Emerald Greens

The exceedingly well-travelled Andrew Marshall compiles his list of the best links courses that Irish golf has to offer

The closing hole at the Greg Normandesigned Doonbeg

County Cork

Old Head

Built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head has developed into one of the planet’s must plays. With the ever-changing sea breezes, and over 7,200 yards in length from the tips, the course provides a challenge for players of all levels. Nine of the holes play along the cliff tops, and all 18 provide stunning ocean views. www.oldhead.com

County Donegal

Ballyliffin Golf Club

This firm favourite of Nick Faldo comprises a remarkable 36 holes that meander through the most beguiling of linksland, with rocky outcrops, perfect greens and enchanting views of the coast. The Old Links, which was originally designed by Tom Craddock and renovated by Faldo in 2004, undulates in the glory of its natural terrain, while the new Glashedy Links (designed by Pat Ruddy) is fashioned around the incredible dunes, and is notorious for its peat-revetted bunkers and its challenging open stretch. www.ballyliffingolfclub.com


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