Top 10 Most Popular Ireland Golf Courses
Everyone has their own list of ‘Top Ireland Golf Courses’ so why shouldn’t we?
Based on all customer inquiries to Real Irish Golf during 2017, here are the Top 10 most requested Ireland Golf Courses.
1. Tralee Golf Club
No explanation required here. An Arnold Palmer masterpiece of which he famously declared “I designed the front nine, but surely God designed the back none”. It is fair to say that you will never play a better back nine holes that the back nine holes at Tralee Golf Club. The front nine isn’t too shabby either!
2. The European Club
A stunning links on the East Coast of Ireland, approximately an hour south of Dublin. An understated entrance opens up to reveal a magical links. The European Club is a serious test so park your expectations at the gate and enjoy the elemental beauty of this stunning challenge; golf at its finest and as it should be.
4. Ballybunion – The Old Course
No surprise here, the very word “Ballybunion” evokes Irish Links Golf. When Tom Waston name- checked BallyBunion in the seventies as one of his favourite golf courses, golfers scrambled for their atlases (remember those!) to figure out where it was. Now firmly established as a ‘must-play’ course on your Irish golfing vacation, Golf.Com ranked it in 2016 at No.17 in its Top 100 golf courses of the world. p.s.: A special shout-out to the Trent-Jones Cashen course also at Bally Bunion; very underrated!
4. The Old Head
On a perfect Irish Summer’s day (yes we do get some!), it would be difficult to think of a better place for the avid golfer to be. When you drive through the gates and head onto the course property, you will see the crashing waves of the Atlantic and realize very quickly that this is special. Is a ‘true’ links? That is debatable, but what cannot be, is that this is one of the most picturesque golf courses you will ever play.
5. The K Club – Ryder Cup Course
Host to the 2006 Ryder Cup (yes Europe won that one too!) and numerous European Tour events, The K Club is located less than an hour from Dublin on the banks of the river Liffey. Another Palmer design, Real Irish Golf rates it as one of our Top 2 parkland golf courses in Ireland, the other one being Druids Glen. Our favorite hole? The par 5 16th. See if you can get match Rory’s 2016 shot of the year and reach it in two. On second thoughts; don’t even try!
The Southwest of Ireland is the most popular destination for the visiting US golfer, so therefore it is no surprise that another one of the Southwest’s great Links course is the sixth most popular on our list. Already famous and well regarded, Waterville was recently upgraded and enhanced by Tom Fazio. Payne Stewart loved Waterville, and was a regular guest. Rather poignantly, at a ceremony during the now (in)famous Ryder Cup in Brookline, he was awarded the Captaincy of Waterville – the last golf honour he would receive before his tragic death.
7. Royal County Down
Royal County Down is probably the most difficult tee time to get in Ireland, and was recently ranked by Golf Digest as the best course in the world! The only reason it does not come in higher on our list is due to the popularity of Southwest as the primary Irish golf region. Royal County Down is located on the East coast a little over an hour from Dublin. With the increasing popularity of Northern Ireland as a golf vacation destination, tee times at Royal County Down are likely to become even more precious in the next few years.
8. Royal Portrush
Based on 2018 inquiries, it is apparent that Royal Portrush will be rising when we do this poll next year. For the only the second time ever, The British Open will be held on the island of Ireland in 2019. Where? You guessed it – Royal Portrush. Major champions, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are both members there; you never know, they might join you for a four ball!
9. Dooks Golf Club
Set on the waters of Dingle Bay, Dooks, often referred to as a ‘hidden gem’, is an authentic Irish golf links and experience. Beautiful and tranquil, and perhaps is perhaps a little more gentle that some of its Southwest neighbours and is not to be missed when in the region. In our experience, it is also one of the friendliest courses in Ireland for the visiting golfer, and the pints of Guiness are pretty good too!
10. Killarney – The Killeen Course
The Killeen course at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club completes the Real Irish Golf top 10 Ireland golf courses ‘popularity’ list. A few miles outside Killarney town centre, The Killeen course is a beautiful parkland golf course set around the serene lakes of Killarney. Killarney town is the most popular base for American golfers visiting the Southwest of Ireland, so Killarney golf club is a perfect antidote for golfers who have been beaten up by the surrounding links courses and want to stay local for the day. They won’t be disappointed.