Focus On: Southwest Ireland


Where To Play   
Lahinch Golf Club
011-353-65-708-1003 | $185
The fifth hole, aka, “The Dell,” is a prime example of Old Tom Morris’ quirky vision. The green on this short par-3 is hidden behind an enormous dune, leaving golfers unsure whether their ball ended up on the dance floor.
Insider Tip: Wear comfy shoes.  
Ballybunion Golf Club
011-353-68-27146 | $195
According to an 1897 Irish Times article, Ballybunion was dismissed as “a rabbit warren below the village, where a golfer requires limitless patience and an inexhaustible supply of golf balls.” With tall grass bordering its fairways, today’s golfers would be wise to bring an “inexhaustible supply of golf balls.”
Insider Tip: Hit low 3-woods off the tee to keep it straight and long.
Doonbeg Golf Club
011-353-65-905-5602 | $250
Chances are good you won’t tee it up with a local here; the membership and guests are overwhelmingly American. There’s even a faux village built around the clubhouse, replete with cobblestone streets. Still, despite its modern flavor, the golf is worth it. 
Insider Tip: To get a plugged ball out of a Doonbeg bunker, shut the clubface of a sand wedge and make a full swing. At impact, the clubface opens and the ball flies out. 

Waterville Golf Club
011-353-66-947-4102 | $195
The course, which overlooks Ballinskelligs Bay, waits until the back nine to really come into its own. In particular, holes 11 and 12 are two great tests, completely submerged in towering sand dunes where awkward lies and funny bounces abound.
Insider Tip: Mark your golf ball with your initials. Inside Waterville’s clubhouse, a glass case displays thousands of found balls for all to see.
Old Head Golf Links
011-353-21-477-8444 | $350
Built atop a 300-foot peninsula 15 miles south of Cork, Old Head is, admittedly, dream golf at its finest. With 350-degree views of Courtmacsherry Bay, the golf course becomes almost secondary to the experience of playing a few feet from heaven. The twelfth, a 564-yard par-5 that asks you to drive over and then walk along a cliff, is beyond words.
Insider Tip: Tee off early, bring your camera and pray for sunshine.
Adare Manor Hotel And Golf Resort
(800) 462-3273 | $190
Adare has probably never been in as good shape as it is now. As host of the next three Irish Opens (held this year May 17th-20th), Adare Manor is tournament tough. Still, even though it’s built on an 18th-century manor that’s perched along the River Maigue, it doesn’t have as many Kodak moments as its seaside brethren, but it’s a brute nonetheless.
Insider Tip: If you hate losing golf balls, hit it straight.

Where To Stay   
Atlantic Hotel
Lahinch, County Clare
Request a room off the street.
Butler Arms
Waterville, County Kerry
The Huggard family has run this large seaside hotel for four generations.

Clarion Suites
Limerick, County Limerick
A Georgian house sits adjacent to a modern structure. Tastefully done.
011-353 61-582-900
Great Southern Hotel
County Clare 
You can ditch the rental car the night before and walk to the airport.

Acton’s Hotel
Kinsale, County Cork
The modest rooms sport breathtaking views of Kinsale Harbor.

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