Emerald Greens

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

One of the finest anywhere - Royal County Down

County Down

Royal County Down

Royal County Down - the very words are enough to cause you to run back to the clubhouse shaking with fear. Laid out beneath the brooding Mountains of Mourne and enjoying a magnificent setting along the shores of Dundrum Bay, this superb track is never out of any magazine’s list of the world’s top 10 courses. Designed by Old Tom Morris for the princely sum of four guineas back in 1889, Royal County Down is an examination for any player, and with so many blind shots, the main challenge is to find a line from the tee and then hit it straight. Miss the fairways and you are severely punished as a minefield of bunkers, gorse and rough awaits. www.royalcountydown.org

County Dublin


Portmarnock is recognised as one of Ireland’s premier golf resorts with a course that combines all the charms of a traditional links layout with the challenge of the modern game. The gently undulating, luxuriously sprung fairways that to large and fast greens are punctuated by 98 strategically placed bunkers. Simply majestic. www.portmarnockgolf.com

A tricky test awaits at Portmarnock


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