Located near the historic town of Drogheda and founded in 1892, the County Louth Golf Club is the home of the famous Baltray links, created by architect Tom Simpson in 1938. Simpson's course has been tweaked over the years, notably by Donal Steel's company in recent years, but the current test remains very true to the layout that Simpson first conceived.
Baltray is arranged in two loops across a site that measures close to 190 acres, the holes jumping around continually and rarely playing in the same direction on consecutive holes. This is classic low-set links golf, the holes are logical and easy to digest with few hidden surprises and most defenses clearly in view as the players approach their shot. This isn't to suggest Baltray doesn't have great character, for there is great variety to the golf holes and the greens here are very clever and well sited on plateaus, shelves or down in natural depressions. Wind is an ever-present factor ensuring that holes vary day-to-day in terms of difficulty and how to best approach them, many of the seemingly short fairway bunkers become nasty propositions under windy conditions.
Some of the feature holes include the left-bending opener and the Scottish style 4th and 13th holes. The standouts, however, are the short par four 14th, played high into a small sloping green, and the fine par four 12th, with its terrific approach shot across a shallow valley and through a saddle in the dunes.
Baltray is a fine course for all standard of golfer, it's fun and interesting and with the addition of some new back tees it now has enough length to provide the game's best players with a true test of their abilities.