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Golf Package to Ireland

September 14 - 21, 2019

  • Tralee –  Representing the first European design of Arnold Palmer, Tralee Golf Club in southwestern Ireland is one of the most spectacularly beautiful golf courses you will ever encounter. And while beauty often masks certain deficiencies in a golf course, that is certainly not the case with Tralee. Having completed his masterpiece, Palmer commented: “I have never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course. I am happy that we have one of the world’s great links here.” While it always boasted a magnificent setting, with the course settling down and the greens thriving over time, Tralee has now joined the elite group of Irish links. With views of the Atlantic and white sandy beaches from almost every hole, Tralee earns rave reviews from all who play it. Renowned golf writer Peter Dobereiner aptly summed up the experience of playing here, commenting: “As a spectacle, Tralee is in a different class…the setting is quite the most magnificent backdrop for a golf course I have ever encountered. It thus passes with distinction my first test of a course, which is that it should be an exhilarating place to walk around regardless of how well or badly you may be playing.”Tralee is one of those courses where it is difficult to concentrate on your game due to the breathtaking nature of the scenery, but you will nevertheless note that the course offers countless superb holes. Best on the front nine include the doglegging par 5, 2nd hole, which measures over 590 yards from the championship tees and plays directly along the Atlantic Ocean to the right; the demanding par 3, 3rd hole, which requires a tee shot struck almost over the beach to a green guarded left and right by bunkers; and the relatively short par 4, 8th hole, which again requires a brave tee shot skirting with a watery grave on the left and requiring a pinpoint approach to a target sloping wickedly from right to left.Brace yourself for one of the finest homeward stretches in golf. Each hole from the 10th to the 18th provides an unforgettable experience. When playing your second shot to the 12th green, you will quickly realize why it’s rated the most difficult on the course. Assuming you have hit a good drive, a huge depression from which there is no escape lurks to the left, while there is literally nowhere to land your ball other than on the green. The short par 3, 13th over what is best described as “trouble” is all about trusting your club selection, while the longer par 3, 16th requires a well-struck mid to long iron from an elevated tee to a green cleverly protected by bunkers and perched directly beside the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Waterville – Make no mistake about it: Waterville Golf Links in Kerry is one of the finest links golf courses in the world, never mind Ireland. Located on the Ring of Kerry, the surrounding scenery and quality of golf holes is breathtaking, to say the least. The Waterville area and Ballinskelligs Bay also play an important role in the mythology and history of ancient Ireland. The granddaughter of Noah (of Ark fame) is reported to have landed in Ballinskelligs Bay, while the last of the mythical invaders, the Milesians, settled here in 1700 BC, leaving behind many archeological reminders. These rich legends combine with a serene location to form a mystical aura that visitors to Waterville can sense to this day.The earliest structured golf at Waterville has been traced back to 1889, and it was a formalized part of village life by 1900, when Waterville became one of the first clubs to be affiliated with the Golfing Union of Ireland. Immediately before and after World War II, Waterville Golf Club enjoyed a very high profile, but the links lay virtually dormant through the latter part of the 1960’s until the arrival of John A. Mulcahy, an Irish-born American who came with the vision of building the most testing golf links in the world. Mulcahy teamed up with renowned Irish architect Eddie Hackett and, between them, they have produced a course that ranks among the finest in the world. Since opening in 1973, Waterville has enjoyed great popularity and has hosted some of the world’s leading professionals, from Faldo and Floyd to Stewart, O’Meara and Woods, all of whom have been captivated by the course. Raymond Floyd subsequently wrote of his experience: “This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen; it has some of the finest links holes I have ever played.” In September of 1994, Waterville’s favorite son, John A. Mulcahy, passed away and, as requested, his ashes were buried on the famous “Mulcahy’s Peak,” the par 3, 17th at Waterville.The front nine holes, which were designed to contrast with the more rugged and exposed closing stretch, begin with the chillingly named “Last Easy,” a fairly ironic name given that it’s not really that simple. Then again, given the quality of the remaining 17 holes, it probably deserves its name. Each hole at Waterville is a wonderful experience, with the 2nd and 3rd holes, both par 4’s, particularly impressive. And while the par 3, 17th is probably Waterville’s feature hole, most would agree with Gary Player when he described the 11th as “the most beautiful and satisfying par 5 of them all.” Running 500 yards through a narrow passage of huge dunes, this hole fully deserves its name “Tranquility.” The late Henry Cotton, three time British Open Champion, probably said it best when he commented: “Waterville has to be one of the greatest golf courses ever built. If it were located in Britain, it would undoubtedly be a venue for the British Open. I have never seen a more consistent succession of really strong and beautiful golf holes than here.”

  • Old Head – Designed by a combination of Ireland’s golfing heroes and design experts, Old Head Golf Links is, quite simply, one of the most remarkable developments ever conceived in the history of golf, an Atlantic promontory that will never be rivaled in terms of drama or beauty. The course rises hundreds of feet above dramatic cliffs, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all sides and commanding the most spectacular views from almost every part. The Old Head of Kinsale is an area rich in historical, archaeological, and scientific interest. It is a national monument and an ancient royal site, fortified by a castle at the narrowest part of the promontory, with history traceable back to several centuries before Christ. Scenically awesome and rugged, it is the only place known by historians that can be directly linked with the Eireann Celtic tribe, from whom it is assumed that the country got its name (Eireann is a Gaelic term for Ireland). Old Head has undergone much change and the golf links provides yet another chapter in the history of this remarkable place. You may have walked the fairways of Augusta, maneuvered around the cliffs of Pebble Beach, or witnessed the history of the Old Course at St. Andrews, but rest assured that you have never seen a golf course as overwhelmingly striking as the Old Head of Kinsale. The 220-acre site of five par 3’s, five par 5’s and eight par 4’s is configured as two returning loops of nine holes. Eight of the holes play directly along the cliff tops, providing an exhilarating test of golf and concentration. On a fine day, Old Head can accommodate a fairly low return, but the vagaries of the Atlantic winds ensure that the course offers a different challenge every day. For a golf course of this magnitude, it is fitting to conclude with the thoughts of one of Ireland ‘s greatest golfing sons, three times British Amateur Champion and former captain of the Royal and Ancient, Joe Carr. Speaking about the course, he commented: “The Old Head will in my estimation rate with the great golf courses of the world. Its location, its scenic reality and spectacular terrain remind me of Cypress Point and Pebble Beach. I see the Old Head as a golfer’s paradise and it has the potential of being the eighth wonder of the world, in golfing terms.” Strong words but accurate indeed.

  • Ballybunion-Old Course –  The very name Ballybunion Golf Club strikes a chord with golfing enthusiasts around the globe. Rated one of the ten best golf courses in the world, standing on the first tee at Ballybunion is every bit as awe-inspiring as one could imagine in many respects; it’s like standing on the first at the Old Course in St Andrews. This is an experience long since yearned for: don’t duff it, don’t slice it, don’t hook it and whatever you do, don’t put it into the graveyard! On August 19th 1893, both the Limerick Chronicle and Kerry Sentinel (in their gossip columns, of all places) carried news of the opening meeting of Ballybunion Golf Club. The club, though, was not yet financially equipped to survive and there followed an eight year period of golfing oblivion, which lasted until the formation of the present Ballybunion Golf Club in 1906. As time passed, the reputation of Ballybunion as a golf course grew steadily, and it hosted many major domestic championships.The year 1971 triggered the start of a new era for the club when acclaimed golf writer Herbert Warren Wind wrote an article ranking Ballybunion as one of the best ten courses in the world. Things were never quite the same again, as visiting golfers came in hordes to experience the magnificent Kerry links. Among the many visitors was Tom Watson, Ballybunion’s favorite adopted son, while over the years the many who have made the pilgrimage include Byron Nelson, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Peter Alliss, Ken Venturi, and one Bill Clinton, to name but a few.The Old Course at Ballybunion is a true seaside links, virtually treeless, with a distinct lack of man made influences. There is certainly a wild look to the course, making it appear intimidating, yet the truth is, that the course is eminently fair. The contours on the fairways and greens are what make Ballybunion a great golf course. The golfer is required to play accurate approach shots to the greens, usually to a small target with not a lot of space to miss left or right.Considering the profound influence that Ballybunion has made on Tom Watson, it is perhaps fitting to end with his thoughts: “It’s a course you will always enjoy and never tire of playing…. In short, Ballybunion is a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build a golf course. I consider it a true test of golf.”

  • Lahinch-Old Course –  One of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland, Lahinch Golf Club, is also one of the most respected links courses in the world. Set right on the Atlantic coastline, Lahinch is exposed to the ocean through all her moods and has been molded and shaped over the centuries by nature’s harsh elements and an occasional touch of human genius. Lahinch, with its towering sand dunes, undulating fairways, rolling greens and fair share of blind shots, is the perfect natural golfing terrain, a true links in the traditional meaning of the word.As with most links with roots in the 19th century, Lahinch boasts an interesting history. In March 1892, two prominent members of Limerick Golf Club traveled to the west coast of Clare following a rumor that somewhere between Ennistymon and Miltown Malbay, there was suitable ground upon which to build a golf course. The end result was the development of a ten-hole layout, and the first game of golf was played at Lahinch in April 1892. Two years later, Old Tom Morris was invited to Lahinch to examine the course. Having surveyed the terrain, Morris was deeply impressed, and he insisted that when the proposed changes were carried out, Lahinch would be on a par with the five best links of the United Kingdom. Following subsequent design changes carried out by Dr. Alister MacKenzie in 1928, time has proved that Morris wasn’t far wrong in his assessment.Apart from the splendor of its location, Lahinch has gained wide recognition for its charming idiosyncrasies, not least among them the goats, whose outline adorns the club’s crest. It is said that the goats of Lahinch act as weathermen for all golfers. If the goats are grazing on the dunes, the weather will remain fine, but if they venture towards the shade of the clubhouse, then prepare for a spot of rain.Lahinch possesses two of the most famous holes in Irish golf in “Klondyke,” the 5th, and “Dell,” the 6th. The par 5 Klondyke demands a drive into a scenic valley from where one plays a completely blind second shot over a monstrous dune to a gently rolling green some 200 yards further on. Dell, on the other hand, is one of the most photographed and controversial short holes in golf. The green on this par 3 is nestled between two steep dunes and is completely blind from the tee. The line here is over a stone moved along the face of the fronting dune, while the outcome can be very much in the lap of the golfing gods.

Old Head

Experience 5 of the world's top 100 golf courses while enjoying the magnificent Ireland

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