12 Top Tips for a Golf Trip To Ireland – Part 1

Twelve Top Tips for a Golf Trip To Ireland – Part 1

When you’ve made the decision to take a golf trip it is easy to focus on the destination and the mustplay courses… but there is so much more involved if you are to maximise your enjoyment. Every golf trip requires planning – whether you’re travelling a few thousand miles or just a couple of hundred yards. Consider the essentials (golf shoes) and the nice-to-haves (umbrella); consider the mix of friends, the variety of handicaps and, of course, the different needs of every golfer making the journey.

It’s no easy task, so here’s a 12 stage guide to ensure that any golf trip to Ireland (and Carne, obviously) is the thrilling adventure you want it to be.

1. Your Irish Golf Itinerary
2. When to Come?
3. Golf Clubs & Bag
4. Golf Club Travel Case
5. Waterproofs
6. Golf Shoes
7. Hire Car & Driving
8. Golf Buggies
9. Money
10. Tipping
11. Cameras
12. Odds & Ends

The 15th hole on the Hackett course, with a deep chasm
between tee and green.

1. Your Irish Golf Itinerary

Planning where to go and what to do on a golf trip causes the most stress and, potentially, the most conflict within a group of golfers. Either nominate someone to be in charge, and then leave him/her to it, or go to a golf tour operator who will do the heavy lifting for you. Whichever you choose, it is probable that someone in the group won’t be 100% happy with the itinerary. That’s just the way it goes.

Above all, remember one thing: there is no point trying to do too much.

First, Ireland may be small, but that doesn’t mean you can tour the coastline in a week… or two weeks for that matter. Winding roads, beautiful views, the occasional tractor or herd of cattle, and some out-of-the-way golf courses mean you should take your time.

Second, and more important, if you’re coming all the way to Ireland, to play some of the best golf courses in the world, why rush? I met a group of 16 Americans who were playing Royal County Down one morning and then driving straight to Old Head for a round the following day… that’s five hours of golf followed by five hours of driving. Considering the Irish links courses being passed on the way (Baltray, The Island, Portmarnock, The European), it seemed an unnecessarily arduous itinerary.

Take Your Time

Take your time and enjoy your trip. You may figure that it’s a once-in-a-life-time golfing odyssey and you’ve got to cram in as much as possible, but why tire yourself out by playing 36 holes a day for seven days, and the rest of the time travelling and sleeping?

There’s so much more to visiting Ireland than that. And believe me when I say that courses such as Carne deserve to be played twice... and with patience. How else will you understand what lies ahead, around the dogleg and in front of the green? How else will you appreciate the humps and hollows, the subtleties of greens and how the wind can change a golf course in a matter of hours? Played a second time you can stand on a tee box and know the pleasures and challenges that await as the dunes rise up around you.

Choose Wisely

The obvious thing to do is to pick an area – such as the north west – and base yourself in a couple of hotels. The courses of Bundoran, Carne, Co. Sligo, Donegal, Enniscrone and Strandhill are all within easy reach. Both Carne and Enniscrone have to be played twice because of the size of the dunes and the shapes of the holes.

The par four 8th hole is a dogleg left and down through the dunes.
Hug the right side of the fairway for the optimal approach shot.

The Mystery of Carne

Holes such as 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 15, 17 and 18 at Carne carry certain mysteries. As soon as you’ve walked off the green you’ll just want another crack at them because there are ridges and rises, chasms and corners you simply won’t believe. And that’s just the original Hackett 18; the new Kilmore 9 call for more of the same. Given that there are 27 holes here, you need at least two days to soak up the experience.

Take it Easy

Finally, include one day off, mid-trip, to allow everyone to recharge batteries, to let aches dissipate and to get a taste for Ireland… be that climbing a mountain, walking a beach, visiting a famous landmark, or enjoying the local brews and nightlife. That day off can make all the difference.

2. When to Come?

The age-old argument of when to come to Ireland will never be resolved. I have played Royal County Down in February, in short sleeves, and The European Club in July, wearing four layers. There is no absolutely best time to visit Ireland, so be prepared for all kinds of weather. On a purely personal level, May and September are two of my favourite months for golf – not only for the weather but for the quieter fairways, too.
Posted by admin at Jun 22, 2016 Category: Other
Tags: golf in the north west of ireland, Irish Links Courses, Top Tips for Golfing in Ireland