County Golf Club - ( Baltray )
Golf World” magazine has described “County Louth is one of the best kept secrets of Irish golf. Sometimes also referred to as Baltray this has to be one of the most enjoyable Links in Ireland and undoubtedly represents superb value. There is not a weak hole on the course and some of the holes merit greatness”.
County Louth Golf Club, or Baltray as it’s known locally, is one of those golf courses that contradict the commonly held belief that Ireland’s eastern coast is far inferior to the southwestern region in terms of quality links courses. Though the volume of links may not be quite the same on the east coast, when you consider courses such as Baltray, The Island, Royal Dublin, Portmarnock, Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, Royal County Down and the European Club, it is clear that the quality of links golf courses on the eastern side of the island is in no way inferior.
The original layout at Baltray was modified to a large extent when Tom Simpson and his assistant, Molly Gourlay, redesigned the course in 1938, but so successful were the alterations made at this time, that the course remains relatively unchanged today. Noted in Irish golfing circles for the quality of its greens, visitors to County Louth are often perplexed that a links of such quality should have a rather modest international profile. The reason, perhaps, has more to do with the unpretentious attitude of the club, rather than its relatively secluded location at the mouth of the River Boyne.
Baltray plays annual host to the East of Ireland Golf Championships, which was won no fewer than 12 times by the legendary Irish amateur, Joe Carr. A good story concerning Carr and Baltray involves Carr returning to the scene of his many triumphs a number of years afterwards. Joe was assigned a young caddie who, to the amusement of Carr’s playing partners, had no idea of his employer’s identity. During the round, the youngster inquired whether Carr had ever played in the east of Ireland, whereupon Joe informed him that he had, in fact, won the event a few times. On the very next hole, Carr did the unthinkable by topping his drive, an act that prompted the caddie to remark wryly: “It must have been a lot easier in those days.”