The best golf courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland | 2022 ranking

St. Patricks Links, a 2020 design from Tom Doak, has quickly become one of the hottest new courses in the world.


There are many course rankings out there. What’s the point? For starters, to educate golfers on everything this game can do to challenge your skill and — more important — your spirit. That’s exactly what makes GOLF’s inaugural rank of the Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland our most thrilling yet, spotlighting the obvious (i.e., the courses that have played host to the 149 previous Opens ahead of this July’s sesquicentennial), those that routinely pepper our World Top 100 and a few surprises. Golf here is, well, as bloody good as it gets.

Ireland is home to some of the most beautiful — and equally challenging — holes in all of golf. Firm fairways that roll off into high fescue define the best Irish holes, but the stress from its rigor is offset by amazing views of the Celtic and Irish Seas. If you travel around Ireland, you’ll find the common theme of links built directly between massive dunes. Some dunes tower so high to either side that you can only see the hole you’re playing (talk about an immersive experience).

While Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland is the only Open Championship host on this list, experts agree that many Irish courses can be too penalizing when the winds howl for tournament play. The perfect blend of natural beauty, historic architecture, and modern renovation, you can’t go wrong with these gems.

The Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland map.
The Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland map. Derik Hobbs

Ireland (17)

9. Ballybunion (Old)

11. Lahinch (Old)

13. St. Patrick’s Links

17. Portmarnock (Old)

39. Waterville

Waterville’s slithering par-5 11th, hemmed in by dune ridges and its seaside par-3 17th. David Cannon

50. County Louth

53. County Sligo

54. Enniscrone (Dunes)

56. The Island

64. Trump International Doonbeg

65. Tralee

66. Carne (Wild Atlantic)

68. Adare Manor

79. European Club

83. Old Head

88. Rosapenna (Sandy Hills)

99. Ballyliffin (Old)

Northern Ireland (3)

2. Royal County Down (Championship)

Royal County Down golf course in Northern Irleand
Royal County Down in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. Evan Schiller

5. Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

73. Portstewart (Strand)


Tyler Zimmer Contributor

Tyler is a collegiate golfer for Cornell University working as’s summer intern. He was the editor-in-chief for The Haverford School’s Index after serving as the sports section editor. Tyler writes tournament content, product reviews, and instructional pieces from his perspective as an active player.