Ballybunion Old Course has been considered one of the very best golf courses in the world for an extremely long time.
Ballybunion is currently ranked 17th best golf course in the world by golf digest.
The course was first played in 1896 on the original 9 hole layout and was extended by a further 9 holes in 1926. Tom Simpson updated the course in 1936 and this is the layout that is adored by so many today.
From the first drive with a graveyard to your right to the final putt with the Atlantic ocean's waves crashing behind you. Ballybunion is a wonderful and at times quirky, round from start to finish that you'll want to enjoy over and over again.
This Championship Links is a place of giant hills and deep valleys, The premium structure for an authentic links course.
Tom Watson once wrote " Ballybunion is a course you will always enjoy and never tire of playing"
The opening wholes whet the appetite nicely and are samples in miniature of what is to come. After playing the 3rd a demanding Par 3 at 220 yards with sloping hollows short of greenside, you will step on to the fourth tee which is where the challenge starts to heat up. Two back to back Par 5's which are both short enough to be able to get some early birdies on the card.
The 6th Hole is where things turn special and awaiting you is the start of a collection of the finest golf holes in the world. A remarkable stretch of golf holes that are memorable, Testing, and scenic all rolled up into one.
The 7th is one of the most outstanding holes on the course, At 423 yards and playing all along the cliff tops you are treated to one of the finest views in golf. There is a huge mound at 200 yards with two further passages between ridges further on before reaching the green at the pinnacle of the cliff. One of the best views on Ballybunion is from the top of the dune resting behind this green.
The 8th,9th, and 10th all play along this coastline in a triangle and just stunningly good golf holes before returning to the world-famous 11th back at the cliff edge. The signature hole of the entire Emerald Isle.
12 is a great par 3 and then the 13th is a birdie able Par 5. Anytime you have a par 5 less than 500 yards, You should have a grin on your face at the prime opportunity to steal a Birdie. As such, Ballybunion's defence of par becomes vulnerable on the short 13th.
The remaining holes at Ballybunnion are visually stunning 15 is a glorious short hole. And the closing 3 holes will challenge every stroke.
The Challenge from the 11th hole, famously known as Tom Watson's favourite golf hole, features one of the most incredible settings and terrain for a golf hole. The hole falls down ten feet from tee to green as it hugs tight to the dune edge. With Rocky and crashing waves of the coastal waters just below you. A Good Drive is required to be played before the fairway goes through the maze of coastal dunes and sandbanks to a green with a backdrop of the beach and Atlantic ocean. A Great two-shot hole that is a tough test but visually ultra rewarding.