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.
Anthony Bennett Atlantic Golf Construction is the contractor entrusted with the building work — the company boast an impressive CV having recently worked on the new Adare Manor and Ballybunion Golf Club.
Additionally, the club is constructing five driving bays plus a teaching academy. Their Head PGA professional David Power and his assistant are fully qualified in Trackman and new technologies, so can now match their expertise with the state of the art modern practice facility.
“This will give you a brilliant facility where you can avail of lessons, or go to get fitted for new equipment whatever you’d like,” Byrne says. “I think it will be one of the best that you’ll see in Ireland when it is completed.”
Not all renovations are entirely golf related with work also done, and planned, at the clubhouse and surrounding areas. “We’ve modernised the locker room, the toilets, the showers, the foyer, the reception area, the pro shop downstairs,” adds Byrne.
“That’s Phase 1, next year we hope to carry that whole theme through the building.
“We then hope to modernise the restaurant and bar area. We’re doing a fair amount.”
All of this is funded from their own cash reserves, which they manage carefully through a five-year budget plan with revenue from green fees and memberships.