Situated on the rugged Atlantic coast of Ireland's south west, Tralee features towering dunes, undulating fairways, punishing rough and cliff top tees and greens. Designed and built by Arnold Palmer, this stunning setting represents a true paradise for those willing to challenge what is widely acclaimed as one of the finest links courses in the world.
"I have never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course" ~ Arnold Palmer.
Instituted October 1, 1896, Tralee Golf Club opened its present Arnold Palmer-designed course for play at Barrow in October, 1984, after moving from its nine-hole course at Mounthawk near Tralee. Having decided to buy land at Barrow back in 1980, the members dream of seeing the Club attain world-wide status has been realized. Back in 1896 the Club had its first nine-hole course in Tralee, believed to be where the Sports field is now located. A year later, in 1897, it opened a nine-hole course in Fenit on the south-western side of Barrow Harbour. There were 120 members then (compared to today's 1,300) who paid a subscription of 10 shillings a year, with visitors having one-week free play as introduction.
During the 'Troubles', in the 1920's, a Captain Lionel Hewson was hired to design a new course in Oakpark, Tralee. He was suspicious of the men who sat around on the demesne walls watching him while he measured and made notes. He wrote later that 'bullets used to fly in those days on little provocation. He had reason to cast a wary eye - a Major McKinnon in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary was shot dead on the course in March 1921, while playing golf.
In Arnold Palmer’s words, “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine.” This statement was made because of the jaw-dropping scenery on the back nine, which plays right along the coast and features some wild holes. Some have blind shots over grassy tussocks, whilst others trail along undulating hills that feels like a dream to walk along. The surroundings are enough of a reason to make the trip out; Kerry is a beautiful county and the links course at Tralee is simply some of the finest land in Ireland. Anyone coming to Ireland to play golf with preconceived notions of ‘The Emerald Isle,’ will find them realised at Tralee Golf Club.
The front nine at Tralee plays over fairly level links land, but most of the holes hug the coastline on highly elevated land, making the views of the coastline all the more extraordinary. Perhaps one of the most intriguing elements of Tralee’s layout is the rapport of the second nine with most golfers. Although the entire course is undoubtedly amazing and has been voted as such by any accredited establishments, it is the back nine that takes its place in most golfer’s memories. Most attribute this to be the playability of the entire course when compared to such hard ones as Ballybunion, Carnoustie and Lahinch. But playability aside, the back nine is so memorable because of holes such as the par-3 thirteenth, which plays over a deep ravine to a green that’s etched into a dune, forming a ledge.
The 16th hole is another par-3 in which the tee boxes are little plateaus carved out of the massive dunes, playing over a hollow to plateaued green overlooking the fantastic coastline. The excellent rapport that the back nine gets compared to the front is not due to the front lacking quality golf holes, (it has all-round excellent quality), but the back is breath-taking to first-timer’s and repeat players alike. Do not squander an opportunity to play Tralee Golf Club, County Kerry, Ireland.
The clubhouse at Tralee has internet access for checking e-mails or browsing the internet before and after play. They also have club professionals who can arrange lessons and are always willing to give advice on the type of shots and the style of play that’s required to play Tralee. A pro shop is also on hand at Tralee so that you can be prepared for any kind of round and take home some mementos of the amazing club. Tralee also has a golf academy that utilises some of the most cutting-edge facilities to date: the Sam Putt Lab, the Balance plate, the Trackman 4 and V1 Video Recording that can all be arranged at a fee paid directly to the club. Caddies can also be booked prior to play and for first-timers at Tralee this is recommended; all caddies are members of the club with intricate knowledge of golf and Tralee golf club and they display outstanding friendliness.
The Club has a 9-hole putting green in front of the clubhouse that will give you a good feel for the putting surface before your set out on your round of golf. The short-game practice area has markers placed at intervals, so you can see how far you’re hitting your irons. The driving range consists of a high-end golf studio and five covered bays available for coaching, whilst grass tees outside accommodates 25 golfers with some of the best turf to practice in the country. The practice golf balls and Tralee are of excellent quality and the range is 300-yards long with several strategic targets. Other practice facilities include a 6-hole par-3 course that contains holes ranging from 80 to 195 yards. With three tees on every hole, the dynamics change with each tee option, and is great for course management lessons & on-course tuition.
Bar and Restaurant
The bar & restaurant have one of the most remarkable views of any golf clubhouse in the world. The bar offers a friendly atmosphere and experienced staff will eagerly help you to a great pint of Guinness that be enjoyed whilst you relax and discuss your round of golf. Most of the holes can be seen through the wall of glass overlooking the course. The restaurant offers a range of speciality meals produced with the finest of local produce.
The balcony is a great place to relax and eat lunch on a summer’s day. There is also a lounge room with TV for keeping an eye on the scores from the majors and internet access is available for checking your e-mail messages and browsing the web.