Tralee is the main town of County Kerry, located in the south-west of Ireland. The town is on the northern side of the neck of the Dingle Peninsula, and is the largest town in Kerry. Although Kerry has its own airport, for international visitors, the closest are Shannon and Cork airports, that are approximately 120kilometers away (a little over 2 hours by car).
Many will know Tralee with its internationally recognised event, the Rose of Tralee Festival which has been held annually in August since 1959.
The infamous links course is located only minutes from the hustle and bustle of Tralee town centre. Tralee is home to some of the best holes in Ireland, as well as some of the most incredible scenery. It was the first European golf course designed by Arnold Palmer.
The setting of the clubhouse is in itself, breath-taking, perched up on a height with most of the 18 holes on show with landscape that will no doubt, take your breath away.
Beyond the edges of the course, the dunes, beaches, mountains and seascapes helped Tralee to claim its place among Golf Channel’s top ten ‘Best Ocean Courses’ in the world. (The list also includes Ballybunion and Old Head.)
Tralee was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, despite Palmer’s protestations that “surely God designed the back nine.” Certainly the perfect landscape of towering, twisting dunes and deep hollows left little for the designers to do.
Instituted October 1, 1896, Tralee Golf Club opened its present Arnold Palmer-designed course for play at Barrow in October, 1984, after moving from its nine-hole course at Mounthawk near Tralee. Having decided to buy land at Barrow back in 1980, the member’s dream of seeing the Club attain world-wide status has been realised.
Back in 1896 the Club had its first nine-hole course in Tralee, believed to be where the Sports field is now located. A year later, in 1897, it opened a nine-hole course in Fenit on the south-western side of Barrow Harbour. There were 120 members then (compared to today's 1,300) who paid a subscription of 10 shillings a year, with visitors having one week free play as introduction.
Some individual holes on the course are worthy of taking an extra look, as you may remember them from movies or indeed your school history books, notably;
1st & 2nd The spectacular view of beach, which runs at the back of the 1st hole and to the right of 2nd hole was the location of the beach scenes of the 1970 epic movie Ryan’s Daughter, which won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
3rd, 4th, 5th & 7th The tower at the back of the 3rd green dates back to the 1190s, while legend has it that the big sandstone rock at the end of the wall running diagonally between the fourth and fifth fairways was hurled by the mythical Cuchullain from the top of the Sliabh Mish, the mountain that can be seen to the south.
The back of the 7th tee box overlooks the Randy, a small harbour that was a haven for smugglers in earlier centuries.
15th The stretch of beach just north of the 15th tee box is the lonely part of Banna Strand on which Roger Casement was landed from a U-boat on Good Friday 1916. He was arrested a short distance away, tried for treason in London, and executed.
16th & 17th The beach behind the 16th green and off the right of the 17th hole was where many ships ran aground, including one vessel from the Spanish Armada in 1588.
Tralee Golf Club prides itself on having modern attractive amenities, and only recently opened their complete state-of-the-art driving range and teaching bays, an incredible addition to their golf instruction facility.
Check out it for yourself: https://youtu.be/zwIOApWyPGA
The indoor/outdoor facility are available no matter the weather and are an ideal way to practice and hone in on that tricky shot before hitting the course.
The 9 hole putting green in front of the clubhouse will also give you a good feel for the putting surface before you set out on your round of golf.
The Clubhouse houses spacious dressing rooms with specially designed shower areas and steam rooms. Locker facilities and towels are part and parcel of the service. The Club shop carries an extensive range of branded goods from leading labels, all at a very competitive price. Don't forget to ask the Club professionals about the available Caddies, their local knowledge is a must for first time players of the course.
The Clubhouse bar & restaurant have arguably, one of the most remarkable views of any golf clubhouse in the world. The majority of the holes can be seen through the wall of glass overlooking the course. The restaurant offers a range of speciality meals produced with the finest of locally sourced produce.
This truly is, a golf experience you will be unlikely – and unwilling – to forget.