Founded in 1893, Ballybunion Golf Club has become one of the world’s most treasured golf experiences. The highly regarded Old Course is the crown jewel of South West Ireland golf, and a favorite among many Open champions, such as five-time holder of the Claret Jug, Tom Watson.
Ranking 9th in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland (2022) and number 18 in Golf Digest’s Best 100 Golf Courses in the World (2022-23), Ballybunion Golf Course can be enjoyed on its own, or as part of the breathtaking South West Ireland Golf Tour which showcases the very best coastline golf courses in the region.
The Old isn’t the only Ballybunion Golf Course that deserves recognition. Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed a second course, The Cashen, which opened for play in 1984. Considered by many to be more difficult than the Old in challenging conditions, it features even higher dunes, steeper valleys and more undulating greens than its sister course. With many top courses in the Shannon golf region more than an hour apart, it can combine for a wonderful 36-hole day of Ireland links golf.
The distinctive ruined castle logo of the Club is a nod to the Bunion family’s 15th century home and the area’s name origin. Bally in Irish means town – so Ballybunion comes from the town of the Bunion’s.
Unfortunately, due to being in the Republic of Ireland the Ballybunion Golf Club is ineligible to host an Open Championship (a course must be in the United Kingdom) it is still the favorite course of many Open champions. None more so than five-time holder of the Claret Jug – Tom Watson.
Ballybunion Golf Club is private, but, in the grand tradition of private clubs in the British Isles, they graciously allow limited visitor play. With not only Tom Watson but other popular professionals, the golf media and friends spreading the good word on the exhilaration of playing one of the world’s top links courses, those limited visitor tee times tend to be booked well in advance. And once they are all reserved the diary is closed to visitors, unlike the Old Course at St Andrews that holds out most times for a daily ballot. If Ballybunion’s Old Course is on your bucket list, it is suggested to plan your visit at least a year or more in advance to not be disappointed.
Play Ballybunion Golf Course as part of a South West Ireland golf tour. Include Tralee, Waterville, Old Head and Lahinch, on a golf package filled with the best coastline golf courses that South West Ireland has to offer.
6 nights accommodation and 5 rounds of golf
Prices starting from $4,100
Ballybunion Golf Course has two courses; the Old Course and the Cashen Course. The Old Course is a classic links course that dates back to 1893 and is widely known as one of the best in the world. The Cashen Course is a modern links course opened in 1984.
It was designed by Robert Trent Jones and is known for being challenging and spectacular, with its views of the Clare coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. Both courses have a par of 72 and measure 6,000 yards from the white tees. The Old Course has a rating of 72.9 and a slope of 131, while the Cashen Course has a rating of 71.8 and a slope of 126.
The green fees for golfers at Ballybunion Golf Course vary depending on the day of the week and season. In 2023’s high season (April to October), the green fees in the high season are €300 per person on the Old Course, with a two-round offer (one on the Old Course and one on Cashen) at €400 per person. On the Cashen Course, the fees are €125.
In the low season (November to March), you pay €150 per round on either course and €200 per round on both courses.
You can also get discounts for groups of 12 or more players, special offers for winter golf, and twilight rates after 3 pm.
Yes, you can rent golf clubs and equipment at Ballybunion Golf Course. You can also hire a caddy, buggy, a set of clubs, and trolley hire. You must book a caddy, buggy, or set of clubs in advance. The trolleys do not require booking but are subject to availability. There is also a pro shop to buy gloves, tees, balls, and other playing equipment.