Based on all ratings of golfers, the density of well-rated golf courses our system is able to provide a rating per region. A region rating of 9.1
indicates that Ireland is outstanding as a golf destination. So we’ve
compiled a shortlist of the ten best golf courses in the Republic of Ireland
. We will count down from 10 to the number 1.
*Note: This list is based upon ratings and reviews of real golfers and was made in February 2020.
It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Leadingcourses.
10. The County Sligo Golf Club
The County Sligo Golf Club
is as challenging as it is scenic. The 18 hole traditional links layout
– designed by Harry Colt – measures 6,136 metres with the 9-hole course
at 2,785 metres. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean with Benbulben and
Knocknarea as the backdrop, the course utilizes the natural contours of
the dune-covered landscape. There are especially scenic views of five
Irish counties from the third tee. The course provides a challenge to
the best of golfers while fun for all. County Sligo is open to visitors
all year round and comes equipped with its own floodlit driving range.
9. Carne Golf Links
Carne Golf Links
sits on the West Coast of Ireland and lies in magnificent unspoiled
sand dunes. The course overlooks Blacksod Bay and the wild Atlantic
Ocean near the town of Belmullet. The Eddie Hackett designed 6,700 yard
links, proves to be a challenging test from the opening par 4 to the
magnificent par 5 18th. The layout of this course gives the sense that
it has been here since ancient times. Its white sandy Atlantic beaches
stretch for miles and its bountiful wildlife provide a warm welcome. An
additional 9 holes (The Kilmore 9) opened in 2013. Jim Engh Design and
McIntosh Golf Design created these holes.
8. Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort
The beautiful Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort
is situated in County Wicklow, “the Garden of Ireland”. It is just
twenty miles south of Dublin (east coast) and about 50 mins from the
airport. Nestling between the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, the
spectacular resort consists of two contrasting championship golf
courses; Druids Glen and Druids Heath. The course hosted the Irish Open
four years in a row (1996 – 1999), as well as the prestigious Seve
Trophy. This parkland course offers 6,202 yards, and the island green at
17 provides one of the most exciting tests in golf.
7. The Island Golf Club
Established in 1890, The Island Golf Club
enjoys a unique setting bordered by the Irish Sea on 3 sides. It is a
classic links course set in a rugged terrain & nestled between the
highest sand dunes along the east coast of the country. Only 15 minutes
from Dublin Airport and 30 minutes from Dublin City Centre, The Island
is one of the Ireland’s oldest courses and enjoys an excellent
international reputation. The club currently hosts Regional Qualifying
games for The Open Championship and has co-hosted strokeplay qualifying
for the British Amateur Championship in 2019. Consistently ranked among
the top courses in Ireland, it is required playing for those wishing to
gain a true links experience.
6. Ballybunion Golf Club
On the north west coast of County Kerry lies one of the most well known golf courses in Ireland, Ballybunion Golf Club
It sits perched on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the
Atlantic Ocean. There are two challenging and unique links golf courses
here -the Old Course and the Trent Jones Cashen Course. The Old Course
provides contoured fairways that tumble down through a blanket of grassy
dunes while the TJC Course is located along the sweeping, undisturbed
shoreline, and offers breathtaking views throughout. Whatever your
choice of course, every hole, every hazard and every shot is defined by
the rugged nature of the west coast of Ireland.
5. Concra Wood Golf & Country Club
The club is the latest stage in the evolution of Castleblayney Golf Club. Initially founded as a 9 hole course in 1905, Concra Wood Golf & Country Club
was located opposite the entrance to Concra Wood. The course then
closed down in 1949 and it wasn’t until 1985 that it was reborn in the
grounds of Hope Castle (visible across Lough Muckno). It finally moved
to its current location in 2008, and expanded to 18 holes. The course
has a nice layout and there is a good variety of holes. Concra Wood is
both hilly and long and you may need to call in the help of a buggy. It
is a unique setting and is guaranteed to impress all who play or visit
4. Lahinch Golf Club
Lahinch Golf Club
is situated on the west coast of Ireland beside the little village of
Lahinch, county Clare. Before last years Irish Open (2019), the last
professional tournament held at Lahinch was the 1975 Carroll’s Irish
Match Play, won by Christy O’Connor Jr. Founded in 1892, the original
layout of the Old Course was the creation of Old Tom Morris. His world
famous Klondyke and Dell holes remain in play today. It has been
described as ‘The St Andrews of Ireland’ and those who know the place
firmly believe that it doesn’t need comparison with any of the game’s
other world class venues.
3. Tralee Golf Club
Designed and built by Arnold Palmer,
this stunning setting represents a true paradise for those willing to
challenge it. The course is widely acclaimed as one of the finest links
courses in the world. Although the whole course is magnificent, it is
the back nine at Tralee Golf Club
that sets it apart from the rest of the field. Each hole hugs the
rugged coastline and provides spectacular views while taking the golfer
back in to the clubhouse. Compared to tougher courses like Ballybunion
or Lahinch, Tralee is surprisingly playable for the majority of golfers.
However, as mentioned it is the experience of the course that settles
itself into the golfers memory.
2. Killeen Castle Golf Club
Home to the spectacular and challenging
championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. A golfers dream.
Voted Best Parkland Course in the greater Dublin area, Killeen Castle Golf Club
is located only 30 mins from both Dublin city centre and Dublin
Airport. The course measures over 7,700 yards from the back tees and the
substantial investment in the drainage system has provided a course
that is playable 365 days of the year. Killeen Castle hosted the
prestigious Solheim Cup in 2011, attracting some of the greatest female
golfers in the world. This course is not to be missed.
1. Old Head Golf Links
Sitting at the top of our list of the best golf courses in Ireland is Old Head Golf Links
This true links is among the most renowned golf courses in the world.
It was purchased in 1989, before John and Patrick O’Connor spent nearly
ten years creating the breathtaking course. It finally opened in 1997.
The track reaches out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean and is home
to the most spectacular world-class golf course. Located in County Cork
on the South West Coast of Ireland, the Old Head of Kinsale has
developed into one of the most recognised and sought after golf
experiences anywhere on earth.
Ireland offers much more than golf
So there you have it. Ireland has
got you sorted for your next golfing experience. And it’s not just the
golf that brings people here. The people of Ireland are known worldwide
for their warm hospitality and rich culture. There are plenty of sights
to plan your golf trip around too. Castles, cliffs and remote Atlantic
islands to name but a few. The cities of Dublin, Galway and Cork serve
up some great nightlife and attractions. While the country’s countless
small villages provide authentic pubs, traditional music and spectacular
Keep in mind that we have not included Northern Ireland in this post.
Just over an hour north of Dublin you will find special courses such as
, Royal County Down
and Royal Belfast
. You can check out our blog on these courses here