Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ireland's Golf Rankings - The 20 Clubs That Missed Out

View of the 11th green at Corballis
Golf Digest Ireland came out with their Top 100 rankings for 2015, in December last year. The list included three new entries (New Forest, Dunfanaghy and Macreddin) which is always good to see, but what about those clubs on the margins who might justifiably have appeared in the bottom quarter of the draw. Some will probably feel aggrieved not to have made it… yet again. 
The following 20 courses (listed alphabetically) have excellent conditioning, or are beautifully located or are packed with thrills… or are all three.

1.   Bangor Golf Club – A heavily tree-lined parkland on the outskirts of town. A hill at the centre of the course gives lovely shape to several holes that rise up and fall away. It gives the course a certain swagger. The par four 5th is the stand-out hole. Green fees Stg £22-£35.
Bangor's 3rd hole - showing off the hill
2.   Bantry Bay Golf Club – a spectacular setting for a heaving parkland that sweeps over big undulations and along the shoreline. Big greens and big slopes. Green fees €34-€38.
The dogleg 10th at Bantry Bay
3.   Birr Golf Club – a course with big, rolling curves as holes flow over natural eskers. The landscape gives this terrific little (par 70) course many excellent holes and enthralling shots. A back nine of serious thrills and some of the best par threes around. Green fees €20.
Views back down the 12th at Birr
4.   Cairndhu Golf Club – up north and right above the sea. The views to Scotland make for an attractive setting and you’ll discover a rollercoaster start. The 1st has one of the sharpest rises in golf, before you play the dramatic headland 2nd – a par three that’s up there with the best.  The back nine has a more settled parkland rhythm. Green fees Stg £25-£30
The 4th at Cairndhu - one of three holes in the first four that use
the headland to dramatic effect.
5.   Coollattin Golf Club – arboretum golf and a recent re-routing that starts you off with a bang. Coollatting has big, big trees surrounding almost every hole, casting shadows and adding grandeur. And then there’s that walled par 3. Green fees €15-€30.

The tough opening par four 1st at Coollattin
6.     Corballis Golf Links – maybe it doesn’t make the cut because it’s a municipal links, but this small course (par 66) offers big thrills over shapely terrain. Considering the proximity to Dublin and the amazing value, it’s a course everybody should try. And short does not mean easy. Green fees €20-€24.
Views back over the par three 4th at Corballis. The 5th runs down the left.
7.   Dundrum House Golf Club – essentially a hotel course wrapped around a grand old house, Dundrum (aka Co. Tipperary) is considerably better than that. It has a lazy rhythm and a stately feel as it tumbles between and around the estate’s trees and over the Multeen River on several occasions. Green fees €15-€35.
Approach to the 17th at Dundrum (image courtesy of Dundrum House)
8.   Fermoy Golf Club – rollercoaster, thrilling golf routed between lines of pine trees and avenues of gorse and heather. They offer a brooding yet colourful definition to holes… and then there’s the back nine, with its big contours and bigger views across the Cork countryside. Green fees €15-€20.
A deliciously tempting start - Fermoy's opening hole
9.   Kirkistown Castle Golf Links – a small feisty links with two sharp rises stretching across the far end of the course. These host the best holes (tees and green sites) and offer clear views over the rest of the low, rumbling and tight holes below. Pay close attention when you reach the top because this is a links education that will be forever seared into your memory. (Re)Designed by the great James Braid in 1934. Green fees £27.50-£33.
Kirkistown Castle's imposing 12th (Image courtesy of the club) 
10. Lisburn Golf Club – nearly always overlooked, this is smart, colourful and challenging parkland golf. Trees help define holes and create interesting shapes. The front nine is mostly level, but the back nine has more rise and fall with an uphill par four on 17, followed by an excellent downhill par three to finish. Green fees £35-£50.
The par three 18th makes for a dramatic finish at Lisburn.

The second batch of 10 courses are here.


  1. Replies
    1. Elizabeth, as a local to Enniscorthy and a fan of its fairways I know where you are coming from... but I don't think even they would anticipate being in the Top 100 list.