Every executive knows that a good game of golf can relieve stress, invigorate health, and provide an excellent social environment for closing deals and making contacts.
If you’re travelling in Ireland on business, even if it’s just for a few days, get your chauffeur to bring you for a round (or two) of golf. Besides, where else than the “Emerald Isle” does it make more sense to get out on the greens? However, Ireland has a wide range of golf courses to choose from with some providing a much better game than others. Therefore, in this article, we’ll take a brief look at the top 10 courses in Ireland (in no particular order), to give you the best chance of making the right selection.
1. Rosses Point
If you truly love the game, Rosses Point in County Sligo (officially the County Sligo Golf Club), is an incredible course with two courses to choose from. Firstly, the Bomore Course is a 9 hole 35 par short course suitable for beginners, but is also popular among professionals. It features a driving range beside the first tee. On the other hand, the Championship Course is far more interesting. Designed over a century ago, and endorsed by Tom Watson, there is no word that can do it justice other than “majestic”. The low par 2nd hole in this course is a great challenge with its uphill drive over just 278 metres, calling for very precise hitting. The 17th is also tremendous, requiring nerves of steel and a laser-like focus.
2. Royal County Down
As the name implies, this course is located in the corner of Ireland occupied by the British. This is one of the most exclusive course in Ireland, but widely acknowledged as the best.
Top players such as Tiger Woods and Tom Watson sometimes play a round here to warm up for big competitions. The course has a great climate and lovely views. It’s located in Newcastle, sandwiched between Mt. Mourne and the Atlantic Ocean.
Located in County Dublin, this is one of the easiest courses to access for business travellers. It has an excellent driving range and practice greens. So even if you don’t have time for a full game, you can still unwind with the stress relieving satisfaction of hitting small balls with a big stick.The unusual feature of being located on a peninsula also provides for a unique golfing experience.
The old course at Ballybunion in County Kerry is featured at number 17 on Golf Magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 golf courses, and indeed it’s a wonderful place to enjoy golfing in a wide open space.
The scarcity of trees makes the course a good one for players who are still finding their way in the game, both because it’s more difficult to get lost and because there are fewer obstacles to interrupt your shot.
The beautiful ocean views are one good reason to visit Waterville in County Kerry. The proximity to the ocean also provides strong sea breezes, making this a good course to practice your game in challenging conditions.
Even though it’s not exactly a course for everyone, it is consistently voted as one of the best golf courses in Ireland and the UK.
One of the newest courses in Ireland, and also one of the most seriously challenging, Doonbeg is a really interesting place to play and provides a fast paced game where you can test your game to the limit.
This semi-private course in County Clare is a beautifully designed golf course and a personal favourite of Phil Mickelson. The course provides a good experience for golfers of all levels, and is an interesting one to sharpen your skills and have a great day out.
8. Adare Manor
A river runs through Adare Manor, making this golf course a very picturesque and interesting place to play. The course is contained within the grounds of a beautiful resort in County Limerick, which was once the home of the Earl of Dunraven. With many low par holes, the course can provide some unique challenges. However, it is still suitable for inexperienced players to enjoy a good game.
Arnold Palmer designed this modern course in County Kerry, and he is famous for having said, “I designed the first nine, but surely Gold designed the back nine”. Go and see it for yourself, and you’ll surely agree.
10. Druid’s Glen
No list of the best golf courses in Ireland would be complete without a mention of Druid’s Glen. Even the name stirs the imagination. This is a semi-private course located in County Wicklow, and has hosted the Irish Open for three years in the late 1990s.
It’s a very tricky course to play, heavily wooded and sometimes a little misty. But that all adds to the atmosphere of this somewhat magically inspired course.