Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club

4.4796000000 4.5 stars from 5 (9)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 71
  • Length: 6802 yards
  • Layout

  • Sandhill Road, Ballybunion, County Kerry, Ireland
  • +353 (0) 68 27146
  • +353 (0) 68 27387
  • www.ballybuniongolfclub.com
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Year built: 1893
Architect(s): Tom Simpson (1936)
Type: Private
Style: Traditional/Links
Golf Season: Year round. High Season: 4/16 - 10/5

Rentals/Services

Carts: No
Pull-carts: No
Clubs: Yes
Caddies: Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving range: Yes
Pitching/chipping area: Yes
Putting green: Yes
Practice bunker: Yes
Teaching pro: Yes

Policies

Walking allowed: Yes
Metal spikes allowed: No
Dress code: Proper attire is required.
Credit cards accepted: Yes

Tees | Layout | Full Scorecard

Tee Par Length Rating Slope
Blue 71 6802 yards N/A N/A
White 71 6350 yards N/A N/A
Green 71 6060 yards N/A N/A
Red (W) 74 5459 yards N/A N/A

Rating Snapshot

GA Rating Index 4.5 stars from 5
Off-Course Amenities: 4.6 stars from 5
Value: 4.4 stars from 5
Pace of Play: 4.5 stars from 5
Staff Friendliness: 4.8 stars from 5
Course Layout: 5.0 stars from 5
Course Conditions: 4.5 stars from 5
Rating Breakdown 9 Reviews
5 stars:
7
4 stars:
1
3 stars:
0
2 stars:
0
1 stars:
1

recommend this course

8 out of 9 reviews


What Golfers Are Saying

Great for a bucket list/top 100 pick   Challenges include thick rough   Great for drinks  

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Reviewer Photos

Reviews


Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender

"Ballybunion Old Course"


David1684852's avatar
Top 10 Contributor
Alberta Advisor
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 09/21/2016
Previously played Walked Windy weather

Reviewed on

Recognized worldwide as an exacting test of golf the Old Course at Ballybunion has long frustrated fans of the game. Extremely challenging at the best of times the Old Course bares it's teeth when the wind comes up. During my round the weather added another element to factor in, with gusting winds, at times the rain came in sideways and eventually the sun broke through the overcast skies. I absolutely loved it. An historic course that is as visually stunning as it is mentally challenging.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course



"Nothing but awesome!!!"


cegardnerjr's avatar
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/28/2015
First time playing Walked Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

What a treat to play this golf course! Walking made the experience even better! Very different design as to what you see in the States. Thick, high rough so bring plenty of golf balls. #11 is one of the best par 4's you'll every play! Well worth the trip!!!!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"The Best Course in Ireland"


IAN1196853's avatar
Age:  55-64
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  15-19

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 09/21/2015
First time playing Walked Played 18 holes Poor weather

Reviewed on

When this trip was first put together it was Ballybunion that was my holy grail. I'd read about it, I'd spoken with people about it and I had rehearsed it. The website flyovers, the testimonials, even down to gauging yardages from the scorecard and course guide. The danger of course is in disappointment because you have built it up too much but that didn't eventuate.

There is so much of Ballybunion that differs from what we see as "normal" golf from the graveyard on the first, back to back par 3's and blind shots but it's great. Driving is at a premium as keeping your ball on the short stuff is imperative. The green speed is just average but has to be because of the winds that can be encountered.

Holes don't run parallel with each other so it's always a challenge to gauge wind strength and direction. You are thinking on every shot.

Ballybunion is rightly ranked up there with the great links, nay great courses, of the world. The front nine may be seen as good but not great, but the back nine is fabulous. It was actually a delight to be able to play her in a strong wind and rain for 4-6 holes. It was what we had signed up for when we organised the trip and despite the difficulties it was a real buzz to have played her in these conditions.

The par 3's are as hard a collection as anywhere in the world while still retaining a facade of fairness. From the first which hugs the graveyard off to the right through to all the holes that run parallel with the beach, this course reeks quality and once will never be enough. We shall return.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Majestic"


Lorne3974340's avatar
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/23/2015
First time playing Paired up at course Walked Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

The course was all and more of what I was led to believe from reading the on-line hype. I can say that it was the highlight of my trip to Ireland. The excitement felt on the first lasted the entire day, there wasn't a hole that disappointed. It was in great shape and the caddy (Gerald) made the day. The old course required all sorts of shots and demanded a solid putter.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"A real disappointment"


stickybunn's avatar
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

1 1.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/03/2015
First time playing Played with a group Walked Played 18 holes Fair weather

Reviewed on

A weeks golf in Co. Kerry and Ballybunnion old was the only disappointment... How is that possible?<br/> They have forgotten that golfers may blindly pay for our passion but we can see when we are paying over the odds for something!<br/> Preferred the Cashen course but the greens were very slow and represented the lack of attention to detail.<br/> Two hackers were let out in front of us on the 10th tee and they managed to hold up a pretty slow 4 ball..... This was indicative of money grabbing ethos.<br/> Think the clubhouse inside is pretty good except for some pretty basic design flaws outside it is hideous.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Conditions: Fair

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Poor

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I don't recommend this course


"Best Course in Ireland, maybe the world"


hejhog's avatar
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/07/2014
First time playing Paired up at course Walked Played 18 holes Average weather

Reviewed on

I have to thank Golf Advisor Jason for putting up this list of great golf holes and courses, but I have to wonder what he was thinking about on the first six holes. "Architecturally but not aesthetically" pleasing? So the Road Hole failed his test until they took out the railroad barn? And we all love the maintenance shacks all over Pebble Beach.

And while #11 is a great hole, it's only the third best at Ballybunion. #2 starts with what appears to be an easy drive. Then you realize you have to find a perfect lie and line because you are next faced with a devilish short iron to a narrow green surrounded by towering sand dunes on either side. The back of the green actually extends beyond the dunes and that is you target. Leave it short left or right and you will be chopping it down the dune with one foot a yard above the other. You will see the hole reprised at the US Open at Chambers Bay this year. It is the inspiration for CB's #10.

But the best hole, maybe the best hole anywhere, is #15. I say so despite my unpleasant introduction to it. You play from an elevated tee to a fairway again between dunes running diagonally away from you uphill and to the left. The real key is judging how far left you can drive it while ending up in the short grass not the heather coated dunes. While my drive was still in the air, my dour caddy, mute until then, bellowed, "Thot's the sime line Tiger Wuuuds tuuk on this hole." Needless to say I came up 50 yards short of grass. It took two hacks to get it out of the heather and another to reach the green. It was only as I stepped on the putting surface I realized we were one dune away from the sea. The view is of a cresent beach, sun breaking through the overcast and a yet more purple heather tumbling down the hill. All was forgiven and yes, the worst day on the golf course is better than any day anywhere else, especially when you are on Ballybunion.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Average

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"The best links in Ireland? Not in my book"


JasonDeeganGA's avatar
Golf Advisor
Age:  35-44
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/15/2014
Previously played Paired up at course Walked Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

I'm always surprised at the world rankings of The Old course at Ballybunion. Don't get me wrong. It's as magical as they say -- from the sixth hole on. But it's not even my favorite links in southwest Ireland, let alone the world. Ballybunion gets a lot of attention for the cemetery on its first hole. Unfortunately, those first five holes, while strong architecturally, aren't great aesthetically. Several run along the road and view the mobile home park across the street. People talk about the "mediocre" holes of Pebble Beach. The same critique applies here. When it comes to the back nine, however, few courses compare. The dunes are majestic. I love the contrast of the back-to-back par-3s, the easy wedge on the 14th hole followed by the tough 3-wood or driver on No. 15. The finishing three holes leave a lasting impression that helps everybody forget the opening stretch.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Average

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Must play!"


calcfan4141's avatar
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/29/2013
First time playing Played with a group Walked Played 18 holes Average weather

Reviewed on

Played the course while on vacation, it was a real treat! Very different from what you find in the States. Very thick, unforgiving rough. Course conditions were very good, carpet fairways and true rolling greens. Design features you don't see everyday, you must use your imagination on some short game shots. Overall, go play if you ever get the chance, truly a great golf course!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Unbelievable"


dosullivangc's avatar
Top 500 Contributor
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a month
Handicap:  15-19

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 08/11/2013
Previously played Used cart

Reviewed on

It was incredible to play such an iconic course. If you are a high handicapper, you might struggle a bit in the rough (if you find your ball). The condition of the course is top class.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent


I recommend this course


Commented on 02/23/2018

Best course I ever played, followed by Bethpage Black and Carnoustie! Also, just down the road from Ballybunion, Tralee, fabulous! I was lucky with the weather, threatening skies and a shower on the front nine finished with perfect weather on the back. Every hole a challenge, risk and reward. Caddie was great!



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