Golf vacations — Ireland Golf

 
 

Traveler.com brings you great resources to plan your Ireland golf vacation, home of windswept, beautiful, and tough links courses.   Can we help you find hidden Ireland golf gems, the best hotels to save $$$, which courses' service can ruin your trip, and more?

 
 
 

Top Ireland golf deals

Free Ireland golf travel guide

* Best places to play, stay and dine

* Secrets resorts don't want you to know

* Tips known only to locals and a few

 

 

Play Waterville Links, Tralee Golf Club and Ballybunion old Links for €290 prior to 10 am from April through July

- regular green fees total €540, for a 47% savings

Ballybunion Golf Club - Play the Cashen course for Free with every paid round of the Old course

Tralee Golf Club - play twice for the price of one over 7 days

Ballyliffin Golf Club - 2 nights / 2 rounds at  for €179; regular green fees alone would be €170

 

Ireland golf vacations and golf schools

Best Ireland golf vacation operators

Eire Golf Tours;  25 years in the golf travel industry a founding member of the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association

Perry Golf;  runs tours in 12 nations, but with a long history in Ireland

Jerry Quinlan's Celtic Golf;  also a long history in Ireland and one of the most recognized names

JD Golf Tours;  "among the most trusted names in European golf travel...popular and efficient."

Golf Ireland

Hidden Links Golf;  another highly-experience outfit with a quirky, but comprehensive website to research your Ireland golf vacation

 

Top Ireland Golf school vacations

Fota Island Golf Academy; former host of the Murphy's Irish Open; set on an estate designated in "The Inventory of Outstanding Landscapes in Ireland"

Killeen Castle;  Dave Pelz golf school - the 1st international of its kind

 

Top Ireland golf courses

Southwest Ireland golf - Ring of Kerry

Lahinch Golf Club;  classic, quirky links - Top 50 in World

Doonbeg Golf Club;  Norman course growing in respect - center of super-luxury community

Ballybunion Golf Club;  Top 10 in World - an altar of golf

Waterville Golf Links;  also a classic

Old Head Golf Links;  amazing clifftop setting on peninsula, becoming a must-play

Tralee Golf Club;  Palmer design with nice Front 9 and pure links Back 9; great clubhouse for a post-round Guinness

Dromoland Castle Golf Club;  popular among the luxury set with excellent golf

Dooks Golf Links; since 1889, one of the oldest and most charming, yet also challenging

Dingle Golf Links;  panoramic views; the west-most course in Europe

Cork Golf Club;  Alister Mackenzie redesign in 1927

Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort;  magnificent estate; last major Robert Trent Jones, Sr course

Fota Island Golf Club;  former host of the Murphy's Irish Open; set on an estate designated in "The Inventory of Outstanding Landscapes in Ireland"; excellent golf academy

Killarney Golf & Fishing Club;  54 holes; any club on the Lakes of Killarney and at the foot of a mountain range named Macgillycuddy's Reeks has to be great

Ring of Kerry Golf Club;  famous for scenery and celebrity guest list

 

Northern Ireland golf courses

Royal County Down Golf Club;  Top 5 in World;  where golf vacation dreams are made and scoring dreams shattered

Royal Portrush Golf Club;  Top 10 in World;  incredible links design enhanced only a Bushmills straight from the distillery

Portstewart Golf Club;  one of the world's best 1st holes;  a classic links on the front that opens on the back

Ardglass Golf Club;  outstanding opening holes in a centuries-old village on the North Sea

Balmoral Golf Club;  parkland course 3 miles from Belfast

Castlerock Golf Club;  a par-73 links course with the famous "Leg 'O Mutton" hole

 

Northwest Ireland golf courses

Ballyliffin Golf Club;  36 holes regarded as the "ultimate hidden gem," yet a classic

Enniscrone Golf Club;  a Northwest Ireland classic equal to the other great links of Ireland

Castle Dargan Golf Club;  luxury resort course designed by Darren Clarke

County Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point);  an Irish links jewel on the West coast

Donegal Golf Club;

Strandhill Golf Club;  in County Sligo underneath the famous Knocknarea Mountain

Carne Golf Links;  Belmullet

Connemara Golf Links;  nestled between the 12 Bens mountains and the Atlantic Ocean

Portsalon Golf Club;  equally deserving as more famous brethren of its reputation as a true links; on Portsalon beach on the shores of Lough Swilly and in the shadows of the majestic mountains of Donegal

Rosapenna Golf Links;  excellent Old Tom Morris and Pat Ruddy courses;  4-star resort hotel

 

Dublin golf courses

The European Club;  Top 50 in world requiring courage and thought

The K Club;  Palmer course host of the 2006 Ryder Cup;  an American-style layout rather than a links;  5-Star resort

Carton House Golf Club;  36-hole luxury resort; home of the Golfing Union of Ireland and the GUI National Academy

Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links;  one of the most admired Irish links; formerly the private course of the Jamesons

Killeen Castle Golf Resort;  a Jack Nicklaus Signature course and the first international Dave Pelz golf school

Druids Glen Golf Resort;   well-manicured parkland course; it's been called the "Augusta of Europe"

Druid's Glen golf course;  a top-rated Ireland golf experience

Druid's Heath golf course;  stunning Pat Ruddy design of links, parkland and heathland architecture

Royal Dublin Golf Club;  fine links course with great views of Dublin Bay

Clandeboye Golf Club;  36-hole championship courses on Lady Dufferin's estate

The Island Golf Club;  beautiful links course built among the highest dunes in Ireland

 

Secrets and Tips for your Ireland golf vacation

Where to Find Two Hidden Links Courses on your Ireland Golf Vacation

If you want a truly pure golf adventure, put St. Patrick's Golf Links in Northern Ireland on your list.

Dermot Walsh, owner of the Hotel Carrigart in the eponymous village nearby, owns two 18-hole links courses, Maheramagorgan and Trá Mór. Both have strong holes roaming through the sandhills with bold undulations and spectacularly-placed greens.

But, playing was turning back the golfing clock 100 years.  The greens were scruffy, the tees uneven, and the cups changed twice per month.  A ramshackle tool shed doubles as the clubhouse.  There is no starter to pay, but if the grounds crew happens to walk by, it’ll take 30 Euros and point you to the first tee.

And you know what? Playing this all-natural, authentic linksland might be one of the most rewarding golf experiences you’ll ever have on an Ireland golf vacation...or any other.

 

Beware of "Americanized" Golf Resorts on Your Ireland Golf Vacations

The tip you are about to read dispels one commonly held misconception about UK and Ireland golf vacations.

You see, in addition to the historic purity of UK and Ireland golf courses, we Americans are often lured across the pond by the romantic notion of sparsely crowded courses.

While that's true for the UK and Ireland's "private" golf courses, we often find the experience at UK and Ireland golf resorts is often disappointingly similar to certain US public courses.

Why is this? While limited guest play is great income for the private clubs (Ballybunion, Carnoustie, Royal Birkdale), they primarily serve their membership.  Not only are tee times limited to a couple "windows," but one often needs a minimum handicap.

 

 

Ireland golf course map