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The Royal Dublin and the links of the fascinating city destination

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

By all measures, Dublin is one of the finest European city destinations for golfers. It is well suited as a destination for a long weekend or longer visit. Around the city, there are many excellent courses, and some of the best links in Ireland. ​

There are about fifty golf courses in the county of Dublin, within a radius of about 20 kilometers from the center. When you draw a circle twice as big with the harp, you can already find more than 150 courses. From the world's finest links to wonderful park courses, a lot of enjoyable (and inexpensive) courses await you.

Ryder Cup 2006 was played at K Club, Carton House is an excellent resort with two courses and Druids Glen, south of Dublin, is a resort known to many Dublin visitors. But when you are in Ireland, you should definitely focus on the links.

The best courses in Dublin, led by Portmarnock, are links. Located on its own peninsula, north of the city, the course belongs to the absolute elite of Ireland and the whole world. It is a wonderful work of natural design. There is water on three sides of the course and the wind is almost always in play – like on many other links courses in Ireland.

Portmarnock's neighbor is the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, which, as the name suggests, also offers accommodation. And in this case, quality accommodation. As a modern links course, the course has been overshadowed, but because of the wonderful course and hotel, it is a good base for golfers.

On the north side of the city, you can also find the classic links course, The Island, and interesting Corballis. The over a hundred-year-old par 66 course is so-called public course, and you rarely find a better value for the 30 euro green fee than this. St. Anne's is located on the same Bull Island as The Royal Dublin. ​

The Royal Dublin Golf Club was founded as early as 1885, and four years later a place was found for its course on Bull Island, right next the city center. However, the course on the island was destroyed during the First World War. In the 1920's Harry Colt redesigned the traditional links, where nine holes go away from the club and nine holes comes back. With improvements made to the courses after Colt, it is now an excellent test for all golfers.

In its own way, the landscape in charming with the harbor and industrial areas in the distance. The course is flat and does not cause the same kind of wow effect as the amazing dune landscapes of the west coast of Ireland. However, Royal Dublin offers truly wonderful fairways and greens. The wind usually reminds of its existence on Bull Island. And the finishing holes are sure to be memorable. The 16th is a short par 4, where even a club player can hit the green with a downwind.17th and 18th are both long par 4's. The final hole, a dogleg to the right is an excellent finish, even though the fairway has out-of-bounds stakes. ​

Royal Dublin is only five kilometers from the center of Dublin, and the narrow bridge from the mainland to the club is already an experience. Although it is an exclusive club bearing the Royal prefix, the atmosphere at the club is friendly and relaxed. Today, it is even easier for golf visitors to get tee time on the course.

Dublin should also be considered during the so-called low season. Golf is played all year round in Ireland and the courses are in good condition. Since the weather is a bit unpredictable, you can already enjoy sunny game days in February-March. Outside of the main holiday seasons, there is also more space on the courses and of course the green fee prices are even more reasonable (= about half of the high season prices).

Dublin is a lively city and its downtown area is a big party ground. In Temple Bar and the surrounding areas, it's a pleasure to have dinner and just wander from pub to pub, enjoying the music and the happy Irish atmosphere. There is plenty to see in Dublin and it is easy to get around on foot in the city. If you live in the center, you should take a taxi to the golf clubs. ​ Renting a car only makes sense if you are planning trips outside the city.

In just over an hour from Dublin, you find for two excellent links to consider. County Louth is only 45 minutes north of Dublin Airport. This course has also gone unrecognized but it is a real gem and a top 15 course in most course rankings out of over 300 courses in Ireland. The club house also nice rooms if you want to stay overnight before or after the round. ​

The European Club is a must if you are interested in links and golf course design. It is guaranteed to be a memorable golf round and experience. However, the course and its owner-designer Pat Ruddy is the subject of a much larger story, which you can read about later on the pages of Golf Magazine.


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