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Ireland Golf Courses

Once within its borders, visitors discover a country with a lush landscape, deep cultural roots and a bounty of golf courses that find their way on to lists of the world's best, both of the old and young variety.

It would be advisable to pre-book the more famous Ireland golf courses especially during the summer months. Based on reviews received by GolfEurope.com, golfers rave about many of the lesser known clubs so one should take the time to visit a selection of these. Indeed the more famous golf clubs sometimes charge exorbitant green fees and demand pre-booking or impose other explicit or implicit restrictions.

 Ballybunion Old

The world famous Old Course at Ballybunion is consistently rated among the top ten courses in the world. A magnificent course along the Irish coastline, each hole is a masterpiece of its own with towering sand hills that come into play on almost every shot. One of Ireland's greatest golfing challenges, Ballybunion regularly receives golfing accolades from all over the world.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Ballybunion Old: Adare Manor, Aghadoe Heights, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Woodstock Hotel.

Ballybunion Cashen

This great links was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1984 and is every bit as demanding as the Old Course. Surrounded by the same towering dunes that line the Old Course, the Cashen Course will continuously test your game from the 1st tee to the 18th green.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Ballybunion Cashen: Adare Manor, Aghadoe Heights, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Woodstock Hotel.

 Cork Golf Club

The club was founded in 1888 and redesigned in 1927 by Alister Mackenzie. Cork Golf Club has matured to become one of the finest inland courses in Ireland. The Club has hosted many amateur and professional Championships and is always in excellent condition.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Cork Golf Club: Hayfield Manor, Killarney Park, Actons Hotel, Blue Haven, Killarney Royal, Perryville House.

 Doonbeg Golf Club

For more than 100 years, people have talked about a piece of land near the town of Doonbeg, Ireland, where nature created its own golf course. The land is made up of rolling hills, high on the cliffs along the Irish coast but flat enough that all that was needed to create a world-class golf course was to lay out the holes and mow the fairways. When Greg Norman agreed to be the golf architect for this extraordinary site he described it as "the perfect golf links terrain".

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Doonberg: Adare Manor (Deluxe), Dromoland Castle (Deluxe), Woodstock Hotel (First Class), Moy House (First Class).


Course review: DoonBerg Golf Links, from EuropeGolf.com >>

 Fota Island

Fota Island sits tranquilly in Cork Harbour and was the host of the 2001 and 2002 Irish Open. A traditional golf course, Fota Island features clusters of pot bunkers, a double green and challenging undulating putting surfaces. Maintained to the highest standards, the course ensures year-round golfing enjoyment. The clubhouse incorporates the creative conversion of some beautiful stone farm buildings with a ground-level spike bar. Niblicks Restaurant overlooks the 18th green.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Fota Island: Hayfield Manor, Killarney Park, Actons Hotel, Blue Haven, Killarney Royal, Perryville House.

Killeen

Killeen is truly one of the greatest courses in the country. At 6474 metres it will certainly challenge the longest of hitters and with water on almost every hole accuracy is essential. Killeen played host to the Carroll's Irish Open in both 1991 and 1992, and proved to be a stern test for the Pro's. For the 1991 Carroll's Irish Open, only three players finished under par for the tournament. Killarney also hosted the Curtis Cup in 1996, when Great Britain & Ireland defeated the USA.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Killeen: Adare Manor, Aghadoe Heights, Hayfield Manor, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Woodstock Hotel, Sheens Fall Lodge.


More Killeen Golf Club info, from GolfEurope.com >>

Mahoney's Point

Golf has been played in Killarney since 1891, originally on a nine hole inland course. Then in 1939 it was expanded to an 18 hole course. The expansion brought the course to the lakeside and added outstanding beauty. This superb course, situated beside the famous lakes of Killarney, is a good test for golfers of all skill levels. At 6164 metres it is the shortest of our three courses, but with a combination of well undulated greens, well positioned bunkers and water hazards, wayward shots will often find big trouble.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Mahony's Point: Adare Manor, Aghadoe Heights, Hayfield Manor, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Woodstock Hotel, Sheens Fall Lodge.

 Lahinch Golf Club

Officers of the Black Watch and some local enthusiasts founded Lahinch Golf Club on Good Friday in 1893. "Old" Tom Morris designed the original course, but in 1928 Dr. Alastair MacKenzie extensively revised the layout. (MacKenzie also designed Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Augusta National.) The Castle Course was added in 1975. At Lahinch everybody is a golf enthusiast and this sentiment quickly transmits itself to the visitor. Therefore, the club is known as the St. Andrews of Irish golf. Perhaps the most unique feature at Lahinch, goats graze on the dunes and seek shelter by the clubhouse when rain approaches.


Course review: Lahinch Golf Club, from EuropeGolf.com >>

 Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Lahinch Golf Club: Adare Manor, Dromoland Castle, Moy House, Woodstock.

Old Head Golf Links

Designed by Joe Carr, one of Ireland's greatest amateur golfing heroes, this course incorporates some of the most spectacular land in Ireland and the Old Head peninsula, a national monument and an ancient royal site.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Old Head Golf Links: Hayfield Manor, Actons Hotel, Blue Haven, Perryville House.


Course review: Old Head Golf Links, from EuropeGolf.com >>

 Tralee Golf Club

The first course in Europe designed by Arnold Palmer, the 18-hole layout spans 160 acres on the western side of Borrowe's Islande, from Poulgorm on the north to the Randy at Barrow Harbour on the south. The opening hole leads to a green overlooking the Long Strand featured in Ryan's Daughter. Below lies the watery grave of the wreck Onward of Swansea (1877). The course has many scenic and picturesque holes with fine views of the Dingle Peninsula, Mount Brandon, Kerryhead, Ballyheigue, Banna and Carrahane.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Tralee Golf Club: Adare Manor, Aghadoe Heights, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Sheens Fall Lodge.

 Waterville Golf Club

One of the top five golf courses in Ireland and one of the top 50 in the world, Waterville boasts many memorable holes, which have earned great praise from Gary Player, Ray Floyd and other professionals. The present course owes its start to John A. Mulcahy, an Irish-American golf addict, who developed it with the aid of Eddie Hackett during the 1970s. Probably the best-known hole is the 17th, "Mulcahy's Peak", a 196-yard par 3 with an elevated tee and an emerald green set in a jungle of rough. Links set in some of the most scenic fairways in Europe can be seen from the tee.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Waterville Golf Club: Aghadoe Heights, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Sheens Fall Lodge.

Dooks Golf Club

Dooks, a testing eighteen-hole course situated in one of the most picturesque corners of the Ring of Kerry, offers a breathtaking view of Dingle Bay and the McGillycuddy Reeks in the background, making it an idyllic golfing and holiday location. Considerable care has been given to the greens over the years and, as a result, the popularity of Dooks as a true test of golf has grown.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Dooks Golf Club: Adare Manor, Aghadoe Heights, Killarney Park, Killarney Royal, Sheens Fall Lodge.

Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Club

This magnificent gothic mansion, once the home of the Earls of Dunraven, sits in 840 acres of woodland. Formal gardens beside the River Maigue and opulent yet comfortable public areas beckon guests to return. Offering a wide variety of bedrooms, all with garden views, Adare Manor also has an indoor heated swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, fishing, riding, sauna and a gym on the property.


More Adare Manor Golf Club info, from GolfEurope.com >>

 Ballyliffin Old

The Old Links undulates in the glory of its natural terrain, presenting a most enjoyable challenge to every golfer.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Ballyliffin Old: Bushmills Inn
Royal Court Hotel

Ballyliffin Glashedy Links

Designed around incredible dunes and notorious bunkers in 1993 and quickily established itself as a must play while in the Portrush area. Golfers will not easily forget the expansive panoramic views of countryside, coastline and ocean.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Ballyliffin Glashedy Links: Bushmills Inn, Royal Court Hotel.

 Castlerock Golf Club

Laid out by Ben Sayers in 1901, the course zigzags between soaring dunes, creating a memorable golfing experience. With a magnetic combination of beauty, challenge and sheer fun, this course lies on undulating and elevated land at the mouth of the River Bann. The spectacular scenery and views from the 17th tee are worth any detour.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Castlerock Golf Club: Bushmills Inn, Royal Court Hotel.

 Portstewart Golf Club

When the club was founded in 1894, it had a short nine-hole course at the start of the present day Old Course. In 1908, the headquarters transferred to the Strand Course, which was laid out by Mr. Gow of Portrush. This remained largely unchanged until further land purchase in the 1960s permitted more expansion. The first nine holes skirt the sand dunes to provide classic links ground while the second nine have more of an inland character. In 1992, a further extension into the dunes made a second nine-hole course, The Riverside.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Portstewart Golf Club: Bushmills Inn, Royal Court Hotel.

 Royal County Down Golf Club

Molded into the existing terrain with minimum adjustments, this beautiful course is set against the background of the Mountains of Mourne. With fast and difficult to read greens, the course has five blind tee shots, and the greens are partially obscured on a number of approach shots. The course, in excellent condition, serves as an exceptional test of golfing skill. A second 65-par course is also available.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Royal County Down Golf Club: Glassdrumman Lodge, Slieve Donard Hotel.


Course review: Royal County Down, from EuropeGolf.com >>

Royal Portrush

The only course in Ireland to have hosted the British Open, Dunluce Course of Royal Portrush provides an outstanding layout in a dramatic setting, surrounded by the Giant's Causeway, beautiful white sandy beaches and rolling green countryside. Redesigned by H.S. Colt in 1947, the course hosted the first British Open ever held in Ireland in July 1951. Many golfers have portrayed the Dunluce Course as one of the most challenging courses in the world, requiring skill and concentration.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Royal Portrush: Bushmills Inn, Royal Court Hotel.

 Carne Golf Links, Belmullet

This new exciting links has a a natural setting of considerable beauty. Splendid sand dunes on ancient commonage. Elevated tees and plateau greens exploit the magnificent backdrops over Blacksod Bay.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Carne Golf Links, Belmullet: Ashford Castle, Knockranny.

Connemara

Golfers rarely achieve par 72 on this most challenging Atlantic links. It might have something to do with the intoxicating air and breathtaking scenery, but more probably the last six holes are to blame. Greens set high in the hillside on the 14th and 15th holes can be unnerving, particularly after playing the most testing 13th! Take time, however, to look up and marvel at the splendid Twelve Bens etched against the skyline, or Ballyconeely Bay, dusted with pure, white sand. The back nine has been described as "the equal of any in the world".

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Connemara: Ashford Castle
Ardilaun House, Knockranny Hotel.

 County Sligo (Rosses Point)

One of Ireland's great championship links, Peter Aliss described it "as a tremendous test for the highest quality player and great fun for the modest competitor". The club has hosted most of Ireland's major championships in its long and venerable history. Three large beaches beneath the cliffs keep the Atlantic at bay to the west of the course, while towering Benbulben competes with the ocean for scenic splendor on the land side. Wind from the sea plays a constant factor, but the 3rd, 5th, 10th and 14th holes have very satisfying downhill drives to compensate.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing County Sligo (Rosses Point): Yeats Country House Hotel

 Donegal Golf Club

Situated on the beautiful Murvagh in Donegal Bay, a forest of evergreens, with the Bluestack Mountains in the background, screen the course from the outside world. Recently used by Nick Faldo in preparation for his third victory in the Irish Open, published ratings always feature Donegal (or Murvagh, as it is popularly known), one of the longest links in the British Isles.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Donegal Golf Club: Yeats Country House Hotel

 Enniscrone Golf Club

A particularly beautiful links on the Bay of Killala, this course presents some amazing holes. Anybody matching the 72 par will have performed very well indeed.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Enniscrone Golf Club: Ashford Castle, Knockranny Hotel, Yeats Country House Hotel.

Galway Bay

A championship golf course surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean and featuring water hazards on a number of holes. Each hole has its own characteristics made more obvious by the everchanging seaside winds.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Galway Bay: Ashford Castle, Ardilaun Hotel, Knockranny Hotel.

 Rosapenna

In 1891, while guests of Lord Leitrim at his nearby estate, Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews, a winner of four British Opens in the 1860's took a drive to enjoy the Donegal scenery. Morris was quick to see the potential of this fine stretch of Donegal coastline and before returning home he had staked-out the first Rosapenna links, incorporating wide rolling fairways amidst the undulating terrain and of course those delightful greens.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Rosapenna: Yeats Country House Hotel

County Louth (Baltray)

One of the greatest courses in Ireland, everyone knows it as Baltray. The course opens with two fine holes and then a classic seaside par 5. Some slight breaks follow in the shape of a drive and pitch 4th hole, but the 5th introduces players to the first of four short holes, all confronting the wind from different directions. The 5th and 7th holes have greens nestled in the sand hills, but the 6th is another par 5. The excitement of the back nine centers on holes close to the sea and the Mountains of Mourne. All in all, Baltray is a great test of golf.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing County Louth (Baltray): Merrion Hotel, Portmarnock Hotel, Shelbourne Hotel, Brooks Hotel, Grand Hotel Malahide.


More County Louth Golf Club info, from GolfEurope.com >>

 Druids Glen Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Situated within the magnificent 400-acre Druids Glen Golf Resort and nestling between the Irish Sea and the stunning Wicklow mountains, a fabulous new five star hotel, Druids Glen Marriott Hotel & Country Club, opened in April 2002. Ideally located just 25 miles south of Dublin, the hotel's facilities include 148 superbly appointed guestrooms, two restaurants, Flynn's Steakhouse (opening end June) and Druids Restaurant, the Thirteenth Bar, a range of meeting and banquet suites and a wonderful Spa and Health Club.

 European Golf Club

Designed and built by a great lover of the game, Pat Ruddy, the links of the European Club (the first to be built on Ireland's east coast this century) has been ranked number 7 among Ireland's 30 Greatest Golf Courses by the Irish Golf Institute. It is also ranked number 5 among the best new courses opened in Britain and Ireland since 1992 by Golf World. This spectacular links tumbles through dunes overlooking Arklow Bay and Brittas Bay, just 40 minutes south of the Dublin suburbs.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing European Golf Club: Druids Glen Marriott Hotel, K Club, Merrion Hotel, Portmarnock Hotel, Shelbourne Brooks Hotel, Grand Hotel Malahide, Mount Juliet.

 K Club

Located only 40 minutes from Dublin's city center, Kildare is surrounded by 330 acres. For the sports minded, amenities include an indoor pool, indoor tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer and salmon fishing. For those who like to be pampered, the hotel avails professional beauty treatments, facials and aroma therapy.


Course review: K Club, from EuropeGolf.com >>

Links at Portmarnock

Looking at Links at Portmarnock, designed by Bernard Langer, is like looking at an old painting after it has been restored: The colors appear fresh and rich, with sharp and well-defined bunkers. Perhaps this is how the great historical courses, like St. Andrews, looked just after the final piece of turf had been laid.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Links at Portmarnock:
Druids Glen Marriott Hotel, K Club, Merrion Hotel, Portmarnock Hotel, Shelbourne
Brooks Hotel, Grand Hotel Malahide.

Mount Juliet

At Mount Juliet, Ireland's premier sporting estate, guests can choose between the 18th-century Mount Juliet House or the sportier ambience of The Hunters Yard or Rose Garden Lodge. Estate activities include fishing, shooting, archery, an equestrian center, tennis and a splendid Jack Nicklaus golf course.

Royal Dublin Golf Club

Located on the northeast coast of Dublin approximately four miles from the city center, Royal Dublin is only a 15-minute drive from Dublin Airport. Numerous championship events have been played out on this course, including the Irish Open and Carrolls Irish Open. The 18th hole (par 4) demands a shot over the out of bounds to reach the green in two strokes.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing Royal Dublin Golf Club: Druids Glen Marriott Hotel, K Club, Merrion Hotel, Portmarnock Hotel, Shelbourne
Brooks Hotel, Grand Hotel Malahide.

 The Island Golf Club

This old traditional golf links was founded in 1888 and is located on Corballis Peninsula, two miles east of Donabate. In 1990, Fred Hawtree and Eddie Hackett designed changes for the course, which resulted in its present layout. The club hosted the 1990 Irish Ladies Championship and the 1998 Irish Amateur Close Championship.

Suggested accommodations to base yourself at while playing The Island Golf Club: Druids Glen Marriott Hotel, K Club, Merrion Hotel, Portmarnock Hotel, Shelbourne, Brooks Hotel, Grand Hotel Malahide.

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