Located in the fishing village of Baltray, County Louth Golf Club is home to a course Golf World has called “one of the best kept secrets of Irish golf.” The reason why this course, also named Baltray, has remained under the radar for decades is because it lives in the shadows of both Portmarnock and Royal County Down.
These two world-class courses are located only an hour’s drive from County Louth, with Portmarnock to the south and Royal County Down to the north. It’s also worth noting that County Louth is approximately four miles from Drogheda, one of the oldest towns in Ireland.
At County Louth, a great game of links golf awaits players who avoid the siren songs of Portmarnock and Royal County Down. The 18-hole Baltray course is laid out in two loops, making it so that no two holes run in the same direction. The only exceptions to this are the 12th and 13th holes, which both run adjacent to the sea.
Tom Simpson is credited with designing Baltray in 1938, but the first few holes were originally laid out in 1892 by Scotsman Thomas Gilroy and a fellow Scot known only as Snowball. Tom Mackenzie made minor changes to the layout in 2003, extending the yardage to the current figure of 7,031.
One of Baltray’s most unique qualities is that it has a relatively small number of bunkers; 50, to be exact. This is because most of the course is already well-defended by natural terrain, as evidenced by Baltray’s signature 14th hole. Measuring only 332 yards, this short par four is harder than it looks, so don’t be surprised if it ends up taking five shots or more. You won’t be the first golfer that’s happened to, nor the last.