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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
With no two holes alike, Waterville is firmly anchored amongst the top links courses in Britain and Ireland. It has hair-raising views of Ballinskelligs Bay and the mountain range beyond that circle this remote golfing retreat. Be at one with the course as you step out the clubhouse into the 360-degree sterling panoramic view. This course really does encapsulate the Irish countryside and deserves its place in our favourites.
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.
This exquisite golfing venue held The Open in 2019, its first time in 1951, and remains the only Irish club to host the tournament. Improved by Harry Colt in 1932 this immaculate links championship course nestles seamlessly into the landscape. The meandering fairways through rugged links terrain and unimaginable picture frame back drops are what make this course so incredible to play. Will you beat Rory McIlroy's course record of 61?
What can only be described as incredible, is the euphoric experience that will take your breath away as you step out onto the first tee at Old Head. Set out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean you are truly exposed to the elements. Sheer cliffs populate the diameter of the 220-acre spot of land but do not be frightened by its intimidating persona, as six tees’ per hole welcome golfers of all handicaps. In terms of aesthetics this course is unparalleled in Ireland.
A long-lasting dream became a reality when this supremely testing golf course played 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.
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.
Senior UK Tours Consultant