Located on the north west coast of County Kerry, on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find two wonderfully challenging and unique world class links golf courses at Ballybunion – the Old Course and the Trent Jones Cashen Course. Whatever your choice, every hole, every hazard and every shot is defined by nature’s infinite presence.
Although built on similar, stirring terrain to The Old Course in the 1980s, in many ways ‘The Cashen’ is more irascible, more spectacular, more flirtatious, more brutal and more unforgiving and more difficult to tame than her older, more famous sibling. In a strong wind, ‘Miss Cashen’ verges on being impossible – her dunes are higher, her valleys are deeper, her greens more undulating. The links changes mood unrecognisably from one day to the next. When Robert Trent Jones saw the links-land for the first time after being asked to make a course there, he said that ‘when first saw the piece of land chosen for the new course at Ballybunion, I was thrilled beyond words. I said that it was the finest piece of links land in the world. With the beauty of the ocean on one side and the river on the other, its tumbling, undulating, free-flowing rhythm of line is beauty beyond description.’
The course has caused a lot of uproar about failing to conform to true links-style golf and convoluting too much target-golf that is impossible in the wind. But the course has stamped its bold layout on the face of links golf with world renown nonetheless, and if the wind isn’t howling, it’s a playable course for everyone. Pick and choose your shots carefully and with some strategizing you can come out at your par. Playing both courses at Ballybunion is a must-do, to appreciate the feel and spirits of each course will make your appreciation of true links-golf substantial.
The clubhouse at Ballybunion features a golf shop, a restaurant and lounge, Spike’s Bar, locker rooms with a steam room & a tuck shop that’s available from mid-March until October that serves a selection of hot and cold snacks for your round. In terms of rentals, they offer caddies, clubs, carts, pull-trolleys & complimentary use of the practice facilities before your round.