Bill Clinton names his favorite golf course: Ballybunion in County Kerry
Former U.S. President describes his love of the Irish golf club
The former U.S. president nominated the famous links course as his favorite in the world in the 50th anniversary issue of Golf magazine.
“I love it,” Clinton said of Ballybunion’s course. “It's perfectly Irish: beautiful, rough, and a lot like life — you get breaks you don't deserve, both ways. You just have to keep swinging and know it will all even out.”
"Before I even set foot on Ballybunion Golf Club, the historic links on the southwest coast of Ireland, I had played it in my mind with the aid of photographs and an old course guide lent to me by an English friend."
Clinton tells of the time Dick Spring, the Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) of Ireland at the time, asked him to join him for a game during his official visit to Ireland in late 1995.
The American president was thrilled, but as he says “fate intervened,” and on the day the two were supposed to play, U.S. troops were scheduled to fly from Germany to Bosnia, so Clinton had to leave for Germany earlier than planned to see them off.
But Clinton vowed to make it up to the people of Ballybunion, and he followed through in September 1998.
“I returned to Ireland to support and celebrate the Northern Ireland Peace Accords — and at last to play Ballybunion,” Clinton said.
The President goes on to describe the “intimidation” he felt while playing his favorite golf course.
“I stood on the first tee in front of more than 10,000 people, without having taken a single practice shot, looking at one of the most intimidating opening shots in golf.
“A cemetery borders the fairway for 200 yards down the right side, and on that day, a strong wind was blowing from left to right. I aimed the driver well left but the wind curved it over and beyond the cemetery anyway. I was so keyed up I missed the next two shots and made a triple-bogey 7.