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The Best Links Golf Courses You Can Play in Ireland

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Links courses in Ireland are some of the oldest and most well-respected courses in the history of the golfing community. We at travel2ireland decided to put a list together of the best five you can play in Ireland.

Ireland’s Five Best Links Courses

Royal County Down, County Down

Royal County Down Golf Club is located in Newcastle, County Down. The club is one of the oldest in Ireland as it first opened in 1889. Royal County Down has two 18-hole courses, the Championship Links and the Annesley Links.

The Championship Links is the flagship course at Royal County Down. Settled in the Murlough Nature Reserve, throughout the course, you’ll notice some remarkably picturesque scenery.

If you’re into your photography, make sure to bring your camera for the famous ninth hole on the championship course – one of the most photographed holes in the golf world, thanks to its extraordinary backdrop.

Don’t let the stunning views at Royal County distract you from the difficulty of the course. It is known to be one of the least forgiving and most challenging courses in Ireland.

Royal Portrush, County Antrim

Royal Portrush Golf Club is another stunning golf course in Northern Ireland. Royal Portrush is based on the beautiful Dunluce Road in Antrim.

Royal Portrush has two great golf courses, the Valley Links and the Dunluce Links. The Dunluce Links is the main golf course at Portrush, as it’s so challenging and well respected in the golf community that it was given the honour of hosting the 1951 Open Championship.

The Open Championship is set to return to the golf course in 2025, and the course is only getting more difficult in preparation. With the addition of new bunkers, tee boxes and greens, there’s no better spot to get a taste of how the pros play.

Portmarnock Golf Links, County Dublin

Portmarnock is our first Republic of Ireland representative on the list, and what a great place to start. Portmarnock golf links are one of the more famous courses in Ireland based on the Strand Road in Portmarnock.

Portmarnock would be less aggressive than our previous two entries so if you are new to links courses and want a special experience, this is a great option for great value.

The golf links also rewrote their history recently. Previously having a strict men members-only policy, a vote was determined to now allow female members – a great step forward for the club.

‘Baltray’, County Louth

County Louth Golf Club –better known as Baltray– is a very well-known and prestigious golf course based in the historic Boyne Valley. Just 90 minutes from Belfast airport and 45 minutes drive from Dublin Airport, Baltray is a favourite for golfers from all over.

When playing Baltray nothing unique stands out, it is as classic a links course as you can imagine. One thing you will struggle with though is the greens. Bring your lucky putter because these greens are some of the most difficult in Ireland. Putts for par will make shivers run down your spine.

Lahinch Golf Club, County Clare

Lahinch golf links is another beautiful course in the West of Ireland, found near the town of Ennis in County Clare. Lahinch is not massively well-known but deserves a mention as the course is fantastic.

Lahinch wouldn’t be considered a very difficult course overall but definitely has its challenging moments. If you are a beginner you can still give this course a go and if you are down to single digits, you may be shocked at some of the surprising challenges you encounter during your round.

This is a great course overall with some beautiful scenery around with great photo opportunities.

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