Top 8 must play courses in the Southwest of Ireland
Ireland is known for its ultra-friendly citizenry and amiable atmosphere, and there’s nothing like sharing time with the locals at a small pub in Killarney or seaside village in the Southwest of Ireland. Aside from the congenial people, cozy pubs and lush terrain, the Southwest has some of the most beautiful links courses in the world.
The next time you play golf in Ireland consider this world-class line up:
Waterville — With its natural beauty and an innovative design, few courses are as beautiful and fun to play as Waterville. The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most stunning areas. Fortunately for golfers, the route on the way to Waterville is filled with sightseeing, which enhances the overall experience.
Lahinch — For those of you looking for a challenge, you’ll find it at Lahinch. Overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean, Lahinch is a natural links course that can only be conquered with accuracy and solid course management. Three rock star architects named Old Tom Morris, Alister MacKenzie, and Martin Hawtree designed this golf course. If you have no idea who these guys are, let’s just say it’s kind of like having Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, and Lebron James on the same basketball team.
Tralee — Any golf course associated with Arnold Palmer or “The King” is going to be a special place. The front nine is filled with cliffs, stone walls, and castle ruins. On the back nine you’ll find a brilliant stretch of links golf that is quite possibly the best in Ireland. I think Arnie articulated it the best when he said: “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine”.
Ballybunion Old Course — If you’re looking for a true test of golf you’ll find it at Ballybunion GC. The Old Course is definitely one you have to check off your bucket list. The natural dunes and perfectly groomed fairways define this 120 year-old golf links. Often overlooked because of its neighbor, the Cashen course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. is another exceptional layout with amazing views on almost every hole.
Doonbeg — Doonbeg will impress you with its massive dunes and violent waves crashing against the neighboring beach. Don’t let its young age fool you, this golf course plays like a classic links and feels like it’s been around for centuries.
Old Head — Imagine driving toward a peninsula with rocky cliffs then passing a centuries old castle ruin. As you approach your destination you see an old lighthouse overlooking the ocean and a world-class golf links. Simply put, Old Head is a one-of-a-kind golf course. I can’t guarantee it will be your favorite course in Ireland, but I can confidently say it’s a golf experience you’ll never forget.
Dooks GC — Located on the corner of Dingle Bay, this is one of Ireland’s oldest golf courses. As you walk down the second fairway the entire course opens up below where you’re rewarded with a panoramic, postcard-like view of the stunning landscape. Even though it’s not as well known as others in the region, the Dooks course is definitely a must play.
Dingle (Ceann Sibeal) — Nestled away near small fishing villages, hidden bays and mountain ranges of Kerry lies Dingle Golf Links or (Ceann Sibeal its Irish name). If you’re searching for a hidden gem, this is it. Tell your golf buddies about Dingle and they’ll be forever thankful.