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Golfing in Ireland is an unforgettable experience for anybody that loves the game. Pack your clubs, fasten your golf shoes and get ready to tee off on one of the best golf courses in Ireland. 

With over fifty Natural Links Courses, Ireland has some of the world’s most spectacular golf courses. Over the last few years, golfing has become more popular in Ireland. The Emerald Isle is the perfect spot if you are looking to try some new courses.

Depending on where you are staying and how far you are willing to travel, you will never be too far away from a fairway. There are over 450 golf courses in Ireland, so how do you pick the best golf courses to play?

Carry on reading to find out about our top picks for 7 of the best golf courses in Ireland…

Ballybunion Old Golf Course – County Kerry

Ballybunion Golf Course

Located on the stunning South West of Ireland, the Ballybunion old golf course is world-renowned. The natural course presents a challenging golf day that looks out over the adjacent beach.

The Ballybunion Golf Club has two beautiful golf courses. Yet, it is the Old course that has made a name for itself throughout history. It has hosted several championships, including the Arnold Palmer CupIrish Open and the Irish Women’s Close. 

Ballybunion gets a reputation as one of the best golf courses in Ireland is because of the high-quality playing facilities. The opening seven holes ease players into the game before taking a challenging turn on the remaining holes.

The course is set among natural dunes and has many cliff-edge greens to be wary of. But, with a mandatory, experienced caddy, you will quickly understand how the historic course plays.

Visitors are currently allowed throughout the week, and both the Old Course and the Cashen Course are available to all. Be sure to book in advance to make the most of this beautiful golfing in Ireland opportunity.

Opening Times: April – October; Tee off times vary depending on the time of year
Location: Sandhill Road, Ballybunion, County Kerry, Ireland
Contact: +353 (0) 68 27146;

Lahinch Old Golf Course – County Clare

Lahinch Golf Course

First opening in 1892, Lahinch golfing in Ireland is rich in history. Over the years, Lahinch golf club has expanded, adding a second course and the historic Golf Links Hotel.

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Lahinch is a beautiful course that allows visitors to play throughout the year. The club has hosted the Irish Open and the Jacques Leglise Trophy.

Similar to Ballybunion, the course runs through a range of dunes. But that is where the similarities end. Each hole will test even the most experienced golfers as the troublesome wind often comes into play. Lahinch golf course is the perfect game of strategy for any golfing enthusiast.

The mandatory caddie will take you on a journey around the course, offering professional insight. That, combined with the stunning views, makes Lahinch one of the best golf courses in Ireland.

Opening Months: April – October; Tee off times vary depending on the time of year
Location: Lahinch, County Clare, Ireland
Contact: +353 (0) 65 708 1003;

Enniscrone Golf Course – County Sligo

Enniscrone Golf Club

Looking out over the North Atlantic Ocean, Enniscrone Golf Course is a stunning Links course. The unique club has a blend of traditional and modern design. The Dunes Course was completed in 2001, appealing to visitors from all over.

The Enniscrone golf course is a challenging round, weaving between natural sand dunes. The course varies from hole to hole, and the tough fifteenth is a thing of beauty.

The challenging dunes make Enniscrone one of the best courses for golfing in Ireland. Alongside the famous 18-hole Dune course is the original 9-hole Scurmore course.

During your round, take in the fresh sea air and enjoy the stunning scenery. You may want to relax after a challenging day of golf in one of these Enniscrone cottages.

Opening Times: March – October (Summer); November – March (Winter); Tee off times vary, depending on the time of year
Location: Enniscrone, County Sligo, Ireland
Contact: +353 (0) 96 36297;

Tralee Golf Course – County Kerry

Tralee Golf Course

First opened in 1896, the Tralee golf course was redesigned by golfing icon Arnold Palmer. Like many of the best golf courses in Ireland, the coastal location makes it a beautiful destination for keen enthusiasts.

Following Barrow Beach, the course quickly builds a reputation as a world-class golf destination. With ruinous castles and beautiful views over Barrow Harbour, the club is a blend of eye-catching scenery and strategically placed greens.

As remodelling is an ongoing process, the Tralee course is getting better and better. The front nine is a beautiful display of scenery along the coast. Jagged cliffs, castles and the bright blue water are among a few things you will want to avoid each time you tee off.

The back nine is very contrasting and lends itself to the more strategic player. Many of the holes require precise stroke play, with the course punishing anyone who chooses otherwise. The 12th hole is particularly tricky with rolling dunes and drop-offs. Play conservatively on the back nine to maintain your scorecard.

As one of the most beautiful golf courses in Ireland, Tralee is a must-stop destination for any enthusiast. The attractive coastline and magnificent golf course will make your day here one to remember.

Opening Times: April – October; Tee off times vary, depending on the time of year
Location: West Barrow, Ardfert, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
Contact: +353 66 713 6379;

St Margaret’s Golf Course – County Dublin

St Margaret's Golf Course

If you are visiting Dublin for the weekend, St Margaret’s Golf Course is perfect if you are looking for a day out on the fairway. The inland course leaves the dunes behind and makes the most of the local shrubbery.

The course is a tricky combination of trees, bunkers and lakes. The quick greens and beautiful grounds make this one of the best golf courses in Ireland if you are in the Dublin area.

After a day on the greens, you can retreat to the stunning clubhouse. The Lír restaurant has a range of hearty homemade meals and is a perfect way to finish the day.

You can always make the most of your trip to one of the best golf courses in Ireland, with a stay in one of these cottages near Dublin airport.

Opening Times: All Year; Tee off times vary, depending on the time of year
Location: County Dublin, Ireland
Contact: +353 (0) 1 864 0400;

Cruit Island Golf Course – County Donegal

Cruit Island Golf Course

Located at the top of County Donegal, the Cruit Island golf course is a jaw-dropping 9-hole spectacle. The club welcomes players of all abilities and is very welcoming to new visitors.

The tiny island provides one of the most picture-perfect golf courses in Ireland. Being accessible by one road from mainland Donegal, the club impressive views over the north of Ireland.

If you are new to golf, Cruit Island is the perfect destination to enhance your game. The affordable green fees and challenging setting are what draws so many visitors to this unique golf course each year.

Opening Times: Call in advance to check availability
Location: Kincasslagh, County Donegal, Ireland
Contact: +353 (0) 74 9543296

The Island Golf Course – County Dublin

The Island Golf Course

Just north of Dublin, The Island golf course is beautifully situated next to the Malahide Estuary. The club is full of history and is one of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland.

One of the main benefits of The Island Golf Course is the proximity to four other local golf courses. It is the perfect destination for a golf tour of the nation’s capital.

The course starts intensely and weaves through challenging sand dunes and water hazards. A particular hole to note is the dramatic green on the 15th. Surrounded by dunes, be sure not to overhit on this hole as you may end up in trouble otherwise.

Apart from the coastline, the Island golf club is within proximity to Dublin. It is hard to think that such a beautiful golf course could be this close to one of the busiest cities in Ireland.

Opening Times: Call in advance to check availability
Location: Corballis, Donabate, County Dublin, Ireland
Contact: +353 (0) 1 8436205;

Whether you are new to the game or a seasoned pro, golfing in Ireland is a unique experience that you will struggle to emulate elsewhere. You can enhance your golfing experience by choosing a stay in one of these Irish cottages near a golf course, the perfect way to explore the Emerald Isle.

Image Credits – Bernard Gagnon – (CC BY-SA 4.0); Larry Curtin – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); Larry Curtin – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); Tom Purves – (CC BY 2.0); Suzanne Mischyshyn – (CC BY-SA 2.0); Cesar – (CC BY-NC 2.0)