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Top 100 courses in Ireland ( republic ) 2020

Comments

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,005 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Trump at 6 with those greens, joke


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,005 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    ...and Corballis only there as NI courses somehow excluded, Portrush, RCD, Portstewart, Ardglass etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 365 ✭✭ rooney30


    slave1 wrote: »
    ...and Corballis only there as NI courses somehow excluded, Portrush, RCD, Portstewart, Ardglass etc.

    Presumably the nordie courses fall under their UK listing


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭ Luckycharm


    Played Narin and Portnoo last year don't really understand why it is always rated so highly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,299 ✭✭✭ Miley Byrne


    slave1 wrote: »
    Trump at 6 with those greens, joke

    There are at least 10 courses in the top 20 that are ranked below Doonbeg which I would consider superior courses.

    Rosses Point, The Island, Rosapenna, Ballyliffin Glashedy, Carne, Enniscrone, Adare, Tralee, Old Head, BallyLiffin Old.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 48,742 ✭✭✭✭ Wichita Lineman


    Surely what they pay in advertising to Irish Golf Digest is a factor? I'm not being smart here, genuinely I'd be interested if anyone shares my view or can educate me on how the rankings are arrived at.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,005 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Nothing to do with advertisements, this ranking is not associated with Golf Digest magazine


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭ Dbu


    Hogs Head? good scenery, bang average golf course


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,498 ✭✭✭✭ Mushy


    Luckycharm wrote: »
    Played Narin and Portnoo last year don't really understand why it is always rated so highly.

    It's a very good course, some very tough holes. They have recently done up the place though, so maybe that's not bedding in well yet


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,374 ✭✭✭ downthemiddle


    I've played 69 of the courses on that list. I know these lists are subjective but it appears to me that certain courses are beyond criticism. I find it difficult to equate my experience with some of those rankings.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,323 ✭✭✭✭ FixdePitchmark


    j love Corballis as a fun practice course . I dont consider it a full course.

    It is not right to be on that list, also it is a complete rip off since they handed it over.

    played 59 of them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,708 ✭✭✭✭ fullstop


    Joke of a list, frankly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,716 ✭✭✭ CalamariFritti


    I don’t consider these lists to be taken 100% seriously. They will give you a broad indication but nobody should get upset over their course dropping or gaining a few spots.

    They’re very subjective and when run by magazines almost certainly influenced by sponsoring. They are also heavily links biased probably with an eye on marketability to overseas tourists.


  • Registered Users Posts: 268 ✭✭ kopkidda


    Balbriggan has to be one of the best parklands in dublin.Great test and every hole a different challenge.Greens brilliant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ thewobbler


    I’m not going to say these lists are wrong. But they always follow the same formula.

    1. The Exalted Links come first, with one or two changes within their order each year just to show everyone that this isn’t a copy and paste from last year. Basically Portmarnock, Ballybunion, Lahinch and Waterville could spend the year underwater and still won’t leave the top 5.

    2. The Prestigious Links then assume their acknowledged role of buttressing the top 10, with one of them eeking out a top 5 finish when its their turn on the cycle. European, Island, Sligo, Baltray.

    3. Occasionally a member from that groups might slip behind one or two of the Quirky Links - Enniscrone, Carne, Doonbeg, Sandy Hills, both Ballyliffins. But not for two years in a row.

    4. Around now it’s usually safe to drop in Adare. It’s all by itself, surrounded by a sea of links.

    5. Then the next tier of links will unfold. This is where pretty much every other championship length links in Ireland can enjoy massive drops or rises - but within this cohort only. Poor old Seapoint and St Anne’s must look longingly at the end of the table.

    6. The second tier links will be rudely interrupted by Old Head, as a nod to the fact that everyone wants to play there, and Carlow, as it is the godfather of traditional parkland golf in Ireland, never to be questioned.

    7. As you get towards the bottom of this second tier links pile, the famous international parklands take over, but only usually after the often-reviled Royal Dublin gets an airing. K Club, Mt Juliet, Druids Glen and Killarney will all be disappointed if the whippersnappers like Killeen Castle, Headfort and Fota squeeze ahead. Carton House x 2 so wants to be here, but is usually found one group down .

    8. Then the litany of identikit American style parklands tend to get thrown out in any old random order, with the tier 3 links interspersed for good measure. Just to keep it interesting.

    9. By now we are usually over half way through, and it’s a case of emptying out the traditional parklands, along with some of the weaker modern parklands. Nobody really cares too much about the order from 60-100, only that they’re on there somewhere. So there’s a bit of politics required as you move into the final 10 selections, at least 2 of which should be new entries, just to show that this wasn’t a copy and paste from last year.

    To be honest, while this might sound like a rant, it really isn’t. That’s just the way these things work. Our top courses are wonderful and it’s going to take something special to shift them. Whereas I’d also happily play any course in Ireland’s “top 200” every day of the week, as we enjoy a very fat middle in this regard.

    But I genuinely look forward to a magazine having the stones to do a top 50 only. We don’t need a top 100 in Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,323 ✭✭✭✭ FixdePitchmark


    lol good stuff the wobbler.

    it is a bit like the people's front of Judia too. So many of them.

    Remember there was an epic thread and world war here over an early release and change of order.

    Dont get me wrong, fine course. But Portmarnock Old must be one of the most overrated courses in the world.

    it wouldn't make my top 20.

    Age , history and prestige, a load of nonsense in my head .

    Anyway this list is confusing at best, because Ireland is a golf union..So to see a list with nothing up north on it is a strange step to the datum (if logical to somebody).

    Anyway, Kevin Markham's scoring above 70 + never sent me wrong . Great courses that are less glamorous like Cahir , Esker Hills, West Waterford and an odd ball one like The Heath (even if it has had tough years).

    There is s mystery of land and golf and countryside and lanes in Ireland. Sometimes the quality of the course is irrelevant too , if the mood , the surprise, the encounter, the shot , the memory is just right.

    Golf ultimately is your experience, in you at that point in time . The relative quality of the course is not always number 1 consideration.

    Like in the movie Dead Poets Society, where there is a graph of poetry and he makes them RIP that section out.

    Anyway, I read them , but of less importance with the perspective of time.

    If you have a birdie or eagle putt , the heart flutters, the feeling is magic, be it Carne or Silloge.


  • Registered Users Posts: 135 ✭✭ Ally McIntosh


    thewobbler wrote: »
    I’m not going to say these lists are wrong. But they always follow the same formula.

    1. The Exalted Links come first, with one or two changes within their order each year just to show everyone that this isn’t a copy and paste from last year. Basically Portmarnock, Ballybunion, Lahinch and Waterville could spend the year underwater and still won’t leave the top 5.

    2. The Prestigious Links then assume their acknowledged role of buttressing the top 10, with one of them eeking out a top 5 finish when its their turn on the cycle. European, Island, Sligo, Baltray.

    3. Occasionally a member from that groups might slip behind one or two of the Quirky Links - Enniscrone, Carne, Doonbeg, Sandy Hills, both Ballyliffins. But not for two years in a row.

    4. Around now it’s usually safe to drop in Adare. It’s all by itself, surrounded by a sea of links.

    5. Then the next tier of links will unfold. This is where pretty much every other championship length links in Ireland can enjoy massive drops or rises - but within this cohort only. Poor old Seapoint and St Anne’s must look longingly at the end of the table.

    6. The second tier links will be rudely interrupted by Old Head, as a nod to the fact that everyone wants to play there, and Carlow, as it is the godfather of traditional parkland golf in Ireland, never to be questioned.

    7. As you get towards the bottom of this second tier links pile, the famous international parklands take over, but only usually after the often-reviled Royal Dublin gets an airing. K Club, Mt Juliet, Druids Glen and Killarney will all be disappointed if the whippersnappers like Killeen Castle, Headfort and Fota squeeze ahead. Carton House x 2 so wants to be here, but is usually found one group down .

    8. Then the litany of identikit American style parklands tend to get thrown out in any old random order, with the tier 3 links interspersed for good measure. Just to keep it interesting.

    9. By now we are usually over half way through, and it’s a case of emptying out the traditional parklands, along with some of the weaker modern parklands. Nobody really cares too much about the order from 60-100, only that they’re on there somewhere. So there’s a bit of politics required as you move into the final 10 selections, at least 2 of which should be new entries, just to show that this wasn’t a copy and paste from last year.

    To be honest, while this might sound like a rant, it really isn’t. That’s just the way these things work. Our top courses are wonderful and it’s going to take something special to shift them. Whereas I’d also happily play any course in Ireland’s “top 200” every day of the week, as we enjoy a very fat middle in this regard.

    But I genuinely look forward to a magazine having the stones to do a top 50 only. We don’t need a top 100 in Ireland.

    This last paragraph is entirely true. A Top 50 is where we should be at.

    But magazines like a Top-100. It has a ring.

    So my middle ground would be to call them the “Next 50” and group them all together.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,723 ✭✭✭ eoghan104


    Any list where Adare is not no.1 is incorrect.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,323 ✭✭✭✭ FixdePitchmark


    eoghan104 wrote: »
    Any list where Adare is not no.1 is incorrect.

    Hard to say or judge.

    Very few people have or will play it .

    Very hard for any parkland to overcome a coastal course for me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 365 ✭✭ rooney30


    eoghan104 wrote: »
    Any list where Adare is not no.1 is incorrect.

    Adare is a fine course but it’s is a resort style golf course . No rough whatsoever , you basically can’t lose a golf ball there unless you find the water . It’ used to be a much sterner test before Fazio cut down half the trees . For those reasons it’s no where near number one


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,323 ✭✭✭✭ FixdePitchmark


    rooney30 wrote: »
    Adare is a fine course but it’s is a resort style golf course . No rough whatsoever , you basically can’t lose a golf ball there unless you find the water . It’ used to be a much sterner test before Fazio cut down half the trees . For those reasons it’s no where near number one

    I'm not too unhappy to hear that.

    Not a fan of golf going back to the dark ages of gated ivory towers .
    Places like it and Old Head, Doonbeg are not what golf is about in Ireland. It kind of misses the point.

    Golf is about everyone playing together on equal ground.
    All that over the top Americanised service and course, no thanks.

    Give me Enniscrone instead.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭ benny79


    These lists are always controversial at best but have played Carlow GC this year in the Boards society and it been on my bucket list for a number of years as I only live 20 mins away there's no way I'd have it at no 32 especially considering the calibre of courses behind it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,626 ✭✭✭ gypsy79


    benny79 wrote: »
    These lists are always controversial at best but have played Carlow GC this year in the Boards society and it been on my bucket list for a number of years as I only live 20 mins away there's no way I'd have it at no 32 especially considering the calibre of courses behind it.

    Agree, I was very underwhelmed. Same with Eskers tbh

    I am always shocked at how low Seapoint comes in these lists. Hole 3-6 are weak but actually make the course tougher as they are hang on holes

    And as for St Annes, its position baffles me


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 1,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Benicetomonty


    benny79 wrote: »
    These lists are always controversial at best but have played Carlow GC this year in the Boards society and it been on my bucket list for a number of years as I only live 20 mins away there's no way I'd have it at no 32 especially considering the calibre of courses behind it.

    Ive played most of the top courses in Ireland, a handful of bucket-listers excepted - Waterville, Lahinch, Doonbeg..and yes, Adare and Kinsale (neither of which are going to happen if current levels of exclusivity/ exorbitant green fees persist), and I have to say Carlow is comfortably in my top 15.

    Outside of the 4th (green), I cant think of a single hole I dont love. All out in front of you, not especially long, only 2 water hazards that come into play at all, 17 of 18 greens with a bare minimum of slope and yet scoring there is rarely anything but modest.

    Im not a golf architect by any means but I feel like every time I play Carlow I can see why it's so often referred to as Ireland's 'classic parkland'. The holes are framed beautifully by their surroundings, there's elevation change, dramatic in places (8th and 18th), it's got two of the nicest short par 4s in the country in the 2nd and the 15th, two of the sternest in the 7th and the 16th, and yet it is so undeniably and consistently playable for a golfer at any level. An absolute gem of a track imo, well deserving of a high ranking in any list of golf courses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,323 ✭✭✭✭ FixdePitchmark


    Esker Hills and Carlow are fantastic golf courses.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,005 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    I just think it's great that this tiny island has a genuine list of top 100 where there are some real gems at the bottom (and even outside) and all within a few hours drive, we are so so lucky.

    As for the list or any list, it's all subjective.
    IMHO the links always rise to the very top, links golf is a different and better game because of the huge variability associated with weather and bounce/run on the ball, greens with fast run offs to collection areas and world class putting surfaces.
    I remember when I played The Island a few years back, it was a 4 ball and we were playing one of the par 4's (can't remember which one exactly). It was windy but not too bad, my tee shot was just in the left hand wispy stuff, another lad was smack bang in the middle of the fairway behind me, lad 3 was in the right hand rough and the 4th guy was a bomber and well past us on the middle of the fairway.
    We all played different clubs in, we all landed in different areas of the green or short of the green from different directions and distances to the flag that I clearly remember was right on the left edge.
    But none of us were familiar with the hole and didn't spot or recognise the pin was a trap, there was no easy way to attack it.
    From the 4 quite different shots (which were all well hit) our balls meandered up and around and through and back through again the green and it was the funniest thing ever as the green shape and run offs ensured we all ended up in the exact same little valley, a good 10yards back from the green, literally a bath towel could cover the 4 balls and we were left with impossible shots to get close to the pin given how far we were below the flag and the flag was just over a hump so the ball was going to run way past if you attacked the flag.
    Like that, decent tee shots and decent approach shots and a bogey was going to be a good result.

    Might be a bit of a silly story but this is the thing about links, the variability and options are huge compared to the vast majority of parkland where you land the ball on the green, it's just a different game.

    I would say we have a top 5 of courses in Ireland and they can be put in order and they are all links
    Then we have 6-15, again all links but nothing between them and they should be tier A
    Then we get a scattering of parkland mostly and some remaining links 16-50 that would be roughly split tier B to C.
    Then we have the next 50, no ranking and all tier D

    The other thing is it's impossible to rank courses without having played them all (preferably more than once), it's just common sense.
    But apart from Kevin I doubt anyone has. I'm very lucky as I've played 91 of them, I was dosed to be on the Golf Digest Panel for a few years and I'm blessed with a better half.

    Isn't it great though, we have so many great great courses


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭ Kevinmarkham



    Golf ultimately is your experience, in you at that point in time . The relative quality of the course is not always number 1 consideration.

    And there you have it, Fix, that's the holy grail IMO.

    I know that no ranking is ever going to satisfy everybody - just wait for the Irish Golfer's Top 100 which comes out in the next few weeks - but I do despair when people who disagree with lists immediately latch on to advertising or sponsorship as the obvious rationale.

    I love thewobbler's response - pretty accurate in places - but I for one would have 20 links in my top 20 courses. I know a certain and very knowledgeable someone who would have Ireland's 50+ links courses in the top 50+ positions. Links golf is the biggest thrill for me and as much as I love many of Ireland's parklands (and not always the obvious ones) they don't scale the heights of the links courses. But that's just me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    And for the Irish Golfer it's 8 people sitting in a room all getting to express those opinions.
    eoghan104 wrote: »
    Any list where Adare is not no.1 is incorrect.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,554 ✭✭✭✭ Rikand


    slave1 wrote: »
    I just think it's great that this tiny island has a genuine list of top 100 where there are some real gems at the bottom (and even outside) and all within a few hours drive, we are so so lucky.

    As for the list or any list, it's all subjective.
    IMHO the links always rise to the very top, links golf is a different and better game because of the huge variability associated with weather and bounce/run on the ball, greens with fast run offs to collection areas and world class putting surfaces.
    I remember when I played The Island a few years back, it was a 4 ball and we were playing one of the par 4's (can't remember which one exactly). It was windy but not too bad, my tee shot was just in the left hand wispy stuff, another lad was smack bang in the middle of the fairway behind me, lad 3 was in the right hand rough and the 4th guy was a bomber and well past us on the middle of the fairway.
    We all played different clubs in, we all landed in different areas of the green or short of the green from different directions and distances to the flag that I clearly remember was right on the left edge.
    But none of us were familiar with the hole and didn't spot or recognise the pin was a trap, there was no easy way to attack it.
    From the 4 quite different shots (which were all well hit) our balls meandered up and around and through and back through again the green and it was the funniest thing ever as the green shape and run offs ensured we all ended up in the exact same little valley, a good 10yards back from the green, literally a bath towel could cover the 4 balls and we were left with impossible shots to get close to the pin given how far we were below the flag and the flag was just over a hump so the ball was going to run way past if you attacked the flag.
    Like that, decent tee shots and decent approach shots and a bogey was going to be a good result.

    Might be a bit of a silly story but this is the thing about links, the variability and options are huge compared to the vast majority of parkland where you land the ball on the green, it's just a different game.

    I would say we have a top 5 of courses in Ireland and they can be put in order and they are all links
    Then we have 6-15, again all links but nothing between them and they should be tier A
    Then we get a scattering of parkland mostly and some remaining links 16-50 that would be roughly split tier B to C.
    Then we have the next 50, no ranking and all tier D

    The other thing is it's impossible to rank courses without having played them all (preferably more than once), it's just common sense.
    But apart from Kevin I doubt anyone has. I'm very lucky as I've played 91 of them, I was dosed to be on the Golf Digest Panel for a few years and I'm blessed with a better half.

    Isn't it great though, we have so many great great courses

    Which for me would be a criticism of a golf course. You hit two good shots and you get punished for them. Thats not golf imo


  • Registered Users Posts: 135 ✭✭ Ally McIntosh


    And there you have it, Fix, that's the holy grail IMO.

    I know that no ranking is ever going to satisfy everybody - just wait for the Irish Golfer's Top 100 which comes out in the next few weeks - but I do despair when people who disagree with lists immediately latch on to advertising or sponsorship as the obvious rationale.

    I love thewobbler's response - pretty accurate in places - but I for one would have 20 links in my top 20 courses. I know a certain and very knowledgeable someone who would have Ireland's 50+ links courses in the top 50+ positions. Links golf is the biggest thrill for me and as much as I love many of Ireland's parklands (and not always the obvious ones) they don't scale the heights of the links courses. But that's just me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    And for the Irish Golfer it's 8 people sitting in a room all getting to express those opinions.



    Everyone is entitled to their opinion ;)

    Really, I’d think I might be down at about 26 or 27 before the first non-links would enter my list; and that first non-links course would be Carlow, noticeably built using the natural land on sandy soil.

    And that is the crux of it. CB McDonald used to have his own scoring system where he attributed over 50% to a course’s soil and topography.

    I happen to think that none of the courses built on heavy clay farmers fields through the boom had a different or interesting enough design to overcome their low marks on soil and topography.

    Ireland has very little heathland - perhaps if it did (and if you were allowed to build on it), we’d have a bunch more inland courses that trouble the top-10 or 20. That’s where England excels.

    Merry Christmas.


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