While golf has its origins in Scotland and England, you’d be hard-pressed to find better views and lusher golf courses than the ones found in Ireland. From seaside links-style courses with steep cliffs to championship golf courses that routinely challenge the world’s best golfers, we have compiled our Top 5 favorite golf courses in Ireland. The next time you and your buddies plan on an international golf trip, you’ll quickly learn why Ireland has established itself as one of the top golf destinations in the world.
Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare
Credit: @Lahinch Golf Club
This seaside links-style golf course is about a 3-hour drive west of Dublin, and one of the few golf courses in Ireland that hosts a premier European Tour golf tournament. Several holes at Lahinch Golf Club run parallel to the ocean, including the 3rd, 7th, and 12th. Like many of the premier golf courses in Ireland, Lahinch Golf Club offers professional caddy services; every caddy has extensive knowledge of the golf course and can provide an extra element of fun to round out your golf experience. After your round, you and your group can gather in The South Bar and Restaurant, where you will find a variety of delectable treats that visitors of this scenic golf course have been enjoying for generations.
The K Club, County Kildare
Credit: @Golf at The K Club
While the K Club lacks the breathtaking ocean views that many of the golf course’s on our list, it more than makes up for it with the quality amenities and rich history found at The Ryder Cup Course. As the name suggests, this Arnold-Palmer designed golf course is the only Irish golf course to have hosted the historic bi-annual Ryder Cup Matches. Situated within a world-class resort with incredible lodging, dining and amenities, and approximately 30 minutes outside of Dublin, a visit at The K Club is a great way to start what should be a memorable golf trip. Guests at The K Club resort enjoy a spa with a wide variety of treatments designed to leave you feeling rejuvenated, especially after a morning round of golf.
Royal Portstewart Golf Club
Credit: @Mystic Irish Golf
Our first of two Northern Ireland golf courses to make our top 5 list is the 54-hole facility approximately 3 hours north of Dublin. Royal Portstewart’s three 18-hole golf courses include the championship Strand Course, The Riverside Course, 9 holes of which are comprised of the original nine holes built in the 1890s, and The Old Course, a charming par-64 layout. The Strand Course is the crowned jewel of Royal Portstewart, where the 2017 Duty Free Irish Open was played (and won by Spaniard golf superstar Jon Rahm). If you play here in the summer, it’s possible to play all three courses in one day; even though there are times during the day strictly for members, visitors of Royal Portstewart will enjoy a fun challenge and some of the best views in Northern Ireland.
Royal County Down
Credit: @Auld PLO – Golftrotter
This gem of a golf course, located about an hour south of Belfast, is arguably the most famous and historic golf courses in Northern Ireland. It is only one of two golf courses in Ireland to host the Walker Cup; Royal County Down has also hosted The Amateur Championship, three Senior British Open Championships, 3 Irish Opens, and several other prestigious tournaments. A true seaside links course, it is amongst the sternest tests in the world, yet the utter beauty of each hole, especially the stunning 9th hole, is what attracts golfers of all skill levels to this magnificent golf course. No matter what your skill level, you’ll definitely want to utilize the caddies at this incredibly difficult golf course. However, it will be a golf experience you will never forget.
Credit: @Bogeybox Golf
Located in the southwest coast of Ireland, the accolades for Ballybunion Golf Club cannot be ignored. It is routinely ranked within the top 100 golf courses in the world, and typically lands within the top 25. Hilly dunes meander all through the gorgeous layouts, with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean found on both The Old Course and the Cashen Course. If there was only one golf course you can play in Ireland, or if you’re looking for the perfect place to cap off the ultimate Irish Golf Experience, The Old Course would have to be the one.
One, or a combination of all of these amazing golf courses will turn your overseas golf trip into an adventure/experience you will remember for the rest of your life!
Looking for a bit more thrill than a round of golf can offer? Check out our post on the top spots throughout Ireland to get your adrenaline fix!