Ballybunion Old Course
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Considered one of the finest links courses in the world, Ballybunion's reputation has grown over time. Ballybunion was originally founded in 1893 as a twelve hole course designed by Jo McKenna. Over the next fifteen years the club struggled financially and the course wasn’t redesigned until 1906 when it was turned into a nine hole layout. Ultimately, it was extended to the full eighteen holes in 1926. Tom Simpson was then called in to make changes before the Irish Championship in 1937, and that course is very similar to the one we see today. Unfortunately, its remote locale on the Irish coast has prevented the course from being selected for many top championship events. Still, a number of the world's best players have found their way to the famed course. One, in particular, has had a lasting impact. Tom Watson first visited Ballybunion in 1981 and has returned often. In 1995, he re-modelled Ballybunion into the course that exists today and in 2000 even became Captain. "Having played the Old Course many times since my first visit in 1981, I am now of the opinion it is one of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere in the world." The Old Course gets off to a somewhat eerie start, with the challenge of your opening tee shot being to avoid a graveyard to the right of the 1st fairway. (Regular visitor and former POTUS Bill Clinton was known to spend most of the round down the right hand side of this golf course....). A couple of gentle par 5's on the front nine make it the place to build your score. But the course comes into its own on the back nine. Vast dunes line the fairways, and some distinct changes in elevation add further to an incredible stretch of holes. We think that if the mecca of golf in Scotland is St Andrews, then Ballybunion lays a fair claim to being the spiritual home of visiting golfers to Ireland.