The West of Ireland Golf trip, where the golf courses have been chiseled from the landscape, present some of the most natural and challenging links you are likely to find anywhere in the world.
Perhaps the courses are not as well known as their counterparts in south west Ireland or indeed in Northern Ireland, but nevertheless these courses are simply unmissable!
Starting at Connemara Golf Links, and working your way northwards, you will be blown away by the stunning vistas and challenging course layouts.
Connemara has been described as a miracle , and the nearby town of Clifden offers some great accommodation options as well as a lively selection of bars and restaurants.
Travelling north along the coast and on to Carne Links, near Belmullet at the furthest western point. The 27 holes of golf at Carne more than compensate for the journey!
Travelling eastward you will reach Enniscrone Golf Links, one of the rising stars of Irish golf. The dunes are simply jaw dropping, and if the wind is up, and which it invariably is, be ready for as stern and thrilling a round of golf you will ever play!
The Seasons Lodge guesthouse, will provide nice lodgings and a hearty breakfast to have you fit and raring to go as you move on to County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point. Home to the West of Ireland Amateur Golf Championship, be prepared for a feisty round at County Sligo, as this course will give you nothing for nothing. Inspired by the spectacular Ben Bulben mountain backdrop, this is a course you will want to return to.
Nearby Strandhill Links is a gem, not as well known as County Sligo, but worth a visit, when you are visiting the region.
In the words of the famous Irish poet WB Yeats, whose grave also lies under the shadow of Ben Bulben, when considering the west of Ireland golf trip, you might think "All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born"
Time and time again, golfers are drawn to planning a south west Ireland golf trip. In terms of the beauty of the golf courses, the landscape, the people and the 19th hole, this is a trip which is simply unsurpassed.
The majesty of Lahinch, Irish Open venue in 2019, and Trump Doonbeg, just 30 minutes further south, are licenced to thrill.
Heading further south across the Shannon river estuary, and on to the famed links at Ballybunion. The Old Course at Ballybunion is breathtaking, but don't overlook the Robert Trent Jones designed Cashen Course, as it will surely give you a run for your money.
Onwards to Tralee Golf Links, an Arnold Palmer designed gem, eighteen great golf holes, the back nine in particular drawing rave reviews. The Guinness and seafood chowder, served in the clubhouse, are the best, so if your golf is off the mark today, there are consolations!
Heading out along the Ring of Kerry scenic drive, play Dooks Links, a traditional course with views that really do take your breath away.
Waterville Links is hard to match when it comes to a storied golf course, full of character and challenge. Liam's Ace is the signature par four 16th, where former club pro Liam Higgins famously cut the corner with his daring drive for a hole in one.
The new kid on the block, across the bay from Waterville Links is the spectacular Hogs Head Golf Club. As you would expect, the golf course is matched by the top notch service.
Speaking about spectacular, what can be said about Old Head Golf Links which hasn't been said already? Sitting on a promontory on Ireland's south coast, jutting out in to the Atlantic Ocean. A bucket list experience for every golfer!
Golf at Waterville is a mystical experience – the beauty of this classic links land, surrounded by the sea yet forever challenged and shaped by the elements.
Waterville is rated among the top courses in Ireland and among the top 20 links courses in the world. Waterville Golf Links is located on the famous Ring of Kerry scenic drive, along the Wild Atlantic Way.
It is a must play course on your South Ireland golf itinerary. More information on https://www.specialtygolftrips.com/classic-south-west-ireland-golf-trip.html
Think of a golf trip on Ireland’s West coast and you will imagine some of the most spectacular links courses in the world. Mountainous dunes, cavernous bunkers, rolling fairways- making for some of the best golf courses you will play in Ireland.
Connemara, 27 holes of great golf, Carne in splendid isolation and Enniscrone, the best kept secret in Irish golf. County Sligo (Rosses Point), host to the West of Ireland amateur golf championship and Donegal ( Murvagh) are some of the places yo will most likley want to play again. And for good measure play Lahinch and you will return home with many lasting memories of the best of Ireland golf.
Over the years we have arranged many trips for golfers visiting St Andrews in Scotland to play the Old Course and tick it off their bucket lists. Usually a group of golf buddies, perhaps a couples golfing trip or a party of business associates.
This Summer, I had the privilege of playing the Old Course with my youngest son Shaun, and what a special occasion it turned out to be. Not that the golf ( or should I say my golf) was anything to write home about, it was just that special feeling of walking on hallowed turf, following in the footsteps of all the great golfers who walked this ground at the home of golf. From the starters introduction on the first tee, to the customary photographs and that first nerve jangling drive, all the way through to the road hole and eventually the crossing of the Swilken Bridge and the walk up the 18th to the final green.
To experience all of this is the stuff of dreams for any golfer, however to do it as father and son, brothers in arms so to speak, is a memory to live forever. Watch out Charlie, you're next up.
For details of a St Andrews golf trip, please click here
Play Enniscrone Golf Club in north west Ireland and experience some of the most dramatic dunes in Irish links golf
When it comes to a true and authentic links golf experience on an Ireland golf trip, then look no further than Enniscrone Golf Links on the west coast of Ireland.
One of Ireland's most traditional links golf courses, Enniscrone presents 27 holes on 400 acres of magnificent links land, featuring the par 73 Dunes Championship Links Course. The Dunes is one of Ireland’s top-ranked championship links courses and regularly features highly in the course rankings of many golf publications.
This year marks 100 years of links golf at Enniscrone. Located in County Sligo on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, Enniscrone fits nicely on a golf itinerary that includes other notable courses such as County Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point), Strandhill and Carne Golf Links in Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
In 1999, the club asked renowned golf course designer Donald Steel to redesign the course, the brief being to take it into the biggest dunes. Ridges of sand rise 200 feet above the valleys and the hollows which Steel managed to incorporate seamlessly with the earlier design work or Irish course designer Eddie Hackett. Some of Ireland’s best golf holes are to be found at Enniscrone. Notwithstanding the excellent work by Steel, the quirky 12th and 13th designed by Hackett are two of the best par fours, while the 10th and 11th are also Hackett's work, the 11th being regarded by many as the best of the course’s par threes.
For more information on a West of Ireland golf trip, please click here
What is it about the Old Head golf links on the south coast of Ireland that inspires golfers to describe it as one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world? For nearly twenty years, we have been including the Old Head on south west Ireland golf itineraries, and we cannot recall meeting anyone who did not marvel at the experience. We could say that most people are blown away, not be the wind, but by the combination of the golf course presentation and jaw dropping vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby headlands.
As you drive out along the headland a sense of expectation builds as you survey the rich and green pastures of the surrounding countryside. Soon you reach the end of the road, quite literally, and pass through the gates that take you on to the Old Head. It is an assault on the senses from every direction. To the left you see greens perched close to the edge of the headland which tumbles towards the Atlantic. To the right, you catch a glimpse of the 12th hole, with its tee box tucked in by the cliff edge and you wonder how you will navigate your drive to the fairway waiting on top. As yo drive further along, the iconic lighthouse comes in to view as it towers over the 18th tee. The clubhouse, nestles quietly and unobtrusively in the background. There is no better place to enjoy a drink and something to eat either before or after your round.
The Old Head is one of a select few courses in the world that leaves a lasting impression etched in the golfers memory. An Irish golf tour is all the richer for its inclusion.
The course has a number of stand out holes. The par 4 7th demands accurancy as marshland awaits any approach shot that drifts either left or right. This hole was voted among the top 100 greatest golf holes in the world and is dedicated to the bravery of Arnold Palmer.
The Irish sea glistens in the background as you make your way around the course. Where else would you find 20 golf holes in play?
This is as enjoyable a game of golf as you are likely to play anywhere in Ireland and is a must play on an east coast of Ireland golf trip.
Royal County Down will be opening their diary for 2019 bookings from Monday 21st May 2018.
Demand is expected to be unprecedented at the world's number 1 links course. Tee times sold out very quickly for this season and next year is likely to be the same. Should you be planning a Northern Ireland golf trip in 2019 please note that Royal County Down will be closed to visitors 9th through 16th June 2019 as it hosts The British Open Ladies Amateur Golf Championship.
Keep in mind that Royal Portrush hosts The Open Championship in July 2019 so next year is going to be a year like no other in terms of golf in Northern Ireland.
Portstewart Golf Club, a neighbour of Royal Portrush will also be taking bookings. Castlerock Golf Club is just a short drive from Portrush. It unveiled its revamped links this week to much acclaim. The signature hole at Castlerock is the 214 yard Par 3 played to a bowl shaped green guarded by rough and fescue.
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