The Emerald Isle’s sweeping green scenery is gorgeous to visit, but it also makes it a true golfer’s dream.
You may hit the links with pals while taking in the Atlantic’s pounding waves, or play alongside the pros on the best championship courses in Ireland. There are more than 400 golf courses in the country, including some of the top 50 in the world. That implies Ireland is home to almost 30% of the world’s golf courses.
The well-kept greens, natural hazards, and imaginative designs all add to the enjoyment of the game.
1. Ballyliffin (Co Donegal)
The Old Links and Glashedy Links are the two courses at Ballyliffin Golf Club. They combine to form 36 holes of some of Ireland’s best links. The greens and fairways appear to have been plucked from the Donegal countryside, and the natural hazards present a continual challenge. Allow the view of the Atlantic to detour you from the well-known Glashedy design by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock.
2. Ballybunion Old Course (Co Kerry)
Ballybunion is a popular coastal resort in Ireland for many families, however, golfers flock to the town in County Kerry to play the old course. Natural disasters are masterfully integrated into this ocean-front course, which is famed for its spectacular scenery. Plan a second day in the region after completing the Ballybunion course to play the Cashen Course, which was created by Robert Trent Jones, a renowned golf course architect who designed courses in 35 countries over his long career.
3. Royal Portrush (Co Antrim)
The Royal Portrush Golf Club, with its 36 holes, is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular golfing destinations. Dunluce Links and Valley Links are the club’s two links courses, with Dunluce being the most well-known. The club was first established as a 9-hole course in 1888, and through the years has evolved into one of Ireland’s most enjoyable courses to play. Situated on the Atlantic coast and facing over towards the cliffs that house Dunluce Castle with the Giant’s Causeway just beyond, Dunluce Links offers some of the most breathtaking vistas of any course in Ireland. The course is demanding as well as attractive, with small greens and massive dunes.
4. Portmarnock (Co Dublin)
Portmarnock’s stunning links course is situated on a two-mile-long peninsula about 10 miles outside of Dublin. The first nine holes debuted in 1894, and it has since grown into one of Ireland’s most beautiful and demanding links courses. The course is surrounded on three sides by water and features a well-known par three on the 15th hole. The first Irish Open was staged in Portmarnock in 1927, and the tournament has since returned several times. You are not required to accept our word for it. Portmarnock has consistently been ranked as one of Ireland’s greatest golf courses by Golf Digest.
5. The K Club (Co Kildare)
The Kildare Hotel and Golf Club, sometimes known as the K Club, is a golf club in Kildare, Ireland. The golf complex was built around an opulent manor house from the 1830s, and it exudes both antique charm and modern elegance. Both courses were created by golf ace Arnold Palmer, and one of them hosted the Ryder Cup for the first time in Ireland in 2006. The Ryder Cup course is a difficult parkland golf course that many serious golfers consider a must-play. The Smurfit Course is a links course with dunes that runs the length of the course, providing a stunning backdrop to each hole.
6. Tralee Golf Club (Co Kerry)
The picturesque Tralee Golf Club was the great Arnold Palmer’s first European course. The links course takes advantage of the natural, rough shoreline to produce an 18-hole course that is both hard and beautiful. To check if you agree, book a tee time.
7. Lahinch (Co Clare)
Lahinch is one of Ireland’s oldest and grandest golf courses, with over 125 years of existence. Old Tom Morris, one of the initial standard-setters in Irish golf, created the course. It has been upgraded since its inception in 1892, but the scenery is what provides the course with some of its most traditional features. The goats are the one threat here that is unpredictable. A caddie introduced the goats to the course in the twentieth century, and a herd is still allowed to roam the grounds. The goats are said to be excellent weather forecasters, so if you see them hovering around the clubhouse rather than grazing on the greens, you’re in for some rainy Irish weather.
8. Royal County Down (Co Down)
Royal County Down is one of Northern Ireland’s oldest golf clubs, having been founded in 1889. The club has two links courses, the Championship Course and the Annesley Links, for a total of 36 holes. The tiny fairways are surrounded by heath in the natural landscape of the Murlough Nature Reserve, near the Mourne Mountains. The Annesley links are shorter than the championship course next door, but they nonetheless provide an excellent test of golfing ability among the dunes.
9. Slieve Russell (Co Cavan)
The golf course at the Slieve Russell hotel is set in the beautiful Cavan countryside and encompasses the county’s famous lakes and drumlins. This is one of eight PGA National courses in the globe, and it features a tough 18-hole layout designed by Patrick Merrigan. The par-72 course is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s best parkland golf courses. A nine-hole PGA National Academy course is also available for a relatively short test of your golfing acumen.
10. Druids Glen (Co Wicklow)
Set just 30 minutes outside of Dublin near the Wicklow Mountains, Druids Glen Resort makes full use of its 360 acres of land to offer two championship parkland golf courses. Druids Glen opened in 1995 and went on to host the Irish Open four years in a row. The neighboring Druids Heath course offers 18 holes over rolling countryside, and there is also a driving range and golf academy on-site to help you perfect your game.