Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course Review - Founded in 1893, Ballybunion has a reputation that has long drawn in golfers from all over the world

Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course Review

Green Fee Range: €100-€190

Medal Tee: Par 71 – 6,319 Yards

Visitor Times: Mid-April to October – Monday to Friday only


Significant Changes

Re-designed 7th green, 1st, 6th and 9th tee complexes, 18 new fescue greens, new grass pathways

Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course Review

Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course Review

Situated on the Atlantic coast in County Kerry, Ballybunion Old has been presenting a considerable challenge to golfers since the links was first laid out in 1892.

Some of this year’s US Ryder Cup team may not have seen eye to eye with Tom Watson, but in this part of the world the man can do no wrong.

It was love at first sight back in 1981, prompting Watson to reflect that, “after playing Ballybunion for the first time, a man would think that the game of golf originated here”.

Watson’s rave reviews sparked a stream of overseas visitors, strengthening the club’s reputation and paving the way for a new clubhouse and a second magical course – The Cashen – in 1984.

Watson went on to oversee design changes to the Old in 1995 before serving as millennium captain. The opening stretch is less dramatic than what follows, although the long par-4 2nd and testing par-3 3rd are both fine holes.

Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course Review

But from the 7th onwards, when you first hit the Atlantic, the links takes you on a mesmerising journey, at times hugging the coast, at others snaking though dunes that are at their tallest on 16 and 17.

The star hole for many is the demanding par-4 11th – Watsons – which plays gently downhill via a series of shelves to a green guarded by such a narrow entrance that there is little choice but to fly the ball all the way, unless your long iron or fairway wood play is supremely precise.

Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course Review – Golf Monthly Verdict

The recent changes will bed in and could take this up a level