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Ballybunion – Old Course

County Kerry, Ireland


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    At a Glance

    Course Architect Jo McKenna, Lionel Hewson, Tom Simpson, Molly Gourlay
    Par 71
    Course Type Links
    Course Length 6,162 Metres / 6,739 Yards
    No. Holes 18


    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-designed Cashen Course. Whatever your choice, every hole, every hazard and every shot is defined by nature’s infinite presence. Elsewhere along the Wild Atlantic Way in south-west Ireland, you will find Tralee Golf Club, Dooks Golf Club, Adare Manor and Dromoland Castle Hotel. We recommend starting in Cork or Limerick when visiting the south-west of Ireland and renting a vehicle to take in the stunning scenery. If coming from Cork, be sure to stop off at Old Head, Dingle Golf Links and Waterville Links before you reach Ballybunion.

    Club Details

    Sandhill Rd, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, Ireland
    +353 68 27146

    Club Information

    Course Description

    The Old Course exudes a majestic feel that simply cannot be compared to any other course on earth. With beautifully contoured fairways that tumble down through a blanket of grassy dunes, it’s no wonder these challenging holes have been consistently rated among the top ten courses in the world. The course has some of the largest sand dunes in Ireland, and that’s saying a lot!


    The wind affects everything there, so your score will be determined by the gods depending on whether or not they decide to make it howl. But as you drive from the historic town of Ballybunion, your eyes feast upon some of the most spectacular links-land imaginable, right by the sea. It is the very definition of classic links. The Old Course is fickle, unrelenting and exhilarating all at the same time. Tom Watson wrote that ‘after playing Ballybunion for the first time, a man would think that the game of golf originated here. There is a wild look to the place, the long grass covering the dunes that pitch and roll throughout the course making it very intimidating.’ – We certainly agree with everything Watson said; Ballybunion, situated on the south-west coast of Ireland, is exposed to the full force of the arctic Atlantic ferocity, and you can tell through the local dwellings lush vegetation is out of the question.


    The Old Course at Ballybunion is a true seaside links, virtually treeless, with a distinct lack of manmade influences. The contours on the fairways and greens are what gives Ballybunion the icing on the cake. The golfer is required to play accurate approach shots to the greens, usually to a small target with not a lot of space to miss left or right. This becomes evident on the second hole named ‘Kennells:’ a long par-4 at 407-metres, the line off the tee is directly straight through two towering sand dunes, leaving golfers with a long approach shot(s) to a raised plateaued green. It’s an unforgettable course and a reminder that although Ireland is not technically the home of golf, the sport of golf has a permanent holiday home in Ireland.

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