Golf Digest – the number one distributed sports title in the United States – asked its 6.5m-plus readers to name their favourite golfing venues around the world and Irelandcame out with top marks.
Royal County Down, near Newcastle, Co. Down, beat off competition from some of the game’s most iconic venues including The Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Melbourne, Valderrama and all the courses on the Open Championship rota to be named top in Golf Digest’s Planet Golf “100 Best Courses Outside the US.”
Portmarnock Golf Club, near Dublin, finished 12th in the poll, one place ahead of Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Course – host of this month’s Irish Open when the tournament returns to Northern Ireland – while five other Irish layouts also featured prominently in the vote.
County Kerry, in the south-west of Ireland, claimed an impressive hat-trick with Waterville (23rd) Ballybunion (26th) and Tralee (82nd) all included in the top 100.
And Lahinch in Co. Clare, a long-term favourite among golfers visiting Ireland, also clinched a place in the elite table in 41st position together with Co. Wicklow’s The European Club, who finished 88th in the poll.
David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s head of business and sports tourism, said: “Irelandhas worked tremendously hard to promote itself as a golfing destination and it’s great to see this being recognised.
“As this poll shows, we have some of the best and most well-known courses to be found anywhere in the world, but one of the joys of Ireland is that we also have some lesser-known clubs that are equally as enjoyable and are just waiting to be discovered.”
With some of the most famous venues across the globe, Ireland offers golfers the complete package with top championship courses, stunning scenery, fascinating history and some of the best craic around.
To see Golf Digest’s Planet Golf: “Top 100 courses outside of the U.S” list, please visit www.golfdigest.com/golf-courses/2012-05/100-best-golf-courses-outside-us
Golf in Ireland www.discoverireland.com/golf