Golfing in Ireland

Golfing in Ireland

Golfing in Ireland finds its way into many golfers’ hearts and onto a grand number of future travel lists. With its rolling green hills and centuries old sand dunes, the ocean cliffs and parklike greens’ scapes, the seaside grasses and the lush lakeside forests, the doglegged fairways and the clever putting greens tantalize and call golfers from all over the world every year.

putting green and rough in Ireland of Ballybunion Golf Club overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
Ballybunion Golf Club on Ireland’s SW coast in County Kerry

 

Ireland’s Golf Nuances

Golfing in Ireland is not different than a round of golf anywhere else (…except it’s in Ireland!). Golf is played the same there with the same scoring and handicap criteria as back home. However, as the professional tour guides for many visiting golfers, we’ve noted a few differences worth mentioning to the newly arrived golfer in Ireland.

the green with sand traps of Donegal Golf Club with rolling hills to mountain in the distance in Ireland
Donegal Golf Club on Ireland’s NW coast in County Donegal

 

You will Walk

Ireland’s courses are primarily “carry only”.  This means you, or a caddy you hire onsite, will carry or push/pull your clubs and gear in your golf bag …and you will walk.  (Some of the big pro golf venues do have golf carts, but none of the others will. At best, a course may have pull-behind carts for rent when you arrive.)  

What this means for you? 

Re-pack your golf bag. Take out all the extra knick-knacks, practice golf balls, old or specialty clubs, good luck charms, and gear you haven’t used in years. (In fact, one of the new, lighter golf bags should maybe find its way onto a birthday or Christmas list before you go.)

Bring comfortable golfing (and non-golfing shoes) and great socks. You. will. walk. 

Get a great rain suit. It rains in Ireland. Sometimes it rains a lot and sometimes it just drizzles – sometimes it rains all day. They still play golf as long as there’s no lightening. Since it can also get pretty windy sometimes – a good rain suit can help with that as well. 

And might as well add ‘rain golfing gloves’ to your gift wish list if you don’t already have a good pair. These will come in handy as well. (No pun intended.)

rough and sand trap with view of Adare Manor in Ireland

The Golf Course at Adare Manor inland in SW Ireland. The newest course on the Emerald Isle
and selected as host to the 2026 Ryder Cup.

 

Golf Balls are Expensive 

Purchasing new golf balls when golfing in Ireland is rather expensive. …and with the cliffs, tall grasses, blind fairways, steep traps, massive tree lines, and uniquely laid putting greens atop plateaus in the middle of lakes and the sea, you might lose a few more golf balls than you’re used to.

What this means for you? 

Bring new golf ball packages with you in your checked luggage and replenish your golf bag as needed.

fairway and hotel of Royal County Down golf course in Ireland
Royal County Down on NE coast of Northern Ireland, south of Belfast

 

Hire a Caddy

You. Will. Walk. (see above) Why not spend the walking time enjoying the wisdom of an experienced Irish caddy that has probably played the course hundreds of times and caddied for as many golfers on top of that? 

Caddies in Ireland are self-employed and paid in cash on the day-of for each round of golf you play. They can be tipped for their services, and fall into ranges of “junior” and “senior” caddies based on experience.  

What this means for you? 

The tips, hints, club choice suggestions, and shooting direction recommendations – in addition to the extra pair of eyes when searching for your golf ball’s landing spot – is worth more than the cost. You will receive real insight into the Irish culture and enjoy the familiar golfers’ banter with a true Irish lad/lass. By the end of the first nine, you will be able to follow the cheerful Irish brogue. By the end of the next nine, you’ll be fast friends and trusted golf partners. If you play more, being welcomed as “family!” at the pub later is not unheard of.

Depending on the class level of course you are playing, a Senior caddy for your golf day in the Republic of Ireland a one-bag carry will cost you in the range of €45-€90 (Euros)  (that’d be about $55-$120 in US dollars) and about £45-60 (Pounds Sterling) when playing in British-ruled Northern Ireland (about $55-$80 US dollars).

Double-bag carriers will cost about 80-120 Euros/Sterling ($80-$140 USD), where and when they’re available and depending on what level of course you are playing.

Additionally, for truly good service a 20-25 Euro or Sterling per bag tip is common. 

Golf green and cliffside to Atlantic Ocean in Southwest Ireland
Tralee Golf Club along the Wild Atlantic Way, SW Ireland

 

Club Members 

Golfing clubs in Ireland sell Club Memberships to their regulars.  Some of them will even sell “International Memberships” to their visiting guests. Membership has its perks!

What this means for you? 

Members are assigned tee times and caddies first. Reservations at the top courses at times that are convenient for you and your group are easier to get. And while you can request a caddy for the day, caddies are not guaranteed.  Therefore, being a member and ahead of the visitors improves your chances of securing one. 

In addition, there are often sister-courses that give you reduced fees (up to 50% in some cases!) when you hop over to play a few rounds with them.

Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, north of Belfast

Golf Regions

Because of the popularity and sheer number of golf courses in Ireland (over 300!), tourists tend to plan a visit to a ‘region’ of Ireland and choose 4-6 courses from the abundant selection of courses available in that area. A top course or two, a few popular/known courses, and one or two historic old link courses.  

The regions are typically grouped as Southwest (SW) and Northwest (NW) and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland and as Belfast (or more simply, Northern Ireland) in Northern Ireland.

What this means for you? 

Golfing in Ireland may necessitate more than one visit! 

Choose your favorite must-play courses from Ireland’s healthy list of top 100 golf venues, locate them on a map of Ireland, and notice their natural regional groupings. Then, contact us at Irish Group Travel, with your proposed dates for travel, how many friends and family you’d like to bring along, and the region and courses you’d like to play first. Together with our professional knowledge of golfing tours in Ireland and our contacts on the links, we’ll work with you to design your golf vacation that meets your budget and timeline.

Additionally, we’ll arrange your lodging, luxury transportation, green’s fees (including memberships and packages, where available, for the lowest possible rates), tee time reservations, and place your caddy and cart requests.  We’ll even tuck in exciting excursions to some of Ireland’s best shopping and dining districts as well as Ireland’s top sightseeing attractions for you and your non-golfing traveling partners and family.

rolling fairway on
Waterville Golf Links on the SW coast of Ireland

 

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Irish Group Travel can make your Irish Golf Vacation dreams come alive!
Discuss your dream Ireland Golf Vacation with us today…

 

 

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