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Tralee Golf Club, Ireland

Dream Big With These Great Bucket List Courses

April 13, 2020

What’s your golf travel fantasy dream?

Is it teeing off on the first tee in front of the Royal and Ancient clubhouse at the Old Course and walking across the Swilcan Bridge in St Andrews?

Playing amidst the colorful heather at Royal County Down?

Walking the fairways of the Ailsa course where Nicklaus and Watson had their famous “Duel in the Sun”?

Scotland and Ireland are brimming with possibilities for golfers to fulfill their golf travel dreams. Once we navigate through these difficult times, for many of us, it will be time start making some of our golf travel dreams come true.


10 Top Must Play Dream Courses

1. The Old Course at St Andrews

It’s the Mona Lisa of golf courses. There’s only one and it’s the ultimate bucket lister for most golfers.

2. Championship Course at Carnoustie

A natural seaside links layout that is widely considered to be one of the world’s most difficult courses.

3. Muirfield

Overlooking the Firth of Forth, Muirfield has hosted the Open Championship 16 times as well as the Ryder, Walker and Curtis cups.

4. West Links at North Berwick

The course begins and ends in the heart of the town and it has its share of amazing shots over a beach and stone walls.

5. Championship Course at Royal Dornoch

The wild and somewhat isolated setting is mesmerizing. It’s where Donald Ross was the head green-keeper and professional. Many of his designs, including Pinehurst No. 2, bear the hallmark of Royal Dornoch’s greens.

6. Championship Course at Machrihanish

Spectacular ocean panoramas, blind tee shots, rugged dunes and wildly undulating fairways dominate the golf experience.

7. Ailsa Course at Turnberry

Considered by many as the most scenic Open Championship course, with its wonderful views of the Mull of Kintyre and Isle of Arran, it’s the site of the famous “Duel in The Sun” between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in the 1977 Open.

8. Kingsbarns Golf Links

Designed by American Kyle Phillips, this seaside masterpiece has often been called “the Pebble Beach of Scotland.”

9. Old Course at Prestwick

Originally opened as a 12-hole course designed by Old Tom Morris in 1851, it added six more holes in 1883. It weaves through rugged dunes and undulating fairways with numerous giant bunkers and blind holes.

10. Castle Stuart

Built in 2009, this Gil Hanse design, overlooking the Moray Firth, has already become a modern classic and widely popular course to play.


10 Irish Dream Courses

1. Royal County Down

Ranked by Golf Digest as its No. 1 course in its most recent “World 100 Greatest Courses.”

2. Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

Host of the 2019 Open Championship, this seaside beauty with its soaring limestone cliffs and the on-site Dunluce Castle.

3. Lahinch

It’s often called the “St Andrews of Ireland” because the village and golf course are so seamlessly intertwined.

4. Old Head Golf Links

Backdrops include castle ruins, iconic lighthouse and 300-foot high cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean.

5. Ballybunion

Five-time Open Champion Tom Watson described it as “One of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere in the world.”

6. Waterville Golf Links

Brimming with history, golf at Waterville dates back to 1889. Tom Fazio did some 21st century tweaking, which has elevated its status even more.

7. Ardglass

It has a clubhouse dating back to the early 1400s and you hit amazing shots over little ocean inlets like at Pebble Beach.

8. County Sligo at Rosses Point

Fabulous mountain, ocean and countryside panoramas dominate the experience.

9. Ballyliffin Glashedy

Awesome views of lush, green countryside and ocean coastline combine for beauty and challenge on the Glashedy.

10. Tralee

Designed by Arnold Palmer in 1984, the course has some amazing panoramas. Palmer’s famous line is: “I may have designed the first nine, but God designed the back nine.”