Arnold Palmer’s Jewel

Designed and built by Arnold Palmer, this stunning setting represents a true paradise for those willing to challenge what is widely acclaimed as one of the finest links courses in the world.

“I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine.”

Arnold Palmer

On his appointment in 2018 as Tralee Golf Clubs Golf Course Architect Graeme is quoted as saying:

Tralee is a wonderfully scenic and immaculately conditioned links golf course, with many great holes of golf, it was the great Arnold Palmer’s first golf course design in Europe. I have been given the honour and huge responsibility to carry out subtle improvements and enhancements to this stunning layout. It is a true golfing paradise for those willing to take on the challenge of what is widely acclaimed as one of the finest links courses in the world.

To be selected for this project at Tralee Golf Club is undoubtedly one of the proudest moments of my career, I am truly delighted to be entrusted with the five-year master plan of proposed improvements and upgrades to this magnificent links. I am in no doubt about the legacy I inherit, that of a course designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer and the weight of expectation from the membership is a responsibility I have front of mind.
Having grown up playing links golf, I have a particular affinity with the shot making required to successfully navigate the in built vagaries and unique challenges of this type of terrain. Links courses have been a huge influence on my golf course design philosophy, I like to work with nature and incorporate what the land offers rather than move huge mounds of earth, the courses I’ve designed and built are testament to this, “light touch” approach.

Outstanding views of the course from the Clubhouse

The approach we intend to adopt for this five-year master plan will be very consultative. Working with the Chairman and his committee’s, the green keeping team and various other representative groups from across the membership, we intend to do a lot of listening and talking before putting pen to paper or shovel to earth. Only by truly understanding what the club are looking for and being ever respectful of the individual identity of this great links can we make changes and adjustments that will improve the playing experience for decades to come. 

I mentioned the green keeping staff in particular, as I know they always have huge insights to offer about the course they nurture on a day-to-day basis. I know this at a personal level as following my playing career that saw me compete as a top flight amateur, I chose that path to satisfy my ambition to stay close to the game. As I transitioned to course construction and then to design the task of easing the burden of course maintenance has been a vital part of my design work.

It is our intention to work hard at the communication with you members. As will become evident, I am very hands on with my projects, the members of Ballybunion will testify to that. Through my frequent visits to that project over the last four years I’ve made lifelong friends and developed a deep affection for the west coast of Ireland and very much look forward to meeting the members of Tralee Golf Club.

Graeme Webster, Golf Course Architect Team Niblick

Phase 1. (January 2019 – February 2019)

In early 2019 Phase 1 works were carried out which included the redesign and reconstruction of the entrance to the golf course , the walk from the clubhouse to the 1st tees. The 1st tees were rebuilt set into their own dunescapes and the path of the short walk from the clubhouse to the 1st tees was re-routed to introduce the golfers to the course entering to the rear of the tees, giving the golfer a wonderful “first view” of the Links Course framed by the Atlantic Ocean. An entrance more befitting of this classic Links Golf Course.
The lifelike statue of Mr. Palmer was moved from the its position at the rear of the 18th green to its new position at the entrance to the Golf Course .Now “Arnie” is in his rightful position to welcome golfers to his course.

The fairway bunkers were redesigned to demand a strategic choice from the tee and to add to the aesthetics of the hole.

The entrance to the green was reshaped to provide the option of running a shot through and onto the green.

Par 4 1st Hole – Photograph Of Existing Faiway Bunkering

Artistic Impression Of The Proposed Changes To The 1st Fairway Bunkering

New 1st tee complex (new tee platforms, dunescapes and grass pathways) with the statue of the legendary and original Tralee golf course architect Arnold Palmer in its new location, at the new entrance to the course.

Construction of new 1st fairway bunkers.

Ongoing construction of new 1st tees and their dunescapes and construction of new fairway bunkers.

Ongoing construction of 1st fairway bunkers.

Statue of the legendary and original Tralee golf course architect Arnold Palmer in its new location, at the new entrance to the golf course, welcoming golfers to the course.A wonderful start to your round.

Phase 2. ( October 2019 – February 2020 inc.)

In the Autumn / Winter period (mid October 2019 – Mid February 2020) Phase 2 works were carried out. These works included redesign and rebuild works on the 4th, 5th and 9th holes.

On Holes 4 and 5 the tee sites were rebuilt, building the tee platforms into their own dunescapes and building a new grass pathway to service the new tee platforms.

Fairway bunkering was reconfigured and rebuilt in revetted style. New bunkers were added to define tee shots and add to the course strategy.

Green surrounds were rebuilt and recontoured to provide character and definition to the green sites and to provide the golfer with the whole gambit of shot making options to get up and down for a par. The new green surrounds will also allow the greenkeeping team flowing contours to establish great year round playing surfaces.

Hole 9 was redesigned, re-strategized and rebuilt.

The new hole now presents an appearance and challenge in keeping with the rest of the golf course.

The 9th hole now plays as a par 5 with a double dog leg. Hole strategy will be to the fore as golfers decide where they want to play their “lay up” shot to, to be their preferred position and distance from where to play their 3rd shot to the small and tricky new green site.
A short but wonderfully challenging Par 5.

New bunker guarding approach to 5th green.

Construction of new bunkers on approach to the 9th green.

Construction of new fairway bunkers on the 5th hole.

New 9th tees and supporting grass pathway, set into new dunescapes.

New 5th tees and their supporting dunescapes and grass pathways.

View looking over new 5th tee complex showing the extent of the new dunescape setting and the new grass pathway servicing the new tee platforms. Ongoing works to construct the new fairway bunkers and dunescapes on holes 4 and 5 can be seen in the distance along with the ongoing works to realign the 9th fairway.

“We adopted a very consultative process at every level in the club in the preparation of the Masterplan . Graeme’s gift for communication and his willingness to engage and explain his thought process and designs both in Committee and at our Open Evenings was exceptional and that approach convinced everyone that our course and club were in safe hands”.

Richard Rafferty (Greens Chairman) (2016 – 2020 inc.)
Tralee Golf Club

“Having Graeme “on site” pretty much for the duration of the construction period provides a real fluidity to the works. We can discuss and resolve issues pretty much as they happen. Decision making and approvals are made in “real time” and progress is charted daily, where necessary things are “tweaked” on site to ensure budgets are strictly met”.

Anthony Bryne -General Manager Tralee Golf Club
Tralee Golf Club

“Graeme’ has unerring attention to detail, he works superbly well with the shapers on site so that the new landscapes that are created tie in seamlessly with the existing flow of the land. We discuss cut lines and presentation in great detail and real attention is given to the strength of the contours that have to be maintained.”

Colm Lawler -Course Manager Tralee Golf Club
Tralee Golf Club