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Galway Bay

Founded: 1993
Designer: Christy O’Connor, Jr.
Championship Length: 7,190 yards
PAR: 72
Type: Parkland
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Who this course is best for:

A golfer who enjoys a ‘parkland by the sea’ course, enjoys newer courses, and doesn’t mind playing a course that moved some ground to be created.


Galway Bay Golf & Country Club is laid out on the picturesque Renville Peninsula, one of the most historic sites in the west of Ireland. The golf course is literally peppered with historic remains, including the mystical Rathnapours ring fort, an ancient fairy fort and ruins dating back to the 16th century. Christy O’Connor, Jr. carried out the design of the course with the aim of preserving and highlighting such ancient sites high on his agenda.

The Atlantic Ocean washes the Galway Bay Golf & Country Club on three sides, yet the course is very much parkland terrain. Set on nearly 300 acres, the water hazards and rolling landscape of Galway Bay combine with manicured fairways and acclaimed putting surfaces to ensure a true but fair test of golf. A notable absence of trees, a characteristic of many seaside courses, leaves the course exposed to the elements and places a premium on shot-making skills.

Measuring over 7,000 yards from the championship stakes, it is difficult to select any one hole for special mention, but three holes do leave a lasting impression. The short 7th is an appealing, if not very difficult, par 3, which demands a confident tee shot over a lake onto a two-tiered green. Rated as the most difficult hole on the course, the par 4, 12th hole requires a well-hit drive into the prevailing wind and an accurate approach to the green, while Gary Player has described the 178-yard 13th hole as one of the finest par 3’s he has ever seen or played.

It is a testament to the design work of O’ Connor that only a year after opening for play, the course was chosen as the venue for the Irish Professional Championship. In winds sweeping off the Atlantic, Darren Clarke captured the title with a three under par total of 285. The difference that the conditions can make to this golf course is evident in the fact that when Constantino Rocca won the inaugural West of Ireland Classic in August 1999, he did so in relatively benign conditions and shot a winning score of 276, all of nine shots less than Clarke’s winning total.

Course review content courtesy of Golf Publisher Syndications

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