Last updated on February 18, 2024
If you want to play on a golf course, you need a membership card and a handicap, even if it’s only 54. Right? Wrong!
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Not so in Ireland! Golf is a popular sport in Ireland and the Irish are generally a friendly people. This is reflected in the welcoming culture of the golf clubs, among other things!
On many golf courses in Ireland you don’t need a club membership or a handicap!
There are the big championship courses where minimum handicaps often apply, but on many of the other courses you can just come and play. With nearly 400 courses in the country, there’s still plenty to choose from!
Of course, you should also observe the general golfing etiquette there, i.e. no jeans, golf shoes with soft spikes and a collar on your shirt. But otherwise – everything is easy.
So, even if you’re still in the middle of your golf course at home, you can still have a golf holiday in Ireland!
But even if you are the proud owner of your 54 card, it makes sense not to go on holiday to big, busy courses. Even if there is no handicap requirement, you will not have the pace of play that you need on such courses to enjoy the game.
I used to have a German membership card and handicap and hardly needed it in Ireland. By the way, we live here (second home). In summer we run our motorbike rental business south of Dublin (www.easycruiser.tours) and also have nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie) for travellers – also for golfers.
So back to your beginner’s golf holiday:
In the following, I’ll give you a colourful list of 13 beautiful golf courses where you can play on your two-week round trip even without a membership card or handicap. We start in the south of Dublin and then play around Ireland.
Oh, one more thing: We stay away from the better-known golf courses for the time being, because on courses that attract experienced players, slower-playing beginners are sometimes “traffic obstacles”. I know from my own experience that this can be unnecessarily stressful.
That’s why we prefer to play the smaller, rural golf courses in the “second tier”, where beginners can usually play in peace, especially on the already quieter days during the week.
Another advantage: the smaller, lesser-known courses are usually much cheaper than the well-known top championship courses. Here you often pay only 20-40€ green fee during the week, instead of up to over 100€ on the renowned courses. With such moderate prices, it doesn’t matter if you stop after 9 holes because it’s enough for today and you want to go a bit further.
So, let’s just get started:
1 Blackwater Golf Club
South of Dublin you will find over 70 kilometres of beautiful white sandy beaches. A very nice beach is Morriscastle Beach near Kilmuckridge. Another beautiful beach with high white sand dunes is Curracloe Beach. In between is the Blackwater Golf Course. It is a very nice, friendly and playable par 3 course that I highly recommend. See: https://blackwatergolfcourse.business.site/.
2 New Ross Golf Club
Anchored in New Ross is the Dunbrody, a replica of a three-master in which many Irish emigrated to America in the mid-19th century. The short tour is super interesting. From New Ross you can also take a detour to Waterford. Golf: See: https://www.newrossgolfclub.ie/.
3 Cahir Golf Club
Cahir Castle is a very well preserved Norman castle right on the river. Nice to see from outside and inside. The small town is also nice. Golf – see: https://cahirgolfclub.com/.
4 Kinsale Golf Club
Kinsale is the southern starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. A beautiful harbour in a beautiful bay. Touristy, but worth a visit. And there is also a golf course. See: https://www.kinsalegolf.ie.
5 Rosscarbery Pitch and Putt Club
On the south-west coast you’ll find this beginner-friendly course right on the water. Be sure to try it out! Nearby is the Drombeg Stone Circle, a beautiful Celtic stone circle. For the golf course – see: https://www.rosscarberypitchandputt.com/.
6 Skibbereen Golf Club
Skibbereen is also in the southwest, not far from Baltimore. The small former fishing port is now a holiday resort and has a wonderful location between the bay and offshore islands. Be sure to drive to the Baltimore Beacon and climb the few metres up the hill – the view is phenomenal! Golf – see: https://www.skibbgolf.com/.
7 Macroom Golf Club
You’ll want to see the Beara Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula – highly recommend, especially Beara! However, the area is also very touristy and so are the golf courses… Macroom is a small place in the hinterland of Killarney where you can play a leisurely round without too much hustle and bustle. See: https://macroomgolfclub.com/.
8 Kilrush Golf Club
Kilrush is on the Shannon Estuary. You can pass it if you take the Shannon ferry from Tarbert to Killimer, or if you go via Limerick and then back to the west coast. See: https://kilrushgolfclub.com/.
9 Kilkee Golf Club
Just a few kilometres further, on the west coast, you will find Kilkee. The seaside resort is nice and has beautiful cliffs. You might also want to do the beautiful loop over Loophead Lighthouse. A little further north are the Cliffs of Moher. See: https://kilkeegolfclub.ie/.
10 Ballinrobe Golf Club
Galway and the surrounding area is busy and expensive, including the golf courses. A little further north, near beautiful Lough Mask, is the small village of Ballinrobe. The golf course is on the grounds of an old castle and very nice. See: https://www.ballinrobegolfclub.com/.
11 Gweedore Golf Club
Gweedore is situated on the north-western Wild Atlantic Way. I personally like the northwest very much – much less tourists and very beautiful scenery! On the way you can see the Slieve League Klipen and the nice and worth seeing Folk Village in Glencolumbcille. See: https://gweedoregolfclub.com/visitors/.
12 Letterkenny Golf Club
At the end of the tour of County Donegal and Gleveagh National Park, many end up in Letterkenny. Last stop in the north, then it’s back towards Dublin. The golf course is located outside the town, directly on the bay. See: https://www.letterkennygolfclub.com/:
13 Virginia Golf Club
Virginia is a small town in the middle of the inland. You’ll probably pass by here on your way back to Dublin. Nicely situated on Lough Ramor, you’ll find this nice little 9-hole course for a nice final round. See: https://www.virginiagolfclub.ie/.
For most of the 400 golf courses in Ireland you neither need a handicap nor a membership card of a golf course.
This means that even beginners are welcome on many golf courses in Ireland.
So if you want to combine a nice round trip with a few rounds of golf, there’s nothing to stop you!
So let’s go to Ireland – to play golf, of course 🙂.
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Cover photo credit: photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash