Golf Digest Ireland Top 100 Ranking 2013

Royal County Down - still No 1Ranking lists always lead to vigorous debate but you can be sure that Golf Digest Ireland’s “Volvo Top-100 Ranked Irish Golf Courses” will not be getting pride of place at Royal Dublin any time soon.

The venerable Dollymount links is one of the big losers in the 2013 list - drawn up by a panel chaired by former Fáilte Ireland Chairman Pádraig O’hUiginn - losing its Top-20 status with a fall of five places to 24th.

[Click here for the 2008 ranking, here for 2009, here for 2010 and here for 2012]

That leaves Royal Dublin one place behind near neighbours Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links - currently in NAMA - which rose eight places to 23rd thanks to some major course improvements ahead of its 20th birthday celebrations next year.

It’s not the only tidbit. Galway’s top course is now Galway Bay not Galway while Fota Island has leapfrogged Druids Glen according to a list which took into account the opinions and course reviews of 50 handicap golfers from some 1,500 responses.

According to Golf Digest Ireland:

They were briefed during a get-together at Druids Glen last March and went on to generate over 600 reports on clubs throughout the country.  Apart from accounting for a percentage of the total vote for each course in the final ranking, their views were also distributed to panel members, giving a valuable, extra dimension to the overall process.

What “percentage” of the total vote they made up remains to be seen but the panel made few major changes to the top 25 in either the links or parkland lists

Agronomist Eddie Connaughton, former International Kate MacCann, Munster interprovincial Valerie Hassett, golf course architect Ally McIntosh, PGA professionals John Kelly, Kevan Whitson and Mark Magowan, former international Dougie Heather, Golf Digest Ireland editor Linton Walsh, readers panellist Stephen May and Adare Manor greenkeeper Alan McDonnell left the top four unchanged with Royal County Down, Portmarnock, the Dunluce at Royal Portrush and Waterville rated as Ireland’s best courses.

Munster dominates the Top 10 with five representatives with Lahinch rising one place to fifth at the expense of the Old Course at Ballybunion while Tralee (eighth) was overtaken by The European Club (seventh) with County Louth steady at No 9.

Graeme McDowell plays to Adare’s 18th in the 2010 JP McManus Invitational Pro-AmAdare remained in 10th place overall, making it the magazine’s choice as Ireland’s top parkland course for the sixth year in a row based on a scoring system that that rewarded “Shot-making/variety” with 20 points while “design variety, the “wow factor”, “memorability”, “condition”, “playability” and “degree of difficulty/fairness” accounted for a maximum of 10 points each.

The biggest changes occurred lower down the list with Ceann Sibeal (Dingle) soaring 17 places to 81st and Galway Bay up nine places to 87th while Esker Hills returned to the top-100 at 82nd.

Eyebrows will no doubt be raised at a fall of Killeen Course at Killarney from 27th to 33rd, just 16 months after hosting the Irish Open for the second year in a row.

Golf Digest Volvo Top 100 Irish Golf Courses 2013

1 Royal County Down =

Royal County Down2 Portmarnock (Old) =

Portmarnock Golf Club3 Royal Portrush =

Royal Portrush Golf Club (Dunluce Links)

4 Waterville =

Waterville Golf Links

5 Lahinch Up 1

Lahinch Golf Club

6 Ballybunion Down 1

The Old Course at Ballybunion

7 The European Club Up 1

The European Club

8 Tralee Down 1

Tralee Golf Club

9 Co. Louth (Baltray) =

County Louth

10 Adare =

Adare Golf Club

11 Co. Sligo =

12 Ballyllffln (Glashedy) Up 1

13 Enniscrone Up 1

14 The Island Down 2

15 Portstewart (Strand) Up 2

16 Mount Juliet Down 1

17 Killeen Castle Up 1

18 Donegal Down 2

19 The K Club (Palmer) Up 1

20 Belmullet (Came) Up 1

21 Ballyliffin (Old) Up 1

22 Old Head Golf Links Up 2

23 Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links Up 8

24 Royal Dublin Down 5

25 Portsalon Up 2

26 Doonbeg Down 3

27 Carlow Up 2

28 Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Down 3

29 Lough Erne Up 3

30 Carton House (Montgomerie) Down 2

31 Cork Down 1

32 Dooks Up 1

33 Killarney (Killeen) Down 7

34 Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris) =

35 Castlerock =

36 Headfort (New) =

37 Fota Island (Deerpark) Up 3

38 Narin and Portnoo Up 5

39 Druids Glen Down 2

40 Concra Wood Down 2

41 Slieve Russell Up 4

42 The K Club (Smurfit) Down 1

43 Seapoint Down 1

44 Connemara Up 4

45 Luttrellstown Castle Down 6

46 Carton House (O’Meara) Up 3

47 Tramore =

48 The Heritage Down 4

49 Dun Laoghaire Up 6

50 Palmerstown House Estate Down 4

51 Belvoir Park =

52 Malone =

53 Powerscourt (West) Down 3

54 Portumna Down 1

55 Royal Portrush (The Valley) Up 3

56 Glasson Up 6

57 Bunclody Up 2

58 Hermitage Down 1

59 Castletroy Up 4

60 Farnham Estate Down 6

61 Arklow Up 4

62 Mount Wolseley Up 2

63 Royal Belfast Up 9

64 Westport Down 8

65 Dromoland Castle Up 4

66 Clandeboye =

67 Druids Heath Up 3

68 Powerscourt (East) Up 7

69 Rathsallagh Down 2

70 Tullamore Down 9

71 Dundalk Down 11

72 Castlemartyr Up 4

73 Shannon =

74 Strandhill Up 4

75 Ardglass Down 4

76 Rosslare Up 5

77 Laytown and Bettystown =

78 Grange Down 4

79 Ballybunion (Cashen) Up 12

80 Ballinrobe Up 10

81 Dingle (Ceann Sibeal) Up 17

82 Esker Hills New Entry

83 Castle Down 4

84 St. Annes Down 2

85 Mullingar Down 5

86 Galgorm Castle Up 2

87 Galway Bay Up 9

88 Galway Down 1

89 Balbriggan Up 3

90 Courtown Down 1

91 Tulfarris Up 3

92 Knightsbrook Down 7

93 Bantry Bay Down 7

94 Kirkistown Castle Down 1

95 Killarney (Mahony’s Point) New Entry

96 St. Margaret’s New Entry

97 Kilkenny Down 14

98 Skellig Bay Down 14

99 Athlone New Entry

100 Woodenbridge =

Worthy Mentions

  • Ballykisteen
  • Blainroe
  • Coollattin
  • Dundrum House
  • Glen of the Downs
  • Headfort (Old)
  • Hilton Templepatrick
  • Lee Valley
  • Letterkenny
  • Macreddin
  • Newlands
  • Roe Park Resort
  • Rathcore
  • South County
  • The Curragh
  • Wicklow
  • Woodbrook

Ireland’s Top 30 Links Golf Courses

  1. Royal County Down =
  2. Portmarnock (Old) =
  3. Royal Portrush =
  4. Waterville =
  5. Lahinch Up 1
  6. Ballybunion Down 1
  7. The European Club Up 1
  8. Tralee Down 1
  9. County Louth (Baltray) =
  10. Co. Sligo =
  11. Ballyliffin (Glashedy) Up 1
  12. Enniscrone Up 1
  13. The Island  Down 2
  14. Portstewart (Strand) Up 1
  15. Donegal Down 1
  16. Belmullet (Came) Up 1
  17. Ballyliffin (Old) Up 1
  18. Portmarnock Links Up 4
  19. Royal Dublin Down 3
  20. Portsalon Up 1
  21. Doonbeg Down 2
  22. Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Down 2
  23. Dooks =
  24. Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris) =
  25. Castlerock =
  26. Narin and Portnoo Up 1
  27. Seapoint Down 1
  28. Connemara =
  29. Royal Portrush (The Valley) =
  30. Arklow =

Ireland’s Top 30 Parkland Golf Courses

  1. Adare =
  2. Mount Juliet =
  3. Killeen Castle =
  4. The K Club (Palmer) =
  5. Old Head Golf Links =
  6. Carlow Up 2
  7. Lough Erne Up 3
  8. Carton House (Montgomerie) Down 1
  9. Cork =
  10. Killarney (Killeen) Down 4
  11. Headfort (New) =
  12. Fota Island Up 3
  13. Druids Glen Down 1
  14. Concra Wood Down 1
  15. Slieve Russell Up 3
  16. The K Club (Smurfit) =
  17. Luttrellstown Castle Down 3
  18. Carton House (O’Meara) Up 3
  19. Tramore Up 1
  20. The Heritage Down 3
  21. Dun Laoghaire Up 6
  22. Palmerstown House Estate Down 3
  23. Belvoir Park =
  24. Malone =
  25. Powerscourt (West) Down 3
  26. Portumna Down 1
  27. Glasson New Entry
  28. Bunclody Up 2
  29. Hermitage New Entry
  30. Castletroy New Entry