Ireland Golf Experience
Below is a sample itinerary of a past Goway Group. It is provided to give you an idea of what we have already done & what you might also consider doing.
However, because of timing, your own group's special interests and budget, we expect to custom make a program just for you. Contact your favorite travel agent click on "Inquire about this Trip" to fill out request for a group quotation.
Depart from home for Ireland
Arrive in Dublin Airport
Luxury Coach with Driver will be present to Transfer you to your Dublin hotel. This afternoon you will tour Trinity College Campus & Dublin City including Book Of Kells, the National Gallery and the Guinness Storehouse.
Cosmopolitan, colorful and over a thousand years old, Dublin presents a fine starting point for visitors to Ireland. This capital city is split in two by the River Liffey, which gives form to the city and has no less than nine bridges spanning it. Easily explored on foot, central Dublin presents a wealth of historic landmarks, from ancient cathedrals to gracious Georgian buildings that pay testimony to days gone by. There are several attractions on both sides of the Liffey, ranging from gaols and castles to the birthplaces of famous poets and writers and guided literary trails.
This evening enjoy a welcome dinner in the Bank Bar & Restaurant on College Green. (Inflight meals/D)
Accommodation: Davenport Hotel (1 night)
Golf at County Louth Golf Club
Enjoy a full Irish Breakfast before being transferred to the County Louth Golf Club for your first round of Irish golf.
County Louth Golf Club, or Baltray as it's known locally, is one of those golf courses that contradict the commonly held belief that Ireland's eastern coast is far inferior to the southwestern region in terms of quality links courses. Though the volume of links may not be quite the same on the east coast, when you consider courses such as Baltray, The Island, Royal Dublin, Portmarnock, Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links, Royal County Down and the European Club, it is clear that the quality of links golf courses on the eastern side of the island is in no way inferior. The original layout at Baltray was modified to a large extent when Tom Simpson and his assistant, Molly Gourlay, redesigned the course in 1938 but so successful were the alterations made at this time, the course remains relatively unchanged today. Noted in Irish golfing circles for the quality of its greens, visitors to County Louth are often perplexed that a links of such quality should have a rather modest international profile. The reason perhaps has more to do with the unpretentious attitude of the club, rather than its relatively secluded location at the mouth of the River Boyne.
Afterwards you will travel to your next destination, just outside the traditional seaside holiday town of Newcastle, and close to the championship links of the Royal County Down golf course. This friendly hotel on the edge of the Mourne mountains has a pleasingly remote atmosphere and spacious public areas, including the homey Cottage Bar with an open log fire, welcome on chilly days. The Burrendale has recently been attracting attention for good food, served in both the informal Cottage Kitchen Restaurant and the evening restaurant, Vine, where you will enjoy dinner. (BD)
Accommodation: Burrendale Hotel (3 Nights)
Golf at Royal Co. Down Golf Club
After your full Irish Breakfast you are ready for today’s round of golf.
“Royal County Down” the very words are enough to send a shiver up your spine. Laid out beneath the imperious gaze of the Mountains of Mourne and enjoying a magnificent setting along the shores of Dundrum Bay, Royal County Down is truly one of the world's finest links golf courses. Designed by Old Tom Morris for the princely sum of four guineas back in 1889, Royal County Down, as well as being one of the most beautiful courses in the world, is also one of the most challenging.
It may be a well worn cliché but if ever there existed a natural piece of land upon which to build a golf course, then the links turf of Newcastle was it. This strip of dune land was 90% along the road to being a golf course before the hand of man made some adjustments in the leveling of teeing grounds, moulding of greens and digging of bunkers. It's no surprise that within four years, Royal County Down was considered good enough to stage the Irish Open Amateur Championship and by the dawning of the 20th century, the course was rated as the finest course in all of Ireland.
Unlike many of the great natural links courses, Royal County Down doesn't have the traditional out and back layout; rather there are two distinct loops of nine holes. The outward half is closer to the sea, more sandy in nature and offers consistently larger dunes than on the homeward loop. Walking down the first fairway with the sound of breaking waves in your ears is a truly memorable occasion and it is said that you can always spot the first time visitor to Newcastle as they can be seen walking up the first fairway backwards, so enchanting is the beauty behind.
The rest of the day you are free to explore on your own (B)
Golf at Ardglass Golf Club
After your full Irish Breakfast you will be transferred to the Ardglass Golf Course.
This Club has short, tricky links that is well worth playing, if only for the thrilling cliff-top holes that characterizes this small and wonderful golf club. All 18 holes at Ardglass have a view of the Irish Sea.
The first six provide a really good view - they all play with the coast ever present on the left hand side. The second is the first spectacular challenge, a par-3 of 167 yards across a deep crevice cutting into the cliffs. All along the left hand side is slopes towards the cliffs. A picture postcard hole - the green is there, just try and imagine there is nothing else around it! Another awe-inspiring tee-shot awaits at the fourth with the fairway gently running downhill and away towards the cliffs. As with the other holes there is no real penalty for missing way right - it may be considered smart course management but it's against the spirit of Ardglass! The next few holes are plain and traditional links holes and provide a chance to survey the beauty of the area. The par-3 10th is a 205 yard par-3 that is always affected by the wind. The course then returns along the seashore with spectacular 11th and 12th holes. The 11th will penalize the slice you perfected on the outward journey; this par-5 runs along the shore. There is a steep bank to the left covered in thick growth. The 12th hole is a par-3 of 198 yards and is probably the most memorable hole on the course. The tee provides magnificent views to the Mountains of Mourne and across the Irish Sea. The green is set below on a rocky headland and the tee-shot is played across a craggy inlet. The final run of holes also punish a hook. The 18th is a fine finishing hole playing towards the clubhouse that is a restored castle, once the holiday home of the Earls of Kildare.
By now you will have found your favorite Irish pub to try in the area…Enjoy! (B)
This morning after your traditional breakfast you will travel to Belfast by coach.
In Belfast you will see the Wall Murals in Falls Road and Crumlin Road with it’s Jail and Courthouse, the Botanic Gardens, City Hall, Albert Clock plus St Peter's Cathedral and the Grand Opera house. Before arriving at your new accommodations you will also tour the Old Bushmills Distillery.
The historic Inn you will be staying in the next several nights is located in the village that lies between the Giant's Causeway and Royal Portrush Golf Club. Since reopening in 1987, the Inn has come to epitomize the true spirit of Ulster hospitality and has been outstandingly successful in recreating its origins as an old Coaching Inn. The welcoming glow of four turf fires, oil lamps and stripped pine are just some of the features that give this historic inn its intriguing and authentic character. There is a secret library to be explored (if you can find it), while the bar, which is still lit by gaslight, is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of 25 year-old Bushmills malt whiskey from the hotel's private cask, prior to sampling the culinary delights of dinner at the Ulster Restaurant. (BD)
Accommodations: Bushmills Inn (6 Nights)
Royal Portrush Golf Club
After a leisurely morning and a breakfast of comfort food you will transfer to the Royal Portrush.
Simply put, the Dunluce course at Royal Portrush is one of the world's finest links courses. Known as the County Club when first formed in May 1888, it became the Royal County Club in 1892 and finally, Royal Portrush Golf Club in 1895, with the Prince of Wales as patron. The links has undergone many changes during the course of its existence. The initial nine holes were extended to eighteen by 1889, while the renowned golf architect, Harry Colt, designed the present course. The best on the front nine are probably the 5th and 7th holes. Aptly named "White Rocks" due to the grand view from the tee, however good your drive at the par four 5th hole, your approach to the green is fraught with danger and you may be better following the safer dogleg approach. Rated the most difficult on the course and measuring 431 yards from the back tees, the 7th is one of the finest par fours anywhere. The par three 14th and par five 17th are among the holes on the homeward stretch that will linger longest in the memory. Justifiably called "Calamity Corner", the 12th hole measures over 200 yards and requires a long carry over a deep ravine in order to reach the green. Miscalculate here and you're playing three from the tee. The 17th is a long par five of almost 550 yards and provides ample opportunity for mistakes. From the tee, you are faced with a deep bunker cut out of the hill, while your second shot, which is played to a narrowing fairway, must be accurate to avoid bunkers to the left and right.
The rest of the evening you are free to explore on your own. (B)
Castlerock Golf Club
After a full Irish breakfast you will be transfer to Castlerock Golf Club.
Situated within minutes of Portstewart and Royal Portrush, Castlerock Golf Club is a classic links course set amid towering dunes. Founded in April 1901, the original course comprised nine holes and was laid out on the western part of the present course. Additional land was leased in 1908 and Ben Sayers, the professional from North Berwick in Scotland, was commissioned to design an eighteen hole layout.
Comprising a mixture of inland and links holes, a round at Castlerock will test every department of your game and the opening hole suitably reflects the exhilarating experience of playing here. Measuring only 348 yards, with the prevailing wind trying to encourage your ball into the out of bounds on the right and a plateau green waiting to receive your approach, a par four here is a good return. The 200 yard par three 4th hole, called "Leg o' Mutton", is probably the signature hole at Castlerock and requires a tee shot struck over a river, with a railway track lurking to the right. Other excellent holes on the front nine include the par four 6th and the tough par three 9th, with its green surrounded by dunes.
The homeward stretch offers many interesting holes and starts with an excellent par four, where due to some severe slopes, the fairway and green are both elusive targets. The par five 15th requires a tee shot, struck over a large mound to a fairway invisible from the tee, while the short par three 16th presents a green, encircled by bunkers and protected by some wicked slopes. Great courses offer great closing holes and the short par four 18th at Castlerock is no different. Even with a good drive on this slight dogleg, due to the contours of the fairway, you are often left with a relatively blind approach to a plateau green.
The rest of the evening you are free to explore on your own. (B)
After a full Irish Breakfast at Bushmills Inn you will begin a full day of touring the Antrim Coastline also visiting Giants Causeway.
Before you tour down the Coastline you will visit Dunluce Castle, precariously perched on a sheer cliff, overlooking the rocks where the Spanish Armada met its fate, which was built by the Normans in the 12th century as well as the spectacular Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, situated nearby. Then on to the Giant's Causeway (or Irish: Clochán na bhFómharach) is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, about two miles (3 km) north of the town of Bushmills. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a National Nature Reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (36 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places. The Giant's Causeway is today owned and managed by the National Trust and it is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.
The Glens of Antrim are naturally unique - within twenty or so square miles you can enjoy a variation in natural landscape that includes glacial valleys, sandy beaches, vertical cliffs, tundra plateau, wooded glens, waterfalls and picturesque villages. Ancient sites and places of intrigue abound! Comprising nine glens, or valleys, that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. The inhabitants of the several glens are descended primarily from native Irish and Hebridean Scots. The Glens are an area of outstanding natural beauty and are a major tourist attraction in north Antrim.
The rest of the evening you are free to explore on your own. (B)
Ballyliffin Golf Club
After breakfast this morning you will play a round of golf at Ballyliffin.
Adjoining the Old Course at Ballyliffin, the newer Glashedy Links provides a roller coaster tour of this remarkable lunar like landscape. At many 36 hole complexes, the newer golf course is often perceived as inferior. Nothing could be further from the truth at Ballyliffin as Glashedy Links is recognized as the championship course and probably the better of the two though this is purely a matter of personal choice. The end result however surpassed all expectation and Glashedy Links stands today as a supremely testing and stunningly beautiful links course.
From the championship tees, the Glashedy Links is over 7,000 yards in length and the golfer should be assured that there is no gentle introduction. Opening with 3 mighty par 4's, the golfer is led away from the clubhouse and deep into the dunes into a world populated by a plethora of revetted (turf stacked) bunkers. The greens are generally large and full of subtle undulation, while many are two tiered, putting an emphasis on accurate approach shots. It is difficult to pick any signature hole at Glashedy as each has its own charms but the par 3, 7th playing from a height to a green sited 100 feet below, does catch the eye. On the back nine, a tremendous sequence of holes commences with the fiercely doglegging 12th. The long 13th is already being heralded as one of the best par 5's in Ireland, while the 14th is certainly one of the most seductive short holes in Irish golf. As with all great courses, the 18th is an apt closing hole. The shot to the last must be threaded along a corridor of dunes and between two revetted bunkers miss the green left or right and you may have to display your shot making artistry in front of the overlooking clubhouse. A great end to a wonderful experience!
The rest of the evening you are free to explore on your own. (B)
Portstewart Golf Club
Enjoy your full Irish breakfast before heading to Portstewart Golf Club.
Situated on Ulster's magnificent Causeway Coast, Portstewart Golf Club is one of the very few 45 hole complexes in Europe. Going back to 1951, when the course was used as a qualifying venue for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, it seemed that Portstewart was destined to be forever cast in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbor. Not any more. Everything changed when the new championship layout of the Strand Course hosted the Irish Close Championship in 1992. As with many Irish links courses, Portstewart boasts a long history. While the origins of golf in the area date from 1889, the club was not founded until 1894. Such was the interest in the game; the club was forced to move from their original nine hole layout to a larger site at the opposite end of the town. Further expansion was undertaken in the 1960's following the acquisition of more land, while in 1992, the extension into the area of dunes known as "Thistly Hollow" yielded the Strand Course, a links which is today widely considered as one of the finest in Ireland.
Measuring 6,779 yards from the championship stakes, the Strand Course at Portstewart, which is set in classic links country amidst towering sand dunes, is a difficult but fair links layout and offers magnificent views of the Donegal Hills, Atlantic Ocean, Strand Beach and River Bann. And in days when development of new courses can run into millions of pounds, it is to the credit of Portstewart Golf Club, that their own staff has largely created the layout at the Strand Course. Of the many superb holes on the championship links of Portstewart, it is possible that the par four 1st and par three 6th will linger longest in the memory. Playing alongside two miles of golden beach, with the Atlantic Ocean lapping the shore and Donegal Hills looming in the distance, the first hole is an exquisite 425 yard dogleg right. A good tee shot is essential in order to set up an approach to a large green, while club selection is the key to your second shot avoiding three putt country. The par three 6th, though measuring only 140 yards is a superb hole, which, depending on wind requires a shot ranging from three iron to wedge, played to a plateau green.
Enjoy your last free evening at the Bushmill Inn (B)
Dublin & Links at Portmarnock
Enjoy your last breakfast at Bushmills Inn before heading to the Links at Portmarnock
Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links shares a similar name as its more illustrious neighbor but the similarity certainly does not end there. Like Portmarnock Golf Club, Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links is a superb links course, essentially fashioned from the same dune land as Portmarnock and deserves its growing international reputation. If anything in fact, the Links at Portmarnock is an even tighter layout, distinguished by some wickedly difficult pot bunkers. As the name suggests, there is also a renowned hotel on site at the Links and the original building was once the home of the Jameson family, famous for their Irish whiskey. Set in splendid surroundings overlooking the islands of Lambay and Ireland's Eye, you can hear the waves crashing on the nearby beach as a chorus of seabirds, make their presence felt. Bernard Langer designed the golf course and he certainly did justice to his first links design project.
The use of natural dunes, elevated tees and greens, acutely angled doglegs and almost 100 bunkers, test even the most accomplished golfers. Some believe that the traps are too severe here and work has been carried out to slightly lessen their wrath. In all honesty though, the sand traps only add to the character of the course and after all, you're not supposed to hit the bunkers in the first place. If you can drive straight, play a clever round and steer clear from having to pitch out sideways, the possibility is there to shoot a good score but then that is the case at most golf courses. One of the more memorable holes on the outward journey includes the par three 9th, measuring over 170 yards from the back stakes. You are advised to always take one club more here as the green is set on a plateau and is fronted by a depression, from where it is essentially impossible to make par. The long par four 11th is a superb hole and deserves its rating as the most difficult hole on the course, while the 18th is a superb par four, which plays alongside the sea from an elevated tee. Par here by the way, is a great end to a fantastic experience.
Enjoy a lovely farewell dinner tonight at your historic hotel. (BD)
Accommodation: Portmarnock Hotel (1 Night)
Enjoy a full Irish Breakfast at Portmarnock Hotel & Check Out before Departing for Dublin Airport and your flight home. (B)
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