Ballybunion Old

Re-designed by Tom Watson, Ballybunion Old course is a true seaside links course set on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic. There are no trees thanks to the location - the windy Shannon Estuary in Ireland's south-west corner. At first glance the course is pretty intimidating, but on second look it's actually quite fair. Whatever your level of skill, Ballybunion rewards you for good play.

As the famous English golf writer Peter Dobereiner once said, “If sheer pleasure is the yardstick, then Ballybunion’s Old Course gets my vote as the No. 1 in the world.” Despite its many attractions, this course didn't come into its own until the mid-1970s, and remained a relatively well-kept secret until 1982 when Tom Watson himself said, “Nobody can call himself a golfer until he has played at Ballybunion; you would think the game originated there!” The rest, as they say, is history.

Ever since, this stunning North Kerry golf course has been one of the most recognisable names in the golfing world. The accolades it has gathered from numerous respected golfing organisations is testament to how Ballybunion offers something seriously special.

About Ballybunion Old – Brief History

  • Established in 1893
  • Designed by James McKenna
  • Lapsed in 1898
  • The current Ballybunion Golf Club was created in 1906, in the shape of a new 9 hole course
  • Extended to 18 holes in 1927
  • Regarded as one of the finest links courses ever built
  • In 1937 the leading golf architect Tom Simpson made a few key changes in preparation for the Irish Mens Close Amateur Championship
  • In 1957 the course was selected as the venue for the Irish Professional Championship
  • In 1967 The Irish Professional Championship returned to Ballybunion
  • In the 1970s Ballybunion's sister course, the Cashen, was built
  • 2009 – Voted no 7 in the Golf Digest Magazine 100 Best Courses outside the US
  • 2010 – Voted no 5 in Golfweek's Best Classic Courses GB&I
  • 2010 – Voted winner of the Golf Course of the Year Award by the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association
  • 2011 – Voted No 1 in Ireland by
  • 2011 – Voted no 3 in Golf World Magazine's Top 100 Irish Courses
  • 2015 – Voted no 1 Links Course in Ireland by Golfing Magazine
  • 2015 – Voted Ireland's Best Golf Course by World Golf Awards 2015
  • 2016 – Voted no 17 in's Top 100 golf courses in the world
  • Host to the R&A Jacques Leglise Trophy 2017


Ballybunion Old Scorecard 

Click here to view the scorecard


Featured hole – Hole 11

One of a series of exceptionally tricky holes, hole 11 is a 473 yard Par-4 and it's a challenge you won't forget in a hurry, widely acknowledged as one of the best par fours you'll experience anywhere in the world. With wind blowing in from the sea, you need to aim your tee shot straight down the boundary line, then fly your second all the way.


Known for being one of the world's finest links

Stand at the first tee and you'll be awestruck by the sheer drama of the views when you play Ballybunion Old. This is, without a doubt, one of the world's most splendid links courses. The sand dunes are formidable, tipping seventy feet high and, oddly, often running perpendicular to the beach. The resulting dogleg holes, cleverly carved out of the land, are just as difficult as the straight-away holes. Even though there are only 63 sandpits and the bunkering is pretty light, a round here is nothing short of one of the greatest golfing adventures you could hope for.


Ballybunion Old golf breaks

A Ballybunion Old golf vacation is at the top of many a keen golfer's 'must play' list. Tee times at Ballybunion Old are difficult to come by, which is where The Experience St Andrews can help. Our golfing deals are the whole package. All our experiences can be tailored to your exact requirements to ensure you have the golfing holiday of a lifetime. To explore the options for  Ballybunion Old golf breaks, please contact us

Featured Ballybunion Old golf package:

South West 4 Nights 4&5* Programme: Our Ireland golf vacations offer the chance to experience some of the finest courses the country has to offer. This package includes four top notch rounds of golf on courses of your choice, including Ballybunion Old and Old Head. The 5* Killarney Park Hotel and 4* Randles Court Hotels will be your home away from home, offering a full Irish Breakfast daily, an evening meal on one night of your stay, and luxurious accommodation to fully wind down in. An Airport meet-and-greet service and full transfers to your hotel and between the golf course ensures you won’t have to worry about a thing. Discover more >