Ballybunion - Old
Designer: Lionel Hewson / Tom Simpson
Length: 6,598 yards
Ballybunion conjures up a vivid image of a wild links golf course on the edge of the Atlantic with fairways set amongst the gigantic duneland. Herbert Warren Wind, the distinguished American golf author, described Ballybunion as “nothing less than the finest seaside course I have ever seen”. It certainly has the largest sand dunes of the Irish courses.
Ballybunion is a thrilling challenge, a supreme test of golf. If you are a very good golfer and there’s a gentle breeze blowing, you might score well. If there’s an onshore gale blowing, you are best to forget scoring well and simply try to enjoy this exhilarating golf course.
Tom Watson fell in love with Ballybunion and he goes out of his way to extol the course’s virtues. He writes: "After playing Ballybunion for the first time, a man would think that the game of golf originated here. There is a wild look to the place, the long grass covering the dunes that pitch and roll throughout the course making it very intimidating ... in short, it is a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build golf courses. I consider it a true test of golf."