As you pull into the car park at Tralee Golf Club, 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 leave 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
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 Dingle peninsula.
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.
|Opened for play
||1896 (established), 1984 (new course opened)