Why Ireland’s golf courses are world class

Ireland’s reputation as one of the world’s best golf destinations has been confirmed by a new poll ranking eight of its courses inside the top 100 in the world outside America – including number one Royal County Down.

Golf Digest magazine – the number one distributed sports title in the United States – asked its 6.5m-plus readers to name their favourite worldwide golfing venues and Ireland came out top.

Northern Ireland's famous golf links at Portrush
Portrush Golf Links – home to the Irish Open in 2012

Royal County Down Golf Club, near Newcastle, Co. Down, beat off competition from some of the game’s most famous venues including St Andrews’ Old Course, Royal Melbourne, Valderrama and all the courses on the Open Championship rota to be named top in Golf Digest’s Planet Golf “100 Best Courses Outside the US.”

Portmarnock Golf Club, near Dublin, finished 12th in the poll, one place ahead of Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Course – host of this month’s Irish Open when the tournament returns to Northern Ireland.

High Five
Five other Irish courses also featured prominently in the poll.

County Kerry, in the south-west of Ireland, claimed an impressive hat-trick with Waterville (23rd), Ballybunion (26th) and Tralee (82nd) all included in the top 100.

And Lahinch in Co. Clare, a favourite of golf tourists visiting Ireland, clinched its place in the elite table in 41st position together with Co. Wicklow’s The European Club 88th in the poll.

David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s head of business and sports tourism, said: “Ireland has worked tremendously hard to promote itself as a golfing destination and it’s great to see this being recognised.

“As this poll shows, we have some of the best and most well-known courses to be found anywhere in the world, but one of the joys of Ireland is that we also have some lesser-known clubs that are equally as enjoyable and are just waiting to be discovered.”

To see Golf Digest’s Planet Golf: “Top 100 courses outside of the U.S”. list, please visit http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-courses/2012-05/100-best-golf-courses-outside-us

For more information about visiting Ireland, go to www.discoverireland.com/golf

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