Courses Around the World: Ireland

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we're going to take a look at one of the most magical regions in the world to play golf. Besides the obvious Royal County Down, Ballybunion and other famous tournament spots, we're looking at some hidden courses that deserve more credit.

Tralee Golf Club

Located near Tralee, County Kerry, Tralee Golf Club's claim to fame is that it is the first European golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. The course and its individual holes are full of history and backdrops for movie scenes, like the Academy Award-winning 1970 movie Ryan's Daughter, shot on the 1st and 2nd holes with spectacular beach views. The 7th hole overlooks the Randy, a popular harbor for smugglers back in the earlier centuries.

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Donegal Golf Club

Often called the "Muirfield of Ireland," Donegal is one of the longest golf courses in Europe, stretching 7,453 yards for a rare par 73. Despite its length, it is an easy walk for golfers as it is much flatter than typical, surrounding links courses. Donegal was built along the Murvagh peninsula that extends into the Atlantic Ocean, accessed by driving through tall forestry that can be seen on a couple of the holes.

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Portmarnock Golf Club

Not to be confused with the nearby Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links, this Portmarnock Golf Club is the older, historical course which has been graced by so many golf greats like Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead in the 1960 Canada Cup and Phil Mickelson and David Duval in the 1991 Walker Cup. It has hosted the Irish Open 19 times and its Championship links are consistently rated at the top of national polls. It is only 15 minutes from the Dublin area, so it can be your first stop on that Irish golf trip you have always wanted to take.

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Did we miss one of your favorite courses in Ireland? Tell us about it!