Two years after taking on Scotland, Jeff Fought, our director of golf here at Black Butte Ranch, is on the road once again. This time Jeff is in Ireland, and we’re following along. Check back often as Jeff shares with us the joys of exploring golf on The Emerald Isle.
What a whirlwind this trip has been. Our final round — the 11th in 11 days — brought us to Royal Dublin Golf Club. Founded in 1894, the course’s current design is by the legendary Harry Colt. Few courses in Ireland have a greater championship pedigree, a tribute to the quality of the design and the fact that it calls Ireland’s largest city home. In fact, Hall of Famers Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer both won the Irish Open when the tournament had a three-year run here in the 1980s.
The course itself is gorgeous, but on this day we were met with howling Irish winds. By far the windiest day of the trip, which is saying something. Honestly, fighting a true Irish wind on such an amazing course is the most fitting way I can think of to end the trip.
Of course, as we criss-cross Ireland, we played some amazing golf throughout. One of our favorites was Killarney Golf & Fishing Club. This is another classic beauty that dates back to its founding 125 years ago. We played the Killeen course, and honestly, there may be no more beautiful layout anywhere.
Nick Faldo won the Irish Open here twice, but it’s the lake views that will have you talking for the rest of your life. The par-3 10th, which you can see in the video below, is one of the most spectacular holes I have ever played.
Another memorable round was played at Old Head Golf Links. Set on a breathtaking headland that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head can be distracting because of its views. From castle ruins to dramatic ocean views, there isn’t a place quite like it. Even the windsock, which tells every golfer just how hard the wind is blowing, is a feature that I had never seen before.
The course itself was stern but fair, with the wind dictating the difficulty of every hole. What a thrill it was to play. And what a trip this was.
Ireland may not be as well known as Scotland as a golf destination, but the trip was every bit as unforgettable.