The Old Course
American sportswriter Herbert Warren Wind called the Ballybunion "nothing less than the finest seaside course I have ever seen," and Tom Watson similarly praised it as "a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build golf courses." Located on a stretch of the southwestern coast, massive dunes are the dominant feature of this links. Each hole is unforgettable, with special standouts being the clifftop 7th and the par 3 8th, which Watson named "one of the most demanding tee shots I've ever faced." The back nine have plenty to offer too, from the humbling 11th, another clifftop hole, and the punishing pair of par 3s that are the 14th and 15th, to the run of three doglegs that close out the course. One of the challenges at Ballybunion is the distraction provided by the stunning landscape, which can be surveyed at leisure from the clubhouse.
This may be my favourite course in the world. I’m totally smitten with the wild contouring, ocean views, towering dunes and remarkable variety – no matter what the weather.