Golf Tours Ireland Special Offer – Bullybunion featured
Playing Ballybunion, the first thing to do is to decide which of the two courses to play first. Well, you’ve the Robert Trent Jones Senior designed ‘Cashen’ Course which is the more modern development of the two and there’s the ‘Old Course’ which dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Ordinarily we’d say there’s no contest between a time shaped links and a newer development, but in the case of Mr Trent Jones Senior, and the fact that both options here are links golf at its purest you wont go far wrong either way. Both rate highly and it’s fair to say the old course rates consistently higher but that’s often the case with a course that as established as Ballybunion, sitting in the top spots on golf course rankings since time began. The Old Course is quite a physical experience, while the new course is more typical of technical demands of the modern era. So we’ll trump for the Old course because today we’re talking about feature courses on our 2015 Golf Tours Special Offer, and as part of that package we’ll have time for one round in ‘BallyB’. Ballybunion is the 5th course we’re featuring on our discounted golf vacation packages Ireland offer. This unique Irish golf vacation package allows you to play 6 of the best courses Ireland has to offer, while staying in upgraded accommodation in Limerick’s Savoy 5 Star Hotel. If travelling as couples, you get upgraded suites, or if travelling as a group of friends you get a room all to yourself. Chauffeured private driver transport in a luxury Mercedes vehicle is included, and you can see full details on our page for our 2015 Irish Golf vacation package offer.
This is the second course in Co Kerry to feature on our 2015 Golf Tour Special Offer. Previously we explored Tralee, in the south of the county they call the ‘Kingdom’, today we are up in the northern part of the county, not too far away from the broad Shannon estuary and where it drains into the Atlantic passing as it does the nearby counties of Limerick and Clare. The two courses are beside each other, nestled between the quaint town of Ballybunion at the north end and the River Feale at the south end. In between, each course spans the golden beaches that separate bump-and-hollow fairways from the incessant Atlantic waves. Bill Clinton once famously promised the people of Ballybunion that he would return to play their course, a bond he made with Irish upper house politician Dick Spring. Indeed he made good, and we do too as there are a few courses that never get dropped off any customized itinerary for our clients and this place is certainly one of them.
Perhaps it’s because County Kerry so scenic as it is, and her people that charm you are the factors that make it for many the best place in Ireland to visit. With wild Atlantic coastal scenery, lively hospitable towns, mountains and rivers everywhere, this corner of Ireland has it all, including for our money two of the best golf courses that continually make the top rank lists for all the major magazines and publications, namely Ballybunion and Tralee as previously featured.
The Old Course here is as the name suggests old style golf. The course takes the natural surroundings and puts a tee box at one end and a green at the other, all of which means its physically demanding, no doubt. And if you have weather to combat then after 18 you’ll know you’ve been through it. But for all that, this remarkable links everybody agrees, plays fair.
Everyone knows what to do on the first tee box here. Being told to avoid the graveyard is a good tip for us all in general but it’s hardly the advice you want to hear on your first tee shot of the day! Yet, do that much and you might well score an opening par. The first few holes thereafter ease you into things really and by the time you are approaching the 6th green, you really start to appreciate what Ballybunion is all about. The green is elevated above the beach below and as you progress up the fairway the ocean vista reveals itself fully as waves approach you laterally. We love the 7th for two reasons, playing the fairway parallel to the beach is just magnificent. As you take the salty air on the way to the green you can see what is the essence of this links challenge; a glorious green tucked away and guarded naturally by dunes and hills. This is the pattern for the day really and on the par 3 8th your chosen tee shot is an appreciation of the cleverly placed bunkers and hills. Really what you need is a perfect tee shot with brakes on landing. The 10th fairway works your way back to the beach, and that job is all the easier if you keep left on the fairway, anything with a hint of right means the natural fade on the fairway will make your approach shot(s) more awkward than needs be. Again those pesky dunes and bunkers make their presence felt. The 11th hole is a par 4 straight out of your imagination. If you were asked to conjure up a par 4 that would catch your friends out every time this hole is perhaps what you might dream up. For a start you need two shots with everything you’ve got just to get there. But those long hits have to be so well aimed. The dunes and fairway hollows seem to be just where you don’t need them, right, left and center. So if you tee well, you will still need lots of grunt on your next shot to carry the danger. But do enjoy the walk alongside the Atlantic Ocean as you go. Hmmm, guess why the 12th is called ‘Citadel’? Well suffice it to say we are going upstairs here for a bit, I hope you’ve had some chocolate by now to keep your energy up. Anything right of the green is punished by a major fall away, so left is better. Playing 13 is lucky for some, invariably those who carry the stream that crosses the fairway before the green with their second stroke. If you haven’t brought your long game, best to lay up on the second, and aim for up and down from there. That task is made all the easier if your caddy can advise that the pin is at the back…away from the many traps to the green’s fore.
The par 3 15th, Mikes favourite. This hole can catch you out because it can play much longer than meets the eye. You’re playing towards the sea, so if the wind is up you have to club up, all the more so if the stick is pinned at the back of this magnificently tiered green.
By the time the dog leg 16th comes around, you might just be feeling the effects of this physical encounter by now. But don’t be tempted to make things easy by cutting yards off your second shot. The bunkers you can’t see might get you. You might get away with a modest short cut off the 17th tee. It’s elevated and pretty breathtaking. The narrow fairway leads to a green that sits under the watchful protection of the overhanging hills and dunes to the rear and right. The 18th sometimes gives you a tailwind and that can assist your chances of making green in two. There is a crater type of bunker mid fairway that’s a little smaller than the great dustbowl of Utah to capture overzealous and misguided tee shots. Keep it modest and a bit to the right, and you then have an approach shot and a chance to finish your day on a good score.
For an ‘old’ course, the facilities here are out of the top drawer. The practice areas are excellent and plentiful, the food is terrific, the staff are some of the best we meet, and of course the caddies are real gems and know their stuff. So it’s easy to see how Ballybunion makes our Golf Tours Ireland Special Offer. Ballybunion is about an hour and half away from Limerick City where our Golf Tours Ireland Special Offer accommodation is at the Savoy 5 Star Hotel in Limerick. This choice of location is ideal as it is central to all the courses we play as part of this high value high luxury offer. Call Mike Ryan today toll free from US and Canada at 1 888 793 0416 or +353 (0)87 7930447 from anywhere else and see how we can make the Special Offer Golf vacation suit you, or indeed how we can customize your Ireland golf vacation package.