Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ireland's Top 100 Golf Courses - Golf World 2015

Strolling down the 18th at North West (new entry at 94).
So, Golf World (UK) has produced its biennial Irish Top 100 golf courses. What perfect timing for the summer - be it for Irish golfers who can mull over which new courses to visit (or gems to be revisited), or British golfers planning where to spend a few days.

The great thing about rankings is not the top 20 courses or so - everyone knows which they are and we simply quibble over the order - but the courses below that. It's the courses we haven't heard of or haven't
yet had the chance to experience... the ones that make you pick somewhere new to visit on your next golfing adventure - be it on a family holiday or a dedicated golfing trip with friends.

Rankings are always getting slated because 'how could X be higher than Y... these guys don't know their arse from their 7 iron...' but, again, it slightly misses the point of introducing a list to a community of golfers who can create new experiences, discuss merits, be more informed, feel aggrieved... or just vent. Rankings are opinions and we all have plenty of those.
Views over the 8th hole at Macreddin, in Co. Wicklow (no. 54).
No list is ever going to be 100% to your liking, not unless you produce it yourself... and even then you'll be switching things around endlessly. Trust me on that.

The Golf World list is one that I have been heavily involved with - this year more than ever. And while the top 15 have already been preset by the GB&I top 100 ranking, there was a lot more flexibility for those courses between 16 and 100. Six very passionate Irish golfers got stuck into the rankings and, while there were the inevitable disparate views*, the final ranking is - in my opinion - a good one. I might not put Killarney (Killeen) ahead of Concra Wood, but the combined wisdom of the panel suggested that Killarney was one place better. That's the way panels have to work.

* One such example would be Carton House O'Meara, which was voted as high as 44 and as low as 68. It's final position is 56 (down 2).
Views over the 2nd green at Enniscrone (no. 16)
So which clubs are making the news? I suggest you buy Golf World (August edition), which is just out. Justin Rose is splashed on the cover and there's an extensive review/assessment of the forthcoming US Open, with a very detailed look at the Chambers Bay course.

However, I will tell you this: there are 4 new entries and only 13 courses (between 16 and 100) remain in the same spot as last year. There are some big falls and rises, too (such as K Club (Smurfit), Castle, Bantry Bay, Bunclody, Headfirst New, Druid's Heath, Killeen Castle and Portsalon). It certainly makes things interesting... and opens things up for 'debate'.

Views back down the 12th at Birr (new entry at 92).
Pick up a copy of Golf World and see what you think.


  1. How many of the top 100 are in Nama ?

    1. Tulfarris definitely, and I think Portmarnock Links is still there (although it has always traded at a profit - it got caught up with the developer's other projects).