Irish golf fans are sure to enjoy our ultimate list of the top 50 holes in Ireland. Here we reveal 30-21.
4th, 410 yards, par 4
A beautiful, strategic par-four, framed by pines and Monterey cypress (macrocarpa), where accuracy off the tee is paramount. The tee shot must find the right-hand side of the fairway to open up a view of the long, well countered and tricky green.
Miss the fairway right or left and you are blocked out, leaving a tricky recovery. Despite the advantages of modern technology, it remains one of the great James Braid designs.
18th, 507 yards, par 5
An exciting, risk-reward par-five and a terrific finish to your day. The tee-shot is played through a tunnel of trees, but a good drive will give you the chance to take on the peninsula green in two.
It juts out into a lake, which means it is surrounded on three sides by water. Nevertheless, a birdie here could be a match-winner for the brave.
18th, 190 yards. par 3
Long before the advent of Ireland’s great resort courses, the 18th at Killarney was a star in its own right. One of the most memorable holes in golf, this par-three of nearly 200 yards requires a brave tee shot to carry the corner of Lough Leane.
Named ‘Heaven’s Reflex’, you can find out why when you play one of the most photographed holes in world golf.
6th 137 yards, par 3
Regarded by many as the best nine-hole links in Ireland, wild and windy Cruit Island should make every golfer's bucket list. There are no par-fives on what is arguably Ireland’s most remote golf courses, but it is full of surprises and the par-three sixth the most memorable hole.
It is situated on the cliff edge, requiring a brave shot over two inlets of the wild Atlantic with anything from a wedge to a wood. One of the most spectacular holes in golf.
Video by thetravellinggolfer.com.au
17th, 212 yards, par 3
A fearsome hole from any tee, this challenging par-three plays to a severely raised green, protected on the left by a cavernous bunker that’s more than nine-feet deep.
Holding the green with either a long iron or at times a driver will test the best. Finishing short leaves a tricky bump and run up the slope, or an even trickier third! A birdie here is a rare bird and par a prize.
3rd, 177 yards, par 3
Golf is an immersive experience at Rosapenna, but the short third on the Sandy Hills Links is one of those links holes that lives long in the memory.
Not long, you must play across a valley of marram grasses to a shelf green offering wonderful views of Sheephaven Bay. A links classic and one of designer Pat Ruddy’s favourites.
16th (Dolly), 285 yards, par 4
While the famous 18th, Garden, is arguably the signature hole at Royal Dublin, the drivable 16th, Dolly, is a gem to play and a great test of your golfing brain.
Even if you carry two cross bunkers, four more lie in wait short of the large but cleverly sloped green, protected by myriad run-offs. It tempts you to try and make three but a four is always a great score at one of Irish golf’s iconic, short par-fours.
2nd (Strand), 433 yards, par 4
Offering a fantastic vista, this blockbuster par-four is played from a high tee to a fairway running diagonally along a sea inlet and then across a river to a well-bunkered green. If you find the fairway, you have a choice — be a hero and go for the green or lay-up short of the river.
The choice is yours, but it will require two outstanding shots to find the green in regulation on what is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful holes.
17th (Half Moon), 424 yards, par 4
This frightening but beautiful par-four follows the curve of the Liffey from right to left. A brave tee-shot that challenges the river will leave a short iron into the green. However, failure can be expensive. The right side is festooned with trees and rough while left is fatal.
Just ask Thomas Bjorn, who pumped three balls into the water here en route to an 11 in the 2004 Smurfit European Open, handing the title to Kenneth Ferrie as Andrew Coltart was in the process of four-putting the 17th green to remove himself from the picture.
1st, 397 yards, par 4
Mother Nature is golf’s most prolific designer, and there are few better examples of her handiwork than the first on the Old Course at Ballyliffin.
The beauty of the hole, a simple par-four, lies in its fairway, which is full of so many rippling, humps and hollows that you may be presented with an awkward lie for your approach. Nature at work.