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The Mighty Ballybunion Golf Club, Ireland

The Mighty Ballybunion Golf Club, Ireland

Ballybunion Golf Club is Ireland’s #1 course and #16 in the world. The golfing experience gives off a majestic feel with its beauty, intrigue and quirks. When Ballybunion’s managers say these 18 holes were designed by God, nobody laughs at them.



The origins of Ballybunion Golf Club trace back to a gossip column, of all places, in the Limerick Chronicle in 1893 regarding the club’s opening meeting. In 1898, despite being claimed a “first class course”, the club suffered financial difficulty forcing it to close for an 8 year period.

It was reformed in 1906 and built a reputation at home through membership growth and hosting major Irish tournaments. In 1971, its reputation went global. With a new course (Cashen course) and clubhouse established, Ballybunion was rated in the top 10 courses in the world in the New Yorker.

In 1995, Tom Watson updated the Old course giving it a modern feel that has only made the golfing experience even better.


“I found Ballybunion to be nothing less than the finest seaside links I have ever seen.” – Herbert Warren Wind (The New Yorker)



Ballybunion’s Old course is a true seaside links located on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic ocean. The layout presents a beautiful test for golfers.

Initially, the design looks intimidating with the contours of the fairways and greens as well as the dunes, covered in long grass, that pitch and roll all over the course. However, you will soon find that the course is fair giving some hope to every level of golfer. In saying that, be wary that Ballybunion bares its teeth when the wind comes up. Forget any chance of scoring well in this scenario.


“It’s a course you will always enjoy and never tire of playing… I consider it a true test of golf.” – Tom Watson




The signature hole, if it isn’t every hole, is the 11th – “Watsons”. It is regarded as one of the best par 4’s you will ever play and it’s not hard to see why. You will tee-off right on the coastline, battling the howling Atlantic wind as you try and dodge ravines to the green. The view and challenge here are incredible.



The Sahara, a notorious stretch of sand on the 18th fairway, is a bunker that consists of a curious mix of sand, shells, bones and stones which has been said to date back to around the 4th-5th century A.D.


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