23 Jul 2017

The trend toward shorter golf courses appears to be continuing globally, with news last week that the Tralee Golf Club on the west coast of Ireland was adding a six-hole, par-three course to its full 18-hole Arnold Palmer design.

According to the Irish Examiner, the club’s expansion is aimed primarily at an American market more inclined to want to spend additional time enjoying the golf facilities than the locals.

Tralee’s Barrow Course is already regarded as one of the top courses in the country, regularly placed in the top 10 when Ireland’s best are ranked. While it may be difficult to bring about many improvements to the Arnold Palmer-designed track, the club are working on ancillary features, including a par-3 course.

“Something that we’ve noticed is that our guests love to avail of the facilities,” says Tralee’s general manager Anthony Byrne.

“The Irish golfer might rush to the tee last minute but Americans in particular like lots of time in advance to warm up and use the facilities.”

The par-3 course, designed by Martin Hawtree, who has designed or renovated courses such as Royal Birkdale, Ballybunion and Lahinch, will replicate the quality of the golf course, with holes between 120 and 170 yards with three tees on each hole.

“It’s going to be a very high-end par-3 course, and a great addition to the facilities,” Byrne says.

“It will only take an hour or a bit to play so if members fancy some practice, maybe have some kids with them and don’t want to play golf all day, this is the perfect opportunity to play with the family.

“The par-3 will give us the opportunity to encourage people to take up the game of golf. If your parents are members, it would be a great place to start playing golf, on a really nice par-3 layout.”

Work is ongoing at Tralee and the seeding of the course should be finished in August, leaving it to open next year around the following August.

Given Hawtree’s best holes at Trump International Scotland are par threes, and his short additions at Lahinch have been well received, we have high hopes for the course and look forward to reviewing the Tralee work sometime after 2018.

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