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Top 100 Golf Courses of Ireland 2016

29 October, 2015

Top 100 Golf Courses of the Republic of Ireland 2016

We present the latest edition of our updated Irish Top 100 rankings

Top 100 Golf Courses maintains a ranking chart for the twenty-six counties that comprise the Republic of Ireland and we revise the positions in that list every two years. It’s now time to publish our biennial update for the Emerald Isle so, without further ado, we present the latest edition of our Irish Top 100.

Just like two years ago, when we last updated our standings, there are no wild fluctuations in the upper reaches of the chart, with the top five positions remaining exactly the same as last time. Truth be told, those same five courses are the only ones to occupy the top five spots in our chart since we first began ranking courses for Ireland in 2006.

And so, we have the Old courses at Ballybunion and Lahinch at positions 1 and 2, followed by Portmarnock’s Championship 18-hole layout at number 3, Waterville at number 4 and the European Club at number 5. Such is the calibre of this handful of mighty links layouts, each of them also figures prominently in both our Great Britain & Ireland Top 100 and World Top 100 rankings.

There’s a little movement in the second half of the national Top 10 where the highly regarded County Louth course at Baltray rises two places to number 6, the Tom Craddock and Pat Ruddy co-designed Glashedy layout at Ballyliffin moves up one slot to number 8, the no-frills Island course at Donabate eases up one spot to number 9 and Eddie Hackett's original 18-hole Carne layout at Belmullet climbs three positions to number 10.

Further down the new chart, seven courses make big double-digit upward moves. On the east side of the country in County Wexford, Bunclody (up twelve to 46) is a modern Jeff Howes design that only opened in 2009 whilst 100 miles to the north, the course at Laytown & Bettystown in County Meath soars a sensational seventeen places to number 57.

Three County Wicklow tracks take significant strides up the chart: Dun Laoghaire (up ten to 60), is a new millennium Martin Hawtree offering, the East course at Powerscourt (up twenty-nine to 63), is a mid-1990s Peter McAvoy layout that now jumps ahead of its younger sibling the West, and Macreddin (up fifteen to 75), which is Paul McGinley’s well-received first design.

On the west side of Ireland, in the province of Connacht, Christy O’Connor Jnr’s early 1990s layout at the Galway Bay golf resort moves up eleven slots to number 66 whilst Ballinrobe, one of Eddie Hackett’s final projects, leaps ten places to number 84.

Cruit Island, Moyvalley, Kilkenny, Bearna and Nenagh make way for five new entries. The first of these is Roganstown at number 94, which is actually a re-entry, having featured in editions 2 and 3 of our Irish chart in 2006 and 2008. Another County Dublin course, Balbriggan, makes its debut at number 96 and this striking layout is an Eddie Connaughton upgrade from just a few years ago.

Dundalk is another re-entry at number 98 – having been included in three of our previous charts between 2008 and 2012 – with the final two newcomers coming from County Donegal: the links at North West (new at number 95) belongs to one of the original nine clubs that formed the Golf Union of Ireland in 1891 and the course at Dunfanaghy (new at number 99) is an old Harry Vardon design dating back over a hundred years to 1905.

We always welcome comments when we publish updated national rankings so please feel free to let us know what you think of our new Top 100 for the Republic of Ireland. Have we omitted a layout which really should be in our chart, or have we included a course that really doesn’t deserve to be there? Maybe there’s a particular track riding too high in the chart or there’s one lying too low in the standings? Please click the “Respond to this article” link at the bottom of the page if you’d like to share your opinion.

Rank Course Move
1 Ballybunion (Old) No change
2 Lahinch (Old) No change
3 Portmarnock (Old) No change
4 Waterville No change
5 European Club No change
6 County Louth Up 2
7 County Sligo (Championship) No change
8 Ballyliffin (Glashedy) Up 1
9 Island Up 1
10 Carne Up 3
11 Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) No change
12 Tralee Down 6
13 Enniscrone (Dunes) Down 1
14 Old Head Up 1
15 Doonbeg Down 1
16 Druids Glen Up 1
17 Donegal Up 2
18 Ballyliffin (Old) Up 2
19 Adare Down 3
20 Mount Juliet Down 2
21 K Club (Palmer) No change
22 Carton House (Montgomerie) No change
23 Portmarnock Hotel Links No change
24 Killeen Castle Up 3
25 Portsalon Up 1
26 Headfort (New) Down 1
27 Killarney (Killeen) Down 3
28 Fota Island (Deerpark) Up 3
29 Ballybunion (Cashen) Up 3
30 Dooks No change
31 Concra Wood Up 2
32 Connemara Down 3
33 Royal Dublin Down 5
34 Heritage Up 6
35 Narin & Portnoo Down 1
36 Carton House (O'Meara) Down 1
37 Carlow (Deerpark) Down 1
38 Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris) Up 1
39 Slieve Russell Up 2
40 Palmerstown House Down 3
41 K Club (Smurfit) Down 3
42 Cork No change
43 Tullamore Up 1
44 Seapoint Up 2
45 Westport Up 2
46 Bunclody Up 12
47 Portumna Up 5
48 Rosslare (Championship) Down 5
49 Mullingar Up 5
50 Tramore Down 2
51 Dingle - Ceann Sibeal Down 2
52 Strandhill Up 1
53 Dromoland Castle Down 2
54 Royal Curragh Up 1
55 Luttrellstown Castle Up 2
56 Woodenbridge Up 4
57 Laytown & Bettystown Up 17
58 Castle Up 4
59 Rathcore Down 14
60 Dun Laoghaire Up 10
61 Tulfarris Down 5
62 Farnham Estate Up 9
63 Hermitage Up 2
64 Mount Wolseley Down 5
65 Galway Bay Up 12
66 Skellig Bay No change
67 Powerscourt (East) Up 25
68 Castletroy No change
69 Powerscourt (West) Down 6
70 Grange Down 1
71 Arklow Down 4
72 Rathsallagh Down 22
73 Shannon Down 9
74 Esker Hills Down 1
75 Macreddin Up 15
76 Birr Up 7
77 Druids Heath Down 16
78 New Forest Up 2
79 Castlemartyr Up 5
80 Coollattin Up 7
81 Athlone Down 9
82 Gowran Park No change
83 Dundrum Up 5
84 Ballinrobe Up 10
85 Greenore Up 4
86 Killarney (Mahoney's Point) Down 11
87 Naas Down 11
88 St Anne's Down 2
89 Bantry Bay Down 8
90 Glasson Down 5
91 Knightsbrook Up 2
92 Headfort (Old) Up 6
93 Galway Down 2
94 Roganstown New entry
95 North West New entry
96 Balbriggan New entry
97 Portarlington Up 3
98 Dundalk New entry
99 Dunfanaghy New entry
100 Rossmore Down 1

To view the complete detailed list of the Top 100 Golf Courses in Ireland click the link. To see the revised Best In County rankings for each of Ireland’s twenty-six counties, click the following links: Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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