Nick Faldo, Pat Ruddy
The Old Links
The Ballyliffin Golf Club's first course has earned the praise of no lesser a luminary than Nick Faldo, who, after having been invited to play a nine, ended up staying on to play the Old Links' full eighteen because he so greatly enjoyed what he called the "most natural golf course ever." Sir Nick went on to take an active interest in the course, and he carried out a thorough program of renovation that included updating the bunkers and expanding the greens, which measures have greatly enhanced the course's flow and challenge. All the same, Faldo was careful not to disturb the charm of the original layout. A level shot is fairly uncommon here, since play tends to follow the contoured fairways that blend almost imperceptibly into the rough. The setting is striking, a blend of surf, dunes and native vegetation with but a few far-off cottages.