Ireland is a fantastic location to take a golfing trip. It is not just a place of great golf courses, it is full of great places to play golf, and the two aren't necessarily synonymous. The following article by Seamus Ryan highlights some favored destinations and gives some tips to make the necessary choices among the vast offer of golfing opportunities.

Below you will also find the top 10 courses in Ireland, the top 5 most difficult Irish golf courses, the top 15 most challenging golf holes of Ireland, as well as the best links and parkland golf courses and other famous golf courses of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Remember to book your airline tickets, hotels and tee times well in advance, especially if you travel to Ireland during the tourist peak season July, August, September. Note that some of the most popular golf courses require a deposit to hold your tee time.

Golfing in Ireland
by Seamus Ryan
Golfing In Ireland
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Recommended books
The 500 World's Greatest Golf Holes
by George Peper (Editor),
Editors of Golf Magazine,
The Editors of GOLF Magazine

The most scenic, the most challenging, the most strategic, best ocean, best mountain, best links, best Ross, best Tillinghast, the holes that have produced historic moments, and a lot more.
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Top 10 Courses in Ireland

1. Royal County Down
Golf Links Road, Newcastle, County Down, BT33 OAN

Together with Muirfield (Scotland) one of the best golf courses in Ireland and the British Isles.

2. Portmarnock Golf Club (Old)
Portmarnock, County Dublin

Brilliant and naturally magnificient golf course. Best holes are 6th, 7th, 14th and 15th.

3. Royal Portrush Golf Club (Dunluce)
Dunluce Road, Portrush, County Antrim, BT56 8JQ

The 14th hole, known as 'Calamity Corner', is Portrush's most famous hole.

4. Ballybunion Golf Club (Old)
Sandhill Road, Ballybunion, County Kerry

Hole 2, 7 and 11 count among Irelands's top 15 most difficult holes.

5. The European Club
Brittas Bay, Wicklow, County Wicklow

The links of The European Club was designed by Pat Ruddy and is owned and operated by him with the help of his family.
The par-4 seventh, measuring 470-yards, was named as one of the Worlds 100 Best Holes.

6. Waterville
Waterville, County Kerry

A relatively young course, opened in 1972, Waterville is one of the few championship links in Ireland and the British Isles. One of the top 20 links courses in Europe.

7. County Louth
Baltay, Drogheda, County Louth

Also referred to as "Baltray", this lesser known golf club is considered by some one of the best in Ireland. The short par four 14th hole, measuring only 332 yards, is regarded as the signature hole.

8. Lahinch (Old)
Lahinch, County Clare

Nicknamed the "Irish St Andrews" because of its close proximity and interaction with the local village, the links is situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

9. County Sligo
Roses Point, County Sligo

10. Mount Juliet
Thomastown, County Kilkenny

Most Difficult Golf Courses in Ireland

1. Royal Portrush
2. Royal County Down
3. Carne
4. Waterville
5. K Club (South & North)

Top 15 most difficult holes in Ireland
(in alphabetical order)

Ballybunion Golf Club (Old), hole 2, 445 yards, par 4
Ballybunion Golf Club (Old), hole 7, 432 yards, par 4
Ballybunion Golf Club (Old), hole 11, 453 yards, par 4
Lahinch Golf Club, hole 4, 428 yards, par 4
Old Head Golf Links, hole 17, 628 yards, par 5
Portmarnock Golf Club, hole 14, 385 yards, par 4
Royal County Down Golf Club, hole 9, 486 yards, par 4
Royal County Down Golf Club, hole 4, 212 yards, par 3
Royal Portrush Golf Club (Dunluce), hole 14, 210 yards, par 3
The European Club, hole 7, 470 yards, par 4
The European Club, hole 13, 596 yards, par 5
The European Club, hole 14, 165 yards, par 3
Tralee Golf Club, hole 17, 353 yards, par 4
Waterville Golf Links, hole 17, 193 yards, par 3
Waterville Golf Links, hole 11, 496 yards, par 5

Top 10 Links Courses in Ireland

1. Royal County Down
2. Ballybunion (Old)
3. Portmarnock(Old)
4. Royal Portrush Golf Club
5. Waterville
6. Doonbeg
7. Lahinch (Old)
8. County Sligo
9. Ballyliffin Golf Club (Old)
10. Donegal Golf Club

Top 5 Parkland Courses in Ireland

1. Mount Juliet
2. Killarney
3. Headfort Golf Club
4. Killarney Golf Club
5. Kirkistown Castle (Parkland/Links)

Other Famous Golf Courses in Ireland

1. Royal Belfast Club
2. Druids Glen
3. Beaufort Golf Club
4. Portstewart
5. Enniscrone
6. Connemara
7. Tralee
8. Old Head
9. The Links
10. The Island Club
1000 Best Courses
in Britain and Ireland
(Golf World Guides)
by Golf World

The guide includes a star rating for each course; addresses, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail and website addresses; fees, per round and per day; facilities, including dining room, bar, and bar meals, with hours; and readers' verdicts on the courses and facilities.
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Golfing in Ireland:
The Most Complete Guide for Adventurous Golfers
by Rob Armstrong

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Ireland's Finest Golf Courses
by John Redmond

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