Golf in Ireland - Shannon
Covering the counties of Clare and Limerick, the Shannon Region is famous for its entertainment, art, music, festivals, landscapes, beaches, visitor attractions and, naturally, its golf courses.
County Clare is literally buzzing with golfing opportunity and any time in this corner of Ireland is time well spent. Its towering cliffs and award-winning beaches are what golf course architects dream of and there are more than a few who have become enchanted by the region.
Indeed, Greg Norman insisted that County Clare was one of the world’s most beautiful locations when he opened his Doonbeg course four years ago, a layout that has since won international acclaim.
But perhaps the most famous golf course in these parts is Lahinch, a course that is routinely mentioned in the same breath as Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. Reportedly a favourite of Phil Mickelson, Lahinch provides a mesmerising examination of your skills against an inspiring backdrop of rugged landscape. This traditional out-and-in links is filled with blind shots and massive deep bunkers
and will live long in the memory, for which you will be thankful.
A course offering quite a different test is Shannon, a fairly easy-walking championship parkland where the River Shannon is the primary backdrop. Here, it is not a cross Atlantic wind that you need to negotiate but rather the constant threat of water, strategically- placed trees and bunkers.
Shannon is not the most famous inland venue in Ireland, but it has been played by some big names through the years, including Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman, so it deserves your attention. Nearby is Kilrush, known as one of the friendliest golf courses in Ireland, so it would be a shame not to experience that kind of hospitality!
All holiday golfers, though, love a good nine-holer to fill an early morning/early evening gap in your schedule and Spanish Point is the very place in County Clare. Roughly 20 minutes in the car from Lahinch, it is a welcoming little tract that’s more than worthy of your time and your Euro.
County Limerick isn’t exactly shy when it comes to golf courses, either. Adare, for example, is a popular venue and so, too, is Castletroy. Adare, in fact, meanders through the 840-acre Adare Manor Estate and is a beautiful example of the work of Robert Trent Jones Snr.
Continuing the theme of world-famous golf course architects, Limerick is the work of Dr Alister Mackenzie. Last year it hosted none other than world No.1 Tiger Woods and friends for the annual JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am, now a huge unofficial event on the golfing calendar.
The course is a fantastic test of golf – but, with out of bounds and water sneaking up on you when you least expect it, you’ve got to keep your wits about you at all times.
If you’re still smitten by the golf bug then make time for Rathbane and Newcastle West. Both are inland venues that continue to fly the flag for Irish parkland golf – and we are forever in their debt!