Saturday, June 27, 2015

Golf Open Weeks Ireland: Batch 4

Approach to the par four 1st at Faithlegg.
July's almost upon us and so is a heatwave... apparently. 

Here are 17 links and parkland courses - north and south - with Open Weeks/Events over the coming weeks (with a link to several more at the bottom).


1. Rathdowney, in Co. Laois (27 June - 5 July).
Entry fees around the €10-€15 mark.
A quiet, rolling parkland.

The par four 14th at Rathdowney

2. Portsalon, Co. Donegal (27 June - 5 July)
Entry fee €20.
Another unheralded beauty (although one that is now climbing sharply up the rankings of most magazines) in the wild outskirts of Donegal. Some class links holes to get your round off to a blistering start.

One of Ireland's truly great holes, the par four 2nd at Portsalon.

3. Wexford Golf Club (28 June - 5 July)
Entry fee €15 - €20
Above Wexford views, with some impressive views out to sea on the front nine, this is a parkland course with lots of shape and variety... but extremely tricky greens.

The impressive, downhill par four 15th at Wexford GC.

4. Esker Hills, Co. Offaly (29 June - 4 July)
Entry fee €15.
A stunning parkland with enormous rolls (eskers) creating a hypnotic rhythm and many beautifully shaped holes. The home course of Shane Lowry... play here and you'll get an idea why his short game is so good.

The 13th, green to tee, at Esker Hills.
5. Craddockstown, Co. Kildare (4 - 12 July).
Entry fees €18.
More water than you might imagine on this parkland.

Watery approach to the 4th at Craddockstown.

6. Gort, Co. Galway (4 - 12 July)
Entry Fees €120 per team of four
A rolling parkland with endless views. Each event is a team event (any combination), with 10 teams qualifying for a 'grand final' on the 12th.

The 10th at Gort.

7. Concra Wood, Co. Monaghan (5 - 9 July)
Entry fee €25
One of the great parkland/lakeland golf experiences on the island. It is a course that has to be seen and played by every golfer. Lake Muckno plays a starring role on many holes, but this is a beautiful, elegant course. Play it. (My photos don't do it justice.)

The par three 12th at Concra Wood

8. Ballycastle, Co. Antrim (11 - 18 July)
Entry fee £13 - £20
A course that combines links, parkland and headland golf, with a heady mix of stunning views across to Scotland and along the coastline. Favourite hole is Hog's Back... when you play it you'll know why.

View of the Hogs Back from up high (courtesy of Ballycastle GC).

9 Moyola Park, Co. Londonderry (11 - 19 July)
Entry fee £17 - £20
Photos of the course.
A highly under-valued parkland of big trees, woodland and river. The par three 17th is worth the trip to this golf course, alone.

10. Downpatrick/St. Patrick's, Co. Down (14 - 19 July)
Entry fee £10 - £15
Set across hilly terrain, with views to the Mourne Mountains and sea, this is a short, fun parkland course. (Website:

The 7th at Downpatrick (courtesy of the club's website)

11. Castlerock, Co. Derry (16 - 23 July)
Entry Fees £12 - £25
A links of many shapes and sizes
The par three 9th at Castlerock.

12. Portstewart, Co. Derry (12 - 15 July)
Entry Fees £15 - £35
The most blistering start of any course, and it's a links. Time it right and you can go straight from Portstewart to Castlerock, down the road.
Views on the opening tee shot at Portstewart.

13. Shandon Park, Belfast (18 - 25 July)
Entry Fees £15
A sweet parkland and far more shapely than you'd first think.
Shandon Park Open Week

The par three 15th at Shandon Park.

14. Belvoir Park, Belfast (21 - 27 July)
Entry Fees £10 - £20
One of Northern Ireland's best and oldest parklands. Big trees and a sweet rhythm.
Belvoir Park Open Week
Views down the 10th at Belvoir Park (9 and 18 greens on either side).

15. Dunmurry Springs, Co. Kildare (24 - 31 July) 
Entry fee €15 - €20.
A hillside parkland that is both new (and maturing fast) and under appreciated. Smart design will keep you on your toes and the excellent greens are a joy. A very friendly place.

The par three 10th at Dunmurry Springs... and all the views it offers.

16. Dunmurry, Belfast (26 July - 2 August)
Entry fee £12 - £15
A parkland of two halves (divided by a road), but big trees and sweeping fairways abound. And the opening hole is a cracker.
The opening hole, swinging left and down around the trees, at Dunmurry.

17. Faithlegg, Co. Waterford (1 - 9 August)
Entry Fees €20
A big, glamorous hotel and a parkland that sweeps around it.

Faithlegg Open Week
The 13th green and the waters beyond at Faithlegg.

18. Open Week details for Whitehead, Portumna, Ballyliffin, Macreddin, Wicklow, Kirkistown Castle,  Malone, Co. Sligo and Farnham Estate can be found on this earlier blog.

Enjoy the best Irish golf has to offer.

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