Our guide to the best golf courses near Dublin

Temple Bar Dublin
The Temple Bar district of Dublin. Credit: Matheus Câmara da Silva

On a visit to Dublin the stereotypes are rich and familiar: Guinness, music, conversation – the craic.

Golf would not, at first glance, make the cut here. But it should. It must. Not only are many of the best golf courses near Dublin only a short drive from the city but they are all absolutely wonderful in their own unique way.

Jameson Golf Links Portmarnock
Jameson Golf Links, Portmarnock Credit: Mel Maclaine (Momentum Golf Photography)

If Scotland is and will always remain the home of golf, then Ireland is the luxurious holiday home you never want to leave. And while the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way provides some incredible experiences in the shape of Lahinch and Ballybunion, and the north of the island can boast Royal Portrush and St Patrick’s Links.

The Dublin coast is truly stunning; jam-packed with one heavyweight layout after another. It is, quite frankly, unmissable. And not only because of the extraordinary quality of the courses, but the ease with which you can travel in and out of the city and the array of fabulous restaurants and hotels on offer.

Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Credit: Anna Church

Dublin is not showy or picture postcard pretty, but it’s intoxicating blend of hedonism and heritage makes it an absolute smash hit for a city break. It has personality and punch, there is history and happiness and above all, there is huge warmth everywhere you go.

The beauty of Trinity College is beguiling. It carries real gravitas too, having been the place where Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde studied. The library must be one of the world’s most beautiful. The Guinness Storehouse is a staple for the vast majority of tourists. The old factory site, which is located in St James’s Gate, houses a museum which tells the story of Ireland’s most famous export and even allows you to sample the produce at the top-floor bar. It just takes better in Dublin. There is world-class cultural experiences to be had at Dublin City Gallery and the National Museum of Ireland, while the food and drink scene is, of course, one of the major selling points of Dublin. Modern Irish food is as creative and vibrant as you would expect with eateries such as The Pig’s Ear, Richmond and Forrest & Marcy setting the tone.

A photograph of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland
The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s most visited attractions. Credit: Louis Hansel

And if you are stuck for something to do, which you won’t be, spend a few hours in one of the city’s 700 or so pubs and soak up the atmosphere. The pub is where Dubliners come to relax, to sing and to laugh. It is a wonderful way to tap into the soul of this wonderful place.

What of the golf? Well, some of the best golf courses near Dublin include Portmarnock, Royal Dublin, The Island and Jameson Links – between them they have between them everything a golfer could wish for: history, tradition, and links layouts that are both fair and demanding in equal measure. And each of them come not only with a wonderful test of golf but also with the very warmest of welcomes.

It’s generosity of spirit, it’s kindness and charm. And to be able to combine the warmth, wonder and culture of a vibrant European city. Many of the best golf courses near Dublin are stunning links layouts and that is not something you can say about too many cities around the world. So you have to ask yourself why wouldn’t you go?

Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin
Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin


THE BEST GOLF COURSES NEAR DUBLIN

1. Portmarnock Golf Club (Championship)

A truly iconic name with a course to match. Portmarnock is the grandaddy of links layouts on this coastline. The greats of the game have all graced the hallowed greens and fairways of this majestic golf course and they speak with a unanimous voice, when they deliver their verdict: outstanding.Fast, firm and, above all, fair – this is a course that, on the one hand, is beautifully presented but, on the other, will demand every shot you have (and many you don’t) as you reach into the bag for every one of those 14 golf clubs. There is even talk it might become the first golf course outside of the United Kingdom to host The Open.

2. Royal Dublin Golf Club

Closest to the city itself, Royal Dublin is a truly tremendous links course and a real test of your game. Founded in 1885 by Sir John Lumsden, the club is steeped in golfing history and is widely accepted as one of the greatest links courses in Ireland. The course is a traditional out-and-back design created in 1920 by Harry Colt. In the early 2000’s Martin Hawtree made significant changes which have preserved the magnificent character of the course but ensured it remains as challenging for the modern golfer as it ever was. For more details and for green fees and visitor info, click here.

3. The Island Golf Club

Surrounded by the ocean on three sides, this is another classic links course that cuts its way through the highest sand dunes on the coast. Many people in this part of the world, call it ‘the best golf course in Ireland that you have never heard of.’ The range of flora and fauna is spectacular. Your golf better be every bit as good. For more info click here.

4. European Club

The European Club, designed and owned by the wonderful Pat Ruddy, opened in 1992 – what it lacks in years, it makes up for in the sheer beauty. Uncrowded, unconventional and uncomprising, it’s a fantastic test of golf which has become a playground for the likes of Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington over the years. The website is deliberately dated – only golfers who are prepared to work and make the effort to journey south of Dublin will be rewarded.

5. Jameson Golf Links

Until its recent name change from Portmarnock Links, Jameson Links was often confused with its more celebrated neighbour. This piece of land boasts more than 160 years of golfing history along with a link to the family behind one of Ireland’s most famous whisky brands . And now with new ownership and an injection of new investment, the golf course feels ready to step out of the shadows of its more illustrious neighbour.

BEST GOLF COURSES NEAR DUBLIN: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Which are the best golf courses near Dublin?

Dublin boasts an array of exceptional golf courses. Our list above are some of the very best but within reach of Dublin you will also find the likes of The K Club and Druids Glen Golf Resort.

How do I book a tee time at these best golf courses near Dublin?

Tee times can be booked directly through the respective golf course websites or by contacting their pro shops. Online booking platforms and golf booking apps may also provide convenient options.

Are the best golf courses near Dublin suitable for all skill levels?

Many of the golf courses near Dublin cater to golfers of all skill levels, although the courses we have outlined above definitely favour better players.

What is the dress code at the best golf courses near Dublin?

Each golf course may have its own dress code, so it’s advisable to check their specific guidelines. Generally, golfers are expected to wear collared shirts, tailored shorts or trousers, and golf shoes. Denim and athletic shorts are usually not permitted.

Can I rent golf equipment at these courses?

Most golf courses near Dublin offer rental services for clubs, golf carts, and other necessary equipment. It’s recommended to inquire about availability and reserve in advance if needed.

Are caddies available, and do I need one?

Some golf courses provide caddy services, and their availability may vary. While not mandatory, having a caddy can enhance the experience by providing insights into the course and assisting with club selection.

shops, practice facilities, locker rooms, and on-site dining options. Some may also have spa services or accommodations.

PORTMARNOCK GOLF CLUB SCORECARD

Portmarnock Golf Club scorecard

ROYAL DUBLIN SCORECARD

Royal Dublin Golf Club Scorecard

THE ISLAND GOLF CLUB SCORECARDThe Island Golf Club Scorecard

EUROPEAN CLUB SCORECARD

The European Club scorecard
The European Club’s scorecard, which is not like every other scorecard

JAMESON LINKS SCORECARD
Jameson Golf Links scorecard

The founder of The Wandering Golfers, Ben grew up on the links of Scotland learning the game from his beloved Grandpa. Previously a writer and broadcaster for The Times and BBC

3 Comments

  1. The pictures look incredible. A trip I have been meaning to book for years. This may just have tipped me over the edge.

  2. Looks incredible. Must book a trip ASAP!!

  3. Loved this!! I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest in a golf trip to Dublin.

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