Hidden Gems of Ireland Competition

Played at a course in Ireland that no one knows about?
Tourism Ireland

Ireland is littered with amazing, world renowned golf courses and is a fantastic destination for a golf holiday. Old Head, Druids Glen and K Club are all great examples of this, but what about the rest?

We're looking for the venues that aren't as well known but are equally incredible. We want to share the Hidden Gems of Ireland...well, we want you to!

Here's how to Enter

Share your hidden gem photos with us on Social Media using #HiddenGems, just simply Tweet or Instagram us or send the pictures to hiddengems@yourgolftravel.com to enter. The lucky winner will be given the chance relive their hidden gem experience. You'll get to go back to the course that captured your imagination, only this time you'll know what you're in for...

Competition ends on 30th November 2017. Winner will be announced shortly after.

YGT ambassador Darren Clarke tells us his Hidden Gem of Ireland

YGT Staff Members' Hidden Gems

Hidden Gems - Castlerock, Andrew Harding

What made you play here?

I was on a golf tour and was playing both courses at Portrush. On the last day we need a third course and went to Castlerock, it’s a sensational track. Front 9 is very very memorable but the back nine is sensational, one of the best courses I’ve ever played. We had some Guiness in the clubhouse at lunch and went out and played the Bann course which is quite simply the best nine hole golf course I’ve ever played and made the day out and experience, unforgettable.

What were your memories of the course?

I remember the last hole as a great finishing hole. The thing that captured our imagination the most was after lunch playing the Bann Course, so much fun and no trip to Castlerock is complete without playing the nine hole course

What makes this a hidden gem?

Being so close to Portstewart and Royal Portush this is equal to these in every sense yet isn’t as widely known. I know wouldn’t visit this area without playing Castlerock, in particular, the nine hole Bann Course

Hidden Gems - Macreddin Golf Club, Huw Price

What made you play here?

I was in the area staying and playing at Druids Glen and had an extra day to fill with a round. We didn't have a huge budget so we had to find our 'hidden gem' at a good cost. I stumbled across Macreddin golf club online, the pictures looked incredible, designed by Paul McGinley so I thought there must be a catch when I saw the cost.

What were your memories of the course?

It was tough, hilly & dramatic. Anything off line ends us in the gorse bushes and you really can't play the course without a buggy. The par 3 4th hole is the hole that stood out; only 150 yards with a 40m drop makes it impossible to judge. It's a treacherous path down to the green, to which I'm a sure a few buggies have toppled. The back nine is hellishly tough so by this point I was only admiring the view.

What makes this a hidden gem?

It took 45min driving off road from Druids Glen, hidden deep in the Wicklow mountains. It was certainly not well signposted. We kept assuming the sat nav was getting us lost as many of the roads had grass growing down the middle. We must have taken the scenic route as the views were spectacular coming into Macreddin village.

hidden gems collage

What made you play here?

I had heard some great reviews about this Links and I am a fan of golf courses designed by Eddie Hackett. The journey to this Links is an adventure within itself, as you drive through the windy roads of rural Mayo wild rugged scenery is around every corner.

What were your memories of the course?

This course requires a very strategic game plan with many blind tee shots and half blind approach shots. Fast true Links golf with expansive views of the deep blue Atlantic await you on many tee boxes and greens. The Par 3's on this course are very memorable with particular mention to hole 14 "Fionnuala". This hole lies parallel to the Atlantic and the elevated tee box gives the illusion that you are on the beach.

What makes this a hidden gem?

Carne Golf Links is situated on the Belmullet Peninsula which is one of the most remote parts of the Island. There is a feeling of isolation in this part of Ireland, you get a sense that you are nearer to Manhattan than Dublin. Never the less this course is an outstanding test which is why it attracts people from all over the world.

hidden gems collage

What made you play here?

Myself and my Dad had always planned of going on a golf tour in South West Ireland, particularly with a view to play Ballybunion, and after flirting with the idea of heading to Augusta for The Masters, I suggested that we shelve that idea for a few years and tick this particular golf tour off the list first. Ballybunion was the first course we put on the itinerary, and it was closely followed by Lahinch and Doonbeg, and on a week long tour we wanted a fourth course on the list too. While there are plenty of amazing courses in this neck of the woods which come highly recommended such as Waterville, we went for Tralee, quite simply to cut down on the amount of driving we'd have to do.

What were your memories of the course?

From the minute we arrived in the car park I knew we were in for a treat and that Tralee was going to be much more than just a "filler course" for the tour. The views at Tralee are worth the trip to Ireland alone and after a relatively gentle front nine with panoramic views a plenty, Tralee really comes into its own. The back nine is bonkers...in a really good way, and while most golfers might struggle to play to their handicaps, you can't help but be bowled over by the experience. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but quite why Tralee isn't as highly ranked as the likes of Ballybunion and Lahinch (both world class courses) is beyond me. The seafood chowder in the clubhouse is pretty epic too!

What makes this a hidden gem?

I'd say Tralee is a hidden gem largely due to the fact that it's got so much stiff competition along that magical stretch of coastline, as well as slightly further in land. Starting from Old Head some 80 miles further south, and then past Waterville, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Ballybunion, Doonbeg and finally Lahinch, you've got some of the most recognisable courses in world golf, so sometimes I feel that Tralee doesn't get the attention it deserves. With my role at YGT I get plenty of people asking me for advice on various golf holidays and if I were to recommend an itinerary for South West Ireland Tralee would be the first course on the list.