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The Pocket Guide to Golf Courses: Ireland                                              ‘easily the best golf guide’ (Financial Times)

 

The Pocket Guide to Golf Courses: Ireland was published simultaneously with the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club. Here are some extracts, with photos dating from 2004-2006.

Ballybunion ΩΩΩΩ

 

What a place, what a name, what Irish atmosphere it conjures up! Take your clubs there, and you will not be disappointed: links at its ancient and modern best.

 

Ballybunion  Golf Club, Sandhill Road, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, RoI      

Tel: +353 68 271 46   www.ballybuniongolfclub.ie  

 

Ballybunion – Cashen * €€ 

 

6306 yds  Par 72    

Designer: Trent Jones Snr (1984) 

Gold holes: 13, 15 and 17 

 

Robert Trent Jones Snr’s famous modern twist on an old Irish links: undulating fairways lead to generally raised, small, often tiered greens in a stunning seaside setting. At some holes, long, yet well-placed, drives will roll down hills, significantly shortening second shots. More in and over the dunes, and more scenic than the Old course, of which it has some nice echoes (e.g. consecutive par 5′s and par 3′s). Wind!

 

13th hole,  Ballybunion Cashen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballybunion – Old ***  €€€

 

6598 yds Par 71  

Designers: Various/Simpson & Gourlay/Watson (1893/1941/1995)

Gold holes: 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16 and 17.

 

Fashioned by nature, world-class seaside links. Massive dunes, eccentricities and irregularities. Every hole different, yet harmonious and fair. The slightly blander townwards section comes early in a round which builds, through sometimes penal, short-game-testing shoreliners and undulations, to a roller-coaster climax. Views. Wind! 

 

Looking down 11th hole from 10th green, Ballybunion Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castle    **  ΩΩΩΩ  €€

 

6246 yds  Par 70  

Designers: Barcroft/Colt/Howes (1913/1919/2005)  

Castle Golf Club, Woodside Drive, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, RoI

Tel: +353 1 490 4207   www.castlegc.ie 

 

Classic, lush, mature parkland course (generally turning from a coniferous to deciduous feel as the round progresses) over gently sloping ground in a compact, intra-residential setting, whose recent excellent upgrading Colt would surely have endorsed. Superb, excellently bunkered, often sloping, greensites require precision right from the tee to score well. Agreeable 19th.

 

 

1st hole from the tee, Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doonbeg  *** ΩΩΩΩΩ  €€

 

6911 yds  Par 72

Designer: Norman (2003)

Gold Holes: 1, 3, 6 and 13.

Doonbeg Golf Club, Doonbeg, Co. Clare, RoI

Tel: +353 659 055 246   www.trumpgolfireland.com  

 

Raw links golf on a modern course that feels centuries old. Out and back with a fabulously natural feel among sea dunes and inner linksland, each hole presents a different variation within a consistent theme, full of eccentricities and undulations (natural-feel greens included). Good mix of harder and easier holes. Generally generous fairways, awesome bunkering. Wind! 

 

Acquired by Donald Trump in 2013, design alterations have been made and our rating may be reviewed after re-inspection.

 

Read The Doonbeg Ghosts, which we publish.

 

1st hole from tee, Doonbeg (2004)

 

Royal Portrush  ΩΩΩΩΩ  €€€

Dunluce Road, Portrush, Co. Antrim BT56 8JQ, NI

Tel: +44 28 708 223 11   www.royalportrushgolfclub.com

 

Dunluce *** 

6845 yds  Par 72

Designer: Colt (1933 & 1947)

Gold Holes: 5, 7, 13 and 14.

Large-scale links up, over and through duneland, with views to the Skerries rocks as dramatic as some of the folds in the land, which render a very natural feel. Out-and-back routing, with mid-round holes turning on themselves through waves of sandhills. Well-bunkered, moderately-sized, testing greens. A premium on driving for position (few holes are straight). Wind!

Revised by Mackenzie & Ebert for the 2019 Open Championship; our rating may be reviewed after re-inspection.

14th hole from tee, Royal Portrush - Dunluce (2005)

 

Valley **

6304 yds  Par 70

Designer: Colt (1933 & 1946)

Gold Holes: 4, 5, 10 and 18.

Large-scale links up, over and through duneland, with views to the Skerries rocks as dramatic as some of the folds in the land, which render a very natural feel. Out-and-back routing, with mid-round holes turning on themselves through waves of sandhills. Well-bunkered, moderately-sized, testing greens. A premium on driving for position (few holes are straight). Wind!

 

Revised by Mackenzie & Ebert for the 2019 Open Championship; our rating may be reviewed after re-inspection.

 

10th hole from tee, Royal Portrush - Valley (2005)

Order The Pocket Guide to Golf Courses: Ireland

Key to symbols used: Course Rating System