Royal County Down in Newcastle, Co Down has ranked as the best golf course on the island of Ireland.
GOLF recently released its list of the Top 100 Courses in the World, a ranking of golf's greatest venues, with its panel of experts identifying six courses on the Emerald Isle as being among the best in the world.
The course designs were rated on their "intrigue, strategy, enjoyability and beauty."
GOLF writes: "The island of Ireland measures only 302 miles from top to bottom, making it fairly easy — and beautiful — to traverse by car. With 1,990 miles of coastline, Ireland is an ideal locale for links golf, with the vast majority of courses open year-round."
Of the six Irish golf courses to make the list, Royal County Down in Northern Ireland came in No. 6 in the top 10 list of best courses in the world. Three Irish courses made the top 25 and five ranked in the top 50.
For a closer look at the Irish courses that made the list, see below.
Royal County Down, County Down (#6)
Rated the best golf course in Ireland and the sixth best in the world, "the evolution over more than 130 years of this design is fascinating and has yielded what many consider to be the game’s finest front nine," writes GOLF.
County Down is "blessed with staggeringly handsome long views of the Irish Sea, the Mountains of Mourne and the red-brick steeple of the Slieve Donard Hotel."
Royal Portrush, County Antrim (#16)
"The only course outside of England and Scotland to host the Open is perennially ranked in the world’s top-20 courses, thanks to a superior 1929 H.S. Colt design that maximizes its setting in the high dunes along the Irish Sea," writes GOLF.
Ballybunion, County Kerry (#24)
GOLF calls Ballybunion "a Southwest Irish gem ... wedged between huge sandhills and the Atlantic Ocean."
Hall of Fame writer Herbert Warren Wind called it "the finest seaside course I have ever seen."
GOLF writes: "World-class holes abound, such as the 470-yard 11th, which cascades downhill to a green between two dunes, and the picture-perfect 210-yard 15th with an Atlantic backdrop."
Lahinch, County Clare (#37)
Located just south of the Cliffs of Mohr, GOLF calls this course "a poster child for Irish tourism" with its "tumbling dunes" and "irresistible combination of beauty, challenge and fun." Adding that "the golf is every bit as good as its setting."
St. Patrick’s Links, Rosapenna, County Donegal (#49)
St. Patrick's Links at Rosapenna, set in the northwest county of Donegal, "looks like it has been there for a century" although the course, designed by Tom Doak, only opened in 2021. GOLF promises the location "will soon become a household name with golfers flocking here to experience the unbridled joy that comes from playing in and among big dunes as one battles the wind."
Rosapenna also made GOLF's 2024-25 best golf resorts list.
Portmarnock, County Dublin (#59)
Just seven miles from Dublin, Portmarnock is set among low dunes at the end of a peninsula. GOLF calls it "the most romantic location for a golf course imaginable." Also, "be prepared for some of the fastest, purest running conditions that the game offers."
For the complete list of GOLF's Top 100 Courses in the World, click here.