Irish golf fans are sure to enjoy our ultimate list of the top 50 holes in Ireland. Here we reveal 40-31.
15th, 407 Yards, par 4
Played from an elevated tee towards a large tree in the middle of the fairway, finding the short grass is only part of the challenge. A mountain stream cascades into a pool that protects the left side of the green and runs in front of the putting surface and down the right side of the fairway, threatening drives heading right. Golfers should favour the left-hand side of the fairway, avoiding the tree.
A good drive will break the back of this hole but the second shot over water to a well-bunkered green makes it one of the most intimidating on the course. Make sure you take enough club.
18th, 555 yards, par 5
A challenging and well-defended par-five that snakes along the coastline towards a small green that you miss at your peril. Created by Des Smyth and Declan Branigan, this double dogleg is one of the most challenging par-fives in Irish golf and rarely reached in two without the help of a strong tailwind.
Extreme care must be taken from the tee to avoid the fairway bunker on the left or the beach on the right, which is out of bounds. If you find the left-half of the fairway, you are then faced with a problematic lay-up as three fairway bunkers await 80 and 150 yards from the green, leaving a third that requires pinpoint accuracy with a short iron to avoid a deep greenside bunker and myriad run-offs.
13th, 355 yards, par 4
The sea breeze is always a factor at Tramore and well-positioned drains will make you pause for thought as you size up your tee shot at the 13th. Shot placement is key so favour the left side off the tee as there is more room there than you think.
The second shot demands you hit left of centre but beware of bunkers back left. A super short, par-four.
15th, 557 yards, par 5
Situated on the banks of the River Rye, this lovely par-five asks you to cross the river not once but twice if you are playing from the back tees. It snakes right, then left, and only the biggest of hitters can go for it in two.
A lay-up leaves an enticing third as you contemplate the salmon weir and a testing short iron to a green that sits below the lovely Shell Cottage.
10th, 412 yards, par 4
A demanding left to right dogleg over water to a tree-lined fairway with a small angled green. A precise tee shot down the left-hand side of the fairway gives you the best approach into the green.
Miss the fairway and the hole shows its teeth.
13th (Watergate), 528 yards, par 5
The signature hole on this wonderfully strategic golf course in Cavan, it’s easy to see why the Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, became such stars.
With water protecting the left side of this right-to-left dogleg, big hitters hoping to challenge the green in two should aim as close to the iconic SR sign as they dare. Play down the right towards the fairway bunkers, and you can lay up and pitch and putt for your birdie on what is a tricky, sloping green.
16th, 442 yards, par 4
Sweeping from a high tee to a wide fairway in the valley below, the picturesque, index two 16th requires an accurate tee shot to avoid trees left and rough right before taking on a tough second to the elevated green.
Finding the 16th fairway on this Tom Simpson design is crucial if you are hoping to make a par-four here. If you do that, you have a testing second, often with a fairway wood, to an elevated green that banks from the left towards the putting surface. Miss right and sand awaits.
5th, 578 yards, par 5
While the 449-yard fourth is considered one of the best par-fours in Ireland, the long fifth is equally testing and memorable. A long, straight drive is essential as there is trouble both in front and on each side with Lough Mahon a constant threat down the right-hand side.
Find the undulating fairway and the big hitter may be tempted to go for the green in two, but it is a small putting surface and protected on the left by sand with a watery grave lurking just a few yards right. A birdie or even an eagle is possible for those capable of hitting two big shots, but it also offers the less gifted player the chance to pitch and putt for a memorable birdie.
10th, 347 yards, par 4
Jutting out into Lough Erne at the Faldo Course, the bigger hitters will enjoy having a crack at the peninsula green on a hole dubbed ‘Emerald Isle’. With water all down the right-hand side, the best option is to play for position from the tee. If you hit down the left to the top of the slope, you will be leaving yourself a short shot to the green.
There are five tee boxes, so if you are brave enough, you can have a pop at it from the whites from 287 yards, which is the regular tee for visitors. Otherwise, pick your 200-yard club, and you will have less than 100 yards to get home. Great fun but also a regular card-wrecker.
4th, 594 yards, par 5
A jewel in Monaghan, Concra Wood has hosted the European Challenge Tour’s Irish Challenge and this a double dogleg par-five with its peninsula green is a genuine three-shot hole. Unless you are a massive hitter and can carry the corner on the right, a 220 or 230-yard tee shot leaves a lay-up with a rescue or fairway wood, taking the water out of play.
This will leave you 120 yards to the pin and with water threatening on the left, a par will feel like a birdie.
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