Ballyliffin to Introduce New Fairway Bunker

Ballyliffin’s Glashedy Links course is to receive an upgrade on the bunkering to the right of the 13th.  The work is scheduled to be undertaken over two winters by the course’s own green staff (under the guidance of one the original architects, Pat Ruddy) and staff are keen to see the work reach completion by March of 2011.  The aim is to fortify the course and improve the experience for golfers of all levels.

Old Head Golf Links, Ireland

Old Head Suite
Old Head Suite

Old Head Golf Links has gone through a massive refurbishment over the past few years; transforming into a beautiful five star resort.  With 15 brand new suites, all overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the golf course, or both, it’s proving to be one of the most charming golf resorts in Ireland.  I was privileged to be invited to stay overnight shortly after the suites opened…and what a visit it proved to be.  The rooms are as good as any you’re likely to find in Ireland; tastefully decorated, and extremely spacious with everything (and more) that you’d expect from a five star hotel.  The highlight for me was the relaxing in the bath while enjoying watching golf on the bathroom’s flat screen TV…the perfect way to finish the evening after a mouth watering seafood platter in the main restaurant. 

Old Head Golf Links
Old Head Golf Links

Having never played the course before, it made the trip even more special as it’s a fantastic links, and possibly the most spectacular I’ve ever played.  It stands at the top of the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  9 holes play directly along the cliff tops and all 18 have views out to sea.   Add that to the beautiful lighthouse at the far end of the course, and you have an awe-inspiring view no matter which way you’re facing.  Don’t be fooled though, as the Old Head Golf Links is much more than just an exceptionally scenic course – it’s a great test of golf, with some mind blowing holes.  It’s also an immaculately looked after course and so tends to be in absolutely perfect condition all season.  Even the weather was exceptional and my golf was up to the test for once, having carded a gross 75…so it was a great trip all round.   If you’ve never been to Old Head before, be sure to add it to the list of ‘must plays’.  With the fantastic new suites, it’s got to be considered a ‘must stay’ as well.

By Keith Baird.  Keith has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.

Irish Golf Course Ratings…by the Irish

I read with interest the recently published Irish course ratings in ‘Backspin’, an Irish golf magazine.  The ratings were awarded by Irish pros, amateurs and the media…and the resulting list makes for some fascinating reading.  The biggest surprise to me was Ballybunion being rated 7th in the Links Courses category – I have played there in the past and thought the course was fantastic.  I was also interested to see how well the courses in the Dublin area and Northern Ireland fared, especially the links courses which our clients usually prefer to play.  Click here to see details of the full list.

Ireland
Ireland

Making use of this list, you could have a fantastic trip based in Dublin then head up to Newcastle and finish on the north coast of Northern Ireland.  In Dublin you could play Portmarnock, The European Club, The Island and Royal Dublin (or the Links at Portmarnock Hotel).  You could then head north (it’s just over an hour to Baltray) and play Co Louth before continuing up to Newcastle.  Here you would play Royal County Down and then continue to the north coast where you might be based at Bushmills and would be perfectly positioned to play Royal Portrush, Portstewart and Ballyliffin.  This would make for a great trip and would allow you to play 9 of the top 18 courses mentioned, including all of the top 5!  And that is only including the links courses; if you want to mix in a couple of parkland courses, there is also the K Club and Druid’s Glen, both just outside Dublin.  What are you waiting for?!

By Alastair Niven.  Alastair has been with PerryGolf for over 9 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.