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North Ireland Golf Courses
Royal County Down
One of the world's greatest golf courses, Royal County Down follows the curve of Newcastle Bay in the shadow of the Mountains of Mourne, and is arguably the toughest golf course in Ireland. The front nine is certainly among the best in the world, and the 9th is one of the most powerful golf holes anywhere. Many devotees of the game consider the first 13 holes close to perfection as a golf course layout is able to achieve. Rated #10 in the world by Golf Magazine, this famous course, designed by Tom Morris in 1899, is most definitely not one you should miss.
Hosting the British Open championship in 1951, this golf course is infamous as the only course outside of England and Scotland to hold this prestigious event. Rated #12 in the world by Golf Magazine, this course is considered one of the most challenging courses in the world. This links course is well known for it’s excellent greens and fairways, as well as the dangerous sandhills and dunes. The marsh grasses lining the fairways poses a substantial driving challenge and the strategically placed traps demand pure shot making to score. The scenery is striking with views of Scotland’s western most islands.
A qualifying golf course for the British Open when held at Royal Portrush in 1951, this excellent links golf course offers difficulty when the winds howl and the fairways rolls aggressively toward the deep rough. Hugh sandhills are present on seven difficult holes. The most intimating hole is the first, an extremely difficult par four. Then the Ireland spectacular scenery of the beaches and nearby countryside causes one mind to wander, and a loss of concentration will result in a high scoring round.
Neighboring Portstewart, this delightful links golf course is located on the Causeway Coast, sandwiched between the sea, the railway and rows of cottages and houses. The scenery is special, with views of surrounding massive sandhills and the ocean beaches. The golf course is well known for the par 3 4th “Leg of Mutton”, a dangerous hole with out of bounds on two sides, and a stream crossing the fairway close to the green.
Ballyliffin Golf Club
Ballyliffin Golf Club has two championship links courses and is widely regarded as the finest links complex in Ireland. Both links- The Old Links and Glashedy Links have hosted European Tour events. The club was established in 1947 and The Old Links hosted the European Seniors Tour Irish Open in June 2008. Glashedy Links was completed in 1995 and the pure fescue greens of Glashedy are the envy of links greenkeepers everywhere. The spectacular pure links duneland and terrain make Ballyliffin an unforgettable experience for the visiting golfer.
East Ireland Golf Courses
Founded in 1894 and originally reached by boat, Portmarnock has played host to countless championships, most notably the Carroll's Irish Open, the Canada World Cup, the Walker Cup and the old Dunlop Masters. Historic and consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in Ireland. Most of the trouble is visible and the fairways and greens are relatively “flat” in relation to other courses in Ireland. However, the course is well bunkered and is open to the winds off of the Irish Sea and Dublin Bay. Curiously, even the British Amateur championship was played here in 1949, when an Irishman, Max McReady, won. A favorite of Arnold Palmer, the 15th, par 3 is particularly fine. Rated #38 in the world by Golf Magazine.
Links of Portmarnock
Considered by many to be a sterner test of golf than its famous namesake, this Bernhard Langer layout offers outstanding views of Howth and the Irish Sea. The course is the only PGA European Touring golf course in Ireland. The winds and bunkering requires patience, and the natural beauty assures a wonderful round together with the wonderful Portmarnock course.
County Louth (Baltray)
A great seaside links, this course contains isolated holes requiring the use of every course in the bag. The golf course contains holes aligned in all four directions, and the wind assures an ever-attentive thinking strategy. The dunes at the most distant point of the clubhouse require careful play, and the winds will demand a power game to carry difficult hazards.
Irelands second oldest golf club, this seaside links is located on Bull Island in Dublin Bay. The course has hosted the Irish Open, and has seen the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballersteros and Bernhard Langer. The course is relatively flat, but the winds play havoc and require strength to drive accurately. The home course of legendary Christy O'Connor.
The combination of rugged dunes, deep bunkers, sea breezes and huge undulating greens has this golf course considered one of the toughest in Ireland. Tall grass and gorse reminds on of Scotland’s natural challenges. The beaches, sandhills and a small river are intricate parts of the course, and the fairways are extremely fast and tight. The stunning sea views from no less than seventeen holes is worth the trip to play this magnificent course in the scenic setting of Brittas Bay.
This new golf course only 20 miles south of Dublin Ireland is destined to become a modern classic with its startling, stunning, imaginative and invigorating design over rolling, plunging terrain. This excellent course hosted the 1996 Irish Open. Considered a “Parkland” course, the difficulty is in the tight fairways and treacherous greens. Manicured to a level unseen anywhere in Ireland, this golf course is not only picturesque, but also difficult when challenging the trees and sand traps to provide an acceptable score.
K-Club (Palmer course)
The Palmer Ryder Cup Course is, quite simply, one of Europe's most spectacular courses. Ranked regularly in the top 3 parkland golf courses in Ireland<, this Palmer designed golf haven is a must play 'badge of honour' that has hosted the top golf players in the world. The Ryder Cup in 2006 and 11 European Opens testify the importance of The Palmer Ryder Cup Course to European Golf. It charms, it entices and invariably, brings out the very best in your game.
K-Club (Smurfit course)
The Palmer Smurfit Course at The K Club is that of an inland links. The course has many dramatic landscapes with dune type mounding throughout. On the Smurfit Course wild species of plants have been used such as gorse, bracken etc. and have been planted in a highly random fashion, more or less as nature would have intended. This assists in making the course into a true Championship Golf Course with many vantage points for golfers to view the area.
Southwest Ireland Golf Courses
This spectacular course hosted the Murphy's Irish Open in 2000. No matter how many times you play there, everything about golf at Ballybunion seems large scale. Big golf clubhouse, long holes, steep drops and climbs, but if a golfer such as Tom Watson rates it as his favorite, then it must be good. Tom Simpson, who took full advantage of its magnificent position overlooking the Atlantic, completed Ballybunion. The great holes are the 7th, along the sea, and the spectacular 17th. Besides Watson, the likes of Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus have played here. Rated #11 in the world by Golf Magazine.
Known as the “St Andrews of Ireland”, due to its design by Tom Morris for the Black Watch army regiment garrisoned there in 1890, Lahinch was rated by Alister Mackenzie, who remodeled it for championship golf play, as "the most enjoyable course to play ever designed". It is set in some of the finest links land anywhere, and the 6th, par 3, is unique. On a board in the clubhouse under weather reads “SEE GOATS”. Locals for years have relied on wild goats to forecast the weather, knowing if they are roaming on the course fair skies will prevail but if they are huddled by the clubhouse be sure and wear your foul weather gear. Rated #70 in the world by Golf Magazine.
A relatively new classic seaside championship links golf course that has already received much acclaim for the course setting. This golfer's paradise and its scenic beauty has been compared to Cypress Point and Pebble Beach. Set on a peninsula that features dramatic cliffs rising several hundred feet above the ocean and offering spectacular views from every vantage. The land was the site of the original settlers, the Erainn tribes’ fort at Dun Cerma, one of the three old buildings in Ireland according to The Old Irish Triads. Rated #96 in the world by Golf Magazine.
This marvelous golf course eases you from serenity to severity with a bit of “Tranquility”, specifically the difficult the par-5, 11th hole. Also of note is the “Mass Hole”, where in a deep hollow of the 12th fairway Mass was celebrated out of sight during the days it was outlawed in Ireland. Beautifully situated at the tip of the Ring of Kerry, Waterville is a long and testing course, with a selection of par 3's which few courses can match. Huge dunes bound the fairways with the Atlantic on three sides.
This was the first golf course in Ireland designed by Arnold Palmer. Already receiving wide acclaim, the course borders the beach where 'Ryan's Daughter' was filmed. The course, which contrasts a flat front side and with a back nine of mountainous dunes and valley carry’s, dares and enthralls you amidst spectacular scenery. The extremely difficult back nine holes slice their way through huge dunes, in the same fashion as at Ballybunion or Cruden Bay in
Greg Norman designed Doonbeg on the southwest coast of Ireland. Doonbeg debuted in 2002 to acclaim for its beauty and criticism for its difficulty. The owners since widened some fairways, yanked out the odd bunker and removed plots of ball-swallowing rough (under protest from Norman). It's still a beast when the wind howls. There are a couple of unforgettable holes -- the par-4 6th with an elevated tee overlooking the beach and dunes, and the tiny 111-yard 14th, which Norman likens to the 7th at Pebble Beach -- that will bring you back in any weather.
Home of the 1991 Irish Open, mixed conditions and a tough course earn huge respect from all the professionals. In 1996 the Curtis Cup was played on Killeen with the ladies of Great Britain and Ireland beating the USA is a famous victory.
Killarney- Mahony's Point
In 1975 the European Amateur Team Championship was held on Mahony's Point. Thousands of spectators watched the competition under fabulous sunshine as the Scottish ran out as eventual winners. The Ryder Cup Challenge Tour Event in 2005 won by Mark Warren of Scotland was held on Mahony’s Point.
Northwest Ireland Golf Course
County Sligo (Rosses Point)
A demanding links golf course with wonderful views of the coast and mountains. The winds from the Atlantic from the West and the Drumcliff Bay to the North require diligence in shotmaking and careful strategy for scoring opportunities. The likes of Tom Watson and Byron Nelson have challenges this links layout, and the course is the regular host of the West of Ireland Championship since 1923.