Top Golf Courses

Best Golf Courses In Ireland

If you're thinking of visiting Ireland on your next golf break, then look no further! We have selected some of our 'must-play' courses in the emerald isle.

8 mins read

Ireland has one of the largest collections of world-class championship links golf courses in the world and their incredibly high standard is unprecedented. If you want to delve into the life of a pro golfer and the challenges they face in testing links conditions, then the best golf courses in Ireland await. We are often asked by our customers, what are the best golf courses in Ireland? The likes of Royal County Down, Rory McIlroy’s favourite course, and Old Head Golf Links will give you an experience like no other. See our list below of Golfbreaks favourites...

Tralee Golf Club

Known as Arnold Palmer’s Jewel, Tralee Golf Club is the hidden gem amongst the best golf courses Ireland has to offer. A number of memorable holes populate this beautifully located course with the signature par 3 being the most notable. A 200-yard punch shot to battle the elements is required at the ‘The Castle’ but be warned, as the rocks and ominous sea surrounding the green have claimed many a ball in the past. How’s your links golf shot shaping?

Championship Links Course at Royal County Down

There is a reason why this is Rory McIlroy’s favourite course in the world as it tops Golf Digest’s ‘World 100 Greatest Golf Courses’ in 2016. With membership being obtained by invite only, this is a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to get that exclusive experience. 3 time host to the Irish Open; Royal County Down is up there with the best calibre courses and deserves it’s spot amongst the best golf courses in Ireland.

Palmer Course at The K Club

Located on the banks of the River Liffey, the Arnold Palmer-designed Ryder Cup 2006 host is a true homage to the game. With it being the first time the event was held in Ireland, what better way to celebrate the biggest golfing event in Irish history than for Europe to come out on top. No one can dispute that the Palmer Course is a true test of skill, and will intimidate even the most seasoned golfer.

The Waterville Golf Club

Enniscrone is a big dune country, tucked up against a beach that stretches for miles. The fairways reflect the rhythm of the shaggy dunes, presenting some major swells as they see-saw towards the greens, often through deep valleys. It is hypnotic in places, but this is a stern challenge involving some remarkable blind shots… and the plateau greens require the deftest of touches.

You’ll encounter unbelievable holes (2, 12 and 13 most notably) and the stretch from 12 to 17 is utterly captivating. You might just be tossed around by the constant swell of the landscape to the point you feel dizzy. And remember… it is always a mistake to go through the green.

Old Course at Ballybunion

It is easy to see why Tom Watson is such an advocate for this incredible piece of golfing architecture being the ‘course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build golf courses’. This is a true testament to the standard of the 18 holes on Sandhill Road and eludes to their sheer quality. Dramatic changes of elevation through valleys of towering dunes and narrow contoured fairways will take you on a historical golfing journey. You’ll never have the same shot twice.

Dunluce at Royal Portrush

For a Dublin links course, The Island’s big, glorious dunes are an anomaly and create holes of constant drama and variety. The opening run of eight consecutive par fours makes this abundantly apparent, combining long and short holes with blind shots, big dunes, ridges, hollows and the unexpected. It is absorbing stuff and requires intelligent golf.

The back nine are even better as you’re drawn back out to the sea. This is where history enhances the experience… nowhere more so than on the 14th tee box, which was the foundation for the original clubhouse, on the edge of the Malahide Estuary. The hole has one of the narrowest fairways you’ll ever encounter.

Old Head Golf Links

This timeless Harry Colt classic sits outside Sligo town. The views over Drumcliff, Sligo’s bays, and the distant mountains are mesmerizing, but it is the flat-topped Benbulbin that is the most impressive sight of them all.

The setting is as magnificent as the links. Routed over a dunescape of contrasting rhythms, holes fall into one of three categories, testing your mettle from start to finish. In places it is almost flat, in others it is unpredictable and bumpy, and instill more it is steep and practically mountainous. And yet it all feels open so that the challenges are instantly visible from the tee. It makes it a pleasure to play, especially with four exceptional par threes and perfect greens.

Old Links at Ballyliffin Golf Club

A long lasting dream will finally become a reality when this supremely testing golf course plays host to the 2018 Irish Open. Rory McIlroy has a long lasting relationship with the rural village in Donegal and has instilled his passion for the course into helping to obtain the championship. Enjoy some of the finest links golf available with holes weaving their way through wild sand dunes and daunting undulations. Bring your best game with you if you want to score well here.

Links Course at Portmarnock Golf Club

At the mercy of the wind, this testing north Dublin course is considered to be the fairest links course in the world. Continuously featured amongst the best golf courses in Ireland, it comes as no surprise why, with the purest of links experiences awaiting your shot shaping artistry. The natural windblown topography has hosted a multitude of tournaments over the years including several Irish Open Championships. Don’t be disheartened here though as even the greats have ended up plugged in the beach.

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