Opened in October 1984, Tralee Golf Course was the first European golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. Tralee is one of those courses where it is difficult to concentrate on your game due to the breathtaking nature of the scenery but you will nevertheless note that the course offers countless superb holes. The links at Barrow is a roller coaster of sand dune holes. Treacherous traps and undulating greens are among the challenges on this exciting golf links.
When Arnold Palmer first saw the area upon which his company was to build Tralee golf links, he was ecstatic about the possibilities. “I have never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course” he said. “I designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine”.
Golfers will have to brace themselves for one of the finest homeward stretches in golf. Best on the front nine include the doglegging par five 2nd hole, which measures over 590 yards from the championship tees and plays directly along the Atlantic Ocean to the right; the demanding par three 3rd hole, which requires a tee shot struck almost over the beach to a green guarded left and right by bunkers; and the relatively short par four 8th hole, which again requires a brave tee shot skirting with a watery grave on the left and requiring a pinpoint approach to a target sloping wickedly from right to left.
Each hole from the 10th to the 18th provides an unforgettable experience. When playing the second shot to the 12th green, you will quickly realize why it’s rated the most difficult on the course. Assuming you have hit a good drive, a huge depression from which there is no escape lurks to the left, while there is literally nowhere to land your ball other than on the green.
The short par three 13th over what is best described as “trouble” is all about trusting your club selection, while the longer par 3 16th requires a well struck mid to long iron from an elevated tee to a green cleverly protected by bunkers and perched directly beside the Atlantic Ocean.
The hardest hole is the 457-yard 12th that goes back the other way. The tee shot is downhill to a narrow landing area flanked by bracken on both sides. A steep fall-away swallows shots too far left. Next to the tee shot, the long second over a valley to an elevated plateaued green with a nasty back to front slope is the hardest shot on the course.
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