Courses

This popular Ireland golf trip still has availability in 2024

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Traveling overseas for a golf trip has never been more popular—the only
problem is availability. Some of the most popular destinations in the world
are booked until 2025, but travel operators have inventory that consumers
don’t have access to. So if booking a golf trip to somewhere like Ireland
seems overwhelming, we’d recommend using an operator such as our
friends at Premier Golf, who are experts in lodging, transportation, golf and
all the other logistical elements.

When you get to Ireland, you can't go wrong with any of the great courses, but for an Emerald Isle itinerary that's tough to beat, check out the courses below.


BALLYBUNION G.C.
Lionel Hewson (9, 1906), Reginald Beale (9, 1927), Tom Simpson (1937),
Martin Hawtree (2011), Graeme Webster (2015)
6,802 yards, par 71

Ballybunion has always been great, but it wasn't until they relocated the
clubhouse in 1971 to the southern end that it became thrilling. The move
turned the old finish of anticlimactic back-to-back par 5s into the fourth and
fifth holes and shifted the new closing holes to ones in spectacular dunes
just north of the intersection of the Shannon River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Honorary member Tom Watson suggested modest design changes in the
1990s. Five years ago, Martin Hawtree added new tees atop dunes on
several holes.

ADARE MANOR HOTEL & GOLF RESORT
Tom Fazio (2015)
7,509 yards, par 72

Irish billionaire J.P. McManus acquired Adare Manor almost 10 years ago
and has revitalized the 832-acre Adare Manor resort and its magnificent
Neo-Gothic mansion, and it’s now one of Europe’s best golf destinations.
McManus hired Tom Fazio to transform the course, which has quickly risen
up the rankings. Adare Manor will host the 2027 Ryder Cup, and until then,
visitors can stay and play at one of Ireland’s grand estates.


LAHINCH G.C.
Old Tom Morris (1894), Alister MacKenzie (1928), Martin Hawtree (2003)
6,950 yards, par 72


Considered by some to be the St. Andrews of Ireland, the splendid links at
Lahinch reflects evolution in golf architecture. After Alister MacKenzie
remodeled it in the 1920s, only a few of Old Tom Morris' original holes, like
the Klondyke par-5 fourth, and Dell par-3 fifth, both with hidden greens,
remained. In the 1980s, Donald Steel altered some of MacKenzie's holes and
in the 2000s Martin Hawtree rebuilt everything and added four new holes.
One classic MacKenzie par 3, the old 13th, is now a bye hole.

OLD HEAD OF KINSALE
Ron Kirby, Eddie Hackett, Paddy Merrigan, Joe Carr (1996), Ron Kirby (2013)
7,159 yards, par 72


In the 1980s, the golf potential of this 220-acre swollen thumb of land poking
into the Atlantic had many course architects excited. The job went to Ron
Kirby, one-time design partner of Gary Player and former associate of Dick
Wilson, Robert Trent Jones and, later, Jack Nicklaus. He consulted with Irish
legends Paddy Merrigan, Eddie Hackett, Joe Carr and Liam Higgins. Kirby
lived on the site for two years, determined to find an ideal routing that would
maximize the rocky ocean cliffs that encircle the peninsula. It opened in 1996
with nine holes along ledges 300 feet above the surf. Kirby later returned to
add a second nine, relocating the par-3 13th to cling along an ocean slope.

TRALEE G.C.
Arnold Palmer (1984)
6,975 yards, par 72


A captivating design that starts like Pebble Beach along high cliffs and
finishes in rugged dunes similar to Ballybunion. Tralee was recently ranked
11th on Golf Digest's top-20 courses in Ireland.


WATERVILLE G. LINKS
Eddie Hackett (1972), Tom Fazio (2003)
7,355 yards, par 72


Waterville has some superb dunes holes, next to the Ballinskelligs Bay, and
several laid out in former potato fields. Original owner John Mulcahy and
1948 Masters champion Claude Harmon (Butch's dad) collaborated with Irish
golf architect Eddie Hackett on the early 1970s design. A decade ago, Tom
Fazio added new par-3 sixth & par-4 seventh holes and altered 13 others,
adding new tees, greens and much-needed humps and bumps to the flattish
front nine.


DOOKS G.C.
Martin Hawtree (2006)
6,511 yards, par 71


A stunning, rolling piece of natural dunesland can be found at Dooks Golf
Club, 35 minutes from Killarney. The club was founded in 1889, making it one
of the country’s oldest—but Martin Hawtree came in and renovated the
course in 2006, securing it as being a must-add to your trip to the area.