Ballyliffin is Ireland's northernmost golf club, and while its two golf courses may differ greatly in character, they are both of outstanding quality.
The Old Course is links golf at its purest, as the sandy fairways wind through the natural sand dunes. Though not long, the dramatic undulations inherent to the land make it quirky and unpredictable, but moreover they make the Old Course incredibly enjoyable.
The course flew under the radar for many years, until then world number 1 Nick Faldo dropped from a helicopter in 1993. From his very first round, England's finest was infatuated, and this is reflected by the fact that Faldo's design company was commissioned to carry out renovation work, deepening bunkers and adding tees in 2005. The highlight of a round here is the awe-inspiring 5th, where golfers take aim at an elevated target 190 yards off, encapsulated by the towering sand dunes.
Ballyliffin Golf Club is ranked as one of the best courses in Ireland
Ballyliffin's rise to prominence has been reinforced by the construction of the marvellous Glashedy Links, opened in 1995. Named after the Glashedy Rock, the local equivalent of Turnberry's Ailsa Craig, and formulated by the acclaimed Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock, the Glashedy is a brutal proposition at 7,200, and seems certain to play host to major tournament golf. Unlike its more traditional sister, there are huge greens here, whose severe slopes make scoring well on a blustery day devilishly difficult.