Golf and a Pint
There is no better place in the world to play golf than Scotland and Ireland, the true home countries of the game. The Old Course at St. Andrews, the ancient links course dating to 1754, and Ballybunion Golf Club’s Old Course, the links course opened in 1893 in County Kerry, Ireland, are golf meccas for their respective lands. Six of the top ten courses in the world outside of the U.S., according to Golf Digest, are here.
There are, however, over 800 courses between golf hungry Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — some links courses on the coast and others in rolling landscapes inland. You can’t play all of the courses, so we try to suggest trips that encompass some of the best known courses in the world. St. Andrews, Ballybunion, Turnberry, Royal County Down, Prestwick, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Royal Portrush, Muirfield, Royal Dornoch, Lahinch, Waterville, North Berwick, Tralee, Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart, Portmarnock, Machrihanish, Royal Aberdeen, Loch Lomond, Old Head of Kinsale, The European Club. We also will suggest some of the ‘sleeper’ courses that are less known, often because they can be a little out of the way, but similarly magical. Our team of golf devotees has played these courses and will help design a perfect trip for any group — and may even give advice on how best to wear knickers when playing!
No one can go to these countries without taking in the history, culture and incredible natural beauty of the places being visited. Anyone playing Lahinch, needs to see the nine mile long Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s great natural beauties. And golfers will happily explore parts of the Ring of Kerry on their way to play Waterville.
All of the other ingredients for a trip that can’t easily be forgotten are here. The accommodations are landmarks in and of themselves. Castles, manors and hotels that are all four and five-star. The cuisine, likewise, is wonderful. And at the end of each golf round or each day, there is nothing better than looking out at the landscapes or seascapes and sipping a glass of local Irish whiskey or a pint or two of Guinness, Smithwick’s or Innis & Gunn.
Here is a sample day on a golf trip at Lahinch Golf Club, a links golf course in County Clare on the western coast of Ireland and 34th on the list of the world’s best golf courses. Lahinch was opened in 1892 and hosted the Irish Open as recently as 2019.
Accommodations the prior night are at Dromoland Castle, a castle originally constructed in the 15th century with the present building completed in 1835. It is now a five-star luxury hotel.
After a full Irish breakfast, you can take a stroll about the timeless grandeur of the castle grounds, perhaps taking in a falconry demonstration or doing some fishing in a stocked lake. An afternoon round at Lahinch can be followed by a pint and sharing stories of the round (or ‘craic’ as the Irish call it) with other golfers. Then off to see the impressive Cliffs of Moher, a preview of the western Ireland seacoast. Dinner would be back at Dromoland Castle at its Michelin-rated restaurant, the Earl of Thurmond, where a menu experience of wild pheasant, filet of hake, duck breast, monkfish, caramelized short ribs, filet of John Dory and more are part of a four-course meal. And maybe finish the night with another glass of whiskey or a pint (although you may well be too full by then).
You can experience a day like this for as many days and as many golf courses as you desire. The key to setting up such a trip is the expertise in knowing Ireland and Scotland intimately and having longstanding relationships with the golf courses, hotels, personal drivers and the like.
That’s where we come in. It’s what we love to do!