COUNTY LOUTH, Ireland -- County Louth Golf Club remains among the most playable championship links courses in the world.
The 7,031-yard course north of Dublin, near Drogheda at the mouth of the River Boyne, hosted the Irish Open in 2004 and 2009. County Louth, called "Baltray" by the locals, was established in 1892 along the Irish Sea, but it wasn't until 1938 that architect Tom Simpson perfected one of the top 10 courses in Ireland.
Baltray lacks continuous seaside views but makes up for it with a strong personality. Tinkering by architect Donald Steele in the 1980s and Tom MacKenzie in 2003-04 has only enhanced its character.
Gary Murphy, an Irish European Tour pro from Drogheda, praised Baltry as "a true links" and a "historic place." Baltray's collection of par 3s -- "the best set of par 3s on a links in Ireland," Murphy says -- and the short par 4s at Nos. 4 and 14 are its signature holes that everybody remembers.