Ireland Travel and Culture

Travel in Ireland - Five Ways to Golf Irish Style

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So it's always been your dream to golf in Ireland? You're not alone. Next to Scotland, Ireland is on almost every golfer's wish list. Legendary courses like Ballybunion, Lahinch, Waterville, and Portmarnock have placed Irish golf high in the world rankings. In fact, the Old Course at Ballybunion is consistently ranked among the world's top ten.

So presume your dream comes true and you find yourself on the Emerald Isle. You're armed with your golf clubs and all the enthusiasm you could possibly need to play as many courses as you can fit into your week or two. However, you need to remember that playing golf in Ireland presents some unique challenges. Here are some things you'll need to keep in mind to make your golfing experience truly "Irish."

1. Leave behind any ideas you had about rushing around golf courses and fitting in twenty courses in your ten day vacation. Irish people are inherently relaxed and easy-going and nowhere is this more evident than on the golf course. If you as much as hint that you would like to speed things up, any Irish person around you will look at you knowingly, shake his head sympathetically and say, "You're American, aren't you?" The simple question and sympathetic tone is enough to shut up even the most confident overachiever. So forget the golf cart (most Irish golfers prefer to walk the course at a leisurely pace), forget the list of courses you wanted to tick off and enjoy the relaxing pace the Irish set.

2. If you donít have a store of patience then buy some. It's a common occurrence to come up behind a group ahead who are true to their Irish roots and "taking their time", as they would say. Here's where you'll need that patience. It's rude to ask to play through - in fact, anyone you suggest this to will probably look at you as if you've just arrived from Mars. "Sure, what's your hurry?" will be the reply and once more you'll wonder, "what indeed?" Just wait and take it all in stride.

3. It's a fatal mistake to presume that just because the day starts off sunny, that it will remain so. Irish weather can change by the minute and "showers" are always a threat - no matter how cloudless the sky may be in the morning. So for your stay in Ireland, you must become a weather pessimist and never, ever venture onto the golf course without rain gear. A full rain suit is essential and preferable to an umbrella, as the rain will usually be accompanied by strong wind.

4. Golf shoes with rubber studs are essential. The majority of Irish golf courses now insist on golfers wearing these. Seemingly clubs discovered a couple of years back that visiting golfers from the USA were unknowingly spreading some virus into the greens through the metal studs on their golf shoes. Thus the rubber stud rule - just in case.

5. Learn to love the links course. Most of the very top courses in Ireland are links ones. This makes for great scenery and challenging golf in natural surroundings but if you prefer the smooth, landscaped course then you may be disappointed.
Tags: golf, ireland
Travel and Culture