From luscious parkland masterpieces to some of the most breathtaking links courses you will find anywhere in the world, the best golf courses in Ireland truly have it all.
With over 405 registered courses to choose from, golfers are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking where to play, so we've taken it upon ourselves to pick six of our favourite courses that should rightfully be at the top of any golfing itinerary you should hope to make in the future.
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Boasting not only great golf but also equally great hospitality, Ireland prides itself on its rich and vivid golfing history, with a new chapter set to be written when the Irish Open, which features home favourites Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, tees off at The K Club this week.
If you are planning a trip in the near future, be sure to enquire about a tee time at the five courses below for an experience you won't forget in a hurry.
Let's dive in to our latest destination guide:
BEST GOLF COURSES IRELAND
Location: Ballbunion, Co. Kerry
Architect: James McKenna, Lionel Hewson, Tom Simpson, Molly Gourlay
Yardage (Blue): 6,739
Regarded by many to be the best course in Ireland, Ballybunion Old is a wild and wonderful tapestry that encapsulates everything you could ever want from a round of golf.
Set against the Atlantic Ocean, with towering dunes meeting you at every turn, the course is as true a test of golf as one could ever hope to play.
Beloved by Tom Watson and many other legends of the game, the course underwent a major upgrade in 2015 when all of the 18 greens were replaced, and a number of key design changes were applied to several holes.
A rollercoaster of a ride at times, the routing will have you perched upon cliff tops and slaloming between dunes as you plot your way around one of the most spectacular-looking courses in the world.
The 7th and 11th holes are probably the most impressive on the course, but in all honesty, picking any standout hole at Ballybunion Old is like choosing your favourite child, they're all as magnificent as each other.
Location: Lahinch Co. Clare
Architect: Old Tom Morris, Charles Gibson, Alister MacKenzie, Martin Hawtree
Yardage (Blue): 6,950
Once described by Paul McGinley as "The St Andrews of Ireland", Lahinch provides links golf in its purest form.
Immense dunes and rippling fairways characterise the historic course, making it a truly enchanting place to play golf. Situated next to the beautiful beach of Liscannor Bay, visitors are greeted with gorgeous views out to sea and upon looking inland, the topography of the course is equally as spectacular.
Following a traditional out-and-back layout, the course features a number of truly stand-out holes. The driveable par 4 13th is a classic risk and reward hole that can present a good birdie opportunity if the tricky three-tier green can be conquered. Measuring only 279 yards from the back tees, it's more than reachable with driver, but proceed with caution as two devilish pot bunkers lie in wait for anything left of the green.
The par 3 11th is another one of our favourite holes. The elevated green presents you with one of the best sea views on the course, and the domed green with three strategically placed bunkers will require pin-point accuracy if you want to avoid your ball being funnelled off and into the rough.
One of the best links courses in Ireland and also the world, Lahinch is an absolute must-visit if you are planning a trip to the island.
Location: Ardfert, Co. Kerry
Architect: Arnold Palmer, Mackenzie & Ebert
Yardage (Blue): 6,975
Designed by golfing legend Arnold Palmer, Tralee is widely renowned for having one of the finest back nines of any course in the world. It's so good that Palmer even admitted himself, "I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine."
Featuring bold topography and exquisite cliff-top views, you'll likely have a number of 'stop and stare' moments as you work your way around the course.
Much like Ballybunion, choosing the best hole is a tough task, so instead, we are going to pick a stretch that we believe is one of the best in the world. From the 11th to 17th, you are treated to a feast of glorious golf that will undoubtedly be the highlight of any trip you may make to the Emerald Isle.
Much like all of Ireland's links courses, the wind and rain can undoubtedly present themselves as additional hazards. When the North Atlantic breeze begins to stiffen, the course will truly reveal its teeth, but as thousands of visitors throughout the years will attest, that's all part of the charm.
Location: Waterville, Co. Kerry
Architect: Eddie Hackett, Tom Fazio
Yardage (Black): 7,347
Hugging the Atlantic Ocean, Waterville offers an abundance of charm and character in equal measure. Situated in a quiet and secluded corner of South West Ireland, it takes some getting to, but once you're there, you'll thank yourself for making the journey.
Sitting on what seems like the edge of the world, the course offers expansive mountain and ocean views that provide an outstanding backdrop for one of the finest courses on the island.
The two nine-hole loops offer a great variety of landscape and terrain, with the front nine played over relatively flat ground and the back nine weaving its way through towering dunes, providing an array of beautifully framed holes that will challenge and excite any level of golfer.
Much like the courses above, Waterville has such a fantastic array of unique and enjoyable holes that it seems harsh to single out a favourite. But if our hands are forced, we would have to pick the 18th. With the waves crashing on the beach to your right and red hairs racing across the fairway, the finishing par 5 is a joy to behold and the perfect way to finish what will have undoubtedly been a fantastic day of links golf.
K Club (Palmer North)
Location: Straffan, Co. Kildare
Architect: Arnold Palmer
Yardage (Blue): 7,413
Moving off the coast, we are met with one of our favourite inland courses in Ireland, the K Club Palmer North. Set on a 550-acre estate that features a five-star hotel, The K Club famously hosted the 2009 Ryder Cup, making it the first course in Ireland to do so.
The course will also play host to another marquis event this week when the Irish Open rolls into town for its second appearance at the course.
A tough and long test off the back tees, Palmer North will demand the best out of your game. Measuring 7,413 from the tips, it's paramount that you play the tee boxes to meet your standard; otherwise, you could be in for a long day on the course.
The beautiful parkland layout boasts a great variety of holes that feature large undulating greens, perfectly manicured fairways and big, deep bunkers that are best avoided if possible.
The River Liffey runs throughout the property, coming into play on a number of holes, most notably the 8th, where it runs up the entire length of the left side of the fairway.
One of the finest parkland courses in GB&I, the Palmer North offers five-star golf and accommodation that will allow you to live out your Ryder Cup dreams in style and comfort.
Jameson Golf Links
Location: Portmarnock, Co. Dublin
Architect: Bernhard Langer, Jeff Lynch
Yardage (Blue): 7,081
Jameson Golf Links is one of the newest names on the Irish golfing circuit. Formerly known as Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links, the course is located on Dublin's East Coast, only a 25-minute drive from Dublin International Airport.
The original 1995 Bernhard Langer design has been renovated by Jeff Lynch of re(Golf), with greater elevation added to the back nine and some rerouting applied to the final stretch of holes. The new layout provides outstanding views of the Irish Sea, as well as outstanding panoramic views and an excellent array of holes to challenge every aspect of your game.
The back nine features some of the best holes on the course, the 9th, a shortish par 3 that plays out towards the coast, is a real highlight, and the final stretch from 16 to 18 provides a real adventure and an excellent collection of closing holes.
The shaggy dunes and tumbling fairways make you feel at home with nature, while the crashing of waves and whipping of wind will make your round a full sensory experience.
It is an excellent course that should undoubtedly be a feature of any golf trip to Dublin, and the hotel and hospitality extended to all guests is also first class.