Great Irish Golf Courses – the new and the classics
There’s something exciting about pairing the classics with the new, especially when applied to great golf courses.
With a flurry of courses set to open over the next few months, there is no better time for Irish golf vacations combining old world charm with something new and cool. We asked Carr Golf travel expert Mark Byrne his top vintage-modern pairings for golf trips to the Emerald Isle. He quickly recommended Adare Manor with Lahinch Golf Club and Hogs Head Golf Club with Waterville Golf Links.
Located in Limerick, Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort is on the tail end of an intense 18-month renovation. Set on 840 scenic acres, the property features a five-star resort with myriad amenities including an 18-hole golf course. Designed by the great Robert Trent Jones, the championship layout is widely regarded as one of the finest parkland layouts in Ireland. The course is currently being renovated with complete rebuilding of the tees and greens. A great course is going to be even better.
“Adare Manor is set for a soft opening on Sept. 1,” says Byrne. “The course has been entirely revamped under the watchful eye of Tom Fazio, one of the world’s most revered designers. He is retiring after this project, so Adare will be one of his last works. Adare have spared no costs and have put a SubAir system on each green for year-round playability. They are aiming to not only be one of the best courses in Ireland, but one of the best in the world.”
Adare Manor will host the JP McManus Invitational in July 2020 and many hope the Ryder Cup will follow.
“To pair Adare Manor with a classic course, it would be hard to look past Lahinch Golf Club,” says Byrne. “It is celebrating 125 years in existence with its members this year.”
Situated on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast, the Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club was named one of the “World’s 100 Greatest Courses” by Golf Digest last year and is a model for blending the old with the new. While it has undergone multiple renovations to keep up with the times, it has managed to retain its classic charm. Its two most distinctive holes – the par-5 No. 4 and par-3 No. 5 – were designed by the great Old Tom Morris and have stood the test of time.
For those visiting the southwest coast of Ireland, Byrne recommends pairing Hogs Head Golf Club with Waterville Golf Links.
Overseen by the golf course architecture firm of Robert Trent Jones II, Hogs Head Golf Club is scheduled to open in August. It is expected to be a private club with limited public access. Built on the site of the old Skellig Bay Golf Club, Hogs Head is a completely new layout with nods to classic Irish design. Nestled among farmland, the course will offer stunning views of the Atlantic as well as Macgillycuddy’s Reeks – a mountain range with the highest peaks in Ireland.
Just down the road, Waterville Golf Links is a true links course consistently rated amongst the best in Ireland.
“Like Adare Manor, Waterville was redesigned by Tom Fazio,” notes Byrne. “His renovation added a new practice facility and state-of-the-art health facility to the classic course.”
Many members of the Carr Golf travel team list Waterville Golf Links as a “must-play” course in Ireland. This summer, the iconic venue will host our 28th Annual World Invitational Father & Son and 10th Annual World Invitational Father & Daughter golf tournaments.