Top 10 Golf Courses in Ireland

County Kerry makes a strong showing with three entrants in Ireland’s Top 10 Golf Courses for 2014 as chosen by Golf Digest. But which course is number one?

Tralee Golf Club, County Kerry
Tralee Golf Club, County Kerry

10. Adare Manor, County Limerick

Don’t let Adare’s elegant surroundings fool you: this course is no pushover. Quirky water hazards and some mammoth holes set Adare aside as something out of the ordinary. And so they should. This course is, after all, the work of none other than Robert Trent Jones, the late course architect with almost 500 designs to his name.

Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort is closed for refurbishment until Autumn 2017.

9. The European Club, County Wicklow

Is this the most challenging course on the island of Ireland? Maybe. Golf Digest describes the course as ‘an exacting challenge’, while for one TripAdvisor fan it was simply: 'Golf as it should be'.

8. County Louth Golf Club (Baltray)

Welcome to 190 acres of serene golfing Nirvana once described by Golf World magazine as ‘One of the best kept secrets in Irish golf’. Highlights include the 12th and 13th seaside holes, and the 14th, a par four so short you can drive straight to the green.

7. Tralee Golf Club, County Kerry

According to Golf Digest's list, Tralee is 'arguably one of the most majestic courses you will ever encounter'. Vast dunes and tricky tee-placements on the back are a tantalising challenge, the likes of which didn’t stop actor Bill Murray from naming it as his favourite course.

6. Ballybunion Golf Club (Old), County Kerry


Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, would surely agree with Ballybunion’s inclusion in the top ten. Of this coastal Kerry paradise, he says 'It's perfectly Irish: beautiful, rough, and a lot like life — you get breaks you don't deserve, both ways.' Words to live and golf by.

5. Lahinch Golf Club (Old), County Clare

Old Tom Morris declared the terrain at Lahinch to be 'as fine a natural course' as had been his good fortune to play. In golfing echelons, it even rises above the nearby Cliffs of Moher for majesty. One happy customer matched his five-star rating with the commendation, 'Legendary. Challenging. Ireland golf at its best.'

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4. Waterville, County Kerry

A favourite haunt of Charlie Chaplin when on his many Kerry sojourns, Waterville is a ‘true’ links course, according to Golf Digest. Designer Tom Fazio says of the place: 'Everything about Waterville is truly spectacular. The setting is one of the best I've seen for golf.'

3. Royal Portrush, County Antrim


Will Royal Portrush welcome The Open in 2019? We don’t know…yet. But the R&A has invited it to join the rota. Should the great event base itself here, a certain Rory McIlroy will relish reliving his course record round of 61 while course architect Harry Colt believes this to be his finest ever work.

2. Royal County Down

When Irish Open golfers tee off here in 2015, they will be driving head-first into a 100-year-old golfing adventure in 'a place of breathtaking natural beauty'. The bunkers here, Golf Digest’s David Owen once wrote, 'could be portals to another dimension'. You’ve been warned.

1. Portmarnock Golf Club, County Dublin


Despite being a favourite of Tiger Woods and described by Paul McGinley as 'probably the fairest links golf course I have ever played', Portmarnock remains tantalisingly under the radar. According to Golf Digest, this is a course where 'subtle ripples and undulations, combine to create a supreme whole with no weak element from start to finish'.

So, what do you think of Golf Digest’s selection? We’ve lots more where that came from…don’t you think it’s time to play in Ireland?

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