Trump International Golf Links - Ireland - Clare - Ireland

Trump International Golf Links,
Ireland,
Doonbeg,
Co.Clare,
Ireland


  • +353 659 055 246

  • Golf Club Website

  • 40 miles W of Shannon Airport

  • Welcome, with restrictions, contact in advance


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Doonbeg

The name Doonbeg is derived from 'Dun Beag', which roughly translated means small fort. So it's no surprise that this pretty seaside village grew up beside a castle, which was built in the 16th century for the Earl of Thomond. You'll find Doonbeg 40 minutes or so due west of Shannon airport. Just keep going until you reach the Atlantic. You can't miss the golf course _ just look out for the mountainous dunes and keep your eyes peeled and somewhere around these spectacular 100ft high sandhills, you might get a glimpse of the Great White Shark. Because this is the course that Greg Norman built - his one and only architectural ensemble in the whole of the British Isles.

Apparently Norman made 23 visits to this amazing piece of links-land, which curves and tumbles for a mile and a half around the crescent-shaped Doughmore Bay. "When I first looked at this site, I thought I was the luckiest designer in the world," Norman said. "If I spent the rest of my life building courses, I don't think I'd find a comparable site anywhere." Norman's design is totally in tune with nature - 14 greens and 12 fairways were simply mown - not much earth moved for Greg here at Doonbeg. The look and feel of the layout is old-fashioned and the routing follows an out-and-back style, synonymous with traditional links architecture. Not bad for a course which opened on July 9, 2002, marked by an exhibition match between Padraig Harrington and the Great White Shark. Norman won 2 & 1.

According to legend, officers of the Scottish Black Watch Regiment planned to turn these dunes into a golf course in the early 1890s, but they settled on Lahinch because it's located closer to the railway station. When Norman got his hands on this land a century or so later, he said: "I'm not going to Americanise this golf course - not one single foreign blade of grass". Norman remained true to his word, but the club is American-owned and their membership philosophy is that Doonbeg is the ultimate home club for the discriminating international golfer. Ah well, at least Doonbeg is open for green fees and it's also open for local residents.

The layout is unusual in that it has a combination of five par 3s and five par 5s - the par 72 course measures 6,885 yards from the back tees. The signature hole is probably the 14th, a par three and one of the most sensational short holes in Ireland, although there are many memorable holes on this remarkable course. The 14th measures a mere 111 yards, but hitting the green is easier said than done because there are numerous distractions... the Atlantic stretches out beyond the green and the wind will dictate your club selection. Expect to take anything from a sand wedge to a 3 iron and hope for the best.

The Doonbeg project is believed to be the largest single investment in this part of Ireland and this amazing golf course has a magnetic appeal for thousands of golfers. Doonbeg is a priceless jewel between Lahinch and Ballybunion and one that simply must be played.

In February 2014, US property tycoon Donald Trump bought the Doonbeg property in a deal said to be worth €15 million. The facility was renamed Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Ireland and the course was redesigned over a two-year period under the architectural stewardship of Martin Hawtree at a reputed cost of €5 million.

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Reviews for Trump International Golf Links - Ireland

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Description: Doonbeg is the course that Greg Norman built, but it was redesigned by Martin Hawtree over a two-year period after the property was acquired in 2014 by Donald Trump and renamed Trump International Golf Links. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 35
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David Oliver
Quite simply a brilliant golf course with stunning scenery. Stayed onsite for 4 nights in the world class lodges (better than Bandon Dunes and Pebble Beach). First hole is one of the best and most beautiful holes I have played. All the par 3s a delight. Played 50+ of top 100 in Britain and this should be a top 20 course. Comparable to the classic older Irish links courses.
June 26, 2013
10 / 10
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Hendrik Hilgert
Great course. Fun to play, very nice views, excellent course condition, very attentive and friendly staff. However, not a 6 ball for me as the views are less impressive than for example in Lahinch or Tralee and the course offers few holes with a true risk reward trade-off, particularly from the tees.
June 01, 2012
8 / 10
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Nick Mullen
But for European legislation and a very rare species of Snail, Doonbeg may have been one of the great new links courses of the modern era. The drive through the Co Clare countryside, toward Doonbeg bay, is similar to many of the other journeys to seaside courses, filled with anticipation, waiting after every turn and bend to see that ever elusive glimpse of the sea. As you turn into the Complex, you are immediately overcome with a sense of American imposition upon Irish real estate. I don’t wish for this statement to be interpreted with any element of malice, but being an Irishman who lives in the US, one picks up on the stark contrast very quickly. All the hallmarks of the American Country club exist, impeccable service, spike friendly clubhouses, valet bag drop, the list goes on…… This is something that the cultured American golfer experiences regularly back in their home club, but I cant help wondering that those who visit Doonbeg, seem almost robbed of the traditional Irish, understated-pure golf experience. Maybe I am a tad late with this analogy, given that many of the south west courses in particular have gone out of their way to make our visitors from across the pond feel very welcome, but at Doonbeg it is taken to another level.

The above aside, the development at the lodge is spectacular, and even though some consider its presence and eye-sore on the landscape, it is nonetheless an impressive structure. Doonbeg is the brainchild of the people at Kiawah developments (I am planning to visit the Ocean Course this winter, which I am very excited about!). They wanted to create a first class golf luxury golf destination on Ireland’s west coast, situated brilliantly right between the hallowed grounds of Lahinch and Ballybunion, and with Greg Norman’s incedible hands on approach to golf design, this place was sure to be a home run! (maybe I am becoming too americanized!) However one miniscule snail, made its best efforts to spoil the party.

Before visiting Doonbeg, I was assured by a number of people, that it was indeed a terrific golf course, that the snails hadn’t disrupted things as much as speculated and that it was anything to rival Lahinch, others told me not to waste the journey and head straight for the grand old lady! Upon reflection I fall somewhere in between. I must echo and wholeheartedly agree with my colleague Jim McCann’s comments below, where he states that every time you think you are about to delve right into the heart of the towering dunes that shape the landscape, you merely skirt around them. The view from the opening hole is tremendous, the back tee stands right on the doorstep of the lodge and overlooks the 18th hole with the waves crashing beyond, it is a very good, easy on the eye par 5, with an incredibly natural green-site, set in an amphitheatre styled location (ala the 12th at Enniscrone). From the second onwards the front nine meanders its way straight out away from the clubhouse, with only one hole playing back toward it. In my opinion, a mixed opening nine, with 4 good holes and 5 nondescript ones, the pick of the bunch being the par 5 first as mentioned along with the 4th and 5th (two very gamey short par 4’s, the former played out toward the beach, with the ocean as its backdrop, while the latter is a nice risk reward driveable par 4, running along the bay, with a viciously sloping green. The 9th is also a pretty par 3, again pitched along the strand, with a very narrow and well guarded green.

After you play the long par 5 tenth, you make the turn for home where the routing is old school straight back in towards the house. Again this nine contain a mix of some good holes and some less than memorable ones. The 12th sticks in my mind for its, Riviera styled, mid green bunker, a feature I actually quite like, having experienced the one at the Links at Fancourt (pre-removal) also the European Club’s par 5 13th, for it is something which to punish the golfer who becomes lazy on their approach. The 13th and 14 th are two great holes, definitely the two best on the course, a sweeping dogleg right uphill par 5, followed by the courses signature, Tiny Tim hole, played to a perilously dangerous greensite, with the waters of the Atlantic in full view for all to see. This hole is just the right length, it was a ¾ gap wedge for me on a day with no wind, playing about 110 yards, any longer and then it becomes slightly Disneyland like, especially if you throw the mandatory breeze into the equation. The courses finishes with a hole, that I am fully certain Mr Norman had plenty of great ideas for. The tee shot is what can best be described as unfit for a course of this nature, for a strat it is dangerously close to the first fairway, and is squeezed claustrophobically, into a small parcel of land with the sea wall to the left with the outcrop of a false dune some 100n yards in front. I am certain Mr Norman, had a much better site for this tee, located 50 yards back and towards the beach, but the powers that be would never have allowed this. After you get the tee shot away, the second half of the hole is actually quite good. The ocean means anything too far right is dead, while a large well guarded, sloping green can throw up some great hole locations.

At Doonbeg, I cannot but help feel sorry for all parties involved in its development. Leave my opening rant aside. I have great respect for people who have a vision and it is a great pity that legislation prevented without doubt the best holes on the property being constructed. The dunescape at the centre of the property that the holes skirt around, is phenomenal, falling short of Ballybunion but definitely in the category of the Glashedy course at Ballyliffin. O ne can only live in hope of the rulings being one day overturned and Norman returning to finish, what I believe would be his masterpiece. Oh and by the way there is no danger of the Species of Snail, dying out, since the course was built the number of them has grown TEN-FOLD! Nick
July 02, 2011
6 / 10
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Der Carroll
May 28, 2012
Played Doonbeg last Friday, 28 degrees and a warm breeze off the land. From the moment I arrived I couldn't have been more impressed. The world is full of huge buildings sticking out of the land. We live in most of them. I think the hotel complex blends very well with the landscape, and could so easily have been a big lump of glass and iron like in most other 'golf resorts', or any other type of resort these days. The hospitality is second to none, friendly but not snobby. I have been playing golf around Ireland (my home place) for over twenty years, and I am thrilled that there exists such a place that treats their natives with the same respect as its millionaire overseas members get. too many golf courses in Ireland, particularly the 'signature' ones, just want to take your green fees and get you the hell out of there, afraid that you might consume too much of the 'black stuff' and have too much craic in the bar afterwards. i have spent far too much time and money in Golf clubs with hard timber chairs, torn upholstery, and meals that are barely on the acceptable side of rubbish. We Irish like a bit of luxury too every now and again, and if it takes an American company to deliver what our own should be doing, well then 'bring it on'. As for the course, well while I agree that there are certainly a few portions of boring farmland scenery, and some strange holes, this is what golf should be about. A challenge played across a natural landscape with as little false architectural construction of tee boxes, greens, lakes, hills, bridges, shrubberies, fountains, and cute stone walls as possible. I think this is a great course, true to the landscape, not every hole, but then again there does not exist a course in the world where every hole is 'great'. I shall go back, and the next time i do i am looking forward to resting my head on one of those plush queen size beds, after a nice massage, some expensive food, and a general pampering. hopefully i will play some good golf too.
James
A few days after my round at Doonbeg I am still trying to form my opinion of the place. I was lucky to catch the course on a benign and sunny day and following the lack of recent rain, the course was playing firm and fast and just the way you would want a links to play. Much has been said about its quirkiness and on this all I will say is dig up the 2nd green and start again. Otherwise, I actually thoroughly enjoyed all of Doonbeg's unusual features and on reflection realised that they are a throwback to an era when golf was less about crash, bang, wallop and more about thinking about your shots, placing them, hitting them high, hitting them low and just generally enjoying yourself.
April 26, 2011
6 / 10
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Jeff Kimbro
Played the course in 2007 with a group of 8 from the states. Excellent layout and great conditioning despite the fact that it is a fairly new course. Loved being on the first tee, with Doonbeg Members in their Clubhouse placing bets on each guests first drive. It has a # of memorable holes. The first is a short par 4 on the front side that has a house just off the fairway and in play. Apparently, the owners were offered 1M Euros to sell, but wouldn't do so. It's good they didn't sell, because it adds a lot of character to an average hole. On the back side, we played the scariest 100 yard Par 3 you could imagine. All carry over a gorge with the ocean to the right, 6 inch rough to the leftt and the only bailout long. Advice - If the pin is in the front, play to the middle and make par and then get out of Dodge. The owners of the course also own the Ocean Course at Kiawah. A first class facility with excellent housing on the grounds.
January 23, 2010
8 / 10
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J Szpak
Doonbeg inspires divergence in opinion like no other links course I have played. You either love it or hate it. I am in the love it camp. I think that the fact it is so controversial means that it must be a special design. There are one or two quirks, like the bunker in the green on 12, that are not needed. That being said, it is a great setting and a fun course to play.
January 17, 2010
8 / 10
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Robert Warrington
Having played this course just48 hours ago, I can't help wonder why its NOT in the Top 100 in the world ranking. Top Quality holes/conditioning, Top Quality setting and Top Quality service and amenities....Not the perfect links layout, and tough when the wind blows as its does most days....It should be in the same rating section as Cruden Bay, Lahinch and the European Club...Top 50-100 section. In the end, an Unbeliveable peice of Links golf not to missed.
May 05, 2009
8 / 10
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Cedric
May 05, 2009
Doonbeg and Cruden Bay in the same league as Lahinch??? Doesn't quite sound right to me... But again I seem to be one of the few on this website who doesn't rate Cruden Bay at all... But no way Lahinch and Doonbeg are comparable!
Alex Westenfield
Played in Sept. 2008. There are some incredible holes and views on this course. Challenging and enjoyable course for me, a caddie is very necessary to direct where and how far to hit some tee shots. #1 is a fantastic start and # 18 is a fantastic finish.
December 05, 2008
6 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Expectation was high before playing Doonbeg and all was well after arrival and then moving to the 1st tee. The par-5 1st is as good an opening hole as I can think of (maybe Portstewart just sneaks it to be honest). After the 1st, for me there are too many holes that left me scratching my head - the boomerang shaped 2nd green is just comical and unnecessary. There are some good uses of the land but not enough, the holes around the turn stick in the memory for just being rather average as the dunes are not in play because of some local protection laws. The 12th hole, when I played was into the wind and after a decent drive I hit driver again low and straight which found it's way on to the green - could not have asked for more - except that the ball came to rest in the bunker in the middle of the green - just unnecessary and not fair. The 13th and 14th are great holes and also the 18th is a fine end to a course that left me asking why trick it up so much. The SW of Ireland offers so much in terms of golf courses but Doonbeg was disappointing (yes some of the course is 5-ball rating but as a collection of 18 holes, it is only a 3-ball, sorry).
May 14, 2008
4 / 10
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Jim McCann

Standing on the elevated 1st tee, looking at a distant green sitting on the edge of the dunes, you think, “here we go, great looking 1st hole, can’t wait to get in there amongst those sand hills” but it never really happens! Thanks to the environmental lobby – and, Doonbeg - Photo by Jim McCannGod help us, snail lovers, in particular (of the narrow- mouthed whorl, if you must ask) – the course routing never gets into the type of terrain that sets nearby Lahinch and the Ballybunion courses apart from all the others.

Admittedly, the course guide does say that Doonbeg “was routed AROUND the oldest intact dunes to protect what nature carved out centuries ago” but I’m afraid there was none of that talk heard when other great contemporary Irish courses like the Glashedy and Sandy Hills were built in the recent past – just before the green brigade put dunes off limits - and here at Doonbeg, to reinforce the point, two huge plots of sand hills have electrified fences round them to keep golfers out!

Greg Norman must have drooled when he first saw the potential of this place but I’ll bet he cried tears of frustration having to forego 50 acres of prime golfing territory to use more prosaic land instead. I’m sorry, but the Doonbeg course just does not live up to the slick PR and razzamatazz of the multi million euro infrastructure created off course by Shannon Development and Kiawah Development Partners – and the least said about that ostentatious ensemble, the better!

It didn’t help that the greens were off on holes 5 and 6 when I played, nor did it fill me with great joy to hear that the signature 14th hole and hole 15 were out of play too, so my round never attained the rhythm or balance necessary to properly review what is meant to be one of the very best tracks in the country. I thought the horseshoe green on hole 2 and the bunker in the middle of the 12th would have added a few revs to Old Tom Morris spinning in his grave, but, in fairness, he might have appreciated the positioning of many of the bearded bunkers around the course as well as raving about the design of the best hole on the course, the par five, right dog legged 13th – a really wonderful hole.

I’d love to return – if they’ll have me back! – to play Doonbeg in all its glory, but until then, it will have to remain in my mind as a good track that, if built 20 years earlier, could have been a great one.

Jim McCann

May 08, 2008
6 / 10
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