2-fore!-1 Golf in Republic of Ireland
36 Courses in Clare, Cork, Leitrim, Antrim, County Waterford, Galway, Ireland, Meath, Co. Wicklow, Mayo, Monaghan, Cavan, Wicklow, Dublin, Waterford, Kildare, Dublin 13, Carlow, Limerick, Galway, Kerry, County Cork
There are more than 300 golf courses throughout the Republic of Ireland, through seven different regions, in 26 counties. Many of these are the original courses, with Ireland overall having nearly two thirds of the world's natural links courses. These links courses are found mainly in the West in the Republic of Ireland, embracing the ocean. They may be walking only courses, so if you normally rely on a cart, check with the club before you arrive. However, caddies are usually available to help see you through your rounds.
The first recorded golf match held in Ireland took place in 1852, in Curragh, County Kildare. The Curragh Golf Club, now the Royal Curragh, opened in 1858, while the Royal Belfast had its first competition in 1881 and the Royal Dublin opened in 1885. 1891 saw the founding of the Golfing Union of Ireland, the oldest golfing union in the world. It is based in Maynooth, County Kildare. In 2007 Padraig Harrington became the first golfer from the Republic of Ireland to win the Open Championship.
One of the stand-out features of playing golf in much of Ireland is the exuberant warmth of welcome, the bursts of song and music from the clubhouse, long after your rounds have ended. As any Irish golfer will tell you, "We always keep going to the 19th hole."
Three Top Courses
The Royal Curragh Golf Club
The Royal Curragh Golf Club is Ireland's first golf club and oldest golf course. The course is laid out on natural heathland which has been largely untouched since pre-historical times. It incorporates the largest tract of historically uncultivated grassland in Ireland, and so is of unique value for cultural, environmental, historical and archaeological reasons. This is seen throughout the course. Here you can stumble over certain plants, wildflowers and grasses, which are found nowhere else in the world. The long term uncultivated base soil is free-draining, meaning the course is playable all year round. This challenging heathland course is 6,585 yards, running through the 4,700 acre pristine parkland estate.
Portmarnock Golf Club
Set on the coast just outside of Dublin, Portmarnock Golf Club covers around 500 acres, on its own headland which, originally, could be reached only across the water. It began as a private links course for the landowner during the 1850s, then opened for play in 1894. It remains a stunningly beautiful natural links course, surrounded by the sea on three sides and exposed to ocean winds. Portmarnock Golf Club is comprised of three nine hole courses, with two of these looping together to form this unforgettable Championship course. Portmarnock has hosted many championship events, including The Canada Cup, The Walker Cup, and a dozen Irish Opens. And, at Portmarnock the driving range, short game area and the chipping and putting green are all championship standard.
Ballybunion Golf Club
Ballybunion Golf Club, in County Kerry on Ireland's South West coast, has two beautiful courses, laid out among the largest, most imposing sand dunes in Ireland. The Old Course is frequently ranked as one of the top ten golf courses on the planet, and a supreme test of your golfing skills. Visiting players have included some of the world's top golfers, and the course was named by Tom Watson as simply the best in the golfing world. The second course at Ballybunion, the Cashen, is also an excellent, challenging course to play, - just be ready to brace yourself even more sturdily against the wind.