With the 2016 golf season in Ireland and Scotland now getting in to full swing , it seems strange to turn attention to 2017 golf trip planning at this stage. Yet, as many of the top golf courses in Ireland, Scotland and England are already booked out for visiting golfers in 2016, the smart play is to start working on 2017 planning as early as possible.
Old Head Golf Links in Ireland, a perennial favourite among golfers visiting south west Ireland is operating a waitlist for September this year, that's how busy it is at this spectacular links. September is usually very busy due to club tournaments and member/ guest competitions at a number of courses including Waterville Links, Ballybunion and Tralee.
Lahinch Golf Club celebrates it's 125th anniversary in 2017 and will attract increased visitors to this great links. Lahinch also hosts the South of Ireland Championship late July.
Another factor which will come in to play for 2017 is the decision by Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland to stop taking visitor bookings for October. October is usually an important shoulder month for the golf travel sector in Ireland and the knock-on effect is surely to cause September to become even busier as golfers adjust their travel schedules to fit in the world's number 1 golf course.
In England, the north west golf swing including Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Birkdale is sure to be in demand in 2017. When planning a trip to play these courses, make sure to factor in that The Open Championship returns to Royal Birkdale in July 2017.
Hillside Golf Club is situated in Southport, the home of "Englands Golf Coast". The course forms part of England's finest stretch of coastal links being adjacent to Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale with Formby Golf Club a few miles down the road.
A true championship links, Hillside is proud to have been chosen to host Open Championship Final Qualifying each year from 2014, together with a superb track record in hosting the worlds major amateur events.
Golf has been played in Dooks since 1889 and so is one of the oldest clubs in Ireland. It was introduced to the local aristocracy by officers from the Royal Horse Artillery attending compulsory training at the nearby Glenbeigh Artillery Range.
Dooks, (A Gaelic word for Sand Dunes) is renowned for its hospitality and spectacular scenery. From its gentle rolling fairways there are breathtaking views of Dingle Bay, the stunning sandy beaches of Rossbeigh and Inch and the magnificent McGillycuddy Reeks. Even though this links is not as exposed as some Irish courses and features an amazing variety of gorse and heather and wild flowers, the "gentle" wind is never far away and the narrow genuine sandy fairways and well contoured greens offer you a real taste of traditional links golf at its very best.
Dooks was originally a nine hole links and was extended to eighteen in the 1970s under the guidance of Eddie Hackett. However in 2002 the club engaged the services of Martin Hawtree golf Architect of international renown to enhance the layout of the course. 16 holes were redesigned and have added immensely to the golfing challenge. We now have a longer course measuring 6586 yards from the back tees with expanded and contoured greens. Those who know it well find it a most intriguing course to play; it will test even the very best of golfers. For the golfer who is seeking a beautiful and tranquil environment to enjoy great golf, Dooks presents a convincing case.
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Most flights arriving from the USA and Canada arrive in Ireland early morning, thus allowing an opportunity to golf on the first day. When planning your Ireland golf trip, it is recommended to golf in order to acclimatise to the local time and also it makes good use of the day.
When arriving in Shannon, you are within one hour of both Lahinch and Doonbeg ( Trump International Ireland) . Either course works well in terms of an opening round. Another option would be to play the shorter Castle course at Lahinch if you prefer not to play a championship links course on your first day in Ireland.
Should your itinerary take you south to Kinsale or Killarney for your first overnight in Ireland, a round of golf at Fota or Adare Manor ( when it re-opens in 2017) en route is a popular option.
For weekend arrivals in to Dublin, getting a morning round on the main championship links courses is usually not possible as members competitions usually dictate that the first available visitor tee times are mid afternoon. Royal Dublin Golf Club have recently introduced Sunday morning visitor tee times between 8 and 9am which is a welcome opportunity to play one of the traditional Irish links golf courses. Portmarnock Golf Club also make tee times available for visitors from 12 noon on Sundays, while the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links course has usually very good availability for visitors on weekends.
For groups arriving in Dublin and heading south or south west, the Seve Ballesteros designed Heritage Course with an overnight at the Heritage Killenard hotel is also worthy of consideration. Finally for golfers travelling north westwards from Dublin towards Sligo or Donegal, Lough Erne Resort is the ideal stopover. Great lodgings await you while the Faldo designed course is truly spectacular with stunning vistas over the surrounding lakes and countryside.
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