As golfers we all know Ireland is home to some of the very best golf courses in the world. From the famous collection of links courses on the South West coast, the likes of which include Ballybunion, Lahinch and Doonbeg, to the five star resorts in and around Dublin such as the K Club and Druids Glen; Ireland has it all. However due to the sheer quality of these aforementioned courses there are a number of top class layouts that often get overlooked by those embarking on a tour of the Emerald Isle. The North West in particular is home to a handful of links gems that are simply too good to miss. Throw in a stunning landscape dotted with small villages, lively pubs and quaint country house hotels and you have the perfect recipe for a relaxing golf tour.
Ballyliffin is Ireland’s northernmost golf club and boasts two outstanding links courses, The Old Course and Glashedy Links.
The Glashedy Rock is the local equivalent of Turnberry‘s Ailsa Craig and is in sight at various points around the course.
Avoiding the oceans of fescue rough will go along way to scoring well at Ballyliffin.
Sneakily placed pot bunkers work in conjunction with natural undulations and run off areas to place an emphasis on accuracy and course management.
Ballyliffin offers links golf at its purest. As the sandy fairways wind through the natural sand dunes, pot bunkers and swathes of deep rough, golfers can enjoy views out over the Northern Atlantic.
As with many classic links courses, plotting your way around the course in an effort to avoid the card wrecking pot bunkers is a sound strategy!
Overlooking the Blacksod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, Carne Golf Links boasts an utterly spectacular location and is well worth the drive, albeit being slightly remote!
County Sligo Golf Club is situated on Rosses Point, a spectacular promontory that juts out into the sea off Ireland’s west coast.
County Sligo is without doubt one of the finest links in Ireland, having attracted distinguished visitors including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Sir Nick Faldo and links master Tom Watson.
With greens resembling upturned saucers, your short game will have to be sharp around County Sligo.
There is plenty of history at Enniscrone, with the golf course dating back to 1918, but the superb course that exists today is a result of the subsequent work by both Eddie Hackett and Donald Steel.
The Bartragh Peninsula, which plays host to Enniscrone, boasts some of the most natural links turfto be found in Ireland. Towering dunes are a common feature around the course!
Rosapenna is home to two outstanding links courses, the Old Tom Morris and Sandy Hills layouts.
Pins at Rosapenna can often be hidden away and well protected by rough covered dunes and pot bunkers, making playing towards the centre of the greens a smart play.
Narin and Portnoo is a traditional Irish seaside course, where the views of Gwebarra Bay from the coastline are truly remarkable.
Donegal is one of the finest seaside courses in Ireland. In fact Darren Clarke is on record as describing Donegal as “one of my favourite golf courses”. High praise from the current Open Champ!