Ireland Golf Vacation Top 5 Courses to play
So you want a knock out golf trip to Ireland with your friends and/or family? You are a keen golfer who likes a challenge and maybe something different to your usual golf diet? We at Executive Hire in Limerick in the Mid-West of Ireland, the infamous Shannon Region say look no further than us for a Customized Golf Trip to Ireland where we will arrange for you and your group to pay these defining golf links and courses. Now in setting out the 5 courses below, as ever folks will disagree and beg to differ. I might do a top ten someday to solve maybe half of the arguments. But let’s say this for now, if you visit these 5 courses as part of your Ireland Golf Trip, you won’t be let down. Rather you’ll be challenged in every facet of your game, from handling Irish rough, to mastering the wild Atlantic moods that can make a potential sub 80 round look like some naive long lost dream that you only wished for! So, in no particular order:
Described by Herbert Warren Wind as the St. Andrews of Ireland, it is immersed in Irish golfing lore dating back to its inception in 1892. Nestled in by the cosy Irish town of the same name, Lahinch is a ‘World Top 50 Golf Course’ and definitely one of our favourite Links. As if being initially designed by Old Tom Morris, and later (1927) by Dr. Alister McKenzie (yes, he of Augusta fame) wasn’t enough the course was sensitively adjusted for modern needs more recently (1999) by the British links expert Martin Hawtree. Our favourite hole here is the 5th, known as the Dell which stands today as it did after Old Tom wielded his undoubted magic. As you steady yourself for you approach shot, you just know and can feel the history behind this place. You’d almost feel obliged not to take a divot! The Old Course, or Amended McKensie Course as it is sometimes referred to is just a joy to behold. When doing customized Irish golf vacations, we always try and include Lahinch. It’s so close to Shannon International Airport, Adare and Limerick, it’s very easy for us to chauffeur our Guests there and back with ease. For more details please see Lahinch Golf Club
Perhaps the highest consistently ranking golf course Ireland has to offer. The only problem here at this undoubted world class golf club is which course to play. The Old Course dating back to 1893 exudes all that you would expect from a piece of history, but equally the Cashen Course, which we can only describe as a Trent Jones Snr. masterpiece is every bit just as much an Atlantic Links treasure waiting to be explored in as few shots as possible. Ballybunion is almost completely naturally carved from mother-nature herself, and is recognised as Golf’s True Test by none other than Tom Watson who first graced the springy turf of Ballybunion in 1981. I 2000 Tom added to the lengthy history of the courses development himself by adding more bunkers and adjusting each of the 7th green and 5th tee box. All of the continuous improvement over the years paved the way for the Murphy’s Irish Open to be played here in 2000. The event that year was won by Swede Patrik Sjoland. In 2009 Golf Digest Magazine ranked Ballybunion #7 of the 100 Best Golf Courses Outside of the US. So we feel it’s a must play situation for any Ireland Golf Vacation. We just love Hole 13 here, the fondly named Kitty’s River. We’ll warn you now, decide whole heartedly if you’re going to lay-up or take it on – otherwise it will be Your River! Follow this link for a Ballybunion hole by hole guide and some imagery to really convey what amounts to a challenge of nature.
3 Old Head Kinsale
Regardless of any Golf Magazine Ranking or rating of different course and links no matter where they are in the world, Old Head is truly a unique golfing experience. We believe it’s unique because it’s almost island like in its natural diamond shape formation. As you grace the fairways, you are treading above open caves, this place just has to be seen and played to be believed. At the end of 18 holes here, you’ll be refreshed from the sea breeze and dazzled by the links spectacle that is each and every hole, all of which are ocean view. You’ll be quite used to teeing off cliff tops at the end of this challenge. The 4th hole ‘Razors Edge’ is so much fun. You have to keep your tee shot to the right, but not overdo it; on the left are fairway bunkers and an ocean that will swallow up any inattention. The green is long and narrow and won’t forgive any hooked approach shots. You’ll probably have a spare ball on the ready by this time anyways! For pure uniqueness of experience, and 9 cliff top tee boxes we happily position Old Head Kinsale as one of our Top 5 Golf Courses for any Ireland Golf Vacation. When the golf is done Kinsale is a beautiful town to visit and has a reputation for culinary delights.
4 The K Club
Yes, so far we have had a South West bias, but let us now turn our attention to the East, starting with The K Club, County Kildare’s 5 Star luxury Golf resort and home to the 2006 Ryder Cup. You need your wits intact around here people. Even Tiger lost a club here on his way to beating Robert Karlsson in the singles back in 2006. Ok, strictly speaking his caddy dropped it into a pond, but as we all know, Arnold Palmer doesn’t do Easy. Home to numerous European Opens, as well as the Ryder Cup, this is arguably Ireland’s finest parkland course. One of our favourite holes is the Par 5 10th. After two full tilt wood shots you should have a nice up and down opportunity to set your inward 9 off to a good start. Always a feature visit on the Executive Tours South West and East Ireland Golf Vacation, we equally recommend it for any customized golf trip Ireland vacation. Staying at the K Club carries with it all the spa and restaurants luxuries you could expect from the AA’s Hotel of the Year Award for 20210/11 as presented by the Irish Minister for Tourism – need we say more?
5 Royal County Down
Home to the 2007 Walker Cup, Royal County Down traces its origins back to 1889. Our friend Old Tom Morris had his part to play in the early years of these manicured holes within a rugged setting. Many others helped shape the modern championship course as we know it today, of almost 7200 yards, yet at a testing par of 71. The majestic Mountains of Mourne coupled with the Murlough Nature reserve provide the backdrop for this must-play links. A shorter yet equally challenging Annesely course is also available to test your ability to cope with dunes and genuine links characteristics. Golf Digest refers to Royal County Down as the ‘best course in the world outside of the United States’. If we had to pick a special hole on this course, perhaps the 9th hole, a 486 yard par 4 is one of the defining and most breathtaking links holes anywhere in the world. As you tee up you’ll note the sheer drop of 60 feet underneath, but you’ll have to carry long to make fairway, from where you still have 260 to go to green. Now just clear the two signature bunkers to the raised green and hope for par. For the uniquely challenging bunkers, the characteristically narrow fairways and the breathtaking surroundings, we happily place Royal County Down in our Top 5 for any Ireland Golf Vacation.
Hope you enjoyed reading and maybe learning more about what Ireland has to offer the golfing world when it comes to top end courses. As mentioned above these courses feature heavily within our Ireland Golf Vacations Packages, namely the South West Ireland Golf Tour or the South West and East Ireland Golf Tour. If you have any special requirements or preferences we’d love the opportunity to chat these through with you. You can call us 24/7 by using our TOLL FREE LINE at 1 888 793 0416 from US and Canada, or at + 353 (0)87 793 0447 from everywhere else. Thanks for reading, best wishes, Mike Ryan