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jgillis

Ireland Golf

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Two years ago I was in Scotland and decided to take a day trip to St. Andrews to visit the Old Course.  Seeing the Old Course for the first time was truly an unforgettable experience.  My agenda unfortunately did not include any golf so the best I could manage was to hit a few balls at the driving range adjacent to the Old Course.  Touring the Old Course was my first experience seeing links golf played in person as I come from Nova Scotia, Canada, where until recently, links golf was only accessible by a 7+ hour flight.    In Nova Scotia we are now blessed to have world class links golf with the introduction of Cabot Links and the soon to be Cabot Cliffs.  Having played Cabot Links more than a dozen times now I have fallen in love with links golf.

This morning one of our national airlines started direct flights from St Johns, Newfoundland to Dublin, Ireland.  Living in Halifax, Nova Scotia this would mean cheap and quick flights to Ireland and links golf.  I am currently booked to travel to Ireland June 27th returning July 8th.  I plan on spending 3 days in Dublin and then taking off for 7 days of links golf.  I have budgeted between $1000-$1200 CAD for green fees. I would like to play a few championship courses as well as some tier 2 courses.  Having little knowledge of the best tier 2 courses I was wondering what ones are recommended and what championship courses cannot be missed still staying within my budget?

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I can't add much value to this thread as I've never been to Ireland.. but if/when I get there, I will head south for Old Head.

http://www.oldhead.com/

PS - I'm from Halifax too. Grew up playing at Ashburn GC. Moved to Moncton in June.

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Old Head is one of the courses I have been considering.

I grew up in Cape Breton and had memberships at Bell Bay and Dundee.  I was a member at Brightwood for a few years but gave it up last year.  Might look into joining another course soon.

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I have played most of the Links courses in Ireland and my recommendations would be:

Royal County Down (my favorite course in the world)

Portrush

Lahinch

Ballybunion (good deal if you play both courses and they are both excellent)

Doonbeg (expensive)

Old Head (expensive and far from everything)

Enniscrone

Tralee

Portmarnock

Dooks

Waterville (not in my top ten but many people love it)

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Being based in Ireland and in my past occupation I was a golf event organiser head to either/both Dublin and South-West for the high profile links. But if you want value head to the North-West. Amazing links and half the price of the others. Old head is an amazing experience but not the best golf course by a long shot. Dooks in Kerry is a great links course and if you phone the pro-shop early in the morning you will get out for about 50euro 65USD.

There is a singles & Pairs event planed for Aug/Sept time 2014 called Amateur World Cup of golf (open to all golfers) and it is arrive Dublin then North-west for 5 days and back to Dublin or you can extend and play the South-West for extra 3-4days. I will post details when they release them but it fills up very quickly.

Website is www.worldcupofgolf.com

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All the courses I played were in SW Ireland: Ballybunion (Old & New), Waterville, Doonbeg, Killarney Golf & Fishing.  Can't tell you the cost (picked up by the firm with whom I work) but the first three are nice representatives of links golf with some spectacular scenery.

You might consider going to the library or picking up a used copy of A Course Called Ireland by Tom Coyne.  He walked around the coastline of Ireland and hit at least 100 links courses.  The story itself is marginal but he does give a number of first hand accounts of the courses.  You might see something of interest.

Bring your rainsuit and two pairs of shoes!

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I'd love to play Ireland, the home of all my ancestors.  High cost of housing is tough to take. Any possible way to rent a 'caravan'  or small van to drive and live in for a month of 'west coast' golf?  Do green fees go down in October?

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Yes green fees are usually 50% cheaper in October.

Not sure about the costs of a caravan but you can get car hire here from about $15 a day.

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Went to Ireland several years ago in late May. Fantastic place to play golf. At that time of year, it is still light out until about 10pm, so you can get in a couple of rounds every day!

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Went to Ireland several years ago in late May. Fantastic place to play golf. At that time of year, it is still light out until about 10pm, so you can get in a couple of rounds every day!

Wow you must love your golf to play 2 rounds a day on a holiday lol but you are right its bright at 6am and not dark until about 10pm. May to September is the best time.

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Don't know if it has changed much, but when I went many years ago, everybody walked. You either carried, pulled a cart, or hired a caddy (very helpful on those blind holes). The only course that had riding carts available was Waterville, and that was for the Americans! And, all the locals played fast, so be prepared for a brisk walk.

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When you are in Dublin, there are also some options.  Port Marnock is only ~ 25 minutes from the city centre, Royal Dublin is on Dublin Bay as is Royal St Annes.  St Margaret's is near the airport (somewhat) and the Island is not far.


As mentioned, Dooks is a good West Ireland option - with a great story.  Each hole was designed by separate members and so it somewhat quirky but fun.  Waterville is interesting.  Killarney is fun.  Mount Juliet, in Kilkenny is a Nicklaus course.

Ballybunnion is an experience - get a caddy to make it more fun, if they still have the caddy service.

So many options and it seems like the price spiral in the mid 2000's has subsided a bit with deals to be had - find some local friends :-)

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I secured reservations at four courses this week.  I'll be starting in Northern Ireland playing Royal Portrush June 30th and Royal County Down July1st.  Then I will be spending a day traveling to South-Western Ireland to play Lahinch July 3rd and Ballybunion July 4th.  I will then have 2 or 3 days to take in a couple other cheaper courses.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a few cheaper courses in South-Western Ireland?

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I secured reservations at four courses this week.  I'll be starting in Northern Ireland playing Royal Portrush June 30th and Royal County Down July1st.  Then I will be spending a day traveling to South-Western Ireland to play Lahinch July 3rd and Ballybunion July 4th.  I will then have 2 or 3 days to take in a couple other cheaper courses.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a few cheaper courses in South-Western Ireland?

I don't think you can pick a loser in Ireland. I kind of liked Tralee when I went, an Arnold Palmer design with plenty of holes along the ocean. Blind shots, and forced carries everywhere. Fun!

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Since I can't remember nearly ANY of the course names other than the 'famous" ones like RCD, Portrush, etc... I will add that there are LOTS of little tracks all over the island. My wife is from Ireland and has relatives spread out across the country. So when we visit their areas, I look around and can usually find a course- maybe a pitch and putt, a nine hole or a regulation 18. Many (but not as many as there was in '95) have "Honor Boxes" near the first tee, put in your punts (now Euro's... blech) and off you go. Walking of course... They are off the beaten track away from the major touristy areas and there are no pretensions about conditions. Only played ONE that had the wire fencing around the greens to protect them from the grazing animals that roam. Having said that- I have NEVER played a course I didn't like. I liked them for various reasons- people I played with, the location and scenery, maybe the conditions (or lack thereof) made it interesting. A couple of them were on the Dingle Peninsula- one little pitch and put just outside of town with a spectacular view of the harbor (play near sunset), and the other was on Bandon Bay across the mountains on the north side of the peninsula. A nine hole links hard against the bay. Castlegregory Golf club (I just looked it up). Rates are a bit higher then a few years ago when it was less than 10 pounds to play 9 holes. I never would have found it if I hadn't been on a surfing reccy to check out the waves that morning. After getting some waves, then some lunch at a small pub on the main road above the beach, I dropped in to the course for a go. Had a great time pairing up with a few locals for a quick nine. I guess the main thing is, don't get locked into the "known" courses if you don't have to. If you're driving yourself around you might have an hour or two play a pitch and putt in some little town with a great view or meet some new people.
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Kilkee and Spanish point are between Lahinch and Ballybunion and are very reasonable. Kilkee has fantastic views. Spanish Point is a fun little 9 holer and has as honor box where they ask that you put 10 Euros in a box when you start (no starter). Kilkee is a good town to stay in (check out the Stella Maris hotel).

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