As you pull into the car park at Tralee,
you are immediately struck by the beautiful surroundings the course enjoys, and
you know you’re in for a golfing treat. This is truly the most spectacular
piece of land, and the golf course simply reflects that. Opened for play in
1984, Tralee was the first course in Europe built by the now established Palmer
Design Company and the results are astounding.
As you make your way down the 1st hole towards the crashing surf of
the Atlantic Ocean, the excitement builds and it rarely fades on the way around
the front nine, which is played across fairly flat links land, with many of the
holes hugging the coastline, and where players will be playing their shots to
targets almost within touching distance of the water. The ground is elevated
too, and this offers golfers superb views from the cliff tops, across Tralee
Bay to the Atlantic Ocean beyond. While plenty of these holes are testing and
supremely beautiful, this is just a small taste of things to come throughout
the second half of the round.
Palmer also said of the course that, while he designed the front nine, “surely
God designed the back nine."
Having made the turn – the 9th green is right by the clubhouse so
golfers can easily pop in for refreshments...and perhaps a fresh stock of golf
balls – players will then enjoy the downhill par 4 10th before they
venture into the monstrous dunes where the remainder of the round will be
played out. The back nine coughs up stunning hole after stunning hole, and as
you traverse the dunes, you find yourself thinking “this can’t possibly get any
better”; then it does, with excitement and drama at every turn.
Finishing with a testing uphill par 5, Tralee will surely leaving you
wanting more and while the course is by no means easy, visitors are
consistently charmed by this unfussy, traditional links, as well as the
friendly atmosphere inside the clubhouse.
Any golf tour in Ireland's South West should encompass what, in a relatively
short amount of time, has become a classic.
Tralee is ranked as one of the best courses in Ireland
Designed by: Old Tom Morris, Dr Alistair Mackenzie & Dr Martin
Opened for play: Club founded 1892 – Old Course upgraded by Dr Alistair
Mackenzie in 1927 whose changes were restored by Martin Hawtree in 1999
Blue: 6,975 yards
White: 6,678 yards
Green: 6,247 yards
Reds: 5,481 yards
Signature Hole – No. 17: Par 4, 361 yards (Blue Tees)
While it sounds cliché to say it’s almost impossible to choose a signature hole
at Tralee, few would argue that that isn’t the case. There are plenty to choose
from but the par 4 17th is a great snapshot of the total Tralee
experience. Film buffs will certainly be excited to play it, as this landscape
was chosen to feature in David Lean’s award-winning film “Ryan’s Daughter”,
such is the beauty on offer.
With a sandy beach stretching along the right of the hole and into the
distance, the tee shot is played over a gorge to a slightly raised fairway before
turning slightly to the right and climbing steeply towards a green perched high
in the dunes, all against a breathtaking backdrop of ocean, mountains and the distant
It’s all about the approach shot here. Once in position from your tee shot,
take extra care in selecting your club as missing the green will make carding a
par a really tough task. However you play the hole, be sure to stop and take in
the surroundings, taking a picture or two for good measure.