Tralee opened in October 1984 and was the first European golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. When Arnie first saw the area on which the golf couse was to be built, he was ecstatic about the possibilities. "I've never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course. I designed the first nine but surely God designed the back nine," he quipped before adding: "I'm happy that we have one of the worlds' great golf links here."
With views of the Atlantic and white sandy beaches from almost every hole, Tralee earns rave reviews from all who play it. Renowned golf writer Peter Dobereiner aptly summed up the experience of playing here, commenting: "As a spectacle, Tralee is in a different class...the setting is quite the most magnificent backdrop for a golf course I have ever encountered. It thus passes with distinction my first test of a course, which is that it should be an exhilarating place to walk around regardless of how well or badly you may be playing."
The reputation of the back nine (so good is it that Palmer was memorably quoted as saying: “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine”) has somewhat overshadowed the jewels on the front. In their own right they are good enough that, picked up and dropped anywhere else in the world, they’d by renowned as a world-class stretch of links in their own right. They only thing they suffer is proximity to an even better nine holes. And you’ll always get to those, so don’t be in too much of a hurry and just appreciate the quality of the outward loop in its own right.
It’s easy to see why Tralee sits comfortably amongst the best courses in Europe, if not the world. Quite simply, if you’re in the western half of Ireland, you have to play it.