Tralee Golf Club in County Kerry has the unique honor of being home to the first European golf course designed by the King, Arnold Palmer. The original course dates back to 1896. It existed in various incarnations and locations, including Oakpark, Fenit, and most recently at Mounthawk in Cahersalee.
The course designed by Palmer however, opened in October 1984. This 18-hole links course is a par 72 and measures almost 7,000 yards from the championship tees. It’s located right on the Atlantic in southwest Ireland, and much of the course hugs the coastline. Golfers visiting Tralee can expect oceanfront views offset by high dunes, cavernous bunkers, and other challenges devised in part by Palmer.
Tralee’s signature hole is its third. Dubbed “The Castle,” this hole is a 194-yard par three that gets its name from the ruins of an ancient castle located nearby. The ruins are so close to the course in fact, that they act as a natural target for players to aim their tee shot at. Without them, it’s likely that many more shots would end up in the Atlantic.
Not to be outdone, Tralee’s 17th hole is as noteworthy as its third. The hole gets its name from the Academy Award-winning film Ryan’s Daughter, which used Tralee as the filming location for its beach scenes. It’s no wonder Tralee ended up on the silver screen really, considering Palmer credited God himself with designing the back nine.
On this 355-yard par four, players must go from an elevated tee, across a ravine, and onto a craggy fairway. From there, it’s an approach shot to a small, raised table top green. Tralee has arguably the best back nine in links golf, and the stunning 17th is just one of its many highlights.