“One of the most enjoyable links courses I have had an opportunity to play,” Tiger Woods said. Rated by All Square as the 14thbest golf course in the UK, Portmarnock’s ‘Old Course‘ sits majestically on a narrow peninsula of shallow duneland just 10 miles north of Dublin. It has long been ranked as one of the country’s finest golfing tests and has hosted the Irish Open on 19 occasions. The links is surrounded by water on three sides with views of the dramatic coastline, and in recent years significant improvements have been carried out to optimise those views. The course has fabulous greens, tumbling fairways and some of the best pot bunkers in world golf. The club also has a fun nine-hole option to play.
Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links: The luxurious 4-star Portmarnock Hotel has 138 comfortable and well-appointed rooms that make for a welcoming stay, with all the amenities you will require through your break. There is also a fabulous spa. Room prices start at around €150 per night.
2. The European Club
The European Club, in County Wicklow, is just over an hours’ drive south of Portmarnock.
The golf course
This is classic linksland golf with several holes stretching beside the surf, and others laid out amid the high shore grass. It has towering dunes, spectacular sea views and many hazardous pot bunkers. There’s even two extra par 3s you can play most days. Each hole presents its own unique challenges, including the 125-yard long green at the 12th. Don’t under club on this hole! The course opened as recently as 1993, so it may not have the history of some of Ireland’s great courses, yet it easily stands alongside them in terms of its quality and presentation. Tiger Woods holds the course record at this links paradise.
Tinakilly Country House Hotel & Restaurant: Just a 15 minutes’ drive from The European Club, this is a beautiful country house-style hotel with 51 bedrooms set on seven acres of mature landscaped gardens overlooking the Irish Sea. Room prices start at around €130 per night.
Arklow Bay Conference, Leisure & Spa Hotel: Just a 10-15 minutes’ drive from The European Club, this hotel has Just a 10-15 minutes’ drive from The European Club, this hotel has an impressive leisure club and 91 rooms, some with spectacular sea views. Room prices start at around €90 per night.
3. The K Club
Just an hour’s drive west of The European Club, lies the K Club in County Kildare.
The golf courses
The hotel and golf complex contains two golf courses, both designed by Arnold Palmer. The Palmer Ryder Cup course was the venue for Europe’s memorable win in 2006, and has also hosted 11 European Opens and the 2016 Irish Open won by Rory McIlroy. With the added benefit of having a driving range, golf tuition and other practice facilities, The K Club really is the perfect venue. Of the two courses, this one is the standout. At 7,179 yards with a par of 72, the winding fairways cleverly incorporate the old trees and water hazards of the area. Palmer himself said: “We could draw and plan for 100 years and still not come up with as good a vision.” Among the standout holes is the par-5 18th, which requires a long carry over water.
The Smurfit Course at The K Club has also hosted the European Open in the recent past. It’s an inland links, but it has many dramatic landscapes with dune type mounding throughout. This assists in making it a true championship level course. It has an intimidating length from the back tees of 7,300 yards, but it will accommodate all levels of player with several tees on each hole allowing for the overall length to be considerably reduced. It’s a completely different, but equally well-presented and challenging test of golf when compared to the Palmer course.
The K Club Hotel & Resort: A luxurious getaway that offers 5 star accommodation, incredible dining experiences and an internationally acclaimed spa. Room prices start at around €275 per night.
Added extra: Portmarnock Links
Adjacent to the Portmarnock Golf Club lies the Bernhard Langer-designed Portmarnock Links, which is part of the Portmarnock Hotel & Links estate. Opened in 1996, it’s a modern masterpiece built to championship standard and hotel guests can get a discounted green-fee. Its convenient attachment to the hotel and close proximity to its more illustrious neighbour make this course a must-play for anyone on a golfing trip to Ireland.
Dreaming to have a golf trip to Ireland with your friends? Let us know the details: