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East Ireland Golf Courses
Home to some of the greatest and classic Links Courses in Ireland. Also home to the K Club (Ryder Cup venue). Classic Links such as Portmarnock Old, Baltray County Louth, The Island and the Eropean Club, compliment the quality parkland courses at Carton House, Druids Glen and Rathsallagh
Ireland – East – Portmarnock Old – 7295 yds – Par 72
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Portmarnock Golf Club is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s truly great links courses and having played it, you will understand why. Located on a small peninsula, which extends into the Irish Sea,
Portmarnock is surrounded by water on three sides and laid out in serpentine fashion, with no two successive holes playing in the same direction. Unlike many courses in this respect, Portmarnock demands a continual discernment of wind direction.
The course has some extraordinary holes including the 5th, regarded as the best on the course by the late Harry Bradshaw, runner up in the 1949 British Open; the 14th, rated by Henry Cotton as the best hole in golf and the 15th, which is regarded by Arnold Palmer as the finest par 3 in the world.
Invariably rated as one of Ireland’s top three courses, like all the greats, Portmarnock offers a strong and potentially hazardous finish. Of the climax, the celebrated golf writer Bernard Darwin wrote: “I know of no greater finish in the world than that of the last five holes at Portmarnock.”
County Louth, also known as Baltray, is a premier links course which has staged the Irish Open, most recently in 2009. Situated on the north bank of the River Boyne, it is bounded by the Boyne to the south and the ocean to the east. Designed in 1938 by Tom Simpson, Baltray has survived with only minor alterations and the natural seaside territory of towering sand hills and dense sand grasses present a strong links challenge in the ever present wind.
The greens, noted for their quality, are large and undulating and the subtleties and borrows are soon apparent. The quality of the par-3s is remarkable. Ranging between 153 and 169 yards the club selection will depend on the wind but each has a special character that remains in the memory.
Ireland – East – European Club – 7149 yds – Par 71
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The links of the European Club has developed into one of Ireland’s finest links golf courses in a relatively short period of time. There is usually one reason and one reason only for this rapid progression to “must play” status and that reason is quality, a trait that is inherent at the European Club.
The combination of rugged dunes, deep bunkers, sea breezes and large undulating greens, calls on the golfer to display strength of character, an ability to think and shot making skills.
The design of the European Club has attempted to modernize the traditional values of links golf and this has been achieved with magnificent results. Blind shots, deemed by many as an archaic feature of links golf, have largely been banished from the agenda at the European Club, with 14 holes offering a complete tee to green vista and the remaining holes providing a clearly visible landing area. Fast running fairways, greens that invite the pitch and run approach and acres of tall, waving grasses and golden flowered gorse are of course, the very essence of links golf and all remain in abundance at the European Club.
The Island Golf Club, to put it quite simply, is one of the finest links golf courses in the world. Just why it is generally not spoken about in the same breath as Ballybunion, Royal County Down and Waterville is a mystery but make no mistake that The Island is in that league.
The course will tantalize, tempt, satisfy and infuriate but at the end of the round you will be well aware that you have just played a very special golf course. It is that good. Having played in the Irish PGA Championship at The Island in 1999, Darren Clark proclaimed the course “a fantastic links which tests every club in the bag”. This is no understatement.
Ireland – East – Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links – 6886 yds – Par 71
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Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links – one of Ireland’s premier places to stay and play classical links golf all year round !
The Links Portmarnock, classically designed by Bernhard Langer, is a highly ranked championship links course built in true traditional links style. Host to many top amateur and professional events, including the 2008 & 2009 Ladies Irish Open.
Players of all abilities will enjoy elevated tees and greens, blind approaches and doglegs – not to mention typical links sea breezes, you would be hard pressed to find a more invigorating vision and challenge.
The 1st tee and 18th green are conveniently situated just a wedge shot from the hotel (formerly the residence of the Jameson ‘Whiskey Dynasty’ family). Hard to believe such scenic beauty and splendid golf are just 11 miles from Dublin city centre.
A definite inclusion in the list of great Irish links courses, Royal Dublin is Ireland’s second oldest golf club and possesses a history to match.As befits a course of Royal Dublin’s stature, it has played host to a wide range of major events over the years, both amateur and professional. The Irish Open was staged at Royal Dublin from 1983 to 1985, being won twice by Seve Ballesteros and by Bernard Langer in 1984. The club has hosted the Irish Amateur Open from 1998 to 2002 and was also the scene of one of the most remarkable finishes ever in the history of the game. During the 1966 Irish Open, Christy O’Connor Sr. stood on the 16th tee of his home course needing three birdies to tie. O’Connor produced an eagle birdie eagle finish, a feat more difficult today as the 18th is now regarded as a par four.
Carton House Golf Club is the newest addition to the great selection of golf courses in eastern Ireland. The club will eventually play host to two 18-hole championship golf courses but the first instalment comes in the form of a magnificent layout, designed by double major winner, Mark O’ Meara.
The second golf course at Carton House is due to open for play in 2003 and is being designed by Colin Montgomerie. When complete, the Carton House facility will be one of Ireland’s few such 36-hole championship golf resorts and will stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best.
Druids Glen features prominently alongside the likes of the K Club, Mount Juliet, Carlow and Fota Island in every discussion of great inland golf courses. And while it’s purely a matter of opinion as to which is best, the important thing to remember is that there’s much more to Irish golf than its links courses.
Druids Glen played host to the Irish Open Golf Championship from 1996 to 1999 and was voted European Golf Course of the year in 2000 at the prestigious Hertz International Travel Awards. It’s said that every great course produces great champions and Druids Glen is no different, having produced winners of the calibre of Montgomery and Garcia.
Set amongst 330 acres of lush Kildare countryside, the K Club is arguably the finest parkland golf course in Ireland.
Designed by Arnold Palmer, the K Club has hosted the prestigious European Open several times and the Ryder Cup in 2006, the first time the event was staged in Ireland.
If ever a golf course reflected the personality of its designer, then surely the K Club is it. And while it may seem odd to describe a golf course as charismatic and cavalier, from the moment you arrive at the first tee here, a unique atmosphere envelops you. This is quite simply one of Europe’s most spectacular venues. It charms, entices and frustrates and though it is recognised as one of Ireland’s most testing inland layout, the course invariably brings out the best in your game.
Set amid mature parkland and woodland, Rathsallagh Golf Club has rapidly established itself as one of the leading parkland golf courses in Ireland. The land upon which Rathsallagh is built was in fact a 570 acre farm up until 1988 when Rathsallagh House began to take guests. The design team of Christy O’Connor Jr. and Peter McEvoy began work on the course in early 1993 and it is fair to say that tremendous results have been achieved.
The 252 acre lush parkland layout follows the lie of the natural rolling terrain. The result is a classic parkland stretch, which rises and falls among the shadows of giant oak, beech and lime trees. Water, which first comes into play at the short fourth hole, plays an important role at Rathsallagh, while the multilevel putting surfaces are regarded as some of the finest greens in the country.
Golfers visiting this 27-hole layout, originally designed by Eddie Hackett who also designed other splendid courses including Waterville, Connemara, Enniscrone and Murvagh.complex will find a scenically beautiful golf course which is always in immaculate condition. The combination of three 9’s (Blue, Red and Yellow) offer different challenges but all require a high level of respect. The atmosphere here is enhanced by the fine view of Howth Head and The Wicklow Mountains from the clubhouse.
Malahide is an impressive gently undulating parkland course, boasting interesting and spectacular golf holes. The natural landscape consists of hardwood copses, ponds and rivers which not only play host to wonderful flora and fauna but their strategic placement also ensures a variety of shots are required in every round.