When it comes to golfing, there’s not many places better than the Emerald Isle. The entire United Kingdom is one of the greatest places to golf, but Ireland specifically is magnificent. Ireland is host to beautiful vistas and wonderful links style golf courses.
While not every course is a Links course, it’s one of the best features of Ireland. These courses feature rolling hills, broad fairways and difficult bunker placements. Many of them are along the coast and show off incredible natural beauty. Going on vacation to Ireland for golf is more convenient than you’d think and has options at all budget levels. Finding a great tour company will allow you to experience everything golfing the Emerald Isle can provide, while allowing for the best accomodations possible!
Regions and Courses
Typically, when someone chooses to visit Ireland to Golf, it’s only going to be a regional trip. It’s kind of impossible to see the entire Ireland and all of the incredible courses in one go. Typically, it’s divided into four different regions of courses. Tours tend to be for these regions:
Dublin is the crown jewel city of Ireland. It’s not surprising that great golf is located throughout and near to Dublin. After playing 18 holes, a trip to a Dublin pub can be the perfect cap to the perfect day. Portmarnock Golf Club, Royal Dublin Golf Club and County Louth Golf Club all have a deep history to them. People who visit “The Island” course will play one of the biggest dunes ever on a course. The K Club has hosted the Ryder Cup back in 2006. Golfing there, it’s hard to not feel like you’re there with Tiger and Phil.
This region of Ireland isn’t as developed as some of the others, but is often considered the secret gem to golfing in Ireland. The grand jewel is Carne Golf Links. Sports Illustrated has referred to it as simply “The Best in the World”. The serenity in the Northwest leads the courses to often be quieter, with fewer other golfers. Some days, it’s possible to play 18 while not seeing another golfer anywhere nearby! County Sligo is the kind of course that people dream to play on. Donegal is a course showing off beautiful coastal vistas. Other great courses include Enniscrone, Ballyliffin, Bundoran or the 9 hole wonder that is Cruit Island!
Northern Ireland has been home to some of the most prestigious and charismatic golfers. This theme continues today, having Rory McIlroy come from it. One of the best courses is Royal County Down. It has hosted European Tour events including the Irish Open. Royal Portrush has also joined the Open Championship rotation, meaning that anyone choosing to play a round there will be playing the same course the pros may be competing. There are plenty of hidden gems like Ballycastle and Ardglass. Finally, any trip wouldn’t be complete without a day on the links at Castlerock.
The southwest offers some of the most beautiful courses available throughout the world. The links courses dot the coastline, showing off vistas unseen anywhere else in the world. Almost every tour is going to start at Ballybunion. The iconic first hole tee shot actually travels over a classic cemetary. Killarney is the jewel of the courses in the southwest. It helps that it’s one of the most exciting towns on the coast. Other beautiful courses include Old Head, Tralee, Waterville Golf Links, Dooks and Fota Island Resort.
There are a lot of golf tour companies that want to offer exciting packages to Ireland. Each offers their own unique take on golfing Ireland. Check out all of them before making a decision on which tour is the right one for you.
- Irish Golf Tours – Unsurprisingly, Irish Golf Tours focuses on Ireland exclusively. Tours are divided into the various regions of Ireland and will usually include 18 holes at 6 different courses. A variety of different hotels are available depending on budgets. Extra amenities like chauffeured travel or even helicopter travel are available for people who want to make the most of their vacation and spend more time golfing, less time driving.
- Hidden Links – Hidden Links offers tours throughout the world, and has some great tours available in Ireland. Hidden Links is able to offer a level of customization that often isn’t found in other tours. In addition, it offers side trips to wonderful tourist destinations as well.
- JD Golf Tours – JD is another organization that offers up wonderful tours around the world. Their Ireland tours feature luxury accomodations and beautiful links courses just waiting to be played. A typical 7 day tour will feature six courses and two or three hotels in a region. It’s intended as a true 5 star experience.