Golf in Ireland - What to expect...?

After years of trying, I've finally duped my wife into a trip to Ireland. She is going to shop and spend time in the spa while I'm on the course. It looks like I'll have about 4 days to play. We are staying in the Dublin area and I'm playing Druids Heath and Glenn (an Irish Open course), but need some suggestions on two other courses. I'm leaning toward Royal Dublin and Portmarnock because I want the traditional links experience. We will be there towards the end of the July so the weather will hopefully be decent. Has anyone played these? I plan on walking these courses (is there any other way to play links...); is my back going to make it? Anything I should know about etiquette, tipping, etc. that is different from here in the states?
-Mike
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After years of trying, I've finally duped my wife into a trip to Ireland. She is going to shop and spend time in the spa while I'm on the course. It looks like I'll have about 4 days to play. We are staying in the Dublin area and I'm playing Druids Heath and Glenn (an Irish Open course), but need some suggestions on two other courses. I'm leaning toward Royal Dublin and Portmarnock because I want the traditional links experience. We will be there towards the end of the July so the weather will hopefully be decent. Has anyone played these? I plan on walking these courses (is there any other way to play links...); is my back going to make it? Anything I should know about etiquette, tipping, etc. that is different from here in the states?
-Mike
Hi Mike I live in Ireland and have played both Druids Glen & Heath many times, plus portmarnock (old & the Links) & Royal Dublin as my boss is a member of both. which portmarock course are you playing?? Royal Dublin is overrated I believe for the price and there are plenty of great links courses no more than 30 mins from dublin which are just as good if not better for a faction of the cost!
etiquette is no different although Tipping is not as prevelant as the states. where abouts are you staying?
if you are going to be in dublin let me know, the guinness Storehouse tour is one of the main tourist attractions in dublin, (and recently just celebrated 250yr anniverary). i work for Diageo so if you want i can organise free passes from you just PM me if you want them. its no problem.
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South of Dublin is The European Club. That is a mansized links, good enough for Paddy H to play an Irish PGA event the week before The Open each year.
I like Royal Dublin personally, and Portmarnock is a great course.
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After years of trying, I've finally duped my wife into a trip to Ireland. She is going to shop and spend time in the spa while I'm on the course. It looks like I'll have about 4 days to play. We are staying in the Dublin area and I'm playing Druids Heath and Glenn (an Irish Open course), but need some suggestions on two other courses. I'm leaning toward Royal Dublin and Portmarnock because I want the traditional links experience. We will be there towards the end of the July so the weather will hopefully be decent. Has anyone played these? I plan on walking these courses (is there any other way to play links...); is my back going to make it? Anything I should know about etiquette, tipping, etc. that is different from here in the states?
-Mike
since you are playing at Druids you might as well play The European Club - it is the closest links and a good course - rated very highly possibly more so than any other course on your itinerary
another option would be to play The European Club but drop either Portmarnock or Royal Dublin and make the drive to Newcastle in Northern Ireland and play Royal County Down and stay at the Slieve Donard Hotel which has a fantastic spa. Some lists have ranked RCD as the Number 1 course in the UK -very quirky but definately a championship calibre course.
As for your back - take a caddy if you play RCD - it will save your back and provide you knowledge on how to play the course
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South of Dublin is The European Club. That is a mansized links, good enough for Paddy H to play an Irish PGA event the week before The Open each year.
I like Royal Dublin personally, and Portmarnock is a great course.
mansized!! class! its a beast!! they don't even play the PGA off the back tee's!!
Its is am amazing course though! although pricy at 150!
they have a Wednesday competiton called the Alliance for low am's & pro's which is 50.
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Prepare to get wetter on the links than Mrs. Quicksilver does in the spa. I would take two sets of rain gear and one of those water proof skins for your golf bag.
Have a good trip.
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We're staying at the Druids Glen Resort. I think I might give the European Club a try. It looks like Portmarnock (old) will be my other choice. Thanks for the heads up on rain gear. I guess I better get some of that stuff... It never, ever rains here in South Georgia... Thanks Marky1979 for offering those free passes. We might take you up on those!!
-Mike
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Were I to visit Ireland, I would seek out links golf exclusively. I don't see the point in traveling all that way to play tree-lined parkland style golf courses that are no different than what you find in the states.
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Haven't had the pleasure to visit Ireland for golf, but I can definitely suggest some good reading material for you: "A Course Called Ireland" by Tom Coyne. Recent bestseller, and one of the best books I've read recently; I could think of nothing better that would get you ready for your trip. Former golf professional walks the perimiter of Ireland playing every links course in his way and stopping at every pub. Very good first-hand accounts of all the different courses - if I remember correctly, lots of mentions about the area you're travelling to. Enjoy, and good luck!!
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I had the pleasure of making a trip to Ireland earlier this year, we stuck to the west coast and played 8 rounds in 8 days (Ballybunion, Lahinch, Carne, Connemara, Rosses Point, Enniscrone) all links courses. I'm sure there are some differences between west coast vs Dublin area, but here are my suggestions.
- Most important thing I think.... Forget about your score, its going to be much higher than what you shoot here in the states. I was playing to about an 11 hcp during the trip and my best round was an 88 on one of the days w/ perfect weather. Most rounds were closer to 100+ Start worrying about what you're shooting and you'll be miserable. Just enjoy the scenery and the chance to play a round in less than 4 hours (the Irish play very quickly)
- Pack light, I ended up w/ more shirts than I needed. Make sure you have a good set of rain gear (Zero Restriction kept me dry through some intense rain) and comfortable/waterproof shoes (dryjoys worked for me.)
- Walk whenever possible, it made the experience much more enjoyable. You rarely see anyone riding, push carts both manual and motorized are very popular.
- Try to use a caddy at least once. A lot of them have been working the course for a long long time and know it like the back of their hand, they can help make tough tracks more enjoyable. We had one old drunk who had been working the course forever, having him walk w/ us was worth the money for entertainment value alone.
- Try and play w/ some locals at least once. Its fun to see how they play a course they know so well. I got paired w/ a member at rosses point, he was an older guy. On the first tee he asks me " what do you play to" I say 11, he says hes a 17 and we get a little side action going; he ended up crushing me. I swear none of his shots w/ any club got more than 30 feet off the ground and they were all dead straight (might be exaggerated a bit, but he knew how to keep the ball out of the wind.)
That's about it, I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip!
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I would say play Royal Dublin, the front nine was tight and not amazing but when it opens up on the back nine it was a nice course. Interesting finisher. Water proofs are a must, rains a lot. Hope you enjoy your trip. You will not be let down.
Jack
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Also club up, I have caddied a bit on my course and had a quiet chuckle to myself with the amount of guys who think they can hit a wedge 150/160 over here.
Jack
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From one Georgia boy to another, enjoy every second of it! I LOVE the courses at Druids! We've been there a couple of times & the last trip we stayed at the resort & played all of our golf there, they are just that nice. The Heath has a couple of holes that leave you , including one short par 4 on the back....I'll save the surprise for you!!
The Glen course is just amazing, except for the walk from 12 to 13!
There's also a course called the Island Course, I think it may be just North of Dublin proper, that we played our first trip and really liked it too.
Have a great time & toast the Dawgs with a fresh Guiness for me!!!
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I played Druids Glen and Heath last year and had a very enjoyable time.
Two hints for you:
1) I rented clubs, and those given to me at Glen were new, top line clubs. Those given to me at Heath were old and ratty. I'd have assumed that the two courses were related enough to use the same rentals, but that wasn't the case. You can rent at Glen and carry them over to Heath, and that's what I wished I had done. (Don't know if anything's changed in this regard over the past 15 months.)
2) I went to a pub called Johnnie Fox's ( ) for Hooley night. It is nearby in the mountains. I had the best time of my entire life.
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I must agree with the poster above. Beg, borrow, and steal to make the journey to Royal County Down. Played back in May during a 10-day celebration of my 50th birthday. Make a day of it and play 36. The second 18 will be at a greatly reduced rate. The staff and members were very gracious. My caddie was one of the best I had during our trip. The front nine is the best I've ever stepped foot on! Unfortunately, the back nine is very ordinary.
Don't waste your time with the Slieve Donard. Stayed there one night and checked out. Way overpriced! We moved to the Burrendale Hotel. Very clean and great prices.
If they say picture is worth a thousand words, here is 3,000 of them.
No. 1
[attachment=472100:First_Hole.jpg]
No. 9
[attachment=472099:Ninth_Hole.jpg]
My Screen Saver
[attachment=472098:My_Screen_Saver.jpg]
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I must agree with the poster above. Beg, borrow, and steal to make the journey to Royal County Down. Played back in May during a 10-day celebration of my 50th birthday. Make a day of it and play 36. The second 18 will be at a greatly reduced rate. The staff and members were very gracious. My caddie was one of the best I had during our trip. The front nine is the best I've ever stepped foot on! Unfortunately, the back nine is very ordinary.
Don't waste your time with the Slieve Donard. Stayed there one night and checked out. Way overpriced! We moved to the Burrendale Hotel. Very clean and great prices.
I think that is a bit harsh. I have played RCD many times and in my opinion the 13th and 15th and two of the best holes on the course, and the 10th, 11th and 14th are not too shabby either.
OK, the last couple of holes are not as good as some that went before.
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I must agree with the poster above. Beg, borrow, and steal to make the journey to Royal County Down. Played back in May during a 10-day celebration of my 50th birthday. Make a day of it and play 36. The second 18 will be at a greatly reduced rate. The staff and members were very gracious. My caddie was one of the best I had during our trip. The front nine is the best I've ever stepped foot on! Unfortunately, the back nine is very ordinary.
Don't waste your time with the Slieve Donard. Stayed there one night and checked out. Way overpriced! We moved to the Burrendale Hotel. Very clean and great prices.
I think that is a bit harsh. I have played RCD many times and in my opinion the 13th and 15th and two of the best holes on the course, and the 10th, 11th and 14th are not too shabby either.
OK, the last couple of holes are not as good as some that went before.
Can't understand when people say that, it is not any sort of way to describe the back nine. Have to agree with mjtoal there. 13 absolutly fantastic hole and 15 is probably the hardest and debatably the best hole on the course. 12 you may think is an easy hole and yes it is if you keep it on the short grass, have racked up a number there on numerous occasions. 18 in my opinion is a great par 5 finishing hole with the narrowing of the hole on the approach, but I may be biased.
Jack
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Haven't had the pleasure to visit Ireland for golf, but I can definitely suggest some good reading material for you: "A Course Called Ireland" by Tom Coyne. Recent bestseller, and one of the best books I've read recently; I could think of nothing better that would get you ready for your trip. Former golf professional walks the perimiter of Ireland playing every links course in his way and stopping at every pub. Very good first-hand accounts of all the different courses - if I remember correctly, lots of mentions about the area you're travelling to. Enjoy, and good luck!!
I agree. This would be a good read prior to your trip. I had the chance to play Ballybunion (Old Course) a few years ago and it continues to be the best golf experience of my life - even with heavy winds and rain.
Enjoy!
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From one Georgia boy to another, enjoy every second of it! I LOVE the courses at Druids! We've been there a couple of times & the last trip we stayed at the resort & played all of our golf there, they are just that nice. The Heath has a couple of holes that leave you , including one short par 4 on the back....I'll save the surprise for you!!
The Glen course is just amazing, except for the walk from 12 to 13!
There's also a course called the Island Course, I think it may be just North of Dublin proper, that we played our first trip and really liked it too.
Have a great time & toast the Dawgs with a fresh Guiness for me!!!
I know the hole you mean! the walk from 12 to 13 will keep you fit!
The Island is excellent and there is a spate of great links along that run. inc Baltray, seapoint, Greenore etc.
I played Druids Glen and Heath last year and had a very enjoyable time.
Two hints for you:
1) I rented clubs, and those given to me at Glen were new, top line clubs. Those given to me at Heath were old and ratty. I'd have assumed that the two courses were related enough to use the same rentals, but that wasn't the case. You can rent at Glen and carry them over to Heath, and that's what I wished I had done. (Don't know if anything's changed in this regard over the past 15 months.)
2) I went to a pub called Johnnie Fox's ( ) for Hooley night. It is nearby in the mountains. I had the best time of my entire life.
Johnnie Fox's is class highest pub in Ireland! and has a bus route nearby! defo worth a visit
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We're staying at the Druids Glen Resort. I think I might give the European Club a try. It looks like Portmarnock (old) will be my other choice. Thanks for the heads up on rain gear. I guess I better get some of that stuff... It never, ever rains here in South Georgia... Thanks Marky1979 for offering those free passes. We might take you up on those!!
-Mike
defo to european you won't be disapppointed!
No worries mate, you will enjoy the tour!
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Having played RCD before, with jackn no less, I must admit I found the back 9 very enjoyable (this may have been because jackn was choking up everywhere to let us win, who knows!). I'd tend to agree with most that the front 9 is the better part of the course, possibly the best you'll ever play, but at the same time, you're going to be hard pushed to find a better all round course than RCD.
A lovely layout and atmosphere around the place adds to it all too. Definitely worth the trip up.
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After years of trying, I've finally duped my wife into a trip to Ireland. She is going to shop and spend time in the spa while I'm on the course. It looks like I'll have about 4 days to play. We are staying in the Dublin area and I'm playing Druids Heath and Glenn (an Irish Open course), but need some suggestions on two other courses. I'm leaning toward Royal Dublin and Portmarnock because I want the traditional links experience. We will be there towards the end of the July so the weather will hopefully be decent. Has anyone played these? I plan on walking these courses (is there any other way to play links...); is my back going to make it? Anything I should know about etiquette, tipping, etc. that is different from here in the states?
-Mike
Royal Dublin and Portmarnock are very similar courses. I would drop Royal Dublin for the Island Club. While I didn't like Portmarnock, it is one of those courses you have to play if you are in the area. While Royal Dublin is dead flat, the Island Club has crazy elevation changes.
If you can "get out of town," the European Club is a must play.
1. Invest in GREAT raingear. You will get rained on. Unlike a round at home, quitting is not an option.
2. Take 2 pairs of shoes. Dry one pair while you wear the other pair.
3. Ziploc bags are your friend. Keep things dry, don't weigh much.
4. Leave the cart bag at home. Even if you hire a caddie (which I recommend), you want the light looking bag. The "junior" caddies seemed to get stuck with the heavy bags.
5. Bring your camera.