Thanks to Gold Digest magazine Ireland can now boast of the number one golf course in the world outside the US, the Royal County Down. But it's also gained a reputation for eight other courses, all of which made the top 100 in the world outside America.

Golf Digest magazine asked its 6.5 million readers to name their favorite golfing venues and Ireland came out on top. The majestic Royal County Down course surpassed other iconic venues like Saint Andrews' Old Course, Turnberry and Valderrama, to be named top of tyne list in Golf Digest's 100 Best Courses Outside of the US.

Portmarnock course was listed 12th in the poll, one place ahead of the Royal Portrush course, which will play host to this month's highly anticipated Irish Open.

County Kerry can boast of of no less than three top spots, the Waterville (23rd place) Ballybunion (26th place) and Tralee courses (82nd) in the hot 100.

Meanwhile Lahinch in County Clare has proved a durable favorite among golf visitors to Ireland and came in in the 41st position, as did The European Club in County Wicklow, 88th in the Golf Digest poll.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland told 'We know that the island of Ireland boasts some of the best golf courses in the world and, together with our golf industry partners, we have been working hard to spread that message around the world.

'We are undertaking a busy golf promotional program throughout 2012 to showcase our golf, which includes capitalizing on the success of our major golf champions as ambassadors for the island of Ireland.

'This month's Irish Open at Royal Portrush is another wonderful opportunity to put our golf in the international spotlight and we are leveraging the potential of this prestigious sporting event. Our message is that the island of Ireland offers golfers the complete package - with top courses, stunning scenery and the warmest of welcomes.'