While the club dates from 1947, the second course at Ballyliffin GC- named The Glashedy Links, did not open until 1995. It was designed by Irishmen Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock. More recently Ruddy has added some length and tidied up some bunkering in a bid to see the Irish Open played here in the next few years.
The dunes at Ballyliffin are extensive and seemingly perfect for golf. While Eddie Hackett got first option on the routing when he designed The Old Links, The Glashedy course winds through larger dunes, most of which are set back a little from the coast. It is a grand setting for what is essentially a championship golf course. The Glashedy has the length and mettle to test even the best, and would be an ideal candidate for The Irish Open at some stage.
The site is brutally exposed to strong sea breezes, and Ruddy and Craddock have gone to town on the placement of the wonderful revetted pot bunkers which protect the greens, and fairways off the tee.
The routing cleverly exposes the golfer to crosswinds, downwinds and winds against- constantly asking questions on the golfer’s ability to pick the right line and control the flight
I found myself constantly aiming at the pot bunker on one side of the fairway, and allowing for the cross breeze to bring the ball back to middle. The good players would consider playing short or long to miss the fairway bunkering either side, but the hacker is a sucker for punishment!
With strong winds and firm greens it is a challenge to hit and hold greens, and all fall offs lead to trouble!
While the terrain has wonderful wild dunes, the contouring of the fairways is a little subdued- a little like the look and feel of Birkdale or Trump Aberdeen.
The course is known for its strong start- the first three holes are strong longish par 4’s. Strangely the course only has 3 par threes, but they are all impressive.
Notable Holes include:
the par 3 fifth hole, a mid length hole to a green nestled in the dunes by the sea.
the short par 4 sixth hole which is a left to right dogleg which normally plays downwind. A decision must be made on the tee- go at the green over the dogleg or lay up?
the par 3 seventh is drop dead gorgeous. With a tee set high in the dunes, the tee shot must be flighted with the winds to a green set well below, and protected by a pond, rough, dunes and bunkers. Picking the right club first time up is a challenge..
the par 3 fourteenth hole is another gorgeous looking hole with tee set high on the dune next to the seventh tee. The green sits on dune ledge well below the tee, and is dominated by one classic bunker short
The Glashedy Links is a true championship course set in a perfect links golf setting. To be sure!
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