let the naysayers discourage you...play Tralee. We almost cancelled out time at this course, and that would have been a mistake. I put this in my Top 5 in Ireland, ahead of Portmarnock, Lahinch, and Old Head.
May 10, 2006
8 / 10
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