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Golf Digest Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses for 2012

Golf Digest Ireland has a go at ranking the island’s Top 100 golf courses.

With our next Australian Golf Digest Top 100 due in a couple of months, it was interesting to see our sister publication in Ireland last week release their own Top 100 of the best Irish courses. Not surprisingly the list created quite a deal of controversy, with most debate centred on the make-up of the top quarter. 

We at Planet Golf love Royal County Down, and would never argue with its position atop any list of great links or great Irish courses. The number 2 position is a mystery though. Portmarnock is a great club, and a good links on soft, crumpled ground. It’s cleverly arranged and challenging to play, but isn’t close to the class of Royal Portrush, Ballybunion or Lahinch. And neither are Waterville, Tralee or The European Club, which all seem to have been favorably ranked. More pleasing was seeing the likes of Baltray, County Sligo and The Island recognized for their quality and featuring high on the list.

Our candidates for most harshly treated include Carne at 21 and Doonbeg at 23 – both strangely set well beneath the likes of Adare and Mount Juliet. The Valley Course at Royal Portrush (58) also seems to have been punished for residing alongside one of the true giants of Irish golf. We haven’t seen Belvoir Park, Malone, Portumna, Farnham Estate, Dun Laoghaire, Westport or Hermitage but would be staggered if they had more quality and charm than the Portrush Valley course.

The full list is published here.

The Golf Digest Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses for 2012.

 (brackets = change from 2011 list)

1. Royal County Down (=)
2. Portmarnock  (=)
3. Royal Portrush (=)
4. Waterville (+2)
5. Ballybunion (Old) (=)
6. Lahinch (+1)
7. Tralee (+3)
8. The European (-4)
9. Co. Louth (Baltray) (=)
10. Adare (-2)
11. Co. Sligo (=)
12. The Island  (=)
13. Ballyliffin (Glashedy Links) (+3)
14. Enniscrone (+3)
15. Mount Juliet (-2)
16. Donegal (Murvagh Links) (+3)
17. Portstewart (Strand)  (+3)
18. Killeen Castle (-4)
19. Royal Dublin (-1)
20. The K-Club (Palmer) (-5)
21. Belmullet (Carne) (+4)
22. Ballyliffin (Old Links)  (+10)
23. Doonbeg Links  (+13)
24. The Old Head of Kinsale (+23)
25. Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) (-4)
26. Killarney (Killeen) (-3)
27. Portsalon  (+8)
28. Carton House (Montgomerie Course)  (+2)
29. Carlow  (-5)
30. Cork  (-1)
31. Portmarnock Links (=)
32. Lough Erne  (-10)
33. Dooks (+4)
34. Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris) (-1)
35. Castlerock (-7)
36. Headfort (New) (+4)
37. Druids Glen (-10)
38. Concra Wood  (+1)
39. Luttrellstown  (+10)
40. Fota Island (Deerpark) (NEW)
41. The K-Club (Smurfit) (-7)
42. Seapoint (-16)
43. Narin and Portnoo (+8)
44. The Heritage (NEW)
45. Slieve Russell (-3)
46. Palmerstown Stud (+8)
47. Tramore (+11)
48. Connemara (+8)
49. Carton House (O'Meara Course) (+3)
50. Powerscourt (West) (-12)
51. Belvoir Park (-8)
52. Malone (-11)
53. Portumna (+8)
54. Farnham Estate (-6)
55. Dun Laoghaire (-9)
56. Westport (-11)
57. Hermitage (=)
58. Royal Portrush (Valley) (-14)
59. Bunclody (=)
60. Dundalk(-10)
61. Tullamore (-8)
62. Glasson (-2)
63. Castletroy (+22)
64. Mount Wolseley (+12)
65. Arklow (-3)
66. Clandeboye (+3)
67. Rathsallagh (=)
68. Killarney (Lackabane) (-4)
69. Dromoland Castle (-4)
70. Druids Heath (-15)
71. Ardglass (-3)
72. Royal Belfast (+1)
73. Shannon (-1)
74. Grange (+10)
75. Powerscourt (East) (-12)
76. Castlemartyr (-2)
77. Laytown and Bettystown (+9)
78. Strandhill (+5)
79. Castle (+1)
80. Mullingar (-2)
81. Rosslare (+17)
82. St.Annes (-11)
83. Kilkenny (-17)
84. Skellig Bay (+3)
85. Knightsbrook (-6)
86. Bantry Bay (-16)
87. Galway (-6)
88. Galgorm Castle (-6)
89. Courtown (-14)
90. Ballinrobe (+1)
91. Ballybunion (Cashen) (+2)
92. Balbriggan (-15)
93. Kirkistown Castle (NEW)
94. Tulfarris (NEW)
95. New Forest (NEW)
96. Galway Bay (-7)
97. Moyvalley (NEW)
98. Ceann Sibheal (NEW)
99. Castleknock (NEW)
100. Woodenbridge (NEW)