Tullamore Golf Club Course Review

Tullamore Golf Club is home to a James Braid creation with challenging doglegs aplenty in the beautiful Co. Offaly countryside

Tullamore Golf Club - 4th hole
The approach to the 4th green at Tullamore in Co. Offaly
(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

Tullamore Golf Club Course Review

GF €40-€45
Par 70, 6,248 yards
Slope 129
GM Verdict – A mature, quality parkland that piles on the doglegs.
Favourite Hole – The par-4 13th is perfectly straight and from a high tee it’s a beauty.

Tullamore Golf Club - 1st hole

Looking up towards the 1st green

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

For many golfers, the name James Braid alone is enough to lure them to fairways anew, especially in a country where the famed architect designed only a handful of courses. Tullamore in County Offaly is one such beauty. You won't find any Golf Monthly UK&I Top 100 courses in this county in the very centre of Ireland, but several good courses, including Esker Hills, the home club of 2019 Open Champion, Shane Lowry, the handiwork of the late Christy O'Connor Jnr.

Tullamore Golf Club - 7th hole

There's water to ponder on the approach to the 7th

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

The golf course at Tullamore is located not far from the Tullamore Dew Whiskey distillery, and is a mature parkland of lazy doglegs sweeping left and right through towering trees. The terrain is of the gently rolling variety which makes Tullamore – above all else – classy, elegant golf. The perfect greens seal that assessment and this is a club that prides itself on its quality. Various national championships have been held here so you will not be disappointed on that front.

Tullamore Golf Club - 13th hole

Staring down a tight funnel on the 13th

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

Founded in 1896, the club moved to its present location in 1926. In 1938, Braid was invited to provide a new design for the course and its shape has blossomed over the decades since. Interestingly, his design for the 18th hole was not completed until 1945. The oak, beech and chestnut which hold inexorable sway over the course give Tullamore a woodland feel but, through it all, you can feel a master’s hand at work. Braid’s routing was intuitive and the fairway corridors flowed freely across the landscape and through the trees. The only significant changes came in 1995, when seven new greens and three lakes were added.

Tullamore Golf Club - 16th hole

There's a stream to contend with on the approach to 16

(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

This beautiful parkland is a strong test of your golf ability. The trees come close, time and again, and there are ten doglegs in all. Five of these are severe. A stream also appears on five holes, most dramatically in front of the 405-yard par-4 16th green, which signals the start of Tullamore’s acclaimed closing stretch. It is said that these final three holes are where Tullamore Golf Club wins its interclub matches, such is their difficulty. They include Index 3 and 5. The beast that is the 448-yard par-4 18th is a gentle but devious dogleg right, and it is only trumped in length by the 464-yard Index 1 14th, which throws a 90-degree dogleg at you and is easily one of Ireland’s toughest holes. Few golfers can tame it.

The greens are sensational but remember this: the abundance of doglegs means you have to play smart golf to find the best angles of attack. Anything offline needs a level-headed recovery. If you play well then Tullamore is hugely rewarding but if you are wayward on the day then rein it in and put your Tiger-like ambitions back in the bag.

Kevin Markham
Freelance writer and photographer

Kevin Markham stepped into a campervan in 2007, and spent the next 14 months playing every 18-hole golf course in Ireland… 360 of them. He wrote two books on the back of those travels and has been working in the golf industry ever since, both as a freelance writer and a photographer. His love of golf courses has seen him playing extensively in Scotland, as well as across Europe. In total, he has played over 550 courses including most of Scotland’s top 100, and over half of Portugal’s growing number. He writes for the Irish Examiner newspaper, Irish Golfer magazine, and Destination Golf, and is a regular contributor to Golf Monthly. He has his own photography website – kevinmarkhamphotography.com – and spends hours on golf courses waiting to capture the perfect sunrise or sunset.

Kevin can be contacted via Twitter - @kevinmarkham