Forty years ago, I was aware of the fact that my very small 8th grade class would be doubled for our ninth year. And I knew that a new sport — field hockey — would be introduced. None of those new girls would be aware of my renown as a klutz.
Here was my chance to redefine myself.
So I harassed my mother that summer to buy me and a sibling a hockey stick so I could practice all of August. And practice I did.
On the first day out on the field, our gym teacher spent 30 minutes explaining the game, offsides, how to hold the stick, what the drill would be. I paid rapt attention.
Then we lined up in three rows to do a weave of passes. I stepped up to the middle line and the first in line. The gym teacher, who knew me for years, looked a bit puzzled by my self-promotion but rolled the ball over to me nonetheless.
Well, my first thought was that the girl on my right was pretty far away and I’d have to hit the ball good and hard because it’d be pretty embarrassing for me not to propel it all the way to her. I paid attention to my newly informed grip, lifted my elbow just as instructed and put my full weight behind my swing and swat.
Only to miss entirely and swing full around, lose my balance and fall. Laughter ensued, including from me. And my field hockey career ended as quickly as it started.
I don’t dare try a golf swing! That said, I do love the vistas of a good course. Our family home bordered a stunning golf course in a valley amid the green mountains of Vermont. I spent many beloved winter hours cross-country skiing on that course after a heavy snow. One memorable night, a full moon reflected off the snow with magical light that – with the stunning landscape – moved to tears.
If you or a loved one is a golf enthusiast, Ireland is a fantastic destination, with many world-class courses to choose from. The scenery is unique and wildly varied, with castle ruins and verdant hills.
And most of the top golf destinations in Ireland offer fantastic non-golf activities like hiking, fishing, and eating for people like moi! As well as some of Ireland’s top spas. I’d go and maybe even try another swing. Or swat.
Here’s an overview of some of our favorites and a sample itinerary that includes some of the best golf courses in Ireland ::
Sheen Falls Lodge
Sheen Falls Lodge is located in the heart of Ireland’s stunningly beautiful countryside. The beautiful Kenmare Bay and the MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for your golfing experience. Their world-class golf courses include the Ring of Kerry Golf Club, Waterville Golf Links, and Ballybunion Golf Club. And all three are located near Sheen Falls Lodge. These courses offer challenging, scenic golf rounds for golfers of all skill levels. Guests can enjoy expert golf instruction from PGA professionals, who can help golfers of all levels improve their game. For non-golfers, Sheen Falls Lodge offers a range of activities for golfers to enjoy after a round of golf, including fishing, hiking, cycling, and spa treatments.
The Castlemartyr Golf Course is a stunning 18-hole, par 72, championship golf course located on the grounds of the Castlemartyr Resort in County Cork, Ireland.
Renowned golf course architect Ron Kirby designed the course, which features a beautiful landscape with rolling hills, lakes, and streams. The course is also situated within the estate of a historic 17th-century manor house, which adds to the charm and ambiance of the course.
Multiple tee boxes are available on each hole to accommodate all golfers at different skill levels. Additionally, the well-manicured fairways and greens, challenging bunkers, and water hazards provide all players with a unique and exciting golfing experience.
Aside from the course itself, Castlemartyr also offers a range of golfing facilities and services, including a driving range, putting green, and professional instruction from PGA professionals.
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa boasts two championship golf courses that are renowned for their stunning beauty and challenging layouts.
Legendary golfer and course architect Arnold Palmer designed the East Course. It features dramatic elevation changes, wooded valleys, and breathtaking views of the Wicklow Mountains.
Renowned golf course architect Peter McEvoy created the second course, the West Course, which offers a more traditional parkland-style layout with tree-lined fairways and well-manicured greens. The course also offers stunning views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and the surrounding countryside.
Guests at Powerscourt can also enjoy their golf academy with professional instruction from PGA professionals and a driving range. Non-golfers can dive into their wellness and spa services, too.
The Slieve Donard Resort and Spa
Located at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland, the golf course at Slieve Donard offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the mountains and the Irish Sea.
Renowned golf course architect Donald Steel designed the course, which is considered challenging, with various holes requiring different skills. Because of the top-notch facilities, Slieve Donard hosted several top-level competitions, including the Irish Open. Golfers can also take advantage of the coaching services provided by the resort’s professional instructors.
Slieve Donard is a luxurious resort with a spa and other amenities. After a day on the course, golfers can unwind with a massage or other spa treatment, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the resort’s restaurants, or simply relax in the beautiful surroundings.
The golf course at Adare Manor is a championship-level course that has hosted several top-level competitions, including the JP McManus Pro-Am, which attracts some of the biggest names in golf. Designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio, the course is intricate but also beautiful, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Adare Manor is a historic estate that dates back to the 19th century, and the golf course was designed to fit seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. The course features several historic landmarks, including the ruins of a 14th-century abbey.
In addition to the excellent golf course, Adare Manor is a luxurious resort with a spa, several restaurants, and other amenities. Golfers can unwind after a day on the course with a massage or other spa treatment, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the resort’s restaurants, or simply relax in the beautiful surroundings.
Here’s a suggested golf itinerary
Day 1-2: Dublin
Arrive in Dublin and spend a couple of days exploring the city and playing golf at some of the nearby courses, such as Portmarnock Golf Club, The Island Golf Club, or Royal Dublin Golf Club.
Day 3-4: Kildare
Travel to Kildare and play golf at the famous K Club, which has hosted the Ryder Cup and several other major tournaments. You can also visit the nearby Carton House Golf Club or the European Club.
Day 5-6: Southwest Coast
Head to the southwest coast of Ireland and play golf at some of the region’s top courses, including Ballybunion Golf Club, Tralee Golf Club, or Waterville Golf Links. You can also visit the Cliffs of Moher or the Ring of Kerry.
Day 7-8: County Clare
Travel to County Clare and play golf at Lahinch Golf Club, which offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also visit the nearby Burren National Park.
Day 9-10: County Kerry
End your trip in County Kerry and play golf at some of the region’s top courses, such as Old Head Golf Links, Doonbeg Golf Club, or Dooks Golf Club. You can also visit the town of Killarney and explore the beautiful Killarney National Park.
Of course, this itinerary can be customized to suit your interests and time frame. There are many other excellent golf courses throughout Ireland, so reach out to plan your golf holiday today!